- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Former President Barack Obama is in an exclusive Polynesian resort for the next month. No, really. This is true. He has arrived in the far South Seas for 30 days of languid palms, bright sunshine and sparking waters. Will he start writing his multimillion-dollar memoir, visit a nearby turtle sanctuary or kite surf? That remains to be seen, even as rumors percolate in the nation’s capital that Mr. Obama is planning a “shadow presidency” to counter President Trump and his administration. For now, though, it is time for an exclusive tropical retreat for the 44th president, who is traveling solo — a fact that has sent the press looking for details and answers.

“This week finds Obama spending the current leg of his retirement tour in beautiful French Polynesia. Obama reportedly landed in Tahiti, before traveling from the island to an even more exclusive locale: Marlon Brando’s private resort at the Tetiaroa atoll,” says Conde Nast Traveler, which has rated this gorgeous property as one of the most magnificent on the planet. It better be, with rentals starting around $2,100 to $11,000 a night. The accommodations at the eco-minded spot include private villas with luxury furnishings and baths; there’s a treetop spa with waterfall, classic French cuisine and activities like lagoon exploration, biology tours and deep sea fishing.

It is quite something. Indeed, Brando discovered this exotic hideaway in 1961 while filming “Mutiny on the Bounty,” eventually buying the site six years later. Mr. Obama also is expected to visit nearby Bora Bora and other picturesque destinations during his stay.

“No political meetings have been announced during Obama’s stay. It is unknown if his daughters or wife, Michelle  Obama, will join him on the island,” reports Kelly McLaughlin, a Daily Mail correspondent who also wonders if Mr. Obama will get to work on his much-awaited memoirs — now part of a $60 million deal for the former president and his spouse with Penguin Random House. Find the Brando Resort here

VOTERS TO GOP: OVERHAUL OBAMACARE WITH CARE

The public is often confused by coverage of the American Health Care act — aka “Trumpcare” or “Ryancare,” depending on the day of the week or the mood of the news organization. As usual, much of the news media are opposed to whatever policies President Trump and his allies offer; conflicting or confusing coverage is a part of that bias. Meanwhile, a clear voter sentiment has emerged for all to consider.

“Voters tend to agree that Obamacare is in big trouble but fear Republicans may go too far in trying to fix it,” reports a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters. “Nearly half (48 percent) agree with President Trump’s recent statement that ‘Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans,’” the pollster says.

But a nervous 43 percent disagree with that statement — while 52 percent worry that changes to Obamacare “may go too far.”

A new Fox News poll had similar results, revealing that 54 percent of voters oppose the GOP health plan for assorted reasons. Two-thirds said it made “too many changes” in Obamacare, 21 percent said it didn’t make enough changes, and 13 percent said they “didn’t know why” they opposed the Republican solution.

HILLARY IN SCRANTON

The trajectory of former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is always interesting but elusive. Assorted press reports indicate she’s running for mayor of New York City in the fall. Press reports also indicate that she’s not running for New York City mayor in the fall. There are revelations that Mrs. Clinton went to a Broadway show, or dined with a celebrity. Her rare tweets — maybe one or two a week — get ample press, as does her personal news, like future speaking engagements or a forthcoming book of her essays to be released this fall by a major publisher, along with a reissue of her 1995 bestseller “It Takes a Village.”

One thing we do know for sure is that Mrs. Clinton will be in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for a sell-out St. Patrick’s Day dinner organized by the Society of Irish Women, a group of dedicated Irish-American ladies. Mrs. Clinton was last in Scranton — birthplace of her father, Hugh Rodham — in August for a campaign stop, accompanied by then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Will there be news, Trump-bashing, revelations? The hostesses of the dinner reveal nothing other than telling the local Scranton Times-Tribune that their first reaction once Mrs. Clinton agreed to appear at the event was, “Oh, my God.”

DAYS OF YORE

“Our Constitution is to be celebrated not for being old — but for being young.”

Ronald Reagan, in his annual address to Congress on Jan. 27, 1987

FOXIFIED

This could be interesting: The spirited Fox News host Jesse Watters will sit down with President Trump for an interview to air Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT, set to cover pivotal subjects like the economy, tax reform, immigration policy and Trumpcare.

In the meantime, Fox News Channel bested all basic cable networks for the 10th consecutive week, according to Nielsen Media Research this week. Yes, that means Fox News outdid the likes of ESPN and HGTV. Additionally, Fox News programs made up 11 of the top 25 telecasts across the cable realm.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Warren Buffet’s beach house, built in 1936 in Laguna Beach, California. Six bedrooms, seven baths, living and dining rooms, family rooms, interior patio; 3,588 square feet overlooking Emerald Bay, owned for the last 40 years by the “Oracle of Omaha.” Primarily white and marble interior, chef’s kitchen, unique levels encompassing three stories, multiple fireplaces, oversize windows and window walls, recessed lighting and multiple skylights. Ocean-viewing deck, patio, balcony, pool, detached garage.

Priced at $11 million through VillaRealEstate.com; find the home here

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of Americans feel more optimistic about their “personal happiness”; 88 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent feel more optimistic about their family financial situation; 82 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent say President Trump has done more to fulfill campaign promises than other presidents at this point; 84 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent feel more optimistic about the direction of the country; 86 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent think “everything will be all right” in the rest of the world; 51 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,008 registered U.S. voters conducted March 12-14.

• Churlish remarks, cheers, jeers to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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