- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There’s a low-key advance screening of “2016: Obama’s America” in the nation’s capital Wednesday night. The documentary film opens nationwide Friday, providing an alarming vision of the life in the U.S., should President Obama be re-elected and his particular “dream” replace that of the Founding Fathers. The producer behind this film remains straightforward in his intent. Gerald Molen, the Hollywood heavyweight and Oscar-winning producer behind “Schindler’s List” and “Jurassic Park” among many blockbusters, hopes the project will engage voters who could very well be under the influence of a biased news media.

“Our private screenings so far have been friendly. People feel very strongly about what they’re viewing,” Mr. Molen tells Inside the Beltway. “And if I could script the nation’s reaction, I would hope people see the film, take it in, then do follow-up research so they understand the subject matter and can make an informed decision on their own.”

He adds, “Americans don’t get enough information. It’s almost as if there’s a veil over the facts. My whole idea is to inform people. This is their country, and they should care about what’s happening. As the film points out, the prospect for 2016 are rather dire if the president wins re-election.”

HEADLINE DU JOUR

“Tampa strip clubs take extra steps to cash in on RNC”.

(From a Tampa Tribune story published Tuesday regarding the plans of certain local businesses for the upcoming Republican National Convention, complete with this dicey Sarah Palin connection that one establishment “plans to bring in a Palin impersonator to entertain customers.”)

WHAT VOTERS KNOW

Maybe we’re already done with all the hairsplitting 2012 election coverage. Two-thirds of Americans now say they already know as much “as they need” about the presidential candidates, a notion that might perplex journalists still poised to report every gaffe and innuendo.

“With more than three months to go before Election Day, most voters already feel that there’s little left to learn about the presidential candidates. When it comes to Barack Obama, 90 percent say they already pretty much know what they need to know about him; just 8 percent say they need to learn more,” says a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. “A substantial majority (69 percent) also says they already mostly know what they need to know about Mitt Romney. Only about a quarter (28 percent ) say they need to learn more to get a clear impression of Mr. Romney. Combining these two questions, fully two-thirds of voters say they already know as much as they need to about both presidential candidates.”

See what voters want to know about Mr. Romney in today’s Poll du Jour at column’s end.

FUNDING THE ENTOURAGE

Frequent fundraising in scores of cities is a permanent fixture on the White House itinerary these days. They work, of course, and the treasure chest for President Obama’s re-election campaign is burgeoning indeed. But are these multiple visits an economic boost to the many stopover cities? Judging from a Boston Herald analysis of such things, the answer is likely a negative.

Mr. Obama’s “frequent jaunts” to Boston have cost the city nearly a half-million dollars in police overtime since the president took office, says Chris Cassidy, a political writer at the paper. “Officers have racked up 9,546 hours of overtime working Obama details during his seven visits to Boston since 2009 — at a cost of $448,924, according to Boston police records.” Matthew Cahill of the Boston Finance Commission suggests campaigns start fundraising to support security details and “share the burden, rather than dropping it on the municipalities”.

On his visit to Boston last month, Mr. Obama raised $3.1 million and left taxpayers with a police overtime bill of $84,329. “The city should send him a bill,” David Tuerck of the Beacon Hill Institute suggested, noting that the presidential visits cost taxpayers the equivalent of a year’s salary for four to five classroom teachers.

And, uh, that’s just in Boston.

BRIAN ROSS, CONTINUED

Even his peers are pondering ABC News correspondent Brian Ross’ efforts to establish a link between the tea party and Aurora movie shooter James Holmes. The coverage five days ago prompted Mr. Ross and the network to apologize, but not before inspiring critics and comedians alike to make much of the moment. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, for example, observed that Mr. Ross reached his conclusion by hitting the “I’m feeling lazy button” on his computer.

“In the hyper-fast, ultra-competitive, increasingly politicized news environment we now live in, is Ross entirely at fault for reporting that someone with the same name as Holmes is affiliated with the tea party? Bad taste, probably. But irresponsible?” asks Eddie Scarry, a writer with FishBowlDC, the much-read insider blog favored by Washington-based journalists and political strategists.

Yes, there’s an insta-poll for the elite readers on it all. The results so far: 72 percent of the respondents say Mr. Ross “jumped the gun with his sloppy reporting,” 22 percent felt the broadcaster “should have dug a little deeper to cover his bases before making the report,” and 5 percent were willing to cut Mr. Ross some slack.

Mr. Scarry says final results will be published Wednesday, right here: www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc

POLL DU JOUR

• 41 percent of U.S. voters want to hear more about Mitt Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor.

• 36 percent want to hear about Mr. Romney’s tax returns; 18 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

• 35 percent want information about his record as CEO of Bain Capital.

• 21 percent want to hear about Mr. Romney’s wealth.

• 19 percent want to know about his family and upbringing.

• 16 percent want to know about Mr. Romney’s religious beliefs.

Source: A Pew research Center for the People & the Press survey of 798 registered voters conducted July 19 to 22. See all the findings here: www.people-press.org

Hems and haws, impatient observations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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