- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A CENTRAL MOMENT

So. The CIA is a faceless, clandestine agency without a heart? Think again. CIA Director Leon Panetta hosted his first “Agency Family Day” for 20,000 employees and their families on Saturday, a source tells Inside the Beltway. Mr. Panetta got right to the point, praising his people for their “public service without any expectation of public thanks.”

“Our people do it for one overriding reason: They love this country and are willing to fight for it,” he said.

A proverbial good time was had by all. But Mr. Panetta had a special word for the many children present.

“This day is especially for you. You may not know everything about the work your mom or dad, brother or sister, aunt or uncle does each day. But remember the most important thing: They are giving something back to the country,” the director said.



NORTON HEARS A WHO

Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton announces her intent to run for U.S. Senate on Tuesday morning, one of six Republicans to seek the seat currently held by freshman Sen. Michael Bennet , a Democrat. But Mrs. Norton didn’t even get to put on her lipstick and get up to the dais before the critics pounced.

“We call on Jane Norton to immediately come clean on her work history in ‘government relations’ for the for-profit health care industry,” Michael Huttner, founder of ProgressNow Colorado, tells Beltway. “We also question why Norton did not register as a lobbyist when she was head of ‘government relations’ for a for-profit health industry lobbying organization. We want to know the full extent of Norton’s lobbying and whether she failed to comply with the law.”

Well. Sheesh. That was quick. Buckle up, Mrs. Norton.


HYBRID CONSERVATIVE

(Corrected paragraph:) He’s got a video camera and a mission to make big conservative noise. William J. Kelly - an independent conservative TV producer that produced a show for FOX on WFLD-TV in Chicago and an on-camera host on Comcast - is not beyond lunging at political candidates, bristling with “gotcha” questions. Mr. Kelly’s latest target is Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, now a Democratic hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Sen. Roland W. Burris. The candidate was racing to make a $500-a-plate fund-raiser at the Union League Club in Chicago at 8:45 a.m. Friday when Mr. Kelly stepped forward.

“Why are you having a fundraiser at the exact moment the first plane struck the Twin Towers on September 11, eight years ago?” he asked Mr. Giannoulias as the camera rolled.

The flustered candidate immediately withdrew his handshake and ducked through the hotel door.

“Another Barack Obama/Tony Rezko farm-team candidate running for higher public office in the state of Illinois. Oh, great, terrific,” Mr. Kelly tells Beltway. “This was shameful, thoughtless, selfish and typical Giannoulias. As America paused to remember the fall of the Twin Towers, he focuses on the rise of his own campaign.”

Mr. Kelly has been a gadfly for some time, and was arrested in 1994 for heckling President Bill Clinton over gridlock in a Congress controlled by Democrats. The new social media appear to be his ideal milieu.

“He’s a new kind of press entity. If conservative values are overlooked in the media, Kelly is going to go in there with a camera and get the values and ideas out there himself. And if no one will pick up the video footage, he’s going to put it up at YouTube and let the public decide what’s what,” his spokeswoman, Laura Grock, explains to Inside the Beltway.

See the bout between Mr. Kelly and Mr. Giannoulias here: The clip is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS9rWSjw5Uc.


SNIPPY AT 101

Anyone looking for the exact nanosecond when President Obama’s honeymoon ended with the press can now rest easy. It was on the 101st day of his presidency.

On Monday, the Center for Media and Public Affairs revealed that 59 percent of the print and broadcast stories on Mr. Obama were positive from Jan. 20 through April. That percentage dropped to 43 percent positive from May through mid-August. The group waded through 3,673 stories to draw this conclusion, so now, perhaps, it’s martini time for the crew.

Mr. Obama, incidentally, warranted 1,205 stories. In distant second place was Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with 107, the researchers found. Needless to say, 77 percent of the Obama fare offered up on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” were negative.

POLL DU JOUR

Seventy-eight percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats say the press is politically biased.

• 69 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats say the press is inaccurate.

• 60 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats say the press is too critical of America.

• 84 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats say the press plays favorites.

• 73 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats says the press is being fair to the Obama administration.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,506 adults conducted July 22-26.

Praise, condemnation, press releases to [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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