- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 26, 2009

PALIN THANKSGIVING

The Palin family agenda for Thanksgiving Day? Sarah Palin will be running — not for office, but for charity. According to a Twitter message, Mrs. Palin and a large phalanx of her relatives will run in a 3.1-mile “Turkey Trot” to benefit the Red Cross in Kennewick, Wash. The family is registered as Team Alaska. It’s a big race: 3,000 runners are expected, and it could get a lot bigger with the Palin cachet, plus the curious press.

Part two: The big family dinner will be in the home of Katie Johnson, an aunt who lives in nearby Richland.

Part three: No mention of Levi Johnston, the estranged father of Mrs. Palin’s grandchild or whether he’ll be in attendance. Mrs. Palin’s abbreviated Thanksgiving message to the public, sent from her phone: “Much 2 b thankful 4 as Americans, most free people on earth! More opportunity 4 happiness/health/prosperity thx to our liberating Constitution.”

CHICAGO FEVER

The 2012 Republican presidential convention is already looming as a potential symbol for a newly energized party. And hey, why not stage the big doings in Chi-town?

William J. Kelly, running as a Republican for comptroller of Illinois, tells Inside the Beltway that the Windy City suffered after losing a bid to host the 2016 Olympics, despite rigorous efforts from President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. But there’s a little more to it than that.

“What better symbol of the GOP’s comeback in 2012 than to have the Republican National Convention in Barack Obama’s backyard,” Mr. Kelly says. “It just doesn’t get any better than that.”

The brusque cable sportscaster — arrested 15 years ago for heckling President Clinton at a public event — recently made an unorthodox appeal for a political endorsement - seeking the blessing of Todd Palin, rather than his famous spouse.

Todd Palin wins sled dog races. That’s a guy I want on my side,” Mr. Kelly observes.

CHANNELING OBAMA

Hollywood’s finest couldn’t have dreamed up a better equation: President Obama + big Afghanistan announcement + West Point = Buzz.

Indeed, NBC is bumping Jay Leno off the air during Mr. Obama’s speech Tuesday night outlining the president’s likely intentions to ramp up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Then there’s the packaging of the moment. Nobody’s calling it “Search For the Off-Ramp.” Yet.

Networks are taking the high road. CNN, for example, has titled its coverage “Decision: Afghanistan” and will offer almost 12 hours of material - the live speech followed by analysis by Wolf Blitzer, John King, Anderson Cooper and others.

And though she may pine to retire from daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey has ascended to another level: ABC will broadcast “Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special” on Dec. 13, described by the network as an “intimate, informative and entertaining hourlong special.”

There hasn’t been so much must-see Obama TV since July, when the president staged his fourth televised news conference and offered three “exclusive” interviews on NBC, CBS and PBS - all in five days.

WEARING JERSEY

We know that former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs will likely run for U.S. Senate in New Jersey as “an intermediary step” to a bid for the White House.

But the Garden State has special political allure these days after the recent election of Gov.-elect Chris Christie, a Republican. Ex-Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan has announced a run for Congress after he finishes one last NFL season with the San Diego Chargers. The offensive tackle plans to challenge Democratic Rep. John Adler next year in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.

The 6-foot 7-inch, 330-pounder is ready for combat.

“Win or lose, these will be my final games as an NFL player. I personally informed the Republican county chairmen that after the season is over I plan to officially retire from football and pursue a campaign for the U.S. Congress,” Mr. Runyan says. “I look forward to a successful end to my career on the field, and a spirited campaign in 2010.”

TEA PARTY PRIMER

“Tea parties” are a relatively new political and social phenomenon. But they’re already warranting serious perusal.

Witness “Tea Party Revival: The Conscience of a Conservative Reborn,” by B. Leland Baker, published by Outskirts Press on Thursday, is described by the author as an “essential guide to the growing grass-roots movement.”

The author, a 26-year Army veteran, has a little warning, though.

“This book is not for the faint-hearted. It will infuriate socialists, progressives, and ‘Republicans-in-name-only’, while earning accolades from fiscal conservatives who advocate the U.S. Constitution as a contract between the governed and governing,” Mr. Baker says. “Emotionally based arguments for more money do not erase the fact that the federal government has not earned the trust of the already overburdened taxpayer.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 134 million Americans will shop for bargains on “Black Friday.”

• 10 percent of Americans will begin shopping at early-bird events from midnight to 3 a.m.

• 29 percent will head out to shop from 4 to 6 a.m.

• 28 percent will go between 7 and 9 a.m.

• 66 percent will hit discount or department stores, while 62 percent will visit their favorite big-box store.

Source: A National Retail Federation survey of 8,692 adults conducted Nov. 3-10.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@ washingtontimes.com.


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