- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2014

WHITE HOUSE FUNDRAISING: NEVER A DULL MOMENT

Learned presidential advisers reason that in times of international turmoil, it’s better for the White House to conduct business as usual rather than shift into crisis mode. Who needs it? With that in mind, perhaps, President Obama is off on a West Coast fundraising jaunt on Tuesday. So fire up Air Force One, please; he journeys to Seattle for two private fundraisers on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. The locations are swank waterfront homes, the guests number in the hundreds, tickets run as high as $32,400 and the hosts include Costco founder Jim Sinegal.

But alas, the brief visit will snarl traffic already struggling with bridge construction and road closures. The locals are vexed.

“Don’t pop in and out of Seattle like some guy stopping at the ATM for cash on the way to pick up pizza and a video,” complains Jim Camden, a columnist for The Spokesman-Review, a Spokane newspaper.

Mr. Obama will exit Seattle in a veritable jiffy, jetting to San Francisco that very night, to be followed by a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event in the city on Wednesday. Then it’s on to Los Angeles. On Thursday, Mr. Obama heads to a fundraiser at the home of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes, with the help of Kerry Washington, star of the ABC series. There’s also a private roundtable event described as a “special opportunity to interact with the leader of the free world in an off-the-record, small forum” at the home of Live Nation CEO and concert maven Michael Rapino thrown in for good measure.

Then it’s home again. Quickly. The events mark the fourth time the president has visited California this year — and it demonstrates some nimble but potentially exhaustive money-making prowess. This makes Mr. Obama’s ninth fundraiser in three weeks.


SEE ALSO: Gov. Rick Perry to send 1,000 National Guards troops to border: memo


TEXAS GOES IT ALONE

From the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry comes the news that Texas Adjutant General John Nichols has immediately begun preparations to deploy up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the southwestern border, to supplement Operation Strong Safety, the Lone Star State’s ongoing law enforcement surge. Mr. Perry himself reports that in the past six years, Texas county jails have incarcerated on 203,000 “criminal aliens” who have committed 640,000 crimes, including over 3,000 homicides. He also recently revealed that his state has already spent $500 million on efforts to secure the border with Mexico.

“There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government’s failure to secure our border,” Mr. Perry says. “The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America.”

THE HUTCHINSON EFFECT

There’s another Republican who has cast a distinct signal on political radar. That would be Asa Hutchinson, a well-credentialed former Arkansas congressman now running for governor, and soon to get a boost from a pair of GOP heavyweights. Party 2012 nominee Mitt Romney will be along to lend his unmistakable presidentialish posture to a fundraiser in Jonesboro on August 20, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arriving a week later to do similar honors in Little Rock — long the traditional home turf of Bill Clinton.

And about that resume: Mr. Hutchinson, 63, is a former U.S. attorney who served as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security. His campaign motto is “Arkansas values, Arkansas commonsense,” and he urges his fans to “pray for Arkansas.” Mr. Hutchinson has already developed a six-point “Asa Plan” to create jobs and boost the state economy, sounding a lot like the aforementioned Gov. Rick Perry.

“I want to keep Arkansas business open to the world. It’s the best way to grow our economy and create jobs. We’ll hit the ground running and never look back,” Mr. Hutchinson advises in a new campaign video.

A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ABOUT HILLARY

“Rich Hillary” just doesn’t have much of a ring to it. So, naturally, the Republican National Committee has launched PoorHillaryClinton.com, what it calls an online clearinghouse for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “out-of-touch comments about her wealth.” Yeah, well. The public is still puzzling over her recent claim that times had been tough in the Clinton household, despite some spiffy earnings from speaking fees and book deals.

“In the span of just a few weeks, Hillary Clinton made enough out-of-touch comments about her wealth to fill an entire website. So the RNC created one,” says chairman Reince Priebus. “Being a millionaire doesn’t mean you’re ‘dead broke.’ After more than two decades in Washington, she’s lost touch with average Americans who would love to be as ‘dead broke’ as the Clintons. Here’s the truth Hillary doesn’t understand: You’re not ‘dead broke’ when you can make five times the median household income with a single speech.”

VOTERS LOOK ASKANCE AT RUSSIA

“U.S. voters are overwhelmingly convinced that Russia had a hand in the shootdown of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine, but they also strongly believe any punishment should be a multinational one and not come from just the United States alone,” says a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday.

The numbers: 81 percent of likely voters believe Russia was involved in some way in the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with just 7 percent disagreeing and 13 percent unsure. Half believe the fatal attack on the airline was deliberate; 22 percent think it was an accident, 28 percent are not sure.

But what to do about it?

“Just 18 percent of voters believe the better course to follow is further punitive action against Russia by the United States alone. Seventy-three percent think a multinational response through the United Nations or NATO would be the better course,” the poll says. Sixty-four percent say it’s likely the U.S. will discover who shot down the airliner with a surface-to-air missile; 30 percent disagree. The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 19-20.

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of likely U.S. voters say U.S. military actions should be limited to direct threats to our national security.

44 percent say the U.S. should have less involvement in the Iraq civil war; 23 percent approve of the current level, 19 percent support more involvement, 14 percent are unsure.

42 percent say the situation in Iraq affects national security a lot; 38 percent say “a little,” 13 percent say not at all, 6 percent are unsure.

42 percent say the U.S. should have less involvement in the Syrian civil war; 26 percent say to maintain the current level, 17 percent are unsure, 15 percent support greater involvement.

34 percent say the U.S. should have less involvement in the Russia/Ukraine conflict; 31 percent say to maintain the current level, 17 percent approve of more involvement, 17 percent are unsure.

22 percent say the U.S. is the “world’s moral leader” and should use the military to protect democracy around the globe.

Source: A Politico poll of 834 likely U.S. voters conducted July 3-13.

Nervous laughter, curious asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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