- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 11, 2015

Interesting questions, interesting answers. Sharyl Attkisson — host of “Full Measure,” a new investigative political talk show that debuted last week — has offered some fact-driven verve and refreshing originality. She interviewed Republican front-runner Donald Trump on the first program. It was Ben Carson’s turn on Sunday.

“What’s your view on what’s happening around the globe and here in the U.S. in terms of what’s in the Bible? Do you think we’re at the end of days?” Ms. Attkisson asked the candidate.

“You could guess that we are getting closer to that. You do have people who have a belief system that sees this apocalyptic phenomenon occurring, and they’re a part of it, and who would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they gain possession,” replied Mr. Carson, who had previously discussed jihad and Shariah law.

“Is there a chance to change the course if it is something that’s prophesied?” the host inquired.

“I think we have a chance to do everything we can to ameliorate the situation. I would always be shooting for peace. I wouldn’t just take a fatalistic view of things,” Mr. Carson replied.

He also noted he was a Christian who believes “in godly principles of loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbor, developing God-given talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you.” Mr. Carson clearly noted be believes in separation of church and state. Ms. Attkisson also asked him to define the weaknesses and strengths of his Democratic rivals.

Mr. Carson said Hillary Rodham Clinton’s strength was “tenacity,” her shortcomings “dishonestly and lack of integrity.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s main virtue was “amicability,” and his weakness was “embracing President Obama’s policies.” And Sen. Bernard Sanders?

“A weakness would be being a socialist. And a strength would be being a populist,” Mr. Carson said.

TRUMP VERSUS POLITICO, PT. 2

An interesting phenomenon: News organizations trail after the aforementioned Donald Trump, a savvy media wrangler in his own right who draws instant public interest and engagement. The liberal press needs him. But he’s a Republican.

“There’s great dishonesty in the media. And I didn’t see it to the same extent with the financial media. You know, I’ve only been a politician now for three months. But they don’t want to cover me accurately. I see such dishonesty,” Mr. Trump told “MediaBuzz,” a Fox News program that rates both the buzz and nonbuzz of journalism.

The candidate has spats with members of the press; they come and go. But he’s still vexed with Politico, recently calling the news and commentary site “pure scum,” among other things.

“Politico, it’s totally dishonest. I mean it’s unbelievable. They are a very dishonest site they write things that are not true. They never even call us. I mean they very rarely even call. They will say things that are unbelievably wrong purposely,” Mr. Trump explained, adding that “it’s not even a question” that Politico wants to degrade him.

“By the way, I know nothing about them. The good news [is] I hear they’re losing a lot of money. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But I just want to tell you, Politico is very dishonest,” Mr. Trump concluded.

CULTURAL MOMENT

Just in case you wondered: Amazon reports that the top-selling Halloween costume among the nation’s dogs is a handsome blue police dog disguise complete with badge, sleek uniform shirt, matching hat and utility belt with attached handcuffs and presumably paw-held walkie-talkie. Amazon updates the list hourly, incidentally.

There is some serious money here: 20 million Americans will put their pooch in a costume this year, and they spend $350 million doing it, according to the National Retail Federation. It is a wonder that political strategists have not started fundraising among the dog owner voting bloc yet.

WHERE’S THE PRESIDENT?

President Obama will be back at the White House late Monday following a four-day fundraising expedition to four West Coast cities. But golf was calling. Mr. Obama arrived for a little time off in San Diego on Saturday; he spent the night in a tony Rancho Santa Fe spa and resort. The links of choice was the oceanside Torrey Pines Golf Course, a municipal course in nearby La Jolla.

DEMOCRATIC DEBATE ALREADY ‘WRAPPED UP’

The first two GOP presidential debates held much sway over the polls in the aftermath. The Democratic bout, now just a day away, won’t yield such volatility, some say.

“The debate’s in the bag for Hillary,” predicts Fran Coombs, managing editor of Rasmussen Reports, a national pollster that currently finds front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton garnering 75 percent of Democratic voter support, 10 percent favoring Vice President Joseph R. Biden and 9 percent backing Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“The debate is not likely to change a thing, with Biden not even on the stage and a 74-year-old socialist as Clinton’s strongest challenger. Martin O’Malley will spew liberal platitudes but isn’t likely to bite since he’s already triangulating his future position in a Clinton administration,” Mr. Coombs says. “The remaining Democratic candidates, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb — both ex-Republicans — haven’t registered a heartbeat in the polls. Webb, the most conservative candidate in this race, could land a punch or two on Clinton, but that’s more likely to please GOP voters than those who will actually decide the nominee for the Democratic Party. You can score this debate all wrapped up.”

VOTERS: STILL UNEASY WITH HILLARY

Here’s another take on those Democratic dynamics according to CBS News, which released an excruciatingly detailed poll Sunday. It’s complicated.

Hillary Clinton continues to lead in the race for the Democratic nomination, followed by Bernie Sanders. If Joe Biden does not enter the race, Clinton’s lead over Sanders grows. While Democratic primary voters see Clinton as the most electable and a strong and experienced leader, Biden is most widely viewed as honest and trustworthy. More see Clinton than Biden or Sanders as able to manage the economy and an international crisis,” the CBS analysis states. “But among the broader electorate, Clinton is viewed more negatively, and 61 percent of voters say she is not honest.”

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of registered U.S. voters thinks Vice President Joseph R. Biden “cares about their problems”; 63 percent say the same of Ben Carson, 56 percent of Sen. Bernie Sanders, 52 percent of Carly Fiorina, 50 percent of Hillary Rodham Clinton and 43 percent of Donald Trump.

65 percent of voters says Mr. Trump has “strong leadership qualities”; 55 percent say the same of Mr. Biden, 53 percent of Mrs. Clinton, 51 percent of Mr. Carson, 44 percent of Ms. Fiorina and 39 percent of Mr. Sanders.

61 percent of voters says Mr. Biden is “honest and trustworthy”; 58 percent say the same of Mr. Carson, 45 percent of Mr. Sanders, 39 percent of Ms. Fiorina, 35 percent of Mrs. Clinton and 33 percent of Mr. Trump.

60 percent of voters says Mr. Biden has “the right experience to be a good president”; 51 percent say the same of Mrs. Clinton, 35 percent of Mr. Trump, 33 percent of Mr. Carson, 31 percent of Mr. Sanders and 27 percent of Ms. Fiorina.

Source: A CBS News poll of 1,038 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 4-8 and released Sunday.

• Have a productive Columbus Day, and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.

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