- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TRUMP WORLD

“Richer than Romney, cuter than Newt, as slick as Rick and twice as tall as Paul. Why not?”

- Observation from Lucianne Goldberg, founder of the news aggregator Lucianne.com, on billionaire and reality TV star Donald Trump’s revelation that he is again considering a presidential run once his contract with NBC ends in May.

NEWT-SURGENT

When in doubt, go “insurgent.” Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has now reinvented himself as a grass-roots “insurgent,” says Time magazine and several other news organizations as he continues to face down rival Mitt Romney’s aggressive uber-campaign. “Insurgent” fits Mr. Gingrich, what with his bold dialogue, tea party love and badgerlike presence on the campaign trail; some critics say it’s a last-ditch effort to stay in the race.

Yeah, well. It all boils down to how long the money lasts. Mr. Gingrich, meanwhile, is not the only politician to go “insurgent.”

The potent term was first used in 1765; contemporary political analysts say it connotes a candidate who is anti-Washington, an underdog and outsider who wants to challenge party establishment.

The press first got cozy with “insurgent” in the mid-1960s, when it was used to describe Barry Goldwater. It has since spanned the political and ideological spectrum. Over the years, other insurgents have included Eugene McCarthy, Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Donald Trump, Jesse Ventura, Bill Bradley and Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican was a self-described insurgent as early as 2000.

“I am a proud Reagan conservative. I love the Republican Party. It is my home. Don’t fear this campaign, my fellow Republicans — join it,” Mr. McCain told his followers at the time. “This is where you belong, in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.”

IDOL THOUGHTS

“Barack Obama we loved your vocal performance so much we’d love to invite you on American Idol this season for a duet with Al Green.”

So says “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe in an invitation to the president via Twitter, following Mr. Obama’s mellifluous rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” during a campaign appearance at the Apollo Theater. Lythgoe is serious, and he said Tuesday he’s contacting Mr. Green about the possibilities; the event could draw millions and millions of viewers. And much free campaign publicity.

But there’s some bias with a beat here. Mr. Lythgoe was not so kind to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who offered a heartfelt version of a most patriotic tune during a campaign stop in Florida.

“If an election were based on vocal talent Barack Obama would beat Romney hands down. Mitt was very flat singing America the Beautiful,” the producer Tweeted.

MENU THOUGHTS

“Bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep dish pizza, buffalo wings, German potato salad, twice-baked potatoes, Snyder’s potato chips and pretzels, chips and dips, salad, ice cream, Hinterland Pale Ale and Amber Ale, Yuengling Lager and Light, White House Honey Ale.”

That’s what 150 guests enjoyed during the White House official 2011 Super Bowl party.

This year, the menu will likely be less sports bar, more low-fat, local produce/organic fare judging, from a few clues Michelle Obama shares with celebrity chef Rachael Ray during an appearance on her syndicated TV show Wednesday. What the first lady has revealed so far: nachos with fresh tomato sauce and guacamole on a “good quality tortilla,” and a forecast of a “quiet” afternoon in the White House.

OCCUPADO

“The Super Bowl is perennially the Woodstock for the 1 percent: a Romneyesque cavalcade of private planes, private parties and private security. Combine that with this proposed legislation, and the people of Indiana will not let this orgy of excess go unoccupied. Just as the parties start a week in advance, so have the protests,” writes Dave Zirin, a blogger for the Nation.

Yes, along with sitting through a halftime show by Madonna, Super Bowl attendees and a huge viewing audience will witness the “Occupy the Super Bowl” movement. The protesters areparticularlyy vexed that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels appears poised to sign a bill making his state — which hosts the annual gridiron championship this year — a right-to-work state.

“If Daniels signs the bill before the big game, demonstrations sponsored by the AFL-CIO in partnership with the Occupy Movement will greet the 100,000 people who can afford the pilgrimage to Lucas Oil Field,” Mr. Zirin advises.

RUBIO WATCH

“This is a common sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so.”

- Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, on introducing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, a bill he says “will repeal a new Obamacare mandate that violates the religious liberties and conscience rights of faith-based institutions by forcing them to offer employees insurance coverage for contraceptives.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 42 percent of Americans say they have heard the most campaign news about Newt Gingrich.

• 36 percent say they have heard the most about Mitt Romney; 4 percent cite Rep. Ron Paul, 2 percent Rick Santorum.

• 22 percent say the 2012 elections is the story they have followed most closely in the last week; 36 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent say President Obama’s State of the Union address was the top news story in the past week; 8 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

• 15 percent overall say the economy was the top story; 14 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

• 23 percent “don’t know” what the top story was; 14 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26 to 29.

Proclamations, polls, trump cards to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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