- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HOLA, UNIVISION

They’re bowing out of one debate, anyway. Republican hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. have decided to boycott an upcoming presidential debate on Univision after news emerged that the Spanish language network allegedly tried to strong-arm Sen. Marco Rubio.

In an open letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Rep. David Rivera, Florida Republican, and two state lawmakers complained that Univision told Mr. Rubio it would not air a report about the 1987 drug arrest of his brother-in-law if the senator would grant it an exclusive interview. The Cuban-American senator from the Sunshine State has been framed as a potential vice-presidential candidate in the press for the past 18 months.

Mr. Rivera advised Univision to publicly apologize to Mr. Rubio for its “reprehensible” efforts, and for the 2012 candidates to drop any plans they had to appear in the planned Jan. 29 event. The lawmaker also told Mr. Priebus to immediately begin negotiations with NBC and sister network Telemundo to provide an alternative debate for 21 million registered Hispanic-American voters, now considered to be a key swing voting bloc in 2012.

THE CAIN TRAIN

The Herman Cain Express has taken off.

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain drives a locomotive fueled by a cheerful public persona, promising poll numbers, decent press and serendipitous timing. In the past two days, Donald Trump described Mr. Cain as simply “great.” The candidate brought a roomful of Manhattan business insiders to their feet for a standing ovation. And his memoir — “This is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House” — reached No. 1 in political books and memoirs on Amazon.com and No. 8 and rising in overall sales.

Nearly two weeks after Mr. Cain’s surprise straw poll victory in Florida, his currency continues to rise. He tops Gallup’s “positive intensity” rating, which gauges emotional responses to the Republican field. Perhaps the most interesting finding in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll: 70 percent of respondents said that the more they learn about Mr. Cain, “the more they like him.”

This revelation comes as aforementioned rival Rick Perry tries to reboot his campaign and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie exits the White House derby altogether, at least until 2016. And come Friday, Mr. Cain travels to the nation’s capital for the Values Voter Summit to reinforce his support of traditional values plus social and fiscal conservatism. In the meantime, Mr. Cain recently added a telling new addendum to his campaign motto: “Herman Cain, 2012: Let’s Get Real.”

LOSES HIS NERVE

“Never, never, you must never … remind a man at work on a political job that he may be president. It almost always kills him politically. He loses his nerve; he can’t do his work; he gives up the very traits that are making him a possibility.”

- A timely quote, perhaps, from Teddy Roosevelt, uttered to reporters at the New York City police headquarters in 1896; courtesy of the weekly “Teddy tweet,” sent out by the Ripon Society on behalf of the 26th president, who served in office from 1901 to 1909.

ROONEY ENVY

Yeah, well. Michael Moore, Current TV’s Keith Olbermann and Comedy Central’s fake newsman Jon Stewart are among those suggested to replace Andy Rooney, newly retired from his querulous “60 Minutes” gig on CBS. But it’s not necessarily Mr. Stewart who really wants the job. It’s one of his writers.

Elliott Kalan — a “Daily Show” scribe who once sprinkled rose petals at the feet of Fox News kingpin Bill O’Reilly when he appeared on the show — already has created an audition video for Mr. Rooney’s old job. Mr. Kalan, an occasional TV talent himself, pines to “give voice to the millions easily irritated by little things,” from premade sandwiches to pretentious hat shops, he says.

He also is guaranteeing CBS “63 years of griping” and says he’ll stay on the job until 2074. The network has not responded. Yet.

PERRY‘S PARRY

Just as his critics were whetting their appetites for the downsizing of a beleaguered Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the White House hopeful is digging in his boot heels and striking back. The Perry campaign swiftly released an attack ad against the White House jobs plan, just as President Obama arrived in the Lone Star state Tuesday for serious speechifying, some criticism of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and double fundraising events in Dallas. Mr. Perry lent his advice.

“One is don’t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs,” Mr. Perry tells the president in his new video.

“Any questions, Mr. President?” asks the governor, in a fitting conclusion.

POLL DU JOUR

• 70 percent of Republicans who have watched recent debates agree that the more they hear about Herman Cain, “the more they like him.”

• 38 percent say the same of Mitt Romney, 29 percent say the same for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

• 55 percent of Americans overall say the “Republican candidate” will win in the 2012 presidential election.

• 83 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats agree.

• 37 percent overall say President Obama will win the election.

• 13 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

• 25 percent of Republicans would vote for Mr. Romney if the election were held today.

• 16 percent would vote for Mr. Cain, 16 percent for Mr. Perry, 11 percent for Rep. Ron Paul, and 7 percent each would vote for Rep. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.

Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,022 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 29 to Oct. 2; the sample included 397 Republican respondents.

Drivel, caterwaul, hoop-dee-doo to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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