Inside the Beltway: Issa seeks accurate count of ‘got-aways’

He wants those numbers: Rep. Darrell E. Issa has set a deadline of Thursday for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Intent on investigating allegations that the federal agency released “false and misleading border-crossing data,” the California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked her for 2011 operational records from eight border-patrol stations in the Tucson, Ariz., region.

“The numbers appear to dramatically understate the volume of individuals who crossed the border illegally and are neither arrested nor turned back south (‘got-aways’),” Mr. Issa writes in a letter to Ms. Napolitano, dated March 1. Based on extrapolations of representative data, the lawmaker suggests that 268,000 people entered the U.S. illegally and were never counted.

“The potential magnitude of the underreporting of got-aways casts doubt on the border-security numbers touted by the department during this administration. If got-aways are in fact being underreported to that extent, then the data on which you based the conclusion that ‘the border is safer than it has been in decades’ is seriously flawed,” Mr. Issa advises the secretary.

GO AWAY, MITT

Some of Ronald Reagan’s biggest fans are calling for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to drop out of the race, an edict usually reserved for his three main rivals. After Mr. Romney emerged in third place following the Mississippi and Alabama primaries, the climate has changed, they say.

“Talk of Romney’s inevitable nomination has been silenced. In 15 primary contests, Romney has averaged 38.4 percent. He is in no way a unifying candidate. Rather, he is divisive and outside the mainstream,” says Diana Banister of Citizens for the Republic, a grass-roots group founded by “Reagan stalwarts,” including Edwin Meese III, Peter Hannaford and Craig Shirley.

“For the sake of the party of Reagan, Romney should allow the remaining conservative candidates to campaign for the nomination,” Ms. Banister continues, noting that Mr. Romney’s so-so showing in the South proves “he is distrusted by the heart and soul of the party” and that’s he’s failed to persuade conservatives that he’s “one of us,” she adds.

ROMNEY ON ROMNEY

“Megyn, guess what? I made a lot of money. I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that. I know the DNC tries to push this out, and they get it on the mainstream media networks, and that’s where you guys see it, and everybody laughs about it. Because, in this country, we want someone who can help other people become successful. We’re not going to choose our president based on these little innuendoes.”

(Mitt Romney to Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who pressed Mr. Romney on his recent wealth-related gaffes.)

PETITE CUISINE

“The White House is a big place, but the kitchen is really teeny. You wouldnt believe it. It’s a little-bitty kitchen.”

(First lady Michelle Obama describing the facilities to student visitors at the White House on Wednesday.)

THE CARTOON PAUL

Now on retail book shelves and Amazon, it’s the 32-page “Political Power: Ron Paul” biographical comic book.

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