- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

CORZINE’S TACTICS

“Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey is being dragged down by the weak economy. Up for re-election this November, a new Quinnipiac University poll finds him trailing former federal prosecutor Chris Christie by 53 percent to 41 percent among likely voters,” John Fund writes at www.opinion journal.com.

“Mr. Corzine’s basic problem is that only a third of New Jersey residents think he is doing a good job, and they blame him for high taxes - cited by 45 percent as the state’s biggest problem - and a general decline in the state’s quality of life. All this plays to Mr. Christie’s strengths as a corruption-busting prosecutor who says he will offer ‘real choices rather than fake reform’ if he is elected.

“That said, Mr. Corzine will no doubt spend millions from his personal fortune to paint his opponent as an inexperienced extremist. In 1993, such tactics helped revive unpopular Gov. James Florio enough that he lost his re-election bid to Republican Christie Whitman by only 1 percentage point,” Mr. Fund said.

“But Mr. Corzine will have to attack carefully. One of his favorite tactics appears to be already backfiring. Linking Mr. Christie to George W. Bush is falling flat with voters. Quinnipiac found that only a tenth of voters say Mr. Corzine’s attempts to tie his opponent to the Bush era are fair, with 77 percent of voters saying Mr. Corzine should stick to state issues.

“The poll also reveals the governor’s weakness among his own base voters. Mr. Christie currently wins almost a fifth of votes of both Democrats and African-Americans, high numbers for a Republican in the Garden State. Mr. Corzine clearly hopes to remedy this shortfall with a rally with President Obama in Holmdel on Thursday. This fall’s race will be not only a test of Mr. Corzine’s wallet but of Mr. Obama’s continued popularity amid a declining economy.”

TARGETING SPECTER

“The anti-tax Club for Growth is seeking to torpedo Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter’s re-election effort by draining money from his campaign coffers,” Jim Meyers reports at www.newsmax.com.

“Specter’s likely Republican rival in next year’s Senate race in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Pat Toomey, was until recently the president of the Club for Growth,” the reporter said.

“The organization’s political action committee wants to contact contributors who gave money to Specter’s re-election campaign before he switched parties in late April, and let them know they can ask for a refund,” Politico reports.

” ‘Sen. Specter agreed to return the contributions he received before switching parties, and we want to help him make good on that commitment,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman.

“The Club could get donor information from the Federal Election Commission database, but the FEC has a restriction against using its published material to solicit donations.

“However, the Club has asked for an FEC advisory opinion, arguing that it would not actually be soliciting money from donors but urging them to ask for a refund.”

BIZARRE CZAR

Dr. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy - better known as the ‘science czar’ - has been a longtime prophet of environmental catastrophes. Never discouraged but never right,” Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi writes.

“And thanks to resourceful bloggers, you can read excerpts from a hard-to-find book co-authored by Holdren in the late 1970s, called ‘Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment,’ online,” Mr. Harsanyi said.

“In it, you will find the czar wading into some unpleasant talk about mass sterilizations and abortions.

“It’s not surprising. Holdren spent the ‘70s boogying down to the vibes of an imaginary population catastrophe and global cooling. He also participated in the famous wager between scientist Paul Ehrlich, the now-discredited ‘Population Bomb’ theorist (and co-author of ‘Ecoscience’), and economist Julian Simon, who believed human ingenuity would overcome demand.

“Holdren was asked by Ehrlich to pick five natural resources that would experience shortages because of human consumption. He lost the bet on all counts, as the composite price index for the commodities he picked, including copper and chromium, fell by more than 40 percent.

“Then again, it’s one thing to be a bumbling soothsayer but quite another to underestimate the resourcefulness of mankind enough to ponder how ‘population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution,’ as Holdren did in ‘Ecoscience’ in 1977.

“The book, in fact, is sprinkled with comparable statements that passively discuss how coercive population control methods might rescue the world from … well, humans.

“When I called Holdren’s office, I was told that the czar ‘does not now and never has been an advocate of compulsory abortions or other repressive measures to limit fertility.’

“If that is so, I wondered, why is his name on a textbook that brought up such policy? Did he not write that part? Did he change his mind? Was it theoretical? No straightforward answer was forthcoming.”

IMPROVED BOWLER

Bowlers can breathe a sigh of relief: President Obama, America’s No. 1 sports fan, has improved his game.

Just over one year since his infamous score of 37 at an Altoona, Pa., bowling alley, Mr. Obama said he has played at the White House and at Camp David.

“I bowled a 161 recently; that’s not bad,” he said in a television interview with sportscaster Bob Costas for the new MLB Network. The interview was filmed just before Mr. Obama threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis on Tuesday night.

The president’s more than 13-minute interview was posted at WhiteHouse.gov, reports Christina Bellantoni of The Washington Times.

“I don’t want people thinking I’m taking off from thinking about nuclear weapons to go bowl, but every once in a while,” he said.

Mr. Costas asked Mr. Obama questions proposed by famous sports stars, such as whether he gets time to relax on his own in front of the television.

The president said after first lady Michelle Obama goes to sleep about 9:30 each night and he’s done with official reading, he finds his “most precious time” outside of family moments.

“If you can catch a ball game, open a beer, put your feet up and be quiet for a while, nothing beats that,” he said, grinning.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected] .com.

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