- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2012

THE AXIS AT 10

Time flies when the world is chaotic. The phrase “axis of evil” is 10 years old Sunday, introduced by former President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address Jan. 29, 2002.

“North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction while starving its citizens,” Mr. Bush said. “Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. … States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

The phrase “axis of evil” was attributed to David Frum, a White House speechwriter at the time. The words became a motto that resonated in many quarters, including the parody New York Post headline “axis of weasels” that mocked European reluctance to support the war on terror and variants coined by officials - including “axis of terror” (Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz) and “axis of good” (Venezuela President Hugo Chavez).

Until Mr. Bush’s official presidential library is open for business in Dallas, find his updated online presence at BushCenter.com.

NEWS OF NEWT

Now that Republican heavyweights are sparring over the true role of Newt Gingrich in 2012, the presidential hopeful is drawing as much overwrought press as Sarah Palin did back in her days as a White House candidate. Mr. Gingrich simply inspires purple prose; a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. A very small sampling:

“Gingrich rages at his creation” (Philadelphia Inquirer); “Newt and Callista: An affair to remember” (Rolling Stone); “Newt, the final frontier” (Miami Herald); “Unleash the Newt” (American Prospect); and “Gingrich’s poetry of hate” (CNN).

CANDIDATE TRACKER

Three of the four Republican hopefuls will woo Florida voters in the next 72 hours; the Sunshine State primary looms Tuesday. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum cater to a diverse constituency. Mr. Romney’s got a grass-roots crowd in Orlando and a “space coast” rally in Titusville. Mr. Santorum addresses Hispanic builders in Miami and a Hebrew congregation in Boca Raton, but he will dash to Virginia for a pair of fundraisers. Mr. Gingrich meets with veterans, tea partyers and fundraisers in Palm Beach.

And Rep. Ron Paul? He’s on a six-city tour of Maine, and is at home on such turf: “Highlights of the visit include two town halls on college campuses and a visit to Freeport, home of the flagship L.L.Bean store,” his campaign advises. The Maine caucus - just like Nevada’s - gets under way Feb. 4.

POKE THE PRESS

Forget Republican infighting. There’s another conflict: Media Research Center founder L. Brent Bozell III has declared war on the liberal news media, declaring the leftward press could compromise the 2012 election. He’s launched a $3 million campaign to counter the phenomenon via social media, billboards, advertising and old-fashioned “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” bumper stickers.

“We have documented endless examples of the so-called ‘news media’ covering up the failures of the Obama presidency and attacking every conservative presidential candidate one by one by one,” he says, noting that may of the attacks are intensely personal.

“It’s time for Americans to stand up and declare, once and for all, that the left-wing so-called ‘news media’ are no longer going to pick winners and losers. It’s time for Americans to demand of our news media that they return to the business of reporting - accurately, fairly, honestly.”

Mr. Bozell advises the curious to look here: TellTheTruth2012.org.

THE ALSO RANS

Well, they’re hopeful, anyway. A total of 332 people have filed a statement of candidacy for president with the Federal Election Commission. That would be 123 Republicans, 69 independents, 36 Democrats, 11 Libertarians , five Greens and 36 from, uh, the Socialist, Anti-Hypocrisy, Common Sense, Jedi, Justice and After Party parties. Another 52 candidates have filed without specifying their affiliation. So says a University of Minnesota “Smart Politics” analysis, which also found that 302 of these aspirants are men, 30 women.

There are also serial candidates. The analysis found that 76 hopefuls have previously filed their paperwork, many doing so multiple times. To date, candidates have filed from 44 states, the District of Columbia and one U.S. territory, with California sitting at the top of the leader board with 41 candidates, followed by Florida with 39, Texas with 34, and Virginia and New York with 14 each.

But reality often prevails. Democratic hopeful Michael Bellows of Chicago filed his papers in early November, then changed his mind 18 days later. “I hereby give notice that I request to immediately withdraw and cancel my candidacy. … I have raised no funds whatsoever and I have made no expenditures whatsoever. Please remove my name from all active listing of candidates,” Mr. Bellows advised the commission.

POLL DU JOUR

• 75 percent of Americans say the Supreme Court justices allow their own ideological views to affect their decisions; 17 percent say the justices rely on legal analysis.

• 59 percent say the justices will review the constitutionality of health care reform based on personal ideology.

• 28 percent say they will use legal analysis, 13 percent don’t know.

• 55 percent expect the court to rule that a requirement that all Americans have health insurance to be unconstitutional.

• 55 percent say parts of the new law will be implemented, even if the court strikes down the individual mandate.

• 54 percent personally believe that rule to be unconstitutional.

• 49 percent of Republicans say President Obama and Mitt Romney hold different views on health care; 30 percent say their views are the same.

Source: A Kaiser Health Tracking poll of 1,206 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 12-17.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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