Inside the Beltway

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Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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THE CAIN COUNT

Almost 3,000 spinoff stories and mentions emerged in the 24 hours following Politico’s anonymously sourced claims that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain once was accused of sexual harassment. Instant, gleeful speculation swayed the many reports found on a casual Google News count; they connected damning dots — examining everything from the quality of Mr. Cain’s response and his campaign finances, to Republican loyalty and the whereabouts of his wife, Gloria.

“The media are always excited to spread stories damaging to conservatives but have been especially eager to pounce on a story which will hurt Herman Cain since liberal journalists are flummoxed by his success in attracting support from the very conservatives the press corps has painted as racist,” says Brent H. Baker, vice president for research at the Media Research Center, which is tracking the trajectory of the coverage.

“Many reporters consider Cain to be a traitor to his race and so want to knock him down before it’s too late,” Mr. Baker adds.

CAIN STILL ABLE

Politics is a full contact sport tended by frantic journalists. But the show must go on. Despite the ongoing hubbub, the aforementioned Herman Cain will step out to a number of events in the nation’s capital, including the American Spectator Robert L. Bartley Dinner on Tuesday evening. The annual event celebrates the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, staged in the fittingly named “presidential ballroom” of a glittering downtown hotel.

There’s a keynote address from econo-whiz Rep. Paul Ryan. Among the guests: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s spirited spouse, Anita, Donald H. Rumsfeld and wife, Joyce, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican.

So cheer up, everybody. The evening menu features a very nice cannelloni and wine from Virginia’s Rappahannock Cellars, organizers say. Oh, and dancing at 10 p.m.

PRESIDENTIAL NUMBERS

73 inches (height), 181 pounds (weight), 107/71 (blood pressure) 67 (heart rate), 193 (total cholesterol).

From President Obama’s periodic physical exam, released Monday by examining physician Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman, who pronounced Mr. Obama “fit for duty.”

OUT IN IOWA

And far from the madding Beltway crowds: Greetings from Pella, Iowa — where five Republican presidential hopefuls gather Tuesday under the auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers to talk about manufacturing, taxes, energy, trade, regulation and a “renaissance” of U.S. productivity.

Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum parse out the finer points before the moderators: Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and PBS “Nightly Business” host Tom Hudson. The event will be broadcast live beginning at 11 a.m. EST by Iowa Public Television; find it here: www.youtube.com/iowapublictelevision

OCCUPADO

So much for the grass roots and anarchy. Occupy Wall Street protesters — along with two corporate entities — are scrambling to trademark the phrase “Occupy Wall Street.” All three envision it upon T-shirts and tote bags as the cheeky but persistent movement enters its second month of existence.

But wait. Occupy Wall Street merchandising has been going on for weeks at such online retailers as Zazzle.com, where the phrase “We are the 99 percent” is a particular favorite on everything from baby clothes to custom U.S. postage.

Meanwhile, self-described “entre-protester” Ray Agrizone already is peddling merchandise emblazoned with such mottos as “#Occupy,” and “This Is What Protest Looks Like.” The carefree Mr. Agrizone already has established TheOccupyStore.com, complete with gift certificates.

“The main thing I have with this website is a tool to give a voice to the movement. I’m not too worried about cease-and-desist letters down the line,” he tells CNNMoney.com

THE COMPLEAT CONDI

“We pursued the Freedom Agenda not only because it was right but also because it was necessary. There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic,” Condoleezza Rice says in her new memoir, published Tuesday.

The former secretary of state for George W. Bush has penned the proverbial doozy. At 784 pages, “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington,” is a hefty, well-timed, high-minded book that has left critics pining for more Bush administration bashing. Miss Rice is intent on explaining diplomacy in hair-raising times, and her worries — as she explained to one recent academic audience — that “the United States of America has gone bad.”

The author explains much to Fox News host Sean Hannity before a live audience on Tuesday night, taking questions and talking up the 2012 election. Wednesday night finds Miss Rice in sillier circumstances opposite CBS late-night host David Letterman. She’ll soon embark on a national book tour, including a stop this month at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

POLL DU JOUR

• 36 percent of Americans would pick Ronald Reagan over Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman or William Henry Harrison to “run the country today.”

• 68 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

• 29 percent overall would choose Roosevelt; 16 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

• 14 percent overall would choose Jefferson; 7 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent overall would pick Truman; 5 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

• 1 percent overall would pick Harrison; no Republicans and 1 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CBS News/Vanity Fair poll of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 and released Monday.

Murmurs and asides, numbers to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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