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Inside the Beltway: Why you’re tired

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A record-breaking 915,000 presidential campaign ads have aired on broadcast and cable TV from late April through Sunday — a 45 percent increase compared with the 2008 election. "We've already surpassed the total number of presidential ads aired during the entire 2008 campaign, and we still have two weeks to go before Election Day," observes Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan University Media Project, which tallied the political outreach.

There is a prevailing trend, though. President Obama's campaign has spent an estimated $239 million on such ads so far, compared with Mitt Romney's $92 million. Almost three-fourths of the president's ads — 73 percent — are negative in tone, the project says, compared with 36 percent of Mr. Romney's ads.

BUSY, BUSY, BUSY

After a jam-packed tour that included Iowa, Colorado, California and Nevada on Wednesday alone, President Obama literally went flying into Thursday, traveling overnight from an appearance on late-night TV and a music concert with pop chanteuse Katy Perry to Tampa, Fla., in time for a morning grass-roots rally. But wait, there's more.

"He'll travel to Richmond, Virginia, and then on to Chicago to make history by being the first sitting president to vote early. And then he will end the America Forward tour with a tarmac rally in Cleveland, Ohio," his campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki explained to reporters traveling with her aboard Air Force One.

"Throughout the tour, as he's crisscrossing the country, he'll spend time on Air Force One calling undecided voters, rallying national team leaders and volunteers, and engaging with Americans across the country," she continued.

Well, OK. But as none other than The New York Times pointed out in April, "presidential vs. political trips" aboard Air Force One yield "a blurry line and tricky math." And a hefty tab, too.

"Expenses are not limited to Air Force One, which costs $179,750 an hour for 'fuel, flight consumables, depot repairs, aircraft overhaul and engine overhaul,' according to the Pentagon," the newspaper said in an analysis. "For years, presidential travel has included at least two other aircraft: a backup plane and a military cargo plane to ferry Secret Service vehicles, helicopters on occasion and the president's customized limousine, nicknamed 'the Beast.'"

EASTWOODING

"In the last few years, America has been knocked down. Obama's second term would be a rerun of the first, and our country just couldn't survive that. We need someone who can turn it around fast, and that man is Mitt Romney. There's not much time left, and the future of our country is at stake."

(Clint Eastwood in a 30-second video released Wednesday and now running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia — part of a $12.6 million outreach funded by American Crossroads.)

'BOTCHED'

Planned Parenthood has drawn the scrutiny of Live Action, a pro-life group that deems the organization "the nation's biggest abortion business" and claims that it has covered up evidence of medical emergencies, unsafe practices and "botched abortions" in seven states.

"As President Obama campaigns for women voters, one of his top donors and champions, Planned Parenthood, is deceiving millions of American women about the services they provide, their history of abuse cover-up, their radical abortion agenda, and just this past July, their unsafe and abusive practices that led to the death of Tonya Reaves, a 24-year-old Chicago woman," says Lila Rose, founder of the pro-life group.

After a series of investigational queries, Live Action concluded that assorted Planned Parenthood clinics would not acknowledge these medical issues; the group released a video Wednesday with the details and disquieting 911 emergency recordings, found here: www.liveactionadvocate.org

AND IN THE GRANITE STATE

Launching on Thursday afternoon at Riley's Gun Shop in Hooksett, N.H.: It's "Sportsmen for Mitt Coalition," organized by Ralph Demicco, owner of the shop, and vice president of Gun Owners of New Hampshire.

"Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation contribute an astounding $700 billion to the U.S. economy each year. That's almost as much as the entirety of President Obama's wasteful stimulus program. But whereas government has done a poor job creating employment opportunities, the industry that caters to outdoorsmen creates or supports over 6 million American jobs," Mr. Demicco says.

WARMING UP

"Twenty-one percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, higher than the 13 percent Gallup measured in September, and the highest rating in any month since May 2011," reports Jeffrey M. Jones, a Gallup poll analyst.

"Even with this month's increase, Congress' approval rating is still low from a historical perspective. The average rating in Gallup polls since 1974 is 34 percent," Mr. Jones notes, though he says it's "not clear whether those frustrated with Congress would take disproportionately greater aim at one party's members or another."

Are voters poised to wreak vengeance? Not against the GOP, at least according to Bloomberg News, which reports that "Republicans are in a strong position to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year as political analysts predict that Democrats will fall more than a dozen seats short of a majority in the Nov. 6 election," thanks to redistricting, plus retirements among moderate Democrats.

POLL DU JOUR

• 92 percent of Ohio Democrats, 38 percent of independents and 11 percent of Republicans support President Obama.

• 85 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats in the state support Mitt Romney.

• 77 percent of all voters in Ohio will "definitely vote," 3 percent will "probably" vote and 20 percent already have voted.

• 60 percent of early voters chose Mr. Obama, 30 percent Mitt Romney.

• 45 percent of those who have not yet voted will support Mr. Obama, 45 percent will support Mr. Romney.

• 56 percent of women and 42 percent of men in Ohio support Mr. Obama, 37 percent of women and 51 percent of men support Mr. Romney.

• 50 percent of Ohio voters say Mr. Romney can best deal with the economy, 46 percent say Mr. Obama can best deal with it.

Source: A Time Magazine poll of 783 registered voters in Ohio conducted Oct. 22-23.

Whoops and sighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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