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Inside the Beltway: Ill-suited?

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Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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Uh-oh. The next power suit on Capitol Hill may be a loud sports jacket. Consider that the sleek, 1960s-style menswear showcased on AMC's "Mad Men" series is the uniform of choice among many politicians and political operatives who swear by the traditional look of Don Draper and the other manly men of the uber-popular cable-TV drama. Indeed, intense males draped in charcoal gray and smartphone accessories are running the day-to-day business in the halls of Congress and along K Street with style and authority. But just wait.

News has surfaced that "Mad Men" has moved its look forward a few years, to the late 1960s. The menfolk are going "mod" — wearing bold plaids, stripes and psychedelic prints. There has been a re-emergence of the sports jacket, says the show's Emmy Award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant, who explains that the new style veers "away from the Camelot era's early '60s look and into the late '60s mod fashions."

Can we expect Nehru jackets with swingin' medallions soon? Should conservative fashion plate Mitt Romney win the presidency, it could be an odd clash of styles, indeed. Meanwhile, there's a whole new "Mad Men"-sanctioned collection for the curious, which debuts early in 2013 at the Banana Republic.

SAFETY FIRST

"Are you safer now than you were four years ago? That's the most important question that needs to be answered in Monday night's foreign-policy debate. Unfortunately for President Obama, there's ample evidence that the answer is 'no,'" says Commentary magazine political writer Alana Goodman.

Beyond inquiries into the Libya attack, there are five more questions she suggests:

"Did you underestimate al Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula affiliate before the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attack? Did you call the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab an 'isolated extremist' three days after the attack? Did White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan admit before the U.S. attack that al Qaeda's Yemen affiliate was capable of attacking the homeland? Did you underestimate the Pakistani Taliban's ability to attack the homeland prior to the failed Times Square car bombing in 2010? Did you miss warning signs in 2009, when CIA officers were killed in a suicide attack by a double-agent inside a U.S. base in Afghanistan?"

But Ms. Goodman already has the answer to all of these questions. And that answer, she says, is "yes."

NO SWEAT

Press outnumber pupils: There will be 3,000 reporters and 2,010 students at the "boutique" campus of Lynn University, host of Monday night's debate, which unfolds inside a designated, 25-acre "Debate City" on the Florida campus, complete with nightclub, giant "inflatables," a live concert, Jumbotrons and gourmet food trucks for the young and restless — and a little something extra for the principal stars.

"They had to install air-conditioning vents over the stage trained directly on President Obama, Mitt Romney and moderator Bob Schieffer so that none would sweat the way Richard Nixon did in his 1960 debate with John F. Kennedy," explains Tampa Bay Times reporter Leonora LaPeter Anton.

The candidates will still get hot under the collar, since strident interruptions are now presidential tradition, apparently. There were 122 major interruptions during the last debate: Mr. Obama cut off Mr. Romney mid-sentence 36 times, Mr. Romney reciprocated 28 times — while moderator Candy Crowley interrupted Mr. Romney 23 times and the president 15 times, according to a meticulous analysis by the George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs and Chapman University. The two men interrupted Ms. Crowley 20 times — Mr. Romney, 11 times; Mr. Obama, nine times.

RALLY REALITY

"Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a 'slut,' spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak 'N Save in north Reno. The speech was part of a daylong effort by Democrats to get Northern Nevadans to the polls on the first day of early voting." (From an account in the Reno Gazette Journal on Sunday).

"They wore oven mitts with pictures of Mitt Romney and hats adorned with tea bags and buttons. But for the several thousand tea party supporters who turned out for a rally Saturday at the Indian River County Fairgrounds, the message was clear — stand up for America by voting on Election Day." (From an account in the Treasure Coast Palm, also on Sunday.)

"Just the tip of the iceberg, folks. And vote they undoubtedly will. A lot of people who get their news only from the 'lamestream' media are going to be shocked when the tea party turns out in full force on Nov. 6," predicts Glenn Reynolds, the "Instapundit" for Pajamas Media.

HOLA, AMERICA

"We want all Latino Christians to exercise their civic responsibility as an act of prophetic witness. I encourage Latino faith voters to coalesce around our core values of life, family, religious liberty, education, poverty alleviation and immigration reform . At the end of the day, our No. 1 objective is to reconcile Billy Graham's message with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march. We advance not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but exclusively the agenda of the lamb."

— the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Hispanic Evangelical Association

POLL DU JOUR

• 87 percent of U.S. voters are "absolutely certain" they will vote in the presidential election.

• 62 percent say if President Obama is re-elected, he should make "major changes" in his second term.

• 47 percent of likely voters favor Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, 47 percent prefer Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan.

• 47 percent say the presidential debates have not influenced their support.

• 27 percent said the debates made them more likely to vote for Mr. Romney, 24 percent say the debates made them more likely to vote for Mr. Obama.

• 39 percent say the U.S. could have prevented the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

• 34 percent say they do not know enough about the attack to judge; 26 percent say the U.S. could not have prevented it.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. voters conducted Oct. 17-20.

Churlish remarks, happy talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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