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Inside the Beltway: Enemies of ‘2016’

- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2012

Somebody must be worried. Muckrakers and pirates have struck "2016: Obama's America," the blockbuster documentary that examines the future of America should President Obama be re-elected, now in more than 2,000 theaters nationwide. The producers say "organized intimidation" is afoot to drive audiences away from theatrical showings of the movie: Rumors have circulated online that Fox News plans to broadcast the entire film, which was also illegally uploaded on YouTube, in violation of U.S. copyright laws.

"The reports of the movie appearing on Fox before the election are completely untrue and we strongly suspect that they are the result of dirty tricks by our opponents who spread this rumor in order to confuse the general public and keep them from going to their local theaters," says Dinesh D'Souza, who wrote the film script, as well as the book it's based on. "We urge all Americans to ignore these efforts and go to their local theater and enjoy the movie on the big screen."

Mr. D'Souza warns that violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"The film has now been taken down from YouTube and we have informed the FBI, which is launching a vigorous investigation," adds producer Doug Sain.

FLAG FLOP

It's gone. The sketchy, minimalist red white and blue "Obama flag" that once sold for $35 at the Obama for America campaign store has been quietly removed from the website. Conservative critics had questioned the audacity of such political marketing, not to mention the design itself, which was modeled on Old Glory but replaced stars with the Obama campaign logo. And the red stripes? They bore an unsettling resemblance, some observers said, to bloody smears on a wall in a photo taken of the ruined U.S. consulate in Libya.

"The image was tasteless at best. It is hard to imagine any other politician arrogant enough to remake the flag in his own image," observes Powerlineblog.com analyst John Hinderaker. "I can't think of an analogy to this fiasco: The Obama campaign's initial insensitivity to proper uses of the flag was bad enough, and then it was compounded by bringing to mind one of the administration's foreign policy disasters. One can only imagine the hysteria if a similar mishap had befallen George Bush's re-election campaign. And yet, our reporters assure us that it is Mitt Romney who has had a bad couple of weeks."

CLINTON'S GAGGLE

Interesting to note that President Obama and Mitt Romney each have a mere 15 minutes to speak when they appear at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on Tuesday — Mr. Romney at 9 a.m. sharp, Mr. Obama at high noon. Will they be on message? The focus of former President Bill Clinton's grand gathering in the Big Apple is, uh, a little obtuse:

"How can we design our world to create more opportunity and more equality? How are we designing our lives, our environments, and the global systems we employ in order to impact the challenges at hand?" states the official meeting theme, not a particularly snug fit for either of the campaigns.

Mr. Clinton appears to have retained his show-biz touch, meanwhile. Daughter Chelsea Clinton will moderate a morning panel titled "The case for optimism in the 21st century," Mr. Clinton himself anchors the grand finale at days end with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

And among Mr. Clinton's media and celebrity guests: NBC News President Steve Capus; Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown; Time magazine Editor Richard Stengel; New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof; entertainer Barbra Streisand; actresses Geena Davis, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera and Julia Ormond; designer Donna Karan; and model Christy Turlington.

THE BLAH FACTOR

"Approaching the first presidential debate, voters offer tepid ratings of the 2012 field. Just over half (54 percent) say they are either very or fairly satisfied with the presidential choices this year, while 40 percent say they are not too or not at all satisfied. The percentage expressing satisfaction with the candidates is now lower than it has been in any election since 1992," reports the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which surveyed more than 800 registered voters to determine this phenomenon.

Public excitement appears to have held sway four years ago.

"In September 2008, far more voters (72 percent) said they were satisfied with the presidential choices that year," the researchers say. Democratic voters remain a little happier than Republicans at this point: Two-thirds of Democrats say they're currently satisfied with the presidential field, compared with 57 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

"I am exercising the glorious liberty that an independent has — to not make up one's mind until one goes into the booth to vote."

(Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, addressing his own indecision about the presidential race in a conversation with C-SPAN.)

ONE FOR NEIL

The moon and the ocean have a new link. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Monday that the very first "Armstrong-class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research ship" will be named Neil Armstrong for the first man to walk on the moon and a naval aviator who flew 80 combat missions during the Korean War. Armstrong's widow, Carol, will serve as the ship's sponsor.

The handsome vessel — under construction for the next two years in Anacortes, Wash. — will be 238 feet long and boast acoustic equipment that can map the deepest oceans, as well as having onboard laboratories and a patriotic paint scheme in red, white and blue. That sounds about right.

POLL DU JOUR

• 47 percent of Americans say there is "too much" government regulation of business and industry.

• 77 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents agree.

• 26 percent say there is "too little" regulation of business and industry.

• 9 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents agree.

• 24 percent say there is "the right amount" of regulation.

• 12 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,017 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 6-9 and released Monday.

Grumbles, mumbles, squeaks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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