Inside the Beltway: Very robust Reince Priebus

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Many have complained that the Grand Old Party has gotten “squishy” on policy and in demeanor, lacking the backbone of a more robust era. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus appears ready to challenge that perception, and likely will provide some show-stopping political theater in the near future.

“I think we have a right to protect the brand of the Republican Party and to protect our candidates,” he told Bloomberg TV, just a day after publicly threatening to boycott CNN and NBC for their plans to air programs about Hillary Rodham Clinton just as the 2016 presidential season gets rolling.

“I think we have to stand up for ourselves instead of sitting around and letting these networks do whatever they want, slap us around, and then depose our candidates in a 23-debate circus. That’s not going to happen. I’m not going to sit here and put up with it. That’s all,” Mr. Priebus declared.

The chairman picked up a fan right in the middle of the broadcast.

“I think that the Earth just stopped spinning on its axis, but I couldn’t agree with you more,” said fellow guest Leo Hindery, a New York City media executive who was under consideration to take over as Democratic National Committee chairman in 2004.

Mr. Hindery was also troubled by the prospect of the network’s well-timed programming.

“It is simply wrong to do this. I would have an attack if I thought a Rick Santorum documentary was being run, a bi-op was being run on one of the networks. I think it is inappropriate as a run-up,” he said.

“We have so commercialized — we’ve so televisionized — the political process, that I think, Reince, you’re highly, highly qualified and well-spoken on this issue. It shouldn’t happen on either party’s side — my side, your side — as a run-up to ‘16. This is a bad, bad trend. Again, I would hate it if Santorum had a bi-op on one of the nets, as Reince, I think, should be upset that there’s a bi-op about Mrs. Clinton,” Mr. Hindery concluded.

ROMNEY SIGHTING

At long last, Mitt Romney officially re-emerged onto very public radar. He was the starring draw for a sold-out fundraiser on Tuesday at a private residence hidden among the scented woods near the shores of sparkling Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, not far from the former presidential hopeful’s summer compound in Wolfeboro. The genteel gathering commanded tickets costing up to $1,500 for “VIP couples” — the money destined for the campaigns of fiscal conservatives in the 2014 midterm elections, according to the New Hampshire Republican Party.

“We are grateful that Gov. Romney decided to headline one of his first fundraisers since the election. Ticket sales have exceeded our expectations and helped us raise the resources that we will need to compete with the Democrats,” says New Hampshire GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn, who adds that the locals are “energized and enthusiastic.”

ONLINE SHOPPING

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, told reporters today that his reported purchase of The Washington Post was a ‘gigantic mix-up,’ explaining that he had clicked on the newspaper by mistake. ‘I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing,’ he said. ‘No way did I intend to buy anything.’” — parody news story by New Yorker columnist and comedian Andy Borowitz.

POLITICIAN IN WAITING

Looks like one former first daughter already is crafting a consistent message and talking points, a sure indicator she’s drawn to public life.

“Right now I’m grateful to live in a city, a state and a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor, my president and my senators and my representative,” Chelsea Clinton, 33, told NBC in April. “If at some point that weren’t true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, I’d have to ask and answer that question.”

On Monday, she told CNN virtually the same thing, after advising the network she sought a “purposefully public life,” among other things.

“I’m grateful to live in a city, and a state and country where really I believe in my elected officials, in their ethos and their competencies” she said. “And if someday either of those weren’t true, and I thought I could make more of a difference in the public sector, or if I didn’t like how my city or my state or my country were being run, then I’d have to ask and answer that question.”

Mama Hillary Rodham Clinton, incidentally, ran for the U.S. Senate seat in New York at age 53.

MARCH ON THE MEDIA

ABC News will have some unexpected visitors with much on their minds Thursday afternoon. The network’s headquarters in the nation’s capital will be the focal point of the Life March on the Media rally, an event organized by pro-life factions who are weary of what they deem press “censorship” of abortion.

“The media has flinched from the reality of abortion for decades,” says Lila Rose, president of Live Action, a pro-life group that courts the interest of younger activists through social media. “We call on the press to end the censorship of what abortion actually does to our smallest children and women as well as an end to the lionizing of abortion advocates.”

The group already has sent letters of protest to America’s “big three” — ABC, along with NBC and CBS — demanding honest and factual reporting about abortion, which they deem a “gruesome procedure.”

Miss Rose says she plans to “expose the media as collaborators with the abortion industry.” She is particularly vexed by a recent report from the Media Research Center that revealed the networks gave pro-choice Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis three times as much coverage as the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, effectively turning the young lawmaker into an instant celebrity, and a “folk hero.”

Among those who also plan to rally at ABC’s office, located some six blocks north of the White House: Christian Robey, political director for the aforementioned research group; Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, and Jill Stanek, an OB-GYN nurse turned pro-life activist.

POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans say it is not likely that the average person in the U.S. will live to be 120 years old by 2050 due to age-reversing medical treatments.

69 percent say the ideal life span is 79 to 100 years old.

66 percent say “only wealthy people” could afford anti-aging treatments.

58 percent say anti-aging treatments would be “fundamentally unnatural.”

56 percent say they would not want to live decades longer with such treatments.

53 percent say that the economy would not benefit from older people who could work longer.

51 percent say that living to 120 would be “a bad thing for society”; 41 percent say it would be a “good thing for society.”

14 percent want to live to be 78 years old or under; 4 percent would want to live to be 120.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 2.012 U.S. adults conducted March 21-April 8 and released Tuesday.

Exclamations, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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