- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Republicans fret he could siphon crucial votes away from Mitt Romney, but Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary E. Johnson is still charging down the campaign trail as a third-party candidate and raising enough money — more than $400,000 this week — to produce a slick new campaign video that paints him as a down-to-earth hero.

Mr. Johnson has yet to accrue enough funds for a broadcast ad buy, but he remains determined to woo devotees of Rep. Ron Paul to his camp, and continues his quest to be included in upcoming debates with President Obama and Mr. Romney, beginning a bit more than three weeks away.

“A two-term Republican governor, Gary Johnson put himself through college as a handyman,” the video spot proclaims. “Through determination, intelligence and integrity, he grew that small business into the largest construction company in New Mexico. As governor, he kept his word to shrink government, cut taxes and end the reckless spending. He was re-elected as a Republican in a state that votes 2-to-1 Democrat — in a landslide. Gary Johnson can fix what the two-party system has broken. America needs a handyman.”

TO BE TOBY

It’s the kind of devotion that borrows a page from the playbook of Bob Hope, who tirelessly entertained the U.S. military in war and peacetime over many, many decades. Toby Keith has just celebrated his own milestone in that patriotic arena. The country music star has concluded a five-country, 12-day USO tour in the Middle East, marking his 10th year of working with the service organization.

“I can’t believe it’s already been a decade,” the cheerful Mr. Keith says. “One thing’s for sure. I enjoy working with the USO, I love our nation’s troops, and I won’t ever stop doing my part to extend my thanks.”

HITTING THE BOOKS

Americans are more interested in reading “red” books than “blue” books these days. So says Amazon.com, which is now tracking the partisan divide among the nation’s voracious readers: 58 percent of the purchases are for books reflecting Republican causes, with Edward Klein’s “The Amateur” currently at the top of the red heap. Forty-two percent of the purchases are for books of Democratic mindset. “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander leads the blue roster.

“We know that states are not all red or all blue, and readers aren’t either. And books are often too complex to fit into such neat categories. But given the high interest we’ve seen in political books during election years, we thought our customers would like to see what general book-buying patterns emerge across the country, and how they change over time,” Amazon explains. See the daily index and assorted book lists here: www.amazon.com/gp/election-heatmap.

SATIRICAL AND FREE

In the mood for satire and a quick read? Consider a free download of “Obama, the Greatest President in the History of Everything” by Frank J. Fleming. Yes, free. “Barack Obama was no mere man. He was a paragon of intelligence and civilized society. A savior to the world’s depressed. A light-bringer,” the author quips in the 26-page Kindle book, published by HarperCollins Ebooks. Mr. Fleming is a columnist with Pajamas Media and the New York Post. Find his e-book at www.amazon.com.

BIDEN TIME

“Good, idiot, OK, vice president, honest, incompetent, old, clown, stupid, funny, useless, unknown, joke, goofy, great, quiet, all right, buffoon, dumb, comical.”

- (The top 20 descriptions for Vice President Joseph R. Biden, volunteered by 1,008 U.S. adults in a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey conducted Aug. 31 to Sept. 3)

ON THE RADAR

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