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Inside the Beltway: Reeling along

- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2012

National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of each September since 1972 with the motto "Hunt. Shoot. Fish. Share the pride," appears to be evolving into something beyond woodland camouflage or spinner reels. Indeed, the White House issued an official proclamation for the day, advising Americans to observe it with "appropriate programs and activities." Like hunting and fishing, maybe? Well, maybe not.

"As keepers of an age-old tradition, sportsmen and women share a deep and abiding bond with our environment. Generations have worked tirelessly to protect the lands and waters they cherish, and today, hunters and anglers stand among our strongest conservation advocates," President Obama said in the six-paragraph announcement.

"Through the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, my administration has striven to meet those challenges and lay the foundation for a comprehensive, community-driven conservation strategy. From hunters and anglers to tribal leaders and young people, we are engaging stakeholders of all backgrounds and beliefs — and moving forward, we will continue to find new ways to make the federal government a better partner in preserving our environment today and tomorrow," the president said. See the complete statement at whitehouse.gov, under the "Briefing Room" heading, and proclamations.

POINT OF 'VIEW'

"The president has blocked out time to appear on 'The View' on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopi Goldberg but he doesn't have time for world leaders?"

So began "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, seeking a simple answer from President Obama's senior adviser, Robert Gibbs, regarding the president's plans in New York, where 130 heads of state will be in town for the U.N. General Assembly opening. Mr. Gibbs pointed out that the president was "actively involved" with the meeting.

"He's not meeting privately with any leaders. He's giving a speech," Mr. Wallace countered, prompting his guest to assert that Mr. Obama had recently phoned leaders in Egypt and Libya.

"You don't have a problem with the fact that he's not meeting with any world leaders, but he's going to appear on 'The View'?" Mr. Wallace once again demanded.

"I have no problem with that, because, Chris, you're the president of the United States every minute of every day," Mr. Gibbs replied. "That's why you talk to the leader in Turkey, a hugely important leader and country in that region of the world. That's why you pick up the phone and talk to the President of Egypt and tell them they have to have a strong reaction to this violence at our embassy, they have to protect our consulate and our embassies and the people that work in them.

"Chris, this isn't just about one meeting on one particular day in New York. The president is actively involved and engaged in the most dangerous place in the world every single day of the week."

And "The View"? Still looks like a go for Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday; during the president's solo visit to the show two years ago, he drew 6.5 million viewers.

THE JOHNSON FACTOR

Could Mitt Romney lose the White House through votes lost to Libertarian Gary Johnson? A Reason-Rupe survey conducted Sept. 13 to 17 indicates there's some potential political peril afoot. If Mr. Johnson and running mate Jim Gray are included on the list of candidates, there's impact: 49 percent would side with President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, 40 percent with Mr. Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, and 6 percent with the Johnson-Gray ticket. One percent would vote for "someone else," 1 percent would not vote, and 4 percent "don't know."

There's some promise among the "don't knows" for Mr. Romney, though. Asked who they leaned toward, 22 percent chose Romney/Ryan, 12 percent Obama/Biden. Sixty-five percent remain undecided, cited another candidate or refused to answer.

13-1

So many tapes, so little time. Media Research Center analysts contrasted the coverage the mainstream media gave to an undercover video revealing Mitt Romney's "47 percent" remarks and a 1998 video showing then-state Sen. Barack Obama espousing wealth redistribution. ABC, CBS and NBC produced 42 stories on the Romney footage totaling 1 hour, 28 minutes, and eight stories on the Obama video, for a total of 6 minutes, 28 seconds. That's a ratio of more than 13-to-1.

"If it hurts Barack Obama's chances of re-election, the media ignore it. If it hurts Mitt Romney, they obsess over it night after night," sighs Brent Bozell, president of the watchdog group. "Like an overeager Labrador retriever, the liberal media will do anything to please their master, even if it means biting his opponent every day between now and the election."

MEATY INFORMATION

The State Department is getting demands from unlikely places. Four months ago, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency, demanding to know what was on the menu at the 38th annual G8 summit, staged in May at Camp David and attended by President Obama and nine global leaders. Was there — horrors — meat on the table? The animal-rights group reasons that a "conference focused on climate change would set an example" by serving veggie fare. Now the State Department tells PETA a response will take another five months.

"Given this administration's emphasis on 'transparency and open government,' it's rather disgraceful that the State Department is taking the better part of a year simply to tell us what food was served," says President Ingrid Newkirk. "All we want is to know whether G8's menu was environmentally friendly and vegan. It shouldn't take nine months to find that out."

POLL DU JOUR

• 60 percent of Americans say they have "little or no trust" in the news media; 26 percent felt that way in 1976.

• 40 percent say they have a "great deal or fair amount" of trust in the media; 72 percent felt that way in 1976.

• 26 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats currently trust the media.

• 39 percent of Americans overall are "very closely" following news about national politics.

• 48 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,017 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 6 to 9 and released Friday, plus Gallup historical data.

•  Hue and cry, nervous observations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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