- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feisty former vice president Dan Quayle is cheerfully engaged in the presidential election, but is not without a cautionary tale. Indeed, the man who was George H.W. Bush’s running mate almost a quarter century ago was recently in the nation’s capital to honor the Points of Light Foundation, an organization founded by Mr. Bush, and devoted to volunteerism. The event was aglow with peach-colored lanterns and ivory draping; guests dined upon beef tenderloin embellished with yakatori noodles and fresh endamame beans. And no wonder. It was staged at the official residence of Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki.

Among the convivial guests: Neil Bush, former White House counsel Boyden Grey, author Alexandra deBorchgrave, basketball great Dikembe Mutumbo and NBC “Today” co-host Al Roker.

“Where’s the optimism, where’s the simplicity of the candidates message in this year’s race? Voters pay attention to such things, and I think both are missing from the campaign trail,” Mr. Quayle tells Inside the Beltway. “Everybody knows we’ve got a bitter pill to swallow as far as the economy goes. But the reality is we’ve got to grow the economic pie here, and we’ve got to create a society of opportunity for all Americans.”

Mr. Quayle, incidentally, declared President Obama guilty of “failed leadership” and “a darling of the fawning media” nine months ago, then enthusiastically endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

“He has demonstrated he is capable of making tough decisions and turning things around,” Mr. Quayle said in December. “He is a man of integrity. He understands budgets and financial markets. He balanced budgets and met a bottom line. He is strong on national defense and has a deep love of the principles that make America great.”

POLITICAL CURRENCY

“The president believes as much that God should be taken off a coin as he does that aliens are going to come attack Florida.”

(White House campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki, during the White House press briefing on Sunday, denying press accounts that President Obama had considered removing “In God We Trust” from U.S. money).

NEVER FORGET

As the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks dawns Tuesday, there’s unfinished business about the day itself. Some insist it should it be a national “day of service,” an idea opposed by those who say it sanitizes the stark reality of the attacks. Politicians dicker over the public role of the Ground Zero memorial itself; there are intense discussions about decorum at what many say is a sacred site. Tourists wander casually past bronze panels inscribed with the names of victims, tourists picnic in planted areas. Trash was recently thrown into the dark memorial pools.

“People laughed and took pictures smiling, and so many people leaned on the tablets with all my friends’ names engraved in them, holding Starbucks cups, like it was a kitchen table,” advised Marianne Pizzitola, president of the FDNY/EMS Retirees Association, in a public letter to Joe Daniels, president of the memorial.

The public still struggles with the anniversary, says Rep. Scott E. Rigell. But the Virginia Republican is convinced that the citizenry clearly remembers the patriotism that shined during “this dark time in America.

“Together as a nation, we renew our solemn pledge to stand and fight for our freedom,” Mr. Rigell adds. “As we come together around this noble conviction, renewing our commitment in the face of challenges and enemies, we summon the words of Todd Beamer, who died when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. ‘Let’s roll.’ “

O’DONNELL REINVENTED

Two years ago, a gleeful Bill Maher aired damaging video footage of then-Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell, revealing she had once dabbled in witchcraft. She lost the race. But Mr. Maher displayed some uncharacteristic remorse when Miss O’Donnell came to call on his HBO show this weekend.

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