Nancy Reagan wore a simple red topcoat and brought a small bouquet of white flowers, tied with a blue ribbon. The former first lady observed the eighth anniversary of her husband's passing Tuesday, sitting quietly by his grave site before a granite wall inscribed with a quote from Ronald Reagan that articulates the optimism so many Republicans now seek:
"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."
Reagan died June 5, 2004, at the age of 93.
Also to mark the day: Reagan historian Craig Shirley has announced he is at work on "Last Act," a detailed look into Reagan's final years, to be published by Thomas Nelson.
"We are witnessing almost every day that Reagan's legacy, his views, and his philosophy have become so crucial in the political sphere that they may very well mean the difference between winning or losing elections," publisher Joel Miller says.
Three fundraisers down, four more to go: Fresh from a trio of Manhattan moneymakers, President Obama journeys to San Francisco on Wednesday for a pair of campaign events in the financial district. After a four-hour stopover, it's on to Los Angeles for more time with star-struck donors.
Mr. Obama is such a frequent visitor to this city that some local news organizations have started using the standing headline "Obamajam" for coverage of such events, with practical emphasis on inevitable traffic tie-ups from the presidential motorcade.
But it is still party time. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council hosts Mr. Obama at a sold-out reception in the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, with the tickets priced from $1,250 to $25,000 and the crowd to be entertained by "Glee" star Darren Criss. Then it's on to another showbiz connection.
"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy will host a private dinner in his own home as dusk falls over Hollywood; $25,000 gets a guest through the door. But a "photo reception" with Mr. Obama commands twice that amount.
And while her husband is in the Golden State, first lady Michelle Obama will be in the Empire State on Wednesday, attending a Manhattan campaign luncheon with Caroline Kennedy and Planned Parenthood director Cecile Richards, among many others, with tickets priced at $250.
What with fundraising and policy speeches in many states, President Obama has drawn the waggish attention of Twittering types who make sport of his whereabouts. They are rallying online under the hashtag #whereisobama, of course.
Among the suggestions, this from Ben Howe, a political blogger for Redstate.com and other sites: "#Wheresobama: Pretending 8.2 percent unemployment is better than 4.7 percent employment."
BLOOMBERG'S GONE FLAT
"Wow. Bloomberg just outlawed elevators," comedian Dennis Miller said in a recent series of cheeky Tweets, later adding, "Wow. Bloomberg just outlawed absolutely everything but the Occupy Protesters."
Yes, well. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's bid to ban super-sized sodas to combat obesity in the Big Apple has prompted mirth. But wait. Mr. Bloomberg's notion may not hold water, scientifically speaking. Public health researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham say the mayor is, uh, mistaken.
"We found no significant effect on overall weight reduction as a result of reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages," says Kathryn Kaiser, says Kathryn Kaiser, who pored over several studies to back her claim.
"To say people drinking large sodas at events is the cause of obesity is shortsighted, and it is making a villain out of something that may not be the true villain. While reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is important, I don't think making it unavailable in certain settings is a way to accomplish that," observes Suzanne Judd, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the campus.
"People make their own choices, and we can't force them into those decisions. A public health effort must be made so they can better understand the consequences of their choices," she adds.
"We applaud anyone who's stepping up to think about what changes work in their communities. New York is one example." So said first lady Michelle Obama, commenting on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's bid to ban big sodas to the Associated Press on Tuesday.
"But this is not something the administration is pursuing at a federal level and not something I'm specifically endorsing or condemning ... . Our motto is, everyone has a role to play in this, and I think it's up to communities and families to figure out what role they can play, what role they should play." So said a statement from Mrs. Obama later in the afternoon.
The wire service's conclusion on it all: "It was a telling example of the fine line the first lady walks as she tries to improve Americans' health and eating habits without provoking complaints that she's part of any 'nanny state' telling people how to eat or raise their children."
POLL DU JOUR
• 55 percent of Americans say they hear "mostly bad news" about the nation's unemployment situation.
• 65 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.
• 35 percent overall say the jobs news is a "mix of good and bad."
• 26 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.
• 8 percent say the jobs news is "mostly good."
• 7 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
• 37 percent of Americans overall say they hear "mostly bad news" about the economy.
• 52 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted May 31-June 3.
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