- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 28, 2014

From our La-di-da Desk comes news of a series of fabulous weekend fundraisers that would not be complete without the presence of the Leader of the Free World. Indeed, fire up Air Force One. President Obama journeys to the well-heeled countryside of Westchester County, New York, on Friday to attend a pair of “Barbecue with Barack” events for the Democratic National Committee — one quite a substantial party, the other a more intimate “roundtable” affair. Yes, of course, the tickets cost up to $32,400 to attend and there will be some vexing road closures and air travel restrictions for the locals, but that, as they say, is show biz. And politics.

“How long will it take for the president to eat a hot dog?” asked one local mayor after the press queried him about the, uh, inconvenience.

But wait. There’s also a jaunt to a private wedding tucked in the mix, as well as the presence of one Obama fan — plus guest — who won entry to the barbecue via a raffle, along with round-trip commercial transport from their home state, and overnight lodging.

Then it’s on to the even more rarefied countryside of Newport, Rhode Island, where Mr. Obama will use his star power to help out the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, plus Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse will be among the elected luminaries … but wait again. The event will be hot on the heels of a visit from former President Bill Clinton, who was fundraising in Providence for local Democrats only 48 hours ago. The nimble Mr. Obama will return to Washington on Saturday.

RYAN REPUBLICANISM: ‘ASPIRATIONALLY INCLUSIVE’

He’s going to answer this question many times. But there’s always a moment of truth, and for Rep. Paul Ryan, one of those moments happened Thursday night with veteran newsman Larry King, who hoped to link the White House and the Wisconsin Republican.

“With the public’s knowledge of you after running for vice president, with your standard-bearer Mitt Romney saying that he has no interest in running again, are you going to run?” Mr. King asked during a broadcast of his talk show “PoliticKing,” seen on Ora.tv and RT America.

“I don’t know. I really don’t. I’m going to make that mind up with my family in 2015,” Mr. Ryan replied, also revealing his vision for the future GOP.

“Uh, as a result right now because of the things you just said, I feel I have an opportunity to add a voice, to offer ideas, to show alternatives, to help build a conservative movement and a Republican Party that’s aspirationally inclusive — and, you know, shows alternatives. I don’t like the direction the country’s headed. I feel like we should offer an alternative. I can do that no matter what it is I choose to do in the future.”

THE INEVITABLE HEADLINE

“Texas abuzz about possible Perry-Cruz 2016 battle”

— Associated Press headline on Thursday, describing a potential confrontation between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Two Texans, one White House. Is the 2016 Republican campaign trail big enough?” asks AP reporter Will Weissert. “Even as Perry works to convince conservatives that he’ll be better at coping with the national spotlight this time, he’s increasingly bumping up against his state’s junior senator, tea party darling Ted Cruz, whose firebomb approach on Capitol Hill has grassroots activists clamoring for him to make a White House run.”

And now the inevitable bumper stickers. It’s up to GOP voters to decide which one looks right: Is it PERRY/CRUZ 2016 or CRUZ/PERRY 2016?

SAVVY SANTORUM BYPASSES HOLLYWOOD

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