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Inside the Beltway: Footing the bill for Obama in N.H.
Question of the Day
Behold, some White House intrigue in New Hampshire: Security for President Obama’s campaign stop in Durham on Monday was set to cost the heavily Democratic little town a big fat $20,000. But alas. The president’s campaign refused to pick up the tab. Public grumbling commenced, an emergency town council meeting was called, tensions rose — and what’s this? An anonymous benefactor suddenly stepped forward to foot the bill, leaving locals to puzzle over the donor’s identity and question the legality of the donation.
“The people of Durham have a right to know the identity of this anonymous donor and what his or her intentions are in giving this significant sum of money. The donor may have business pending before the town or may be trying to skirt Federal Election Commission law, which precludes this sort of donation,” says Corey R. Lewandowski, director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire. The group filed a “right to know” inquiry with Durham, seeking information about this mysterious largesse and an assurance that townsfolk know “who is funding their government.”
But Durham was only the first of four stops during Mr. Obama’s very crowded day, which included a private fundraiser that commanded a $40,000 entry fee per guest. Locals elsewhere also were peeved.
“It is by now a well-worn cliche to say that if he spent half as much time on the nation’s problems as he does on the campaign trail, we would be better off. But would we? More time campaigning does mean less time harming the country,” said Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, in a front-page editorial. “This man has been an utter disaster for America. Never has this writer heard from more people, stranger and acquaintance alike, who say they hope for their children and their country’s sake that Barack Obama is a one-termer.”
The publisher concluded, “Actually, he could exit with some style and sense of self-sacrifice. He could, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1968 when the country was mired in Vietnam, announce that he will not seek a second term. In Johnson’s case, it was to try to end the war. In Obama‘s, it would be to stop the politics and devote the remainder of his term to working with Congress to free up the economy. The economic mess we are in is as great a concern now as Vietnam was then.”
AGE OF CONSENT?
In an era of endless polling, it’s not a bad idea to ask the most basic questions. A query from Rasmussen Reports to 1,000 Americans in mid-June: “The Declaration of Independence says that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. Does the federal government today have the consent of the governed?” The answer: “Only 22 percent of the nation’s likely voters believe the government today has such consent,” the pollster says.
A LETTER TO JANET
“Dear Secretary Napolitano: I write as chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security to inquire as to the circumstances under which a visa to visit the United States was granted to Hani Nour Eldin, a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization, Gama’a al-Islamiyya.”
So asks Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, in a June 24 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawmaker also notes that Mr. Eldin’s mission was to request the transfer of the group’s jailed leader, Omar Abdel Rahman, to Egyptian custody.
“I am aware that there may be legitimate diplomatic reasons to grant a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization a visa to visit the United States, such as for example in furtherance of peace negotiations,” he added. “However, the nature of Eldin’s visit suggests an absence of full vetting rather than a policy choice, or perhaps a breakdown in the screening missions of and coordination among our federal agencies.”
The lawmaker has eight other questions for the director in his missive, and he has requested that she respond by July 3.
RULING ON THE RULING
Ever vigilant to health care reform, tea partyers have organized an instant town-hall meeting on Tuesday with the Congressional Tea Party Caucus to parse the potential impact of the Supreme Court ruling on health care, says organizer and Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips. The ruling, incidentally, will be handed down Thursday.
Live from the Eisenhower Room of the Capitol Hill Club, it’s Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Sandy Adams of Florida, Steve King of Iowa and Jeffrey M. Landry of Louisiana, among others. Watch the event online at 7 p.m. ET here: www.UnityRally2012.com. The “rally” refers to the upcoming Tea Party Unity Rally 2012, to be held Aug. 26 in Tampa.
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