- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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.

Mitt Romney might be winning the delegates, but Ron Paul has won over the retailers. The Ron Paul comic is outselling a similar book on Mitt Romney,” says Darren Davis, the publisher of Blue Water Comics, who managed to hand Mr. Paul a few copies during the Washington state caucuses.

“Ron Paul is many things — doctor, politician and now comic book character,” adds Mr. Davis, who has already produced comics based on Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, President Obama and former President George W. Bush. “No one can ever say Rep. Paul is boring. And is 2012 the year that this Republican, with libertarian tendencies and a loyal following, claims the White House?”

DEFENDING RUSH

“Your network, working on marching orders from Media Matters, is on a mission to take Rush Limbaugh off the air. Far from being an independent journalistic enterprise, MSNBC is the very essence of a political lapdog of the far left. Just last night on MSNBC, Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton, and Lawrence O’Donnell all devoted time on their programs attacking Rush. In each case, they grabbed at thin air looking, looking, looking for the opportunity shamelessly to keep the story alive.”

“These assaults by MSNBC have nothing to do with what he said about Sandra Fluke, and everything to do with censoring prominent voices on the right. Gas prices are nearing $4 a gallon, the unemployment rate hovers over 8 percent, the U.S. debt is soaring to astronomical highs, but MSNBC is too busy to cover these legitimate news stories. Instead, you go after Rush.”

(Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell in a letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin and Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, the network’s parent company. Mr. Bozell suggests MSNBC fire Mr. Schultz, or be considered “hypocrites.”)

POLL DU JOUR

• 82 percent of likely Republican voters think Rick Santorum would be “more effective” if he focused mostly on the economy and jobs in his campaign.

• 11 percent say he should focus on “values, morals and faith”; 7 percent are unsure.

• 64 percent of Republicans say Mitt Romney’s background as a private equity investor makes him “more prepared” than his rivals to create jobs.

• 26 percent say his background does not make him more prepared; 10 percent are unsure.

• 64 percent of Republicans say super PACs can “hurt the primary process.”

• 20 percent say super PACs can “help the process”; 16 percent are undecided.

• 46 percent of Republicans say the nominating process has been too negative; 33 percent say it is balanced; 16 percent say it’s positive.

Source: A Bloomberg News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted March 8-11; the sample included 377 Republicans.)

Cartoons, murmurs, asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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