- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2012

“The president’s top celebrity supporters have benefited from outsourcing, Hollywood-style,” says ABC News political correspondent Jon Karl, who points out that President Obama’s uber-fundraisers in Tinseltown regularly shoot movies that are supposedly set in the U.S. in overseas locations, rather than on American soil. George Clooney has given his movie work to Canada, while producer Harvey Weinstein has taken his business to Canada, Britain, Italy, New Zealand and Mexico. Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, took his cameras to China, Canada and Britain.

It is “outsourcing, pure and simple,” Mr. Karl observes.

ROMNEYVILLE

Democrats and progressives love to squawk that Mitt Romney is “out of touch” with greater America. The opposite appears to be happening. Mr. Romney is accumulating a spate of voter groups who represent a wide spectrum of the citizenry. New to his campaign:

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Romney, Polish Americans for Romney, Catholics for Romney, Jewish Americans for Romney, Juntos for Romney, Lawyers for Romney, Young Americans for Romney, Women for Mitt and Veterans and Military Families for Romney. President Obama, meanwhile, has twice as many voter groups in his corner, including those devoted to rural Americans, American Indians and small-business owners.

But no one can beat Rep. Ron Paul, whose campaign boasted 32 distinct support coalitions, including veterans, gun owners, pro-lifers, farmers, home-schoolers, Protestants, Latter-day Saints, evangelicals, doctors, ranchers and truckers. Many will flock to Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 26 for their own rogue answer to the Republican National Convention, a rally for Mr. Paul, and one big enough to stage in the University of Southern Florida’s Sun Dome.

PANTING FOR DURANT

Forty tea party and “limited government” groups are rallying Tuesday across Michigan for conservative U.S. Senate candidate Clark Durant as voters go to the primary polls in the Wolverine State.

“We are proud of our fellow grass-roots conservative leaders in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin, who have organized similar successful campaigns for Ted Cruz, Richard Mourdock, and Scott Walker, and we plan to continue the momentum they have helped build for the conservative movement,” says their public pledge, signed by such groups as the Western Thumb Tea Party and the Blue Water Patriots.

“This pledge illustrates Michigan grass-roots conservatives’ incredible unity during this important election season,” says Ryan Hecker, CEO of FreedomWorks for America, which has endorsed Mr. Durant, as has the Tea Party Express, Mike Huckabee, Steve Forbes, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The candidate’s motto is “rebel with a cause,” and his chief rival is former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who dominates many polls and last week won Rick Santorum’s support. Then there is, uh, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who’s been in office since 2001.

“Michigan Republicans haven’t been able to knock off a Democrat incumbent U.S. senator since 1952, so does it matter who the GOP nominee is this year?” asks Inside Michigan Politics, a political newsletter.

AND IN SUMMATION

“Headlines reveal more ethically questionable conduct by a member of President Obama’s inner circle, adding to a growing pattern of behavior. Senior White House adviser David Plouffe profited handsomely by speaking to a company doing business with the radical, anti-American government of Iran,” points out Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Last week, we learned Jim Messina used his personal email account to negotiate with lobbyists while other top officials chatted up the special interests at Caribou Coffee to keep their conversations secret, blatantly violating the very transparency standards on which Obama campaigned,” Mr. Priebus continues. “A separate report showed Jack Lew, Bill Daley, Valerie Jarrett and other Obama insiders all knew the Solyndra loan was headed for disaster, but they let the administration swindle the taxpayers for half a billion dollars anyway. New emails show Rahm Emanuel was ‘hot on Solyndra’ and pressured the administration to move forward, yet he refuses to answer questions about his involvement.”

Mr. Priebus adds, “President Obama owes the American people an answer: Does he knowingly allow this kind of reckless behavior in his White House, or has he lost control of his own senior staff?”

DUCK AND COVER

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a junior division. The agency has quietly formed a “Youth Preparedness Council,” and a national outreach includes youth camps and workshops that simulate disasters or offer protocols for pandemics, terrorism, earthquakes, fires and major weather events. Who knew? Thirteen young members of the new council held their inaugural meeting in Washington on Monday with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who views these 13-to-17 year olds as a way “to strengthen the nation’s resiliency” and contribute to a national “agenda.” Again, who knew?

Other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, are involved. See an overview on “youth preparedness” here: www.citizencorps.gov, and here: www.ready.gov/kids

“This has been an opportunity for them to share their ideas, experiences, solutions and questions on youth disaster preparedness with FEMA, other federal agencies and national organizations,” Mr. Fugate says. “Engaging youth is critical to including the whole community in national preparedness.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 60 percent of U.S. employers plan to increase the percentage of health care premiums that their employees will pay.

• 57 percent do not have any benefit options in “grandfather status.”

• 43 percent cited “consumer-directed heath plans” as the most effective cost-control tactic; 19 percent cited wellness programs.

• 48 percent have employee incentives to encourage participation in wellness programs.

• 40 percent will increase in-network deductibles; 33 percent will increase out-of-network deductibles.

• 22 percent will apply a surcharge to employees not participating in wellness programs.

Source: A National Business Group on Health survey of 82 large, national corporations, conducted June 1-30 and released Monday.

Scripts and dialogues to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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