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Inside the Beltway: Newt defiantly hangs tough in GOP race

- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2012

With 21 campaign events scheduled this week, persistent Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich does not appear willing to appease those who want him out of the presidential race. With wife Callista, Mr. Gingrich embarks on intensely local appearances in Delaware and North Carolina: he'll frequent regional GOP luncheons, visit a library, an azalea festival and elementary schools. He'll throw out the first pitch at a Gardner-Webb University baseball game and brave an appearance at the North Carolina Zoo — which has puffins but no penguins. The candidate was nipped by the latter last week during a zoo appearance; but that is history.

Mr. Gingrich continues to bill himself as "the last conservative standing," and he remains standing as Tuesday's five primaries loom, continually reminding the press of his local endorsements from the likes of "former first lady of the National Rifle Association" Ingrid Sigler, and in Delaware, chairman Bill Sahm of the Northern New Castle County GOP; plus Hans Reigle, chairman of the Kent County Republican Party.

"I previously endorsed Gov. [Mitt] Romney, but since then, Newt is the only candidate who has shown a willingness to meet and talk with Delaware voters for more than an hour," Mr. Reigle observes.

MAHER MAUL

"Newt Gingrich is still receiving Secret Service protection. What are they protecting him from? Reality?"

(HBO host Bill Maher, on Mr. Gingrich.)

AND IN SUMMATION

"Obama strategist David Axelrod spends another Sunday morning pretending Obama hasn't been president for the past three years," says the Republican National Committee, in review of Mr. Axelrod appearances on NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

The Grand Old Party collectively deems the appearances as "Axelrod's World of Make Believe," adding that while "Obama added nearly $5 trillion to the national debt, Axelrod says we don't want policies that bankrupt our country."

OLBERMANNIA

For those keeping score, former ESPN, Fox News, CNN and Current TV analyst Keith Olbermann surfaced Sunday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," in which he addressed dogs in politics, the Secret Service scandal and baseball. Mr. Stephanopoulos could not hide his delight in it all.

Gleaned from a series of the host's Tweets that began Thursday: "Can't wait for Keith Olbermann's debut," "Keith Olbermann has arrived on set and is prepping," and finally to Mr. Olbermann himself, "Fantastic having you on the roundtable. Hope to see you back soon."

"Thank you George. My privilege," the guest Tweeted back.

THE RESTLESS PLANET

Millions seek a new permanent home, and the leading destination is America, according to Gallup, which surveyed 452,199 adults in 151 countries to find out.

"About 13 percent of the world's adults — or more than 640 million people — say they would like to leave their country permanently. Roughly 150 million of them say they would like to move to the U.S. — giving it the undisputed title as the world's most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns," analyst Jon Clifton says.

Almost a quarter cited the U.S. as their first choice. Britain was in second place with 7 percent, Canada followed with 6 percent and France with 5 percent. Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Arab Emirates rounded out the Top 10.

"Potential migrants who say they would like to move to the U.S. are most likely to come from populous countries such as China (22 million potentials), Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million), or Brazil (7 million)," Mr. Clifton notes. See more here: www.gallup.com

BUMPER PATROL

"I express my individuality by displaying mass-produced bumper stickers."

(Bumper sticker spotted in Severna Park, Md., by Inside the Beltway reader Ed Maddox).

INTELLECTUAL LIGHTS

They married in 1956 and have been stalwarts of neoconservative thinking and reason for decades. Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz have won the Heritage Foundation's highest honor: the Clare Boothe Luce Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the conservative movement in America. The couple is in good company. Past recipients include Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and William F. Buckley.

Heritage board Chairman Thomas Saunders praised the pair as "intellectual lights who burn all the brighter because they have never lost sight of human nature and human needs" while president Ed Feulner deemed them "institution builders" who uplifted the public debate with compelling arguments.

Among many things, Mr. Podhoretz — prolific essayist and author — served as editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine for 35 years and as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. His spouse, herself a canny journalist and deft social critic, was a senior fellow at the Institute on Religion and Public Life, served on Heritage's board of trustees and was pivotal in founding the Committee for the Free World and the Independent Women's Forum.

POLL DU JOUR

• 38 percent of Americans say the economy will improve in the next 12 months; 19 percent expect it to get worse, 42 percent expect it to "stay the same."

• 36 percent say President Obama's policies "helped" the economy; 33 percent say they "hurt" it, 30 percent say his policies have not made much difference on the economy.

• 32 percent say that if Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, economic conditions will be "helped."

• 24 percent say economic conditions will be hurt, 39 percent say his election will not make much difference.

• 31 percent say that if Mr. Obama wins re-election this year, economic conditions will be "helped."

• 30 percent say economic conditions will be "hurt," 37 percent say his re-election will not make much difference.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted April 13 to 17.

Feats of derring-do, stifled yawns to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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