- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

New GOP woman?

Self-styled “progressive Republican” Meghan McCain has landed a book deal after blasting Ann Coulter as a bad representative for Republican women and engaging in a spat with Laura Ingraham through her columns for the Daily Beast.

The publisher Hyperion offered the “high six-figure” agreement to Miss McCain. In a recent interview with Politico, the aspiring writer said, “All I am trying to be is a young, cool Republican woman for other Republican women.”

However, Miss McCain is relatively new to the Republican Party herself, having registered as a Republican during the 2008 election campaign on Father’s Day as a gift to her Republican father, then-presidential candidate John McCain. Before that, she proudly called herself an independent and voted for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.

Private sector ahead

While the Obama administration struggles to figure out how it will track federal stimulus dollars down to the local level, a private-sector company is already doing it in real-time speed.

Onvia, a Seattle-based company that employs roughly 200 people on a wide variety of projects, has created an application that allows the public to go to its sites (recovery.com and recovery.org) and find there what President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus is paying for.

“This is just what we do every day anyway,” said Onvia Chief Information Officer Eric Gillespie of his company, which was created to notify small businesses, contractors and others who may bid for government contracts about potential business opportunities.

To put it simply, Onvia is a complex monitoring system that scours information from about 89,000 federal, state and local agencies and then collapses the data into a standardized, easy-to-understand form before making it available to its paid subscribers. Its administrators are putting the stimulus information online as a free service.

Meanwhile, the administration’s spending site, www.recovery.gov, merely offers a series of press releases and links to other government agencies.

Members of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, charged with operating the site, have yet to choose Web developers who will create an online platform to allow the public to track stimulus projects. Instead of posting information, it features a timeline that outlines future benchmarks for receiving information from various government agencies about their plans for the money. The first of several deadlines is May 3 - the date agencies are scheduled to make their performance plans publicly available. @Brief.head.rule:Self-satisfied

A poll conducted by National Journal among 45 so-called “media insiders” found that 71 percent of influential political TV commentators and writers believe the fourth estate has been covering President Obama “just right.”

Only 7 percent said they believed the media was “too tough” on the president, and 22 percent said media have been going “too easy” on him.

Some of those polled included the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes, Associated Press’ Ron Fournier, NBC’s David Gregory, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas.

‘Ed Show’ in 3rd

The ratings for MSNBC’s new political show featuring liberal radio host Ed Schultz weren’t high enough to break MSNBC’s third-place ranking among the major cable-news networks.

“The Ed Show” sparked early interest on the increasingly liberal network, but its ratings topped out on its premiere date. Mr. Schultz drew 725,000 total viewers to his 6 p.m. show on Monday, 602,000 on Tuesday and 406,000 on Wednesday before inching back up to 498,000 on Thursday.

These numbers kept MSNBC firmly in third place for the dinner-hour rankings among the top four cable news networks each day, lagging far behind Fox News’ Bret Baier and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, while topping CNN Headline News.

Quotable

“I think this whole thing is fairly stupid”

— Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on the media hubbub over the Obama family’s decision to favor a hypo-allergenic Portuguese water dog over a rescue puppy, speaking on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

Warren bails

Noticeably missing from “This Week’s” Easter Sunday lineup was a scheduled interview with the Rev. Rick Warren, who had been raising eyebrows in the past week over reports of his wavering support for Proposition 8, and then clarifying his supposed backtracking.

Host George Stephanopoulous said the pastor, who offered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration, canceled his appearance “moments” before its scheduled taping because Mr. Warren was “sick from exhaustion.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at 202/636-4883 or [email protected]

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