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Inside the Beltway: General Party Services

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Party like the GSA in Vegas for less than $823,000," proclaims Shindigz, an Indiana-based party planning company that promises "to teach people how to party like federal agency rock stars." Well. Gee. That was quick. The nimble group developed a General Services Administration-inspired event theme a mere 24 hours after Congress conducted a grim hearing examining the federal agency's rampant expenditures during a glitzy conference in Las Vegas two years ago.

"The new GSA theme party features products that mimic the controversial party in Vegas. All the decorating and party fun all can be purchased for around $100," says marketing director Keith Bansemer, who recommends such details as a dollar-bill pinata, a fortune-telling booth and personalized "night in Vegas" candy bars.

"The only difference between this party and the actual party is that no one will be investigated or go to jail over it. Just as long as your party guests behave. We recommend if any trouble comes from this party that you do as the politicians and plead the Fifth," Mr. Bansemer adds.

TED NUGENT, PART DEUX

Progressive bloggers remain annoyed that the news media have yet to turn their frenzied attention to rock icon and firearms aficionado Ted Nugent's vigorous rant before the National Rifle Association's recent convention. Mr. Nugent meets with the Secret Service on Thursday to clarify those remarks, and he's also made it clear he's no threat to the White House. Media Matters for America, meanwhile, now claims that the powerful organization actually paid Mr. Nugent to, uh, say what he did.

So what did he say? Among other things, Mr. Nugent — who has endorsed Republican hopeful Mitt Romney — characterized Obama administration officials as "vile, evil and America-hating" and "criminals," and later suggested to his audience, "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November."

The Romney campaign dismissed Mr. Nugent's talk as divisive and offensive, but that did not pacify progressive and liberal bloggers and pundits, who wonder why the events were not chronicled as closely as Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's suggestion last week that potential first lady Ann Romney's role as a stay-at-home mother of five did not qualify as either "work" or economic expertise.

"The mild remarks of Hilary Rosen get transformed into an icon of Democratic indifference to the needs of 'real women' while the vile, eliminationist rhetoric of Nugent ... goes mostly unmentioned," says Daily Kos contributor Meteor Blades. The aforementioned Media Matters for America now claims that Mr. Nugent "may have been compensated by the National Rifle Association for incendiary comments he made," based on their analysis of an internal expense memo released to the organization's membership.

But some observers also recall that Mr. Nugent is perhaps more entertainer than political operative. "Relax, Democrats. Ted Nugent's just a rock 'n' roller," advises Los Angeles Times columnist Jon Healy.

ANN, POST-HILARY

"This last week, hundreds of thousands of supporters from across the country stood with Ann Romney. She is so grateful and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. And while she can't personally thank each of you, one lucky supporter is invited to sit down with Ann for a bite to eat."

- Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney, announcing a chance to win a polite little lunch with Mrs. Romney for a $5 donation

THE PROFESSOR

"Newt Gingrich doesn't have a stump speech. He has a stump lecture."

- National Review contributor Robert Costa, contemplating the Republican presidential hopeful's campaign appearance in Pennsylvania on Wednesday

AL HIRES GAVIN

Well, just forget about Keith Olbermann, fired as political editor and host by Current TV almost three weeks ago, now suing the progressive cable network. But easy come, easy go, apparently. Current TV instantly hired Eliot Spitzer to replace Mr. Olbermann. And now, they've brought in former San Francisco mayor and sitting California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to host his own talkfest, joining Mr. Spitzer, Jennifer Granholm, Cenk Uyger, Bill Press, Ira Glass and other liberally minded folk who've just joined the lineup.

Mr. Newsom's weekly show will have "a decidedly California touch," the network says, featuring notables from Tinseltown and Silicon Valley. Network Chairman Al Gore deems his new hire "a courageous leader who has boldly seized every opportunity to create positive social change." Mr. Gore's channel is also getting more provocative.

"You want to play name-calling games, Bill O'Reilly? You're a [expletive] Nazi," the aforementioned Mr. Uyger said on "Young Turks," his nightly show.

POLL DU JOUR

• 49 percent of all U.S. voters favor President Obama in a "trial heat" with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

• 95 percent of blacks, 67 percent of Hispanics, 39 percent of whites, plus 44 percent of men and 53 percent of women favor Mr. Obama.

• 92 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of liberals, 7 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of conservatives and 42 percent of independents agree.

• 45 percent of Catholics, 43 percent of Protestants, 67 percent of "unaffiliated" agree.

• 45 percent of all U.S. voters favor Mr. Romney in the matchup.

• 2 percent of blacks, 27 percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of whites, plus 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women favor Mr. Romney.

• 6 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of liberals, 90 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of conservatives and 48 percent of independents agree.

• 50 percent of Catholics, 51 percent of Protestants, 26 percent of "unaffiliated" agree.

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey of 3,008 U.S. adults conducted April 4-15. See the complete findings for "With Voters Focused on Economy, Obama Lead Narrows" here: www.people-press.org.

Party ideas, hoopla, hooey to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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