- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brace for it. The White House has readied a new feel-good tactic to appeal to American voters, and it goes public in 24 hours when President Obama fires up Air Force One and journeys to Minnesota for a two-day visit that includes a public event, a private fundraiser and something called a “day in the life.” Mr. Obama plans to commune with private citizens on their own turf, then illustrate how White House policies are helping them. Or something like that.

First up is “Rebekah,” a woman in Minneapolis who recently wrote the president about her economic challenges, describing herself as hailing from “the middle of the country.”

Voila, the “day in the life” was born. Mr. Obama has already made a promotional video about his intent to spend time with everyday folk, noting, “I think it’s going to be wonderful for me to let Rebekah know not only am I listening, but that she’s not alone out there.”

It’s sounds very much like one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “listening tours” of yore — heavy on ceremony and photo-ops. Not so, says the White House.

“It’s going to be part of a series of days-in-the-life we’re going to do, where the president is going to visit a community, spend the whole day there, talk to small business owners, families, workers and get a real sense of what’s happening in America, and have a real discussion with them on how we move this country forward,” explains senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

Spend the whole day? Well, no matter.

In the meantime, there’s a fundraiser tucked into Mr. Obama’s visit to the Land O’ Lakes. He’ll headline a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Minneapolis on Thursday evening, staged at the home of Sam Kaplan, the former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, with tickets priced from $10,000 to $32,400.

Among those attending: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, assorted Minnesota Democrats and Steve Israel, chairman of the aforementioned committee. Mr. Obama will be back in the nation’s capital in time to attend the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks evening parade with first lady Michelle Obama on Friday.

RON PAUL TAKES AIM

“In honor of our Second Amendment freedoms, I’m pleased to announce that Campaign for Liberty is giving away a brand new Colt LE6920MP-B AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight. The AR-15 will come with Magpul stock, pistol grip, handguard, and vertical grip and back-up sight. The giveaway is free to enter.”

— from Ron Paul’s new outreach for Campaign for Liberty, his Virginia-based nonprofit group.

GARY OLDMAN, SCENE TWO

Like other stars who reveal truths not friendly to left-leaning Hollywood, Gary Oldman has prompted a squawking, outraged response from critics and insiders following his personal revelations about Tinseltown hypocrisy and political correctness.

The gifted and spirited Mr. Oldman  was run through the media gauntlet, the liberal press in full cry, with hundreds of stories scattered in the wake of the actor’s nine-hour, wide ranging, candid interview with Playboy. Enter, stage right, Douglas Urbanski, Mr. Oldman’s longtime manager, and a conservative talk show host who sits in, on occasion, for the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Here is what he has to say about it all.

“If you read the Playboy piece correctly and entirely, and in context, it is the hypocrisy of political correctness that Gary is addressing, nothing else. It simply cannot be read any other way, and to put it in any other way is simply cherry-picking something, stating it inaccurately and creating news where there is none,” Mr. Urbanski said in a statement.

And an update: Mr. Oldman apologized for his remarks on Wednesday, expressing his remorse for ‘insensitive” comments in an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League.

UNDERCURRENTS

People need their underwear even in crisis. That we know following the surge of illegal immigrants across the southwestern border of the U.S. in recent days. General Services Administration procurement solicitation No. 192114FEP00000419 was filed on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement calling for bids to supply thousands of “White 100 percent cotton Men’s Briefs” for new arrivals, in sizes ranging from medium to 6X-Large.

The concept fixated several news organization, and the phenomenon led the Drudge Report on Tuesday for many hours. It also inspired noteworthy prose.

“The feds are not just being besieged by migrants pouring in from Mexico, they’re dealing with a startling influx of illegal fatties!” declared the New York Post, which also invented the term “axis of weasels” in a previous era.

“The nation’s elastic border is stretching even further. The ICE officials say they also need 2,400 pairs of ‘6X-Large’ underwear — a garment that retailers say can fit someone weighing as much as 500 pounds,” the Post explained. “The contract solicitation, requiring delivery within 30 days, was posted June 5. The items need to be delivered to El Paso, Texas, right at the belly of a wave of illegal immigration.”

SCIENCE CORNER

Now journalists have no more excuses for getting their stories wrong. Well, maybe. Witness this description of the new “Sky wifi smartpen” from Livescribe, offered by The Atlantic technology correspondent Dennis Hollier:

“It’s an old-fashioned pen for old-fashioned paper, so I can still scribble my notes the way I always have. The smartpen is also a high-quality digital recorder, creating an audio file of the interview as we go along. Finally, a tiny camera near the tip of the pen simultaneously takes pictures of my notes as I write.”

“All of that information is then pulled together by a microprocessor housed in the barrel of the pen. And because the smartpen is really a computer, it’s able to sync up the picture of my handwritten notes with the audio file. That means I can tap the tip of the pen anywhere in my notebook, and the pen will instantly replay the audio of whatever was being said when I took that note. And since it’s Wi-Fi enabled, the whole interview — audio file, notes, and all — is automatically uploaded”

MITTOPIA

He’s already been declared a “kingmaker” by several major news organization following a half dozen recent endorsements that paid off. All of Mitt Romney’s candidates, including Joni Ernst in Iowa, won their respective Republican primary races and are now ready to do battle in November. It is fortuitous, then, that Mr. Romney has given his supreme nod to Scott Brown, now grappling with an unfriendly media and canny Democratic strategists in New Hampshire, where he is seeking the U.S. Senate seat.

Scheduled for July 2, it’s a “Kick Off with Mitt” rally in scenic Stratham, which could prove convenient for the kingmaker in question. The town is located about 45 miles southeast of sparkling Lake Winnipesaukee, where Mr. Romney maintains a summer home.

POLL DU JOUR

90 percent of Americans give the entire U.S. Congress a negative job review; 89 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats and 95 percent of independents agree.

71 percent overall give their local member of Congress a negative rating; 65 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents agree.

62 percent overall give President Obama a negative job rating; 91 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents agree.

52 percent overall say it’s “time to give someone else a chance” in Congress; 48 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents agree.

20 percent overall say their local member of Congress deserves to be re-elected; 26 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,241 U.S. adults conducted June 11-16 and released Monday.

Polite applause, nervous chittering to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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