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Inside the Beltway: Digging through the GOP details

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Exactly who loves Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum? Based on a sizable compilation of Republican voter data, Gallup analyst Lydia Saad says Mr. Romney generally has a four-point advantage in tracking polls, and enjoys "slight leads over Santorum among men, women, residents of the East and the South, and Republicans aged 55 and older. Romney has more substantial leads among moderate/liberal Republicans, those living in the West, voters aged 18 to 34, and those who attend church or another place of worship less than weekly.

"Santorum ties Romney among conservatives, voters aged 35 to 54, and those who attend a place of worship weekly. He leads Romney slightly in the Midwest. This is quite different from a month ago when Santorum had sizable leads in the Midwest and among the more conservative and religious segments of Republican voters."

No word from, say, vegans, nurses, dirt bikers or Civil War re-enactors. Yet. Dog lovers? They've had a say of sorts in a new Public Policy poll revealing that 55 percent of U.S. voters claim Mr. Romney's admission that he once put his dog Seamus in a crate atop the family station wagon would not influence their vote. Alas, asked whether President Obama or Mr. Romney would make a "better president for dogs," Mr. Obama won, 37 percent to 21 percent.

MIGHTY MONIKERS

With much ado, GQ magazine writer Marc Ambinder says he's privy to Secret Service code names for Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, which are, respectively, "Javelin" and "Petrus."

Those who warrant such protection usually get to pick their names, and Mr. Ambinder speculates the monikers may reflect personality. Javelin could be a reference to the 1960s muscle car of the same name made by American Motors Corp., the company once run by papa George Romney, Mr. Ambinder observes. Petrus is a biblical allusion — as in St. Peter, the first pope.

Are code names an apt indicator? Maybe. A few examples from past decades. Among former presidents: General (Harry S. Truman), Scorecard (Dwight D. Eisenhower), Lancer (John F. Kennedy), Searchlight (Richard M. Nixon), Deacon (Jimmy Carter) Rawhide (Ronald Reagan), Timberwolf (George H.W. Bush), Eagle (Bill Clinton) Trailblazer (George W. Bush) and Renegade (President Obama).

Incidentally, former vice presidents Al Gore went by Sundance while Dick Cheney opted for Angler. And among first ladies: Starlight (Pat Nixon), Pinafore (Betty Ford), Dancer (Rosalynn Carter), Rainbow (Nancy Reagan), Tranquility (Barbara Bush), Evergreen (Hillary Rodham Clinton), Tempo (Laura Bush) and Renaissance (Michelle Obama).

NEWT'S ORATION

"I will use my words carefully here so I don't commit a Santorum."

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich to his fans during a campaign stop in Ruston, La., on Tuesday.

VERDANT MOMENT

There hasn't been such fuss over green ties since House Speaker John A. Boehner became a fashion icon once the press discovered he favored ties in shades of emerald, mint or "dollar signs" green, according to Esquire and the New Yorker. But just about everyone outside of the Secret Service and Bo the dog got in on the green tie act at the White House on Tuesday. From the official pool report covering a luncheon visit hosted by President Obama for Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny:

"We entered the Oval Office around 11:07. Your pooler hasn't seen as many green ties in one room as that of today," observed Nadia Bilbassy, scribe o' the day and a correspondent from MBC, the Arabic satellite broadcasting network.

"The entire Irish delegation with the PM were wearing different shades of green ties as did POTUS and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. They also had a bunch of green clover dangling from their suit pockets."

OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE

A byproduct of the debate over health care reform is discussion about the state of women's liberation. In their zeal to own the argument and prove archaic Republicans are conducting a "war on women," Democrats are not doing the old feminist cause any favors — or themselves for that matter.

"It's been my understanding that women's liberation always tried to direct the conversation and the public discourse away from the subject of women's bodies. Now the entire conversation appears to about the female reproductive tract," Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women's Forum, tells Inside the Beltway.

"The debate over President Obama's contraception mandate revolves around birth control and identity politics. But contrary to what women's groups on the left suggest, women today are not interested in talk of gender roles. They are focused on real economic issues that affect their families — job creation, the national debt, energy prices, the proper role of the federal government in our lives.

"To reduce this debate to a discussion about birth control rather than jobs and economic security is the real attack on women here."

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of "ultrawealthy" Americans say innovation is critical in maintaining their success.

• 80 percent say the family work ethic is the most important component of their success.

• 41 percent rely on professional advisers as "the most likely source" of innovation.

• 37 percent expect innovation to emerge from the business itself.

• 36 percent expect innovation to come from younger family members.

• 34 percent said the wealth management business is not innovative.

Source: An SEI Private Wealth Management/Scorpio Partnership annual survey of 100 people representing families with financial assets more than $20 million, released Tuesday.

Murmurs and asides, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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