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Inside the Beltway: Campaign still bustling

- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2012

All those cheeky, annoying, occasionally profane emails sent out by the Obama for America campaign are going nowhere. While Republicans reorganize and ponder their future standard-bearer, aggressive Democratic operatives continue to send out follow-up missives to millions of targeted email addresses, requesting feel-good feedback and offering a personalized follow-up survey to the Obama fan base. One million have responded in the past week, says Jeremy Bird, national field director for the campaign. Nothing will go to waste. In the next two months, a team of campaign staffers will harvest the numbers and responses, then "document and analyze" 19 months on the campaign trail.

"Our goal is to pass along what we've learned from the 2012 campaign," says Mr. Bird, adding that nearly 80 percent of the survey respondents want to keep volunteering, primarily to support President Obama's legislative agenda.

It is a teachable moment for Republicans. The emails raised $690 million for Mr. Obama's cause, and no wonder. Each message was crafted strategically, crowd-tested and rigorously controlled by a staff of 20 writers, says a new analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek. Some of the bold subject lines triumphed: "Hey!" and "I will be outspent" were the most effective, the latter raising $2.6 million in donations all by itself.

Though the method worked, campaign email director Toby Falstaff admits, "We do know that getting all those emails in your in-box is at least mildly irritating to some people. Even my father would point that out to me."

PARTISAN LOVE

Business is brisk at RedStateDate.com and BlueStateDate.com, a pair of online matchmaking sites recently launched by Alexander Fondrier, an entrepreneurial romantic who believes that politics can intercede when amour and ideology collide. The sites allow potential sweethearts to weigh in on issues, take a political quiz, scan news headlines, vote in straw polls and strut their stuff.

"Everyone on our site is there for a combination of different reasons, both of which include romance and shared politics. Ultimately, they represent the over 60 percent of Americans who declared in a University of Nebraska study that starting a long-term relationship with someone of similar political values was of high importance to them," Mr. Fondrier tells Inside the Beltway.

"As far as numbers, the sites launched a little over a month ago and are rapidly growing daily. Currently, there are thousands of users on both sites from all around the country," he advises.

HOLA AMERICA!

"Projections indicate that immigrants arriving since 2005 and their descendants will account for 82 percent of U.S. population growth by 2050. Even if the lower-immigration influx of recent years continues, new immigrants and their descendants are still projected to account for most of the nation's population increase by mid-century," says a wide-ranging new report from the Pew Research Center based on the most currently available federal statistics. It cites interesting dynamics during the economic downturn, noting that the overall U.S. birth rate declined by 8 percent from 2007 to 2010; it dipped 6 percent among U.S. born women but 14 percent among "foreign born" women.

"Despite the recent decline, foreign-born mothers continue to give birth to a disproportionate share of the nation's newborns, as they have for at least the past two decades," the Pew study says, noting that through 2010, a total of 54 percent of new mothers were white, 15 percent black, 24 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian. See the complete report here: www.pewsocialtrends.org.

NO DITHERING

Grass-roots conservatives are "moving forward, full-steam ahead" according to organizers at FreedomWorks, the fiscally conservative interest group founded by Dick Armey in 1984. They will host "an activist fly-in" to the nation's capital to "debrief" the election this weekend, hosting 100 activists from 19 states.

"We will analyze lessons learned from 2012, and how the freedom movement best moves forward into 2013," says a spokesperson. "We will also be focusing heavily on fighting the health care exchanges at the state level and our strategy for the ongoing 'fiscal cliff' negotiations on Capitol Hill."

AHOY CAPT. KIRK

"I have news! I have adjusted my schedule and I WILL be at the decommissioning of Enterprise."

So says William Shatner, in a tweet announcing he would join some 12,000 other people in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to bid a fond farewell to the USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that sailed the oceans for five decades. Mr. Shatner, of course, played Capt. James T. Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise on "Star Trek," which plied the TV universe from 1966 to 1968 before infinite reruns.

And what about the heroic Navy vessel? It will be defueled — and minus aircraft, ammunition and propulsion system — be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the state of Washington via Cape Horn, around the tip of South America. A long journey, but the 90,000-ton "Big E" won't fit through the Panama Canal. Because its hull must be compromised to remove interior nuclear reactors, the Enterprise is not a likely candidate for historic preservation, to the distress of many veterans. But the famous "bridge" of the "Star Trek" Enterprise? So far, ardent fans have raised more than $21,000 to preserve the old Hollywood set; plans are under way to turn it into a site for seminars and fundraising galas.

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of Republicans, 95 percent of conservatives, 94 percent of Democrats and 96 percent of liberals give a positive review of small business.

• 94 percent of Republicans, 95 percent of conservatives, 88 percent of Democrats and 96 percent of liberals give a positive review of free enterprise.

• 75 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of conservatives, 44 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals give a positive review of big business.

• 72 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of conservatives, 55 percent of Democrats and 59 of liberals give a positive review of capitalism.

• 27 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of conservatives, 75 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of liberals give a positive review of the federal government.

• 23 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of conservatives, 53 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of liberals give a positive review of socialism.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,040 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 18019.

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