Inside the Beltway: Wave with Johnson

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

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Mr. Romney was the target of 148 jokes. President Obama rated 62 jokes in the same time period. Next in line: Arnold Schwarzenegger with 39, Bill Clinton (28), and Rep. Paul Ryan (20). The disparity was greatest with Mr. Letterman, who told 44 jokes about Mr. Romney and nine about the president.

But this is par for the course. In the 2008 general election period, Mr. Obama drew 243 jokes — far behind his Republican rivals Sen. John McCain (658) and Sarah Palin (566).

BELTWAY CHIA INDEX

There are myriad ways to predict the outcome of the presidential election, some legitimate, some not. The following method likely comes under the second category, though it should perhaps get extra points for floral charm.

For no reason in particular, the Inside the Beltway desk prepared a Chia Barack Obama and a Chia Mitt Romney a few weeks ago, a laborious process that involves soaking the ceramic planter heads and spreading them with a gel seed solution. The pair of candidates were sent to The Washington Times by San Francisco-based manufacturer Joseph Enterprises, which also makes Chia Ron Paul, Chia Newt Gingrich and a host of other assorted Chia “pets.”

The results? Chia Obama has sprouted wildly and with much lush foliage, Chia Romney appears to be growing steadily reasonably, conservatively. Neither looks like his regal portrait on the box. We are unsure of the implications here. But surely it means something. Should you have a notion, send it to jharper@washingtontimes.com

HERITAGE AT THE READY

The Capitol Hill bustle for a postelection world is on. The Heritage Foundation is already gearing up to brief newcomers to Congress on conservative thinking, scheduling its 10th biennial new-members orientation for the end of November.

“We expect more than 60 new members to be headed to Washington from all over the country,” Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said. “Those who attend our sessions will get the nuts and bolts of critical issues for 2013 from Heritage policy experts and guest speakers, from controlling spending and reforming the tax system to keeping our military strong.”

On board to deliver such fare: Heritage scholars Matthew Spalding, Nina Owcharenko and Stuart Butler.

POLL DU JOUR

• 60 percent of voters in battleground states have received recorded “robocall” campaign messages from President Obama and Mitt Romney.

• 77 percent say the calls are a “minor annoyance”; 20 percent say the calls make them angry.

• 42 percent of all voters, 41 percent of voters in blue states and 33 percent of voters in red states have received the robocalls.

• 81 percent of all voters, 85 percent of blue state voters and 79 percent of red state voters say the calls are an annoyance.

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