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Inside the Beltway: The presidential purse

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2012

The most telling numbers are often the most simple numbers. President Obama has conducted 222 re-election fundraisers in the past 18 months, more than any other incumbent president. Consider that President George W. Bush held 86 during his first term in office, and in comparable times, Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush staged 70 and 24, respectively. Ronald Reagan, incidentally, held no fundraisers during his 1984 re-election campaign.

And the money? So far, Mr. Obama has raised $181 million in the month of September. "Their campaign is on pace to top $1 billion raised for the election cycle, a new record," observes ABC News White House digital reporter Devin Dwyer.

"I'm calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the fundraising practices of the Obama campaign," says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has sent a letter to Mr. Holder outlining concerns that the Obama for America re-election campaign has solicited and accepted illegal donations from "foreign nationals."

SHRUG CULTURE

The strategic release is timed to get American minds thinking, some 25 days before the election. That would be "Atlas Shrugged, Part II," the second installment of an ambitious movie project based on Ayn Rand's 1957 novel of the same name. The film opens in 850 theaters Friday.

"The global economy is on the brink of collapse. Unemployment has risen to 24 percent. Gas is now $42 per gallon. Brilliant creators, from artists to industrialists, continue to mysteriously disappear at the hands of the unknown," observes the creative team, saying their work underscores "what can happen when individual achievement is undervalued, suppressed and demonized."

The film could get unfriendly press, driven by the fact that fiscal conservatives, limited-government tea partyers and Rep. Paul Ryan are all Ayn Rand fans. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently criticized "the extent to which the GOP has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society." He also contends that the book "apparently shaped" Mr. Ryan's policy ideas.

Yeah, well. The filmmakers are fighting back with sociable watch parties across the nation, snappy merchandise and a sense of camaraderie.

"It's important to note that Ayn Rand was neither a conservative or a liberal," producer Harmon Kaslow tells Inside the Beltway. "Ayn Rand was very simply a staunch supporter of real capitalism. While in her writing Ayn Rand warned of the dangers of crony capitalism and socialism, her primary motive was to highlight what could happen if we fail to acknowledge the rights of the world's smallest minority -- the individual."

BREITBART CULTURE

Fans of the late media dynamo Andrew Breitbart are fond of saying "Breitbart lives." That refrain will grow louder when "Hating Breitbart" opens next week, a documentary by Chicago-based filmmaker Andrew Marcus, who spent two years alongside the innovative, iron-willed provocateur who wrote books, spoke up and created significant journalism. Mr. Breitbart died unexpectedly at 43 in March.

"Much like Andrew Breitbart used to say about himself, the new documentary 'Hating Breitbart' is a combination of jocularity and righteous indignation," Mr. Marcus explains. "From the unfounded cries of tea party racism to ACORN's desire to promote human trafficking to congressional Weiner-gate, Breitbart lived to expose the hypocrisy of the liberal narrative. And that, of course, left Breitbart exposed to flame throwing by those very people."

Like other independent conservative films, this one will open modestly in three theaters in Virgina, Missouri and Texas, with more scheduled -- a tactic that worked well for the recent blockbuster "2016: Obama's America."

WHAT'S UP DOC?

Mitt Romney is apparently the preferred prescription for American doctors says a new survey of 4,681 U.S. physicians: 53 percent support Mr. Romney, 33 percent support President Obama, with 12 percent undecided. Interesting, though. Doctors affiliated with hospitals favor the president by a 47 percent to 37 percent margin, solo practitioners preferred Mr. Romney 58 percent to 28 percent.

"U.S. physicians have a lot invested in the direction taken in the next administration," says Stephen Smith, spokesman for MDLinx, the medical research database that conducted the poll. "While there were several observed trends, the most substantial was that as the size of the physician's workplace fell from hospital-based to solo practitioner, each step down in size showed an additional shift toward the Republican candidate."

ESCAPIST REAL ESTATE

Oh, why not ponder the nonpresidential for a moment? For sale: a U.S. Forest Service forest ranger's house with basement and garage on nearly an acre of land, built in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, with three bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and 2,090 square feet of living space. Custom, knotty pine interior and cabinetry in "Cascadian rustic" style, listed on the National Register of Historic Places Location: Butte Falls, Ore. Price: $40,000.

"The Forest Service will hold two open houses for viewing the property. These will be October 19 and 20, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.," the federal agency advises.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans would not trust President Obama to manage their family finances; 88 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent would trust Mitt Romney to manage their family finances; 80 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent say that if Mr. Obama is re-elected, taxes will go up; 79 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

• 41 percent say that if Mr. Romney is elected, taxes will rise; 15 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent say Mr. Obama relies on a teleprompter more than Mr. Romney; 76 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent say Mr. Romney relies on the device more; 9 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,204 registered voters conducted Oct. 7 to 9.

• Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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