- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 17, 2016

Let us recall that presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton recently had a close encounter of the journalistic kind with The Conway Daily Sun, a small New Hampshire newspaper that asked the candidate her opinion on UFOs and extraterrestrials.

Though she may not be as forthcoming on other matters, a surprisingly candid Mrs. Clinton told the paper that she would look into the UFO question, adding that Earth “may already have been visited” and that a future task force could investigate Area 51, a top-secret military installation in Nevada rumored to have had dealings with the phenomenon. Did anyone pay attention to the report? Why, yes, they did.

The Paradigm Research Group, an activist organization that tracks the path of such controversial topics through politics and media, reports that, so far, 350 overseas and U.S.-based news organizations, plus 200 local U.S. radio and television outlets, have carried the story. Stephen Bassett, a registered lobbyist and founder of the group, encourages Mrs. Clinton to expand on the remarks that created such buzz and disclose what she may know.

“Because you aspire to the highest office in the nation, you have an extraordinary opportunity and primary obligation to address what is easily the most profound issue of our time — an issue with major national security and policy implications,” says Mr. Basset in an open letter to Mrs. Clinton, adding, “What the American people need is less legacy and more truth.”

She was forthcoming with CNN on Sunday, however. Asked whether she would take time to see the new feature film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Mrs. Clinton replied, “I’m just too busy campaigning.”

SUPPOSING THERE’S AN INDICTMENT?

Former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova recently suggested Hillary Clinton could be indicted over her use of a private email system as secretary of state in the next 60 days. The prediction has attracted a pollster. Without naming any names, Rasmussen Reports asked 1,000 likely voters this question: “If a political candidate is charged with a felony while running for office, should he or she immediately stop campaigning, or should they continue running until a court determines their guilt or innocence?”

Forty-six percent overall said the candidate in question should leave the campaign trail; 54 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats agree. Meanwhile, 47 percent overall said the candidate should continue running; 41 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of the Democrats agree.

TRUMP AND THE STUDENTS OF FAITH

Lest we forget, Republican front-runner Donald Trump addresses a huge audience of Christian students at Liberty University on Monday morning. The faith-driven spirit of the campus founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell may inspire Mr. Trump to speak of his own faith, of keen interest to evangelical voters. Yes, C-SPAN will cover the event beginning at 10:30 a.m.

But Mr. Trump is Mr. Trump. He won’t linger long on the Virginia campus. The candidate is due at a second event in New Hampshire just five hours later and journeys to Iowa Tuesday for a town hall with John Wayne’s daughter, Aissa Wayne, at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset. Then he’s off to Ames and a jumbo rally at Iowa State University. “I will have a major announcement and a very special guest in attendance,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday. Well, stay tuned.

YEAH, ABOUT THAT IRAN ‘DEAL’

Critics of the White House deal with Iran are happy U.S. citizens held prisoner are finally home. But reality looms.

“This deal confirms Hillary Clinton’s approach to foreign policy is dangerously misguided. While it is a relief to see unjustly held Americans returned home to their families, the Clinton-Obama nuclear agreement gives Iran too much in return for too little. Iran will have access to more than $100 billion in unfrozen assets to fuel its increasing aggression, and is ultimately never blocked from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“The need for new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program just one day after implementation of the nuclear deal began underscores how flawed Hillary Clinton’s and President Obama’s approach really is. An empowered Iran is not a result worth celebrating, and it’s clear only a Republican president will take the steps necessary to ensure Iran’s dangerous nuclear ambitions are never realized,” Mr. Priebus concludes.

THE FUSS OVER ‘FIRST’

Whose really is “first in the nation”? Is it Iowa or New Hampshire that proudly leads the nation into the presidential election season with early-bird voting, complete with patriotic trimmings and grass-roots flair. The Iowa caucuses are Feb. 1, the New Hampshire primary eight days later. Is it mere political theater?

“Iowa and New Hampshire have been watched way too closely for way too long, and they behave in a somewhat unusual way. They’ve been tainted by too much focus, too much coddling, too many special interest groups going in there and trying to pull public opinion one way or the other. It’s gotten a little exotic,” veteran political analyst Charlie Cook told C-SPAN on Sunday, adding that 94 percent of the delegates are picked sometime after February.

POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans say people should be allowed to buy firearms with “some restrictions”; 68 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats agree.

16 percent overall say Americans should be allowed to buy firearms without limitations; 24 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent overall say Americans should not be allowed to buy firearms at all; 7 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent overall say gun laws should be “stricter”; 26 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent overall say the laws should be “less strict”; 36 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,252 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 9-14 and released Friday.

Tall tales and reasonable assumptions to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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