The days of "no-drama Obama" are waning, and hopeful Republicans who entertain the notion that Hollywood has lost its love for President Obama, take heed. There's a new script afoot. First lady Michelle Obama raised nearly a cool $1 million for her spouse's re-election campaign with a single speech before 135 artists and entertainment moguls during a fundraiser in a Beverly Hills, Calif., home Tuesday night. The private home was aglow with candles and lilac-tinted lighting, the rarified audience included producers Quincy Jones, Harvey Weinstein, Berry Gordy and Steve Bing.
Mrs. Obama proved herself a deft and indefatigable denizen of the campaign trail. She methodically went through Mr. Obama's issues of choice, bolstered his policies and underscored populist appeal. But this was Hollywood. Some strategic Obama drama surfaced as wife spoke of husband:
"He might not remember your name, but if he's had a few minutes and a decent conversation with you, he will never forget your story. It's like it becomes imprinted on his heart. And that's the things he carries with him every single day. It's our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams," Mrs. Obama told the rapt group.
"It really moved people. People were really fired up afterward," an attendee later told the Hollywood Reporter. Note to the GOP: Plan accordingly. This particular White House script is only just getting started.
The concrete and steel "Big Mountain Jesus" stays, and those who sought to protect the statue's fate say its survival is significant. The U.S. Forest Service has renewed a land permit for the 57-year-old Knights of Columbus monument in Montana's Flathead National Forest; it will remain on its 25-by-25-foot plot of federal land. The "constitutionality" of the monument - dedicated to World War II vets - was challenged in a lawsuit filed last year by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Public outcry followed, sparked by, among other things, a letter of protest filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, signed by 70,000 people and sent to the federal agency.
"This decision represents a significant victory in defense of the history and heritage of the region," says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the group. "We're delighted that federal officials understood what we have argued all along - that this statue of Jesus does not convey any government endorsement of religion. Instead, this historically important memorial is designed to commemorate the sacrifice made by those killed in World War II."
Rep. Denny Rehberg, Montana Republican, adds, "This is a huge win, not only for the people in northwest Montana, but for the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division, to whom the statue pays tribute."
More Democrats will bet money on the Super Bowl than Republicans this year. Yes, there are numbers on his micro-phenomenon. A Poll Position survey of 1,145 registered voters conducted Monday finds that 11 percent of Americans - roughly 25 million - plan to bet some cash on the big game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
Among Republicans, the number was 12 percent, among Democrats, 16 percent. Oh, and among cautious independents, it's 5 percent. See the numbers at this interesting site: http://pollposition.com.
Twenty senators have joined Sen. Marco Rubio to support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, a bill the Florida Republican introduced late Tuesday to repeal a new "Obamacare" mandate that he says "violates the religious liberties and conscience rights of faith-based institutions" by forcing them to offer employees insurance coverage for contraceptives.
Among those on the support roster: Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, John Cornyn of Texas, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Jon Kyl and John McCain of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Thune of South Dakota. Among groups applauding the legislation: the Susan B. Anthony Fund, Liberty Counsel Action, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
"RAISED REPUBLICAN. I can help myself, thanks."
(Bumper sticker spotted in Plano, Texas)
Oh, that nimble Republican National Committee. Just 48 hours after President Obama publicly offered to look over the resume of a an unemployed semiconductor engineer on Monday, the practical GOP is now offering to facilitate. The group has launched a free delivery service for those who pine to send their resumes to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
"We're pretty sure the 12 million jobless Americans would all love to send their resumes to the White House for some help," says committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
"Upload your resume, and we'll drop it off at the White House!" urges a secure website activated Wednesday. See the details here: www.notbetteroff.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 94 percent of Americans give "the overall job Congress is doing" a negative rating.
• 56 percent give Republicans in Congress a negative rating; 10 percent give a positive rating, 34 percent are "unfamiliar" with them.
• 53 percent give Democrats in Congress a negative rating; 13 percent give a positive rating, 34 percent are unfamiliar with them.
• 37 percent overall would vote for the "Democratic candidate" if the election were held today.
• 3 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents agree.
• 35 percent overall would vote for the "Republican candidate."
• 88 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agree.
• 20 percent overall are undecided; 7 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of independents agree.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,016 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 16 to 23 and released Tuesday.
• Drama, calm commentary, ballyhoo to email@example.com
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