- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2014

Hollywood on the Potomac: It is the stuff of fabulous dreams in the foreign press. Multiple overseas news organizations have become convinced that actor George Clooney is going to run for office in California, and possibly end up in the White House with a British first lady by his side. Journalists have already penned the script.

“Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney is set to follow in the footsteps of fellow actor Arnold Schwarzenegger by running for governor of California. Friends of the ‘Gravity’ star say the 53-year-old is being courted by Barack Obama’s [Democratic Party] who want him to run for office,” says a breathless report from The Mirror, Britain’s equivalent of The National Enquirer, a tabloid that has had its share of political scoops.

“George is planning to launch his new career after he ties the knot with British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, 36, in September, following an eight-month romance,” the Mirror declared.

The fetching, Lebanese-born Miss Alamuddin currently represents Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, along with assorted high-profile human right clients. The Mirror has the trajectory all planned, right down to the White House, noting, “If the Oscar winner eventually won the 2020 race for the presidency, it would see Amal installed as the only British first lady in history.”

Don’t laugh. Among news organization that are now trumpeting the news: Haaretz, International Business Times, The Daily Mail, The Times of India and more in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and elsewhere.

“Democrats believe he could follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps and become president,” notes the account in The Daily Express, a London-based paper, which quotes Mr. Clooney’s aunt as saying, “Being married will make him look more serious.”

THAT COMMENCEMENT SPEECH

In between some golf and a little fundraising, President Obama tucked a commencement speech into his long weekend in California, which ended Monday on his return to the nation’s capital. Some are not happy that the students got a podium-load of policy during Mr. Obama’s visit after the speaker-in-chief asked them to take on climate change skeptics.

“It was inappropriate for President Obama to use his commencement address at the University of California at Irvine for a divisive speech promoting his own views on climate change,” said National Center for Public Policy Research Chairman Amy Ridenour. “He hijacked other people’s commencement to promote his own views on a contentious issue, no doubt leaving some of the graduates who hold differing views angry and frustrated on an occasion that is supposed to be in their honor.”

But that’s not all.

“If President Obama nonetheless was determined to break the above rules of etiquette, tradition and propriety, he should have done a better job of it. Parts of his speech made no sense, and nothing he said was likely to persuade a catastrophic global-warming theory fence-sitter to the president’s point of view,” Mrs. Ridenour observes. “Thus, the president insulted people, sowed division and hijacked an important ceremony in other people’s lives for no gain to anyone, including himself and his agenda.”

DOUR LUNCHES

So no more prime steak, loaded potato and wedge salad with blue cheese dressing while the policy talk rages at some back table? Some say the nation’s capital is pulling back from its culinary traditions.

“Washington, D.C.’s food scene has transformed from a place known for its power lunches to a four-course foodie destination,” notes Livability.com, a lifestyle site that placed the political hub in the top-10 list of “Foodie Cities” that feature organic local produce and artisanal everything — right along with Boulder, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

We’ll believe this when we see it. The Palm, long a traditional eatery for the big shots on both sides of the aisle, still faithfully offers its “Three-Course Power Lunch” while The Monocle, located near the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol, is still very much the source of crab cakes, calves liver and short ribs. Yes, all for lunch.

HOLA AMERICA

Vice President Joe Biden is currently on a wide-ranging visit to South and Central American that is taking him to Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The press is keenly interested that part of Mr. Biden’s mission is to clear up some “misperceptions” about U.S. immigration policies, and “emphasize that illegal immigration is not safe,” according to an administration source.

Indeed, photos, footage and stories of unaccompanied children at the Texas/Mexico border who are being frantically tended to by U.S. Border Patrol agents has intensified. But the youngsters just keep arriving because they “have heard that anybody who crosses into the United States can stay.”

That is what a U.S. Border Patrol agent told Sara Carter, a reporter for The Blaze who actually went down to the border, boots-on-the-ground-style, and saw it all for herself. She also found that the children are giving “rehearsed” answers, indicating they fear for their lives.

“It’s something they’re all saying, and it’s obvious that it is well-rehearsed and it is a consistent story,” agent Albert Spratte told Ms. Carter. “We can’t even get them to answer their name before they tell us the gangs were the reason they fled their country.”

HILLARY’S FOX NEWS MOMENT

There have been a lot of interviews with Hillary Clinton lately. There will be a lot more. One to watch, perhaps, is the Fox News interview with the former secretary of state, senator and first lady. The particulars: Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren will present a joint half-hour interview with Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday, from 6:45-7:15 p.m. EDT.

“The interview will span across the anchors’ respective programs,” the network says. “The interview will cover an array of topics, including Clinton’s book, ‘Hard Choices’; the upcoming 2016 presidential election; and the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.”

And a few more topics besides, likely.

POLL DU JOUR

63 percent of Americans say Hillary Clinton would likely do a good job handling the economy if she were elected president in 2016; 31 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton would do a good job handling foreign affairs; 31 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton would do a good job handling terrorism; 29 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton would do a good job handling health care policy; 31 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats agree.

56 percent overall say she would do a good job handling illegal immigration; 24 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent overall say she would do a good job handling gun policy; 21 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 1 and released Monday.

Haughty judgments, balderdash to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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