Inside the Beltway: Even more Romney signs defiled

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Rumors that Mitt Romney’s campaign materials suffer disgraceful defacement around the nation appear to be true. And here’s one more example. Solitary pro-Romney lawn signs in a heavily Democratic neighborhood have been draped with, uh, used doggie-doo disposal bags in recent days. This news comes from a comfortable enclave of supposed civility in the Maryland suburbs near the nation’s capital.

But there’s a happier ending, and proof of safety in numbers, perhaps.

“The interesting thing is that two other houses nearby have since put up their own Romney/Ryan signs. And the dog poo stuff has ceased,” advises the affected homeowner in question.

WATCH THE SPIN

With the big debate just a day away, Vice President Joseph R. Biden will huddle in a Delaware hotel until Thursday morning with four advisers and sparring partner Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. As part of his prep, Mr. Biden has read “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” the 2010 book Rep. Paul Ryan co-authored with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. The vice president is no doubt beefing up his economic rhetoric while testing the practical limits of waggish humor and/or derring-do upon the dais. The White House, meanwhile, has revealed its spin card for the event, and thus, a few more talking points for the sympathetic media.

** Former President Ronald Reagan. (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library)

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** Former President Ronald Reagan. (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation ... more >

“The question here is, which Paul Ryan is going to come to the debate later this week,” Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the re-election campaign, told White House reporters Tuesday.

“Is it going to be the Paul Ryan who has been misleading about everything from his marathon time to details and specifics he included in his convention speech? Or is it going to be the Paul Ryan who has eagerly embraced voucherizing Medicare and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires? Of course, it’s an important opportunity to lay out the choice. We’ll all be watching. The president will be watching. And we’ll see which Paul Ryan comes to the debate,” she added.

GIPPER 101

Behold, a college course centered upon Ronald Reagan, at the former president’s very own alma mater. Eureka College debuts “Reagan 101” to the discerning public on Oct. 22; the four-day course will be taught by longtime Reagan historian Craig Shirley, at a nominal price of $101 — a figure marking the fact that the president would have been 101 this year.

The first of several “Visiting Reagan Scholars” programs on the Illinois campus, the course will parse Reagan’s presidential campaigns, how they swayed politics, plus the enduring lessons of the process. Lectures, class discussions and live question-and-answer sessions via Skype with Newt Gingrich, Joe Scarborough, Reagan biographer Lou Cannon and columnist Peggy Noonan are part of the program. For more information, call 309/467-6319.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience for students and the general public. This course comes just in time to provide an educated look at not only all presidential elections, but the upcoming one as well,” says J. David Arnold, president of the college.

Mr. Shirley is the author of “Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America,” “Reagan’s Revolution” and “December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World.”

THE HISTORIC CAMPAIGN

“If we can lower the voting age to nine, we are going to sweep the state.”

— Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy, during a presidential campaign speech in Girard, Ohio, on Oct. 9, 1960.

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