NEWS AND OPINION:
President Obama has just hosted his 100th fundraiser in less than a year, according to a count by the ever-vigilant Republican National Committee, which has tracked the phenomenon across multiple news reports. The committee has done all the math to reveal that if Mr. Obama spends an average of two hours at each event, that equals 200 hours — or “five work weeks”.
The committee also notes certain events have not reached the 100 mark during the same time period, pointing out the president made 55 speeches on the economy, met 25 times with secretaries of defense Leon E. Panetta or Robert M. Gates, and held 22 meetings each with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mr. Obama also held 11 town halls and five news conferences, delivered three speeches on energy and three on housing, and held two joint White House meetings with Congressional leaders of both parties. Oh, and there were zero meetings with the anti-deficit super committee.
“While Obama was out on his fundraising blitz, Americans suffered the consequences,” the committee proclaims in retrospect, adding that the unemployment rate has averaged 9.2 percent, and the national debt has increased by $1,194,586,498,473.80 since the president’s fundraising push began.
The free-ticket lottery for the “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move”-themed White House Easter Egg Roll on April 9 is now open, and it will stay open through Monday morning for those who want a chance to frolic with a cast of thousands on a historic lawn. Find details at whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll.
But wait. This year’s special-edition souvenir eggs are also for sale; they’re purple, blue, green, orange — plus a commemorative red “Bo” egg featuring the first dog’s paw print. A single egg is $7.50, a set is $30, all “crafted from FSC-certified U.S. hardwood in a festive gift box.” The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, is the actual egg purveyor here.
And a statement for those who wonder about the money: “The National Park Foundation produces and sells the official White House Easter Egg to help support the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the White House South Lawn, which is one of our country’s nearly 400 national parks,” the organization says. See details here: easter.nationalparks.org.
“We draw on the indomitable spirit of those Irish Americans whose strength helped build countless miles of canals and railroads; whose brogues echoed in mills, police stations, and fire halls across our country; and whose blood spilled to defend a nation and a way of life they helped define. Defying famine, poverty, and discrimination, these sons and daughters of Erin demonstrated extraordinary strength and unshakable faith as they gave their all to help build an America worthy of the journey they and so many others have taken.”
(President Obama’s official proclamation recognizing Irish-American Heritage Month, issued Thursday.)
Oh, there’s plenty of blame to go around for rising gas prices. But President Obama and his administration bear the brunt of it, according to a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey released Thursday that placed Mr. Obama and company in the lead, with 18 percent of the votes. “Big oil” followed with 14 percent, “Iran and Middle East unrest” was in third place with 11 percent, and “the government” next with 5 percent.
Then the list goes, well, crazy. The public also blames speculators, followed by consumers with gas guzzlers, rising demand in China and India, former President George W. Bush, the economy, OPEC, greed — the list goes on. And on. But most telling. A quarter of the respondents simply don’t know who to blame, though they’re footing the bill.
HBO’s “Game Change” airs a week from Saturday; the big drama is a Hollywood version of the 2008 election. The network claims it’s a balanced portrayal. Many conservatives think otherwise. Sen. John McCain has already declared he won’t watch it, and that’s that for the Arizona Republican.
And Sarah Palin? Her political action committee has issued a snappy video for her rebuttal, called “Game Change We Can Believe In,” composed of much serious news footage that serves as a reminder of her political prowess, including Mrs. Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential debate with Joseph R. Biden. See the video here: sarahpac.com.
Super Tuesday dawns in about 100 hours. The quartet of Republican presidential hopefuls are busy, busy, busy, appearing in four states this weekend, pining for a share of the 413 delegates now up for grabs in 10 state primaries. Much of the focus is on Washington and Ohio, and events are primarily of the high-volume, town-hall variety. Alaska fans of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas are insisting that he’s coming for a visit. Soon.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich plans to rule Sunday morning. Seeking traction and buzz, he will appear on network morning talking shows on NBC, ABC and CBS. Meanwhile, here’s the master plan for one and all:
Washington: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Mr. Paul.
Georgia: Mr. Gingrich.
Ohio: Mr. Santorum and Mr. Romney (who incidentally will appear with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Cleveland).
Idaho: Mr. Paul.
POLL DU JOUR
• 86 percent of Americans expect gas prices to go up.
• 6 percent say prices will decrease; 5 percent say they will stay the same.
• 67 percent say high gas prices have caused “financial hardship” in their households.
• 38 percent say that hardship is “serious.”
• 37 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of Democrats agree.
• 54 percent overall say gas prices are something a president “can do a lot about.”
• 71 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 34 percent overall say the prices are “beyond any president’s control.”
• 43 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A CBS News poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 24 to 27.
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