Inside the Beltway: August whets the Democratic appetite

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Democratic operatives and activists have declared it’s now “Action August,” and they’ve targeted specific Republicans during what’s normally sleepy summer recess time. We’re talking Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Peter T. King of New York, plus Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Christie of New Jersey. To name a few.

In the next 48 hours, all could encounter possible confrontations with vocal folk from Hold Them Accountable, a project of Americans United for Change, a progressive organization founded in 2005 to challenge “the far right conservative voices and ideas that for too long have been mistaken for mainstream American values.”

The group has revealed the time and place for public appearances of the aforementioned officials — the Red State Gathering in New Orleans for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Perry, and a New Hampshire campaign event for Mr. King, for example — and have urged their local membership to show up. Nimble organizers have also provided talking points, questions to ask and policy information about six issues, including immigration, “gun violence” and Obamacare.

“Elected officials work for you. This is your chance to meet them face-to-face and hold them accountable for imposing gridlock and for obstructing the common sense agenda Americans demand,” organizers say.

They’re not alone. Organizing for Action, the 3 million-member grass-roots group that grew out of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, is recruiting people for an “Action August” campaign, touted by the president himself.

“There is only so much I can do on my own. The special interests know it, and they’re counting on you to be silent on gun violence and climate change. They hope you’re not paying attention,” Mr. Obama said in a personal message to the group. “They plan to make the loudest noise when your members of Congress come home for August recess. I’m counting on you to be just as vocal — to make sure the agenda that Americans voted for last year is front and center.”

PRESIDENT LATE NIGHT

Surprise. President Obama is going on NBC’s “Tonight Show” on Tuesday, this following a campaign speech in Phoenix earlier in the day. Well, heck. Air Force One will be all fired up; he might as well drop by. It’s just a little hop over to Los Angeles.

This marks the president’s sixth visit to the ratings-dominant late-night show hosted by Jay Leno.

But this is no casual affair. In a press release, NBC has already revealed that Mr. Obama will talk about “job initiatives and the economy” during his visit. It may be due to the relentless media marketplace, or the celebrity nature of politics. According to the Internet Movie Database, Mr. Obama has appeared 155 times on entertainment and public affairs programs since he first appeared on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show in 2004.

DE-SCANDALIZING

Sanitizing, steering, then changing the public discourse on all those pesky “scandals” is well underway at the White House. Deft press secretary Jay Carney offered this to crabby reporters at the daily briefing Wednesday:

“We all remember a few weeks ago when Washington was consumed with a variety of issues that, while in some cases significant, there was an effort underway to turn them into partisan scandals. I don’t think anybody here would doubt that. And what we’ve seen as time has passed and more facts have become known — whether it’s about the attacks in Benghazi and the talking points or revelations about conduct at the IRS — that attempts to turn this into scandal have failed,” Mr. Carney said.

Yes, so move on everyone. Nothing to see here.

NIXON’S HOME MOVIES

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