- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2012

It could be a first in the annals of excruciating politics: the Obama campaign has used the word “damn” in a voter outreach. On the scale of offensive public language, it doesn’t rank up there, say, with an “F-bomb.” But still. It is a breech of civility, and perhaps a journey into casual familiarity that is unbecoming of a presidential campaign. And the exact phraseology? Here it is:

“It’s safe to say this campaign has run a lot of contests. But even I think this convention contest is pretty damn cool,” said Ann Marie Habershaw, CEO of Obama for America, in the opening lines of a fundraising email Sunday that boasts a face-to-face meeting with President Obama and a seat with first lady Michelle Obama during the Democratic National Convention.

In contrast, this is how Mitt Romney’s chief of staff Jeff Larson worded the first lines of a similar email outreach, also sent on Sunday: “The convention is just days away — and we are excited to watch Mitt accept the nomination in front of the entire party. Would you like to be there with us for that historic moment — when the confetti and balloons drop?”


Stupendous, colossal, patriotic, aglow? Looks like it. The stage and podium for the 2012 Republican National Convention will be unveiled with great majesty on Monday morning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum by none other than Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and convention CEO William Harris.

It’s big doings for the event, which touts the theme “A better future” and opens in a mere seven days. There will be a press conference as stage and podium — stars in their own right — are put through their paces.

Journalists then get to scurry forward and do their on-camera stand-ups and/or snarky remarks from the mighty stage itself, which measures 60 feet wide and 40 feet deep. And will it glitter and reverberate with mighty words of mighty Republicans? You betcha.

Organizers also reveal that 200,000 pounds of lighting and audio equipment will do the job.


Behold, here’s a politically charged cultural moment that could be repeated many times along the campaign trail: On Saturday, some 75 coal miners took to the stage during Mitt Romney’s appearance in Beallsville, Ohio, on Saturday. They wore overalls and work denims, their hardhats smudged with coal dust — and they were cheered by thousands of their own friends and relatives who had come to see the Republican presidential nominee in action.

The local press framed it as a “stunning” image from the Romney campaign.

“This election is his and Paul Ryan’s for the taking. They need to be bold and remind people of what we stand for, that we are the backbone of this country,” miner Tim Wales told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“Looks like Obama has lost the Reagan Democrats,” observes Glenn Reynolds, the “Instapundit” for Pajamas Media, referring to working-class Democratic voters with conservative takes on national security or immigration.


It’s robust campaigning that in another distant era would have been deemed “mind-boggling.” President Obama departs the nation’s capital Tuesday bound for Columbus, Ohio, then it’s on to Nevada for stops in Reno and Las Vegas and to New York City before his rapid return on Wednesday.


Here’s some very good use of a man who is as much a podium bulldog as Rep. Paul Ryan. Former presidential hopeful and House Speaker Newt Gingrich will be going into full speechifying mode at the Republican National Convention, now barely a week off.

The one-time college professor will host “Newt University,” a series of public-policy workshops to brief delegates daily on the Republican platform and convention themes, says chief organizer William Harris, CEO of the behemoth event.

“The goal is to prepare the American people with the facts to dispel myths and misinformation. Speaker Gingrich is one of our party’s most effective communicators, which is why he was asked to lead this effort,” he adds, noting that all “Newt U” classes are open to the press.


A few telling statistics, perhaps, from a public school on Coney Island. In June, the principal of Edna Cohen School barred the kindergarten students from publicly singing “God Bless the USA,” the venerable and patriotic Lee Greenwood anthem, during the youngsters’ little graduation program for parents and friends. Needless to say, an uproar has ensued.

“In a mass exodus, 25 employees — or 40 percent of the staff, including 11 of 28 classroom teachers, aides, secretaries and custodians — have fled PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, over the year,” says New York Post reporter Susan Edelman. “Most found jobs in other schools; some retired. Others are trying to escape a ‘toxic building,’ they said.”

Principal Greta Hawkins had eliminated the tune from the youngster’s graduation program, claiming it “would offend other cultures,” and was “too mature” in theme.

“These teachers really worked hard. The kids are losing more than anybody,” one parent told the newspaper.


• $145 billion: Total amount that U.S. hunters, anglers and “wildlife recreationists” spent on their activities in 2011.

• $55 billion: Amount spent by those who fed, watched or photographed wildlife for their equipment, food, lodging and transportation.

• 71.8 million: Number of U.S. adults who participated in those activities, an increase of 9 percent since 2001.

• $41.8 billion: Amount spent by those who fished in the U.S. last year, an increase of 11 percent in five years.

• 33.1 million: Number of saltwater and freshwater anglers in the U.S.

• $34 billion: Total spent by U.S. hunters on equipment, travel, licenses and other costs.

• 13.7 million: Total number of hunters in the U.S., an increase in 9 percent in five years.

Source: U.S. Interior Department (www.doi.gov) national analysis of fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation. The preliminary report was released Wednesday.

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