- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2011


Despite a mea culpa, NBC is not off the hot seat for cutting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, not once but twice, during a video montage during the recent U.S. Open coverage. Things have gotten complicated, though. The American Center for Law and Justice sent a letter of protest to both the network and the U.S. Golf Association over the incident, and has organized a public letter to “protect the Pledge” as well.

“NBC crossed a troubling line and offended millions of Americans by cutting the phrase ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance,” said Jordan Sekulow, the group’s policy director. “The phrase ‘under God’ is not a throw-away line, an afterthought.”

The letter — available online at www.aclj.org — calls on the network to “put a policy in place to protect the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety. Include ‘under God’ in future broadcasts of our nation’s Pledge.” The Media Research Center, meanwhile, is drafting letters to the nation’s religious leaders, ultimately demanding that NBC fire those behind the “brazenly deliberate” recasting of the patriotic wording.


Statue of Liberty, check. Image polishing, check. Agenda promotion, check. Jon Huntsman Jr. goes into serious presidential mode Tuesday when he announces his campaign intentions in New Jersey, with Lady Liberty looming in the background. Very picturesque. Very Ronald Reagan-y. Says daughter Liddy Huntsman of her father: “Dad’s way is a better way. Calm, reasonable and thoughtful.”

And speedy, apparently. Thirty-five minutes after he makes his big speech, Mr. Huntsman bolts for the airport, bound for New Hampshire and a cozy town meeting in Exeter. Political foes lie in wait for him, however. Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, plans a press appearance “to discuss Huntsman’s long and growing record of flip-flops on key issues and his advocacy for damaging economic policies and returning to the reckless policies that got us into this mess.”

Oh. Well, OK. Lucky then, that the nimble Mr. Huntsman will be in the Granite State for only a matter of hours. He hops a plane back to Jersey around tea time, then heads off to South Carolina the following morning, where he’ll file the required papers for his White House run during a visit to Columbia.


“Glenn Beck has spent a lot of time repeating lies about me. I can handle attacks on me, but last week Beck attacked the American Dream itself. Now that’s an attack on millions of hardworking Americans who just wanna give their kids a better life. So today I’m issuing a challenge to Glenn Beck to debate anytime, anywhere, about our nation’s future. I want the American Dream to be real again for all Americans. So Glenn: you ready to talk this out?”

Former White House “green jobs” czar Van Jones, in a 30-second MoveOn.org video challenge that the organization intends to place on Fox News and other networks as a commercial spot by June 30, when Mr. Beck’s contract with Fox expires


Twenty-two percent of Americans say they would not vote for a presidential candidate who was Mormon, while 76 percent say it makes no difference, according to a Gallup poll, a finding of interest to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., who are of that faith. But this is an entrenched phenomenon: The numbers have not changed since 1967.

“Currently, 18 percent of Republicans say they would not vote for their party’s nominee if that person happened to be Mormon. This may be less troubling for Romney in the GOP primaries, where the vote could be highly fractured anyway, than in the general election, where — should he win the Republican nomination — he would need nearly complete support from Republicans to be competitive with President Obama,” observes Gallup analyst Lydia Saad.

“However, John F. Kennedy’s success in overcoming a similar challenge in 1960 relating to his Catholic faith may give hope to Romney and his supporters about his electability in 2012.”


“I hereby resign as the Member of the House of Representatives for New York’s Ninth Congressional District effective at midnight, Tuesday, June 21, 2011. It has been an honor to serve the people of Queens and Brooklyn.” (Outgoing Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, in a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Secretary of State Cesar Perales)


Do we need manners police? Uh-h-h, maybe. Or maybe not. Among those gathering Tuesday at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Aspen Institute for “Conversations on Civility” are former Rep. Vic Fazio, California Democrat, former independent counsel Joseph E. diGenova and American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman J. Ornstein.

Organizers say the discussion series “examines the breakdown of our nation’s civil discourse and how this trend is affecting future political leaders.”


• 90 percent of Americans say the way presidential candidates treat their opponents is a “very important” factor in influencing their vote.

• 88 percent say a candidate’s “civility” is an important influence factor; 88 percent also cite a candidate’s personal beliefs and values.

• 84 percent say a candidate’s experience is an important factor; 55 percent cite the candidate’s political party.

• 74 percent expect the 2012 presidential election season to be more uncivil than previous elections.

• 67 percent say they have not voted for political candidates who acted in an uncivil way.

• 60 percent say the Republican Party lacks civility; 56 percent say the same of Democrats.

Source: A Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted May 20-25 and released Monday.

Scurrilous back talk, polite chitchat, innuendo to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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