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Inside the Beltway: What Romney intended

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"Smaller, simpler, smarter. Believe in America," reads the official motto emblazoned upon "Office of the President-Elect," a website launched by Mitt Romney's campaign through a Utah-based software site in late October. It was publicly visible for a time, soon to be discovered by several news organizations and deactivated after Mr. Romney lost the election.

HEADLINE DU JOUR

"Now, Hug a Republican" (From the Nov. 10 cover of The Economist.)

THE SLY FACTOR

The mainstream media is jumping at the chance to interview any Republican lawmakers who appear to be in touch with their inner bipartisan. House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, for example, has received much attention for his post-election civility plus a lengthy interview with ABC News. Intrigued analysts now posit the idea that, oh my gosh, the Ohio Republican may be ready to bargain with his rivals. Well, we'll see.

"Obamacare is the law of the land, but it is raising costs and hurting small business. Our goal remains full repeal." Mr. Boehner noted in a Tweet late Thursday, a message that somehow sounds very familiar.

REINVENTING REPUBLICANS

Much post-election analysis centered on why the "Obama brand" appealed more to voters than the "Romney brand," and who is to blame. But that is stale news at this point. The ongoing concern is the "Republican brand." Gleeful Democrats now wallow in schadenfreude and insist the election plunged "shellshocked" Republicans into painful identity crisis. Yeah, well. That's unlikely. Party elders know defeat is part of the territory; they square their shoulders and move forward.

Meanwhile, there are ways for the Grand Old Party to regain its grand old party. Here's one practical starting point from Peter Shankman, a longtime Manhattan marketing man who has offered branding advice to, among many others, the Department of Defense, NASA and Walt Disney World.

"The Republican Party has no choice but to work on party unity. Right now, the party is decimated — conservatives on one side, tea party on the other. No one knows what the party is anymore," Mr. Shankman tells Inside the Beltway. "And in the end, that hurt them in the election. They need to come together and figure out what they are, and start telling the world their story in one voice. Until they can do that, people don't know what the party is."

STILL READY TO RUMBLE

"If the election results prove anything, it is this. We are on our own," says Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation's largest umbrella group for the grass-roots movement. She now calls Mitt Romney "a weak, moderate candidate hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party" and vows that the many local chapters in all 50 states remain in combat mode. They begin a congressional blitz next week via phone, social media and anything in between, insisting that fiscal responsibility and limited government remain paramount.

"Keep your heads up," Ms. Martin advises her charges. "The battle has just begun."

A KIND-HEARTED MOMENT

Those who recall the old "Little Rascals" film shorts of yore, take note. After lying in an unmarked Maryland grave for 76 years, child star Norman "Chubby" Chaney at last gets a handsome headstone. Disturbed that the rotund lad had gone forgotten in Baltimore Cemetery, Michigan musician Mikal C.G. launched a fundraiser in June to remedy the situation. So many fans responded that there was enough money to purchase Chubby's granite marker — and another for his mother, Carolyn, who is in an unmarked spot nearby.

The actor appeared on "Our Gang" from 1929 to 1931 and was famed for his endearing crush on school teacher "Miss Crabtree." The son of a Baltimore electrical worker, Chubby won his role over 2,000 other hopefuls back in the day, but later died at 21 from a glandular condition in 1936. The new marker will be unveiled Saturday; it references the fact he was known as "Chubsy-Ubsy" and features an etched portrait.

"Chubby has entertained and made literally millions of people laugh for more than 80 years. Now it's our turn to give back and give him the memorial that he deserves," observes Mikal C.G.

11TH HOUR, 11TH DAY

"Whether they fought in Salerno or Samarra, Heartbreak Ridge or Helmand, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. On Veterans Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead."

(From President Obama's official proclamation recognizing Veterans Day. )

Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11 a.m. Sunday.

POLL DU JOUR

• 21.5 million: the total number of military veterans living in the U.S.

• 17.2 million are "non-Hispanic white," 2.3 million are black, 1.6 million are women, 1.2 million are Hispanic.

• 264,695 are Asian, 153,223 American Indian/Alaska Native, 27,469 Native Hawaii/Pacific Islander,

• 9.1 million are in the labor force, 9.2 million are older than 65.

• 7.5 million are Vietnam-era veterans, 5.1 million served in the Gulf wars (Aug. 2, 1990- to present.)

• 5.4 million served in "peacetime only," 2.4 million served in the Korean War, 1.8 million served in World War II.

•  43,942 served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

• $35,821: annual median income of veterans.

Source: The U.S. Census Department

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