- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It’s not a debate, but it’s mighty close. Every single GOP hopeful arrives in the nation’s capital Thursday for the Republican Jewish Coalition’s daylong presidential forum. It is a big deal. Staged in the venerable Ronald Reagan Building just two blocks from the White House, the sold-out event has drawn front-runner Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore, George Pataki and Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham. Each candidate gets a half-hour to have a say and answer questions from the audience; Messrs. Trump and Carson appear, in fact, back to back, beginning at 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., respectively.

The forum has a certain grave urgency about it.

“Jewish voters understand that a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders presidency would make us even weaker on the world stage and less safe. They have proven they don’t understand the threat facing America today. Neither will call it what it actually is: radical Islamic terrorism. Both have forcefully rejected any attempt to curb the gains of the Islamic State with ground troops. And they have also endorsed the feckless race to appease Iran and marginalize Israel,” charges Matthew Brooks, the coalition’s executive director.

“Republicans have solutions for these issues, and Jewish voters are ready to listen. Republicans have won a growing share of the Jewish vote in five of the last six presidential elections,” Mr. Brooks said, adding, “Republicans have a large field of serious and thoughtful candidates to choose from. One of those candidates will be our nominee. And one year from now, all American voters will go the polls on Election Day with a clear choice to vote for strength and safety at home and abroad.”

Philanthropist and generous GOP donor Sheldon Adelson is on the organization’s board of directors, as is Ari Fleischer, who served as spokesman for former President George W. Bush for four years. The grass-roots coalition has offices in D.C. and five other cities, plus a national membership of 40,000 in 45 local chapters. Find them here: RJCHQ.org.

HOLA, AMERICA

Latino voters tend to be conservative by nature but still vote Democratic. The mystery behind this behavior may soon be solved by MRC Latino, a conservative Spanish-language press watchdog launched by the Media Research Center last year. The group hosted a big event Tuesday here in Washington entitled “Tackling Competing Narratives.” On hand: Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center and Ken Oliver-Mendez, director of its Latino outreach, along with Republican Reps. Stevan Pearce of New Mexico and Raul R. Labrador of Idaho.

“Congressman Steve Pearce, who consistently wins in a majority-Hispanic New Mexico border district, set the tone for the summit by emphasizing how conservatives need to emulate the way he relentlessly engages every community with empathy and respect — and makes the case for the full spectrum of conservative policies that are designed to serve the best long-term interests of both individuals and the nation as a whole,” Mr. Oliver-Mendez tells Inside the Beltway.

“I think we’re coming away from this powwow with a renewed sense of determination and optimism that, despite the prevalent liberal bias conservatives face in the Hispanic media segment, on issue after issue conservative views can win people over on the merits. The media will be hearing a lot more from these communicators during this electoral cycle.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“Solar Socialism”

— Term coined by Citizens Against Government Waste, which released a report Tuesday calling for the end of “solar socialism — or federal government solar energy subsidies, which have cost taxpayers $77.7 billion in the last decade alone. “Taxpayers should be aware of the cost of renewable energy and understand why the U.S. government should not be anointing certain niche industries over others,” says Tom Schatz, president of the watchdog group found here: CAGW.org.

ON THE RADAR

Prepare for the press narrative to change: NARAL Pro-Choice America, CREDO, UltraViolet and 140 pro-choice groups and abortion providers launch a campaign Wednesday “demanding that the Department of Justice direct the FBI to investigate recent attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics as what they are: acts of domestic terrorism.”

The coalition has a petition with 300,000 signatures supporting the outreach, plus an open letter to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch critical of the Center for Medical Progress — source of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos — and “anti-choice extremists.”

HERE COMES CHRISTMAS

The afternoon is just a little brighter at the White House on Wednesday. First lady Michelle Obama offers a media preview of the intricate holiday decor that will sparkle up the Executive Mansion for the month. The weary press is, for the most part, polite and attentive as the 25 Christmas trees, 300-pound gingerbread house and wreaths of fabulous variety pass in review. Active-duty troops, fallen heroes and military families also warrant kindly recognition.

Joining Mrs. Obama at the gathering: White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford, Executive Pastry Chef Susan Morrison and Chief Floral Designer Roshan Ghaffarian, all of whom “will demonstrate holiday crafts and treats.” And yes, the White House shares recipes and how-to plans. Three cheers for that.

POLL DU JOUR

100 percent of oil market analysts and traders say OPEC members will not cut production of oil at their upcoming meeting on Friday.

70 percent say “West Texas intermediate crude” will not rise above $50 a barrel by year’s end.

67 percent say international prices will end the year at between $40 and $50 a barrel.

46 percent say the cost of oil will reach new lows in the first half of 2016.

29 percent say the lows will be reached in December, while 21 percent say it has already reached the lowest price.

Source: A CNBC poll of 24 oil market analysts and traders conducted Nov. 20-30.

— Arias, choruses of accusations to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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