Or maybe it's just Anita Lotta Doe: A new biography centered on the college years of President Obama has created instantaneous mirth among his nimble-minded critics. An excerpt of "Barack Obama: The Story" by Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss appeared in Vanity Fair on Wednesday, offering details about the women the young Mr. Obama dated during his "existentialist stretch" as a student in New York.
Such talk had surfaced before. In his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," the future president alluded to a female friend from that era, but ultimately revealed to Mr. Maraniss that his characterization was a composite of several women. The small confession immediately turned into big possibilities for eager wags who took to Twitter to suggest names for the "composite girlfriend." Among the dozens of possibilities:
"Sharon Yourwealth" and "Deb T. Ceiling" (David Burge, a blogger also known as "Iowa Hawk"; "Anita Lotta Doe (Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto); and "Payma Fair Share" (Pajamas Media scribe Stephen Green). Oh, and not to be outdone, there's Commentary editor John Podhoretz, who observes, "This explains Obamacare. It's composite of crazy girlfriends."
THE OTHER 380
The presidential race is now down to just a few hundred candidates now that Newt Gingrich has staged his finale and left the campaign trail. Yes, it's true. There are still 380 hopefuls on the list of those who pine to be president, according to the Federal Election Commission, which maintains the official tally of those who filed a Statement of Candidacy — aka "FEC Form 2" — to register as a 2012 presidential candidate.
The doting, meticulous federal agency keeps all the names on file, whether they have received enough contributions to qualify then as an actual candidate; The magic number is $5,000. Though allegiances shift from time to time and candidates come and go, the main roster currently boasts 135 Republican hopefuls, 71 independents, 35 Democrats and four Green Party candidates, one of which is comedian Roseanne Barr, who dutifully filed her FEC Form 2 for better or worse on Jan. 27.
Also, there are four Constitution Party members, three from the American Independent Party, two Libertarians and a pair of hopefuls from the Citizen Party. Then there are those who don't favor any of the above. That would be 29 in "unknown" parties, 28 with no political affiliation whatsoever and 24 in "other" parties. And just for the record, Mr. Gingrich lasted almost a year in the White House derby before money and support dwindled: he filed his papers on May 13, 2011.
PARTY LIKE IT'S 1972
The real party begins Thursday for the Libertarian Party, which stages "Liberty Will Win," a national convention marking its 40th anniversary at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. About 700 delegates are expected.
"The problem is not the abuse of power, it's the power to abuse. Take away the power, and no abuse is possible," says Michael Cloud, a veteran strategist and keynote speaker for the event, which will also vet such presidential hopefuls as Gary E. Johnson, military vets Jim Burn and R. Lee Wrights and Bill Still, a documentary film producer.
"I'm going to connect at this convention, I'm going to challenge the progressiveness of President Obama and the fiscal conservatism of Mitt Romney" Mr. Johnson tells Inside the Beltway
Libertarian Party chairman Mark Hinkle, meanwhile, is casting a wide net, hoping to attract "independents, tea party faithful, disaffected Republicans, and anti-war, anti-crony-capitalism Democrats looking to us to field true liberty candidates."
THE CATHOLIC SPECTRUM
Their support is most coveted: Catholics constitute almost one in four voters, making them an important factor in the competing Obama and the Romney campaigns, says Gallup Poll director Frank Newport.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied for the overall Catholic vote; each has drawn 46 percent, the pollster has found in a new survey of 1,915 Catholic voters released Wednesday. But there are hair-splitting variables on closer look. Mr. Obama has 70 percent of the vote among Hispanic Catholics, who make up about 18 percent of the total demographic. Mr. Romney has 20 percent.
Yet among "very religious" Catholics, Mr. Romney wins, 62 percent to 32 percent for Mr. Obama. He also draws the majority of "moderately religious" Catholics, while the president wins among "nonreligious" Catholics, 54 percent to 40 percent.
"There are major differences by the ethnicity and religiosity of Catholics that underscore the difficulty of typifying and subsequently targeting an 'average' Catholic voter," Mr. Newport observes.
Sen. John McCain and then Sen. Barack Obama both appeared on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" when they were duking it out on the campaign trail four years ago. And Mitt Romney? He won't make it before the show's 37th season wraps up on May 19, according to executive producer Lorne Michaels.
"We only have three shows left, and they're pretty jammed-packed," Mr. Michaels said during a conference call Wednesday. "It might be in the fall, but we'll never know. That'll all depend on his availability."
The Republican nominee got an invitation in April. But alas. "The primaries overtook everything," Mr. Michaels explained.
POLL DU JOUR
• 63 percent of Americans consider a person who is 61 years old to be "middle-aged."
• 65 percent of women, 60 percent of men and 62 percent of those over 60 agree.
• 22 percent overall say age 61 is "old."
• 17 percent of women, 28 percent of men and 9 percent of those over 60 agree.
• 15 percent of Americans overall say age 61 is "young."
• 18 percent of women, 12 percent of men and 29 percent of those over 60 agree.
Source: A Marist Poll of 1,080 U.S. adults conducted March 20-22 and released Tuesday.
• Names, composites, convention plans to email@example.com
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