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Inside the Beltway: Championing the ‘undecided’

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Late night comics and the liberal press delight in either vilifying or parodying undecided voters, dismissing them as "boneheads" and "idiots," or questioning their actual relevance in the presidential election. David Bossie — who spent a year interviewing undecided and disenchanted voters for his new documentary film "The Hope and the Change" — will have none of it, however.

"The 40 Democrat and independent voters in 'The Hope and The Change' are the Americans who will decide this election plain and simple. For the mainstream media to attempt to marginalize these Americans, just shows you how out of touch they are just like the president they try to protect every day," Mr. Bossie tells Inside the Beltway.

WEATHER OR NOT

Does weather trump political campaigns? "With Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc across the Atlantic, early voting may seem less inviting for some voters," declares AccuWeather, as the Category 2 storm heads north. But even the White House is reluctant to make predictions. Spin, yes. Predictions, no.

"We leave it to the professionals to track storms and make predictions about where it will travel," spokesman Jay Carney advised restless reporters as Sandy entered the press radar. "The president's concern about this storm is making sure that citizens in potentially affected areas are aware of it and taking the necessary precautions, and making sure that FEMA is working as necessary with local officials in preparation for a storm. It's obviously early, and as you know storms are not necessarily predictable in terms of their direction."

SEALED WITH A SIX

The world premiere for "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden" portends to be a very swell affair, indeed. Former Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, now chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, will welcome guests for a private screening and reception on Monday night at the sparkling Newseum, a mere seven blocks from the White House. That could be one of the sole harmonious moments for the National Geographic Channel's much ballyhooed prime-time film, airing on the network just 48 hours before the election. It's now been deemed a political vehicle for President Obama.

Multiple news reports reveal that the 90-minute drama was hastily re-edited by producer Harvey Weinstein to include heroic footage of Mr. Obama, bolstering claims from critics that the film is little more than an infomercial for the president's re-election. OPSEC, a group of former special operations and intelligence officers, has become concerned enough about the film to buy up some broadcast time of their own.

"OPSEC will air ads in key battleground markets during the broadcast of 'Seal Team Six' after reporting by the New York Times and other media outlets disclosed that the timing and editing of the film by Obama megadonor Harvey Weinstein were orchestrated to use the heroic work of U.S. Special Operations Forces to promote President Obama's re-election," the group says. The ad, titled "Bump In The Road," cites the Obama administration for its conflicting explanations about the terrorist attack in Libya, and "politicizing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden." The 30-second spot will run in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Denver, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Raleigh, Cincinnati and Richmond.

"There is nothing acceptable about playing politics with national security and American lives," says Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL and president of OPSEC. "Aren't some things more important than politics?"

ANN'S MEATLOAF MOMENT

Her family enjoys rotisserie chicken and creamed spinach. But Ann Romney also reveals the favorite dish of her hubby Mitt Romney: "Meatloaf Cakes," which she has prepared for 43 years. Mrs. Romney shared her personal recipe for the dish with Rachael Ray during an appearance on the celebrity chef's syndicated TV show. And here it is:

For the meatloaf cakes: 1½ pounds ground beef, 4 slices bread, crumbled into small pieces or ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs, 1 large egg, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt. For the sauce: ¼ cup ketchup, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice.

Prepare the meatloaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, crumbled bread or breadcrumbs, egg, onion, lemon juice and seasoned salt. Mix lightly but thoroughly and shape into six small loaves. Space evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes; meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, cloves and allspice. When the meatloaf cakes have baked for 15 minutes, brush each loaf with sauce and return to the oven. Continue to bake until the meatloaf cakes read 165 degrees in the center when tested with an instant-read thermometer, about 20 more minutes. If desired, serve with scalloped potatoes and steamed vegetables. Pass additional sauce separately.

CANDIDATE TRACKER

In the next 72 hours, Mitt Romney will be in Ohio, Florida and Virginia; Rep. Paul Ryan will be in Ohio on a bus tour of eight towns. President Obama will be in New Hampshire, then Ohio, joined by former President Bill Clinton for a rally in Youngstown. Vice President Joseph R. Biden will be in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Virginia.

POLL DU JOUR

• 41 percent of Americans get their 2012 campaign news from cable TV, 38 percent from local TV news, 36 percent from the Internet and 31 percent from network news.

• 23 percent get their campaign news from local newspapers, 18 percent from cable TV talk shows, 16 percent from talk radio, 13 percent from national newspapers and 12 percent from late night comedy shows.

• 12 percent get their campaign news from National Public Radio, 12 percent from Facebook, 7 percent from YouTube and 4 percent from Twitter.

• 35 percent of Tweets sent after the presidential debates favored President Obama, 22 percent favored Mitt Romney; 17 percent joked about the candidates and 9 percent shared "information."

• 40 percent of Facebook posts after the debates favored Mr. Obama, 36 percent favored Mr. Romney; less than 1 percent joked, 8 percent shared information.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 18 to 21 and postdebate analysis of 5.8 million Tweets and 262,000 Facebook posts.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com

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