- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2012

The four Republican presidential hopefuls are simultaneously frantic, energized and poised to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Cable news channels are ramping up coverage like it’s New Year’s Eve. Or Halloween. Meanwhile, here’s where each candidate will be when the Super Tuesday results emerge: Boston (former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney), Steubenville, Ohio (former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania); Atlanta (former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia); and Fargo, N.D. (Rep. Ron Paul of Texas).

And naturally, entrepreneurial mixologists around the nation have concocted Super Tuesday cocktails, happy hours and viewing parties, often involving martinis, margaritas or Jell-O shots patriotically tinted with blue Curacao or red Grenadine.

Then there’s the Topaz Bar, a mere six blocks from the White House, which is offering campaign cocktails to honor all four Republican candidates. There’s the Romney Float (Old Dominion root beer with whipped cream and caramel drizzle, though there is an alcohol option: a shot of Root organic liqueur).

There’s also Rick’s Tea Party (green tea infused Absolut vodka, Benedictine liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup); Ron’s PBR (a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon) and Gin-grich and Tonic (Bluecoat American dry gin and Fentimans tonic water topped off with Leopold Bros. peach liqueur).

THE MANY PAULITES

“Latter Day Saints for Ron Paul” is one of the 32 “coalitions” who now swear allegiance to Rep. Ron Paul in the 2012 race. It gets a little personal, though: Ty, Travis, Jared, Chad and Troy Romney — all outspoken relatives of Mitt Romney — publicly endorsed Mr. Paul on Monday.

Meanwhile, his other organized support groups include Jews, Protestants, evangelicals, gun owners, home-schoolers, hospitality workers, veterans, doctors, bikers, bloggers, foreign policy analysts, “blue Republicans” and doctors — who all designate their groups with the signature “For Ron Paul” ending.

RUSH ALONG

“Don’t worry, folks. Advertisers who don’t want your business will be replaced,” Rush Limbaugh to his radio audience on Monday, after losing on-air advertising over his untoward remarks about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, to whom he has apologized.

“This show is about you. It’s not about the advertisers,” Mr. Limbaugh said, adding a second mea culpa: “I should not have used the language I did about Sandra Fluke. It was wrong and, despite all the theories, my apology to her was for simply using inappropriate words.”

Ms. Fluke assessed the situation Monday on ABC’s “The View,” telling her hosts, “I don’t think a statement like this, issued saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything. Especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors, who have begun to pull their support from the show.”

FRIENDLY PERSUASION

Mitt Romney has the most Facebook prowess as Super Tuesday looms, according to an analytical group that measured activity at all the Republican presidential hopeful’s sites. By the numbers, Mr. Romney drew has more Facebook friends, posts, and interaction than his rivals, with Rick Santorum in second place, followed by Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.

“The findings show a correlation between social performance with events such as Romney’s win in Florida, Santorum’s caucus success and Romney’s win in both Michigan and Arizona,” says Socialbakers, a California-based “social media statistics portal.”

The group also tallied what online posts got the most measurable buzz in the past month. They are:

“President Obama says he is learning. The presidency is not the place to learn how to lead. It is a place to exercise the judgment and leadership that has been learned over a lifetime.” (Mr. Romney, on Feb. 15)

“It’s not about contraception; it’s about economic liberty, it’s about freedom of speech, it’s about freedom of religion. It’s about government control of your lives and it’s got to stop.” (Mr. Santorum, on Feb. 20)

“We had an incredible turnout of 4,000 at Michigan State University today! Freedom really is popular!” (Mr. Paul, on Feb. 27)

“It is an outrage that President Obama is the one apologizing to Afghan President Karzai on the same day two American troops were murdered and four others injured by an Afghan soldier. It’s Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around.” (Mr. Gingrich, on Feb. 23)

UPROOTING OVERSTAY

Before he was apprehended last month, would-be terrorist Amine el-Khalifi planned a suicide attack on the U.S. Capitol building and was living in suburban Virginia on a visa that had expired in 1999. Inquiring minds want to know: How can that happen?

The Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security hopes for insight Tuesday during “From the 9/11 Hijackers to Amine el-Khalifi: Terrorists and the Visa Overstay Problem,” a hearing that examines the problem, and how the Department of Homeland Security can remedy it.

“Since 9/11, our border security efforts have been focused on securing our borders. However, more than 40 percent of all illegal aliens do not sneak across the border, they come in through the front door and never leave,” observes Rep. Candice S. Miller, Michigan Republican and the subcommittee chairwoman.

POLL DU JOUR

• 51 percent of Americans say “learning more about the GOP candidates” has not influenced their impression of President Obama.

• 50 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents agree.

• 23 percent overall say information about the Republicans has given them a “better” impression of Mr. Obama.

• 3 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents agree.

• 21 percent overall say the information gives them a “worse” impression of Mr. Obama.

• 43 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press/Washington Post survey of 1,009 adults conducted March 1 to 4. See complete numbers here: www.people-press.org.

Accolades, complaints, uproar to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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