- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2015

Well, that didn’t take long. Rather than spending a cozy 48 hours on the New Hampshire campaign trail with Hillary Rodham Clinton, plenty of news organizations sprang up on their hind legs to cover revelations about an anti-Clinton book that isn’t even published yet. That would be “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” by Peter Schweizer — which is a mere 186 pages long and will be published May 5.

The New York Times got an early copy, and launched a story rife with details about unsavory fundraising practices within the Clinton Foundation. Mrs. Clinton herself dismissed it all as a “distraction” on Monday, even as The Washington Post and Fox News hammered out their own deals with the publisher for exclusive excerpts. Yeah, well, so much for Granite State happiness.

Meanwhile, a few headlines from the 1,000-plus news accounts that emerged about the book in the last 24 hours, mostly based on secondhand information:

“White House: ‘Not a lot of evidence’ on Clinton Foundation charges” (Breitbart News); “Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer’s long history of errors, retractions, and questionable sourcing” (Media Matters for America); “Bill and Hillary brace for Clinton Cash” (Bloomberg); “Clinton ready for attack in wake of book’s story” (CNN); “Mainstream media welcoming Clinton muckraking book” (American Thinker); “Anti-Hillary books may be the season’s new genre” (Christian Science Monitor); and “Revealed! The scandal Rand Paul promises will derail the Clinton candidacy” (Forbes).

NINE REPUBLICANS FOCUS ON IOWA, FAITH AND FREEDOM

There are nine Republican presidential hopefuls who won’t be at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, the annual spring rite that brings social hysteria to the nation’s capital for days on end. This thoughtful group will be in Waukee, Iowa, in a church — on hand for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s springtime kickoff event.

Confirmed speakers include Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz; Govs. Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson will be represented either via video messages or through a personal representative. The audience will likely number over 1,000. The hopefuls will each have 15 minutes on the podium.

“We welcome all these presidential aspirants to share their vision and solutions for America’s vexing issues of the day — protection of the traditional family and America’s need for security and financial soundness,” advises Steve Scheffler, president of the coalition, a nonprofit that supports integrity in government, high moral values, constitutional authority and Christian principles.

“Our purpose is to educate and influence voters and politicians to keep their commitment to both liberty and law,” he said.

WISDOM FROM DANA PERINO

On bookshelves Tuesday: “And the Good News Is : Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side,” by Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor, co-host of “The Five” and former White House press secretary in the George W. Bush administration. It is a memoir about her life under unique and intense circumstances, with some moments of refreshing candor.

“My goal was to represent America and the president with honor, grace and dignity. I was cautious in choosing my words and my tone,” Ms. Perino writes, advising that she learned the value of civility from her family and George and Laura Bush. Civility gives the author great pause, in fact.

“It’s being lost in politics and pop culture. I worry about how aggressive and vicious our discourse has become. I don’t think all is lost, however. I believe there are ways we can get our public debates back on track, because civility and manners are a matter of choice. We don’t have to own each other’s comments, but we are responsible for whatever we say,” Ms. Perino advises. “In America we are blessed with the freedom to speak our minds — and we should do so thoughtfully.”

The book is published by Twelve, a unique imprint of Hachette Books that only publishes one book a month.

KASICH HAS A NEW DAY

He’s picked up the pace. A lot. Likely presidential hopeful and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has formed New Day for America, a 527 political organization that now counts John Sununu as its chairman.

“It’s time to put aside the petty differences that divide us and rediscover the values we all share. There’s so much more that brings us together than divides us. Values that make America great, like personal responsibility, community, respect, courage and, faith,” the organizational website explains. “When we remember our shared values, we can come together and do what we all know needs to be done: balance our nation’s budget, create jobs by cutting taxes and reforming our tax code, help our fellow Americans who live in the shadows move up and lead self-sufficient lives, finally get smart about making health care affordable and help make the world a safer place by spreading freedom and prosperity.”

DE BLASIO AT THE READY

Many have wondered if Mrs. Clinton was a “placeholder” for a mystery Democratic candidate who would materialize in 2016. The idea has some legs now. A “Draft de Blasio movement” is percolating; it’s interesting to note that New York City’s mayor was in Iowa only last week.

“Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist progressive alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president,” reports New York Post columnist Frederic Dicker, who credits an unnamed Democratic operative for the information.

“De Blasio’s hope, the operative said, is that a Draft de Blasio movement will develop among progressive activists over the next several months that will lead to the mayor being able to defeat Clinton in the primary elections next year in much the same way leftist Sen. George McGovern successfully challenged the initially front-running establishment Democratic candidate, Sen. Edmund Muskie, more than 40 years ago,” Mr. Dicker explains.

‘SPECIAL PLACE IN HEAVEN’

“The only thing I am going to do is to ask the other side to do a little soul search and to tell me why, in 2015, abortion on demand, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better country. The voice for the unborn resides in our party almost exclusively. And for that I am sad. To our pro-life Democrats: You should have a very special place in heaven.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham, on his efforts to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, during an appearance at the recent Susan B. Anthony List gala.

POLL DU JOUR

27 percent of Republicans say Jeb Bush has “the right experience” to be president; 15 percent cite Gov. Scott Walker, 7 percent cite Sen. Marco Rubio, 7 percent Sen. Rand Paul and 7 percent Mike Huckabee.

26 percent say Mr. Bush has the best chance of beating a Democratic rival in 2016; 15 percent cite Mr. Rubio, 10 percent cite Mr. Walker, 9 percent cite Mr. Paul and 9 percent Sen. Ted Cruz.

21 percent say Mr. Bush would be the “strongest leader” in 2016; 11 percent cite Mr. Walker, 10 percent cite Mr. Cruz, 9 percent cite Sen. Mr. Paul, and 9 percent cite Gov. Chris Christie.

18 percent say Mr. Bush “cares the most” about them; 11 percent cite Mr. Huckabee, 10 percent cite Mr. Rubio, 8 percent Mr. Walker and 8 percent Mr. Cruz.

17 percent of Republicans say they will most likely support Mr. Bush in 2016; 12 percent cite Mr. Walker, 11 percent cite Mr. Rubio, 11 percent Mr. Paul and 9 percent Mr. Huckabee.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 435 Republicans conducted April 16-19; respondents had a choice of 15 GOP hopefuls. These results show top-five choices.

Caterwaul, muted laughter to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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