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OF STRONG CONSTITUTION

The amicable guests dallied before tables bearing fresh American fare: oysters on the half shell, strawberry shortcake, fresh farm cheeses. They sat at tables done up in red and blue checked cloths, contemplated a panoramic view of the nation’s capital and then applauded David Keene, longtime chairman of the American Conservative Union, now president of the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Keene recently was named a “champion” of the U.S. Constitution by the Constitution Project, a group that unites “unlikely allies” from across the political spectrum who pine to safeguard the nation’s founding charter.

“At his core, he’s a constitutionalist,” Al Hunt, executive editor of Bloomberg News, said of Mr. Keene, his friend of 36 years, later adding, “He knows that it’s character over ideology.”

Mr. Keene also won praise from another old pal: Morton Halperin, a veteran of the Johnson, Nixon and Clinton administrations, the American Civil Liberties Union and many other organizations.

“Despite his conservative credentials, David is still prepared to work with liberals and lefties,” Mr. Halperin said.

“We hear all too often that in this troubled city conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans are incapable of, or unwilling to work together. We’re here tonight to say that it just ain’t so. Mort and I disagree and have fought over many things over the years, but have never tried to silence each other,” Mr. Keene observed.

“In a democracy, it is vital that all who believe in the safeguards so vital to the preservation of liberty stand up even when it is difficult to do so,” Mr. Keene said. “The guarantees in the constitution and the Bill of Rights do not constitute a buffet from which we can pick and choose.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of Americans think global warming will not pose a threat to them during their lifetime.

• 76 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of conservatives, 45 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of liberals agree.

• 55 percent of Americans overall worry “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about global warming.

• 34 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of conservatives, 74 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of liberals agree.

• 42 percent of Americans overall worry “only a little” or “not at all” about global warming.

• 66 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of conservatives, 27 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of liberals agree.

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