NEWS AND OPINION:
For everyone who marvels at the amount of time President Obama spends playing golf, here are a few numbers from the Government Accountability Institute, which has analyzed how much time Mr. Obama actually spent in economic meetings of any kind during his first 1,257 days in office, based on the official White House calendar and the daily presidential calendar compiled by Politico. Among other things, the analysis found that Mr. Obama spent less than 4 percent of his total time in economic meetings or briefings and that there were 773 days (72 percent), excluding Sundays, in which the president had no economic meetings. See more on this watchdog group here: https://g-a-i.org.
Meanwhile, BigGovernment.com analyst Wynton Hall took the findings further. “When it was recently reported that Mr. Obama had played his 100th round of golf, the president said that playing golf was ‘the only time that for six hours, I’m outside.’ Therefore, by his own estimate, the president has spent 600 hours playing golf, as compared to just 412 hours in economic meetings of any kind throughout his presidency.”
Politico opinion contributor Peter Schweizer also notes that the study found Mr. Obama spent an average of 138 minutes a week in economic meetings. “For comparison, consider that dog owners spend an average of 130 minutes a week walking their dogs,” he observes, noting that the researchers gave the president a broad definition of what constituted an “economic meeting,” and spotted him a generous two hours for each of the events.
“Still, the totals for time spent on the worst economy since the Great Depression came in shockingly low,” Mr. Schweizer concludes.
Naturally, the ever vigilant Republican National Committee has produced an instant video spot titled, “The Busiest President,” that pays homage to, uh, the aforementioned work habits within the White House. President Obama’s jobs council has not met in more than six months, though there was time for 100 golf games, 10 golfing trips and 106 campaign fundraisers. See the video: https://gop.com/video.
“Millions of Americans are struggling to get by in President Obama’s dismal economy, and Obama has ‘too much on his plate’ to focus on jobs?” asks committee chairman Reince Priebus. “What sand trap is he stuck in? The reality is President Obama would rather spend time raising money to save his own job than work to create jobs for middle class Americans. He’s out hitting golf balls because he’s out of ideas.”
Mitt Romney is feisty, Mitt Romney is bold. So go the myriad new press descriptions for the Republican presidential nominee following some effective speechifing this week. We can also add “deft” to the list of adjectives. Mr. Romney is making a little more political hay out of President Obama’s recent claim that “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The remark was deemed a misstep. But now it’s a little more.
“It wasn’t a gaffe. It was instead his ideology. The president does, in fact, believe that people who build enterprises like this really aren’t responsible for it,” Mr. Romney told a small group of mechanics during an impromptu visit to a Massachusetts auto repair shop.
STRUTTING THE ‘OUTFITS’
“With many Americans still unemployed, should the U.S. Olympic Committee have off-shored American jobs to make uniforms for American athletes in China? Are people overreacting to this situation? How necessary was it for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to demand the ‘Made in China’ uniforms be piled up and burned?”
That’s the gist of an invitation for the “first ever Made in China Happy Hour” for some 200 Chinese executives and other entrepreneurs who want to have cocktails, then get to the bottom of the “uproar.” The event is scheduled for Tuesday at a bar in midtown Manhattan — just three days before the Olympics opening ceremonies in London.
“Attendees are proudly welcome to wear their most symbolic ‘Made in China’ outfits for the occasion,” says one organizer from Golden Networking, the host group.
THE DEPARTMENT OF BLAB
Of a dozen major federal agencies, the Department of Agriculture is the best communicator, the Department of Veterans Affairs the worst. So says the Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit that bemoans the persistence of bureaucratic jabber, and draws inspiration from the Plain Writing Act — initially introduced by Rep. Bruce L. Braley, Iowa Democrat; signed by President Obama in 2010 and put into practice exactly a year ago. Plainly put, the act requires that government rules and regulation be written in “clear concise language.” Agriculture got an “A” for its practical effort in this arena, and a “B” for following the “spirit” of the Act. Veterans got an “F” on both accounts.
“Some federal agencies have embraced the Plain Writing Act, and others haven’t,” Mr. Braley observes. “Until these grades are all A-plus, we’re going to keep holding bureaucrats’ feet to the fire.”
Naturally, there’s a federal office for plainspokeness (www.plainlanguage.gov) which reveals that guidelines for terse talk have been bandied about since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, see all the agency report cards here: www.centerforplainlanguage.org.
“I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It’s liberals and Americans.”
(Then U.S. Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt, quoted in The Washington Post on May 4, 1989.)
POLL DU JOUR
• 58 percent of U.S. voters say President Obama has not delivered “change” to the nation; 76 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 51 percent of voters overall say that the condition of the nation’s economy is something a president “can do a lot about.”
• 71 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent overall say the economy is “beyond a president’s control.”
• 24 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats agree.
• 50 percent of voters overall say Mitt Romney would do a better job handling the federal budget deficit; 36 percent cite President Obama.
• 49 percent say Mr. Romney would better handle the economy and unemployment; 41 percent cited Mr. Obama.
Source: A CBS News/New York Times poll of 952 registered voters conducted July 11-16.
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