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Inside the Beltway: Chelsea as her mother?

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2013

Chelsea Clinton already has broadcast experience as an NBC News correspondent. But could she play her own mother, cast in the role of a young Hillary Rodham Clinton in the upcoming independent film "Rodham"? The prospect has been raised by nimble Paddy Power — Europe's largest online betting house. It's already offering odds on which Hollywood starlet would be cast in the film, which chronicles the life of a 20-something Mrs. Clinton decades before she became first lady, senator, presidential hopeful or secretary of state.

At 8-to-1, it's Amanda Seyfried; Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and Katherine Heigl are offered at 10-to-1. At the end of the rather lengthy list that also includes January Jones and Kate Hudson appears none other than daughter Chelsea, at 250-to-1.

Needless to say, Paddy Power is also offering bets on who would play Bill Clinton, with Jake Gyllenhaal offered at 9-to-1 odds, followed by Tobey Maguire at 10-to-1. The 27-man list of possibles also includes Josh Brolin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ryan Gosling and Jon Hamm.

HILLARITY

Public interest remains intense about the aforementioned "Rodham," despite the fact that news of the project went public six months ago with much ado. Why is that? Easy. There's a titillating sequel to the story, which could explain continuing press interest.

At least two news organizations got hold of an advance copy of the script, revealing that the film could include, uh, suggestive scenes centered on Mrs. Clinton's romantic liaisons with Bill Clinton, a law professor and long distance boyfriend at the time, rather than president and husband.

Screenplay writer Young Il Kim has already ramped down the notion. "I didn't write '50 Shades of Rodham,'" he told The Daily Telegraph, declaring himself to be "a boring prude" and ultimately sidestepping the big question about sex scenes.

"It's an evolving process, so I don't know. She was an attractive 26-year-old with an amazing future. And that's our thematic focus," Mr. Kim said.

BIG, SCARY GOVERNMENT

The notion that the federal government is too big and too feisty appears to be entrenched in the public mindset. At the moment, 54 percent of Americans say the federal government today has too much power, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

And behold the partisan divide: 76 percent of Republicans but only 32 percent of Democrats agree that the government has too much power. There's also growing uneasiness.

While tea partyers and other liberty-minded folk have been criticized in the recent past for fearing their rights could be imposed upon, the idea has taken hold of many Americans.

"Do you think the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens?" the Gallup pollsters asked. Forty-six percent of the respondents said yes; 60 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agreed with that.

The fear appears to be growing: Just 30 percent felt that way in 2004, and the numbers have lingered above 45 percent for four years

What most troubles the public? Gallup asked this question during an identical poll in 2010; respondents were uncomfortable with "the government's having too many laws, being too involved in citizens' lives, threatening freedom of speech, imposing health care laws, and being 'socialist' in general."

HEADLINE OF NOTE

"Chris Christie don't need no GOP: New Jersey governor can win in 2016 as independent."

— From Mediaite columnist Joe Concha.

ROAD RAGE

Derelict bridges and crumbling roads are big news these days, prompting some closer examination of White House stimulus funds and government spending. Libertarians are now calling for a close inspection of the bridges — and of local politicians.

"Don't be surprised to learn that in most states, less than 2 percent of state government spending goes toward building, fixing or maintaining roadways," says Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Carla Howell.

"Road maintenance, construction and repair should be funded as locally as possible," she advises. "We certainly don't need the federal government butting in and adding to the waste. That will only drive up costs more and tempt politicians to sign on to big-government boondoggles like the 'Big Dig'."

She refers to the notorious Boston road project with a price tag that escalated from $2.3 billion to $24 billion. She blames such costly phenomena on local tastes for federal funds rather than state tax dollars.

"Every dangerous road, tunnel and bridge in America should be fixed or replaced immediately — but without blackmailing taxpayers for more money," Ms. Howell adds. "Instead, politicians and their appointees should be held criminally negligent for allowing any public thoroughfare to remain unsafe. At the same time, we must stop debt-funding roads and force politicians to fund road maintenance and repairs from planned budgets."

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say it is "likely but not certain" that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill civilians; 69 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

66 percent of Americans overall say that if there was clear evidence of chemical use, U.S. military intervention would be justified; 65 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent of Americans say they are "somewhat concerned" by the unstable situation in Syria; 42 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

19 percent overall have little or no concern about Syria; 11 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 923 U.S. adults conducted May 17 and 18 and released Monday.

Sighs, groans, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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