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Inside the Beltway: Wave with Johnson

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"Waste your vote on me," begs Gary E. Johnson to curious or disenchanted voters everywhere. The Libertarian Party candidate is calling on fierce local fans to amplify his message with grass-roots fervor, a campaign strategy of former presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul. Mr. Johnson's official "Sign-Waving Weekend" begins Thursday and continues through Monday, complete with the customary uproar on social media, many fan-generated photos and partying in the neighborhoods.

"This is our last chance to inform the public before Election Day," the candidate insists. "So grab your Gary Johnson signs, find a busy street corner in your hometown, and wave your support for liberty."

ABOUT THOSE PALS

The instant bond between President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the tumultuous aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has not gone unnoticed. Some observers say Mr. Christie is just being Mr. Christie with his praise of the president — a plainspoken New Jersey kind of guy. Others say the governor may face a little post-hurricane cleanup of his own.

"So does Christie want to run in 2016 if Romney loses? Because if he does, looking too chummy with Obama right now is a suicidal move. People will remember. Not saying he shouldn't do disaster-tour thing, but if he's smart he'll follow up with loud pro-Romney statement," observes Glenn Reynolds, the InstaPundit for Pajamas Media.

TARGETING THE AFTERMATH

"Should anyone wonder why we are suing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city of New York over their handgun-permitting process? People should be able to protect their lives and livelihoods. Despite one report that there is a New York cop stationed on every block, business owners must have the means to defend what's theirs."

- Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, regarding looting in New York after Hurricane Sandy.

CAMPAIGN A-CALLIN'

Fresh from his role as first-responder-in-chief, President Obama has resumed duties as campaigner-in-chief. He'll board Air Force One on Thursday, bound for Green Bay, Wis., then on to Nevada. Mr. Obama visits Las Vegas for a mega-event with actress Eva Longoria, followed by a quick jaunt to Boulder, Colo.

Rep. Paul Ryan, meanwhile, will not be too far away. He'll campaign in Reno, Nev., on Thursday, with a likely stop in Vegas as well. Mr. Obama, who won the Silver State by 12 percentage points over Sen. John McCain four years ago, now has a 35,000-ballot lead in the Silver State among early voters. But no one rests easy.

"We're taking nothing for granted," campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call Wednesday.

THE LAUGH'S ON ROMNEY

There's a quantifiable reason why Mitt Romney avoids late-night TV as if it is kryptonite. Talk-show comedians have told more jokes about Mr. Romney than about all Democrats, says a new study of political humor by the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

"Romney is leading in the humor race, but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win," says Robert Lichter, president of the group, which analyzed funny fodder from NBC's Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, plus David Letterman and Craig Ferguson on CBS, from August through October.

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.

• 16 percent of all voters, 13 percent of blue state voters and 17 percent of red state voters say the calls make them angry.

• 64 percent of battleground voters don't listen to the calls; 69 percent of all voters, 71 percent of blue state voters and 72 percent of red state voters do not listen to the calls.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,678 registered U.S. voters, plus 574 red state voters, 722 blue state voters and 382 battleground-state voters, conducted Oct. 25-28.

Mottos, memos, insistent squeaks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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