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.
"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
Those who fret that the mainstream press is coddling the Obama administration, take note.
Accuracy in Media has assembled a formidable panel to parse out all the significant issues that have been misreported, underreported or ignored by journalists as the presidential election looms.
Among those on hand for "ObamaNation: A Day of Truth" scheduled at the Heritage Foundation on Sept. 21: Democrat-turned-Republican former Rep. Artur Davis, American Spectator senior editor John Fund, author Edward Klein, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, former New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, and Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the founder of the Media Fairness Caucus.
"What the public needs now more than anything is the unvarnished truth about the media's misreporting the facts about President Obama's history, his record and his qualifications to continue leading this country," says Don Irvine, chairman of the hosting group. "This is the reason why we have decided to ramp up our efforts to educate and inform the American people during the last couple of months of this crucial presidential campaign."
See a webcast of the daylong conference here: www.aim.org. Those interested in attending this event ($25 per person, which includes lunch and a coffee) should register with organizer A.J. Cooke at email@example.com.
THE FAITH GAP
"Among those who rarely or never attend church or other religious services, President Obama leads by 22 percentage points. Among those who attend services weekly, Mitt Romney leads by 24 percentage points," says a new Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll of 1,500 likely voters conducted Monday through Wednesday.
Overall, Mr. Romney received 47 percent of support to Mr. Obama's 44 percent. Incidentally, 56 percent of the president's fans are Christians, as are 83 percent of Mr. Romney supporters.
POLL DU JOUR
• 46 percent of likely U.S. voters say it would be "fun" to meet President Obama; 23 percent say the same of Mitt Romney.
• 45 percent say Mr. Romney is a "man of faith"; 29 percent say the same of Mr. Obama.
• 42 percent say Mr. Obama is "smart enough for the job"; 40 percent say the same of Mr. Romney.
• 40 percent say Mr. Romney is "tough enough for the job"; 38 percent say the same of Mr. Obama.
• 40 percent say Mr. Romney "represents America"; 40 percent say the same of Mr. Obama.
• 39 percent say Mr. Romney will "protect American jobs"; 36 percent say the same of Mr. Obama.
• 37 percent say Mr. Romney "can be effective in Washington"; 34 percent say the same of Mr. Obama.
Source: An Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,623 registered U.S. voters conducted Sept. 4 to 6.
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