- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2015

His grand presidential announcement behind him, Sen. Rand Paul has embarked on the initial fundraising foray of his official candidacy. His first stop this weekend is a private event in Newport Beach, California, in the home of a manufacturing maven, the tickets priced at $10,400 each.

The very swell affair caps off some intense activity in the last 72 hours — campaign stops in four states, contentious interviews and advice from Mike Huckabee, who suggested to Mr. Paul that he was now in the “big leagues.” And a pricey one. Consider that rival Sen. Ted Cruz has raised a reported $31 million for his campaign through a new super PAC — in a week.

But the Kentucky lawmaker appears prepared. He has coined a whole new branding term for himself: “Libertarianish” — using it to describe his political leanings before live audiences and in social media, along with such catchy phrases as “libertarian conservative” and “constitutional conservative.” And voila. “Libertarianish” has a certain ring — and news organizations including Newsweek, Politico, Salon, Reason, HotAir and the Washington Post immediately bandied it about as proof that the candidate was determined to distinguish himself from the GOP establishment with much vim and vigor.

More to come. Mr. Paul continues to shape a bold and deliberate libertarianish message, hitting the buzzworthy bases as he goes. Here’s just one example:

‘As commander in chief, the world will know that our objective is peace but the world will not to mistake our desire for peace for passivity,” he tweeted Thursday, followed by two more: “The world should not mistake reluctance for inaction,” and wrapping up the sequence with this: “And if war should prove unavoidable, America will fight with overwhelming force and we will not relent until victory is ours.”



THE NRA CONVENTION — LIVE

The National Rifle Association’s annual convention is now underway in Nashville, boasting 70,000 attendees, acres of firearms and a signature exuberance among the huge, like-minded crowd. Of note Friday: the sold-out leadership forum, staged in a 57,500 square-foot ballroom, will be streamed live online, from 1:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT. The place to find it: NRANews.com.

Here’s the line-up: Jeb Bush, followed by Ben Carson, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Gov. Scott Walker.

On Saturday, look for more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT featuring Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the organization; executive director Chris Cox and president Jim Porter. There is also a full roster Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. which includes appearances by Oliver North and Ted Nugent.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Tax socials”

— A gathering of friends doing their taxes together, complete with cocktails and assorted refreshments. Software giant TurboTax has taken up the idea and sponsored 3,000 such parties this season, supplying complimentary drink coolers and recipes for things like Taxaritas and Cheese Refondue.

“As it turns out, misery clearly loves company, and a growing number of Americans are making their annual financial duty far more social by throwing themselves a party,” says Ashley Tate, a writer for the online news source OZY.com, who covered the phenomenon.

‘POLLUTED THE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT’

With an eye on Russian President Vladimir Putin and a certain federal agency, Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has called a hearing titled “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information” for next week.

“For years, Putin has used the Russian media to consolidate power at home and divide societies abroad. The strategies employed today by the Kremlin are highly sophisticated and well-funded with an estimated annual budget of more than $600 million. Russia’s media machine has polluted the media environment, the truth is lost, listeners don’t know whom to believe, and fear divides society,” says Mr. Royce.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. has been slow to respond to this challenge and the agency charged with leading the effort — the Broadcasting Board of Governors — has a well-documented history of dysfunction,” he says, suggesting the agency be reformed, and be readied to counter Mr. Putin’s weaponized information.

FOXIFIED

How did Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace react upon hearing that Bob Schieffer was retiring as moderator of CBS’ “Face the Nation” at age 78? Mr. Wallace recalled that his own father — Mike Wallace — was still doing investigative stories for CBS’ “60 Minutes” at age 88. But Mr. Schieffer’s retirement also signals a cultural shift of sorts.

“Well here’s something depressing. I figured out that this will makes me the dean of Sunday talk show hosts. Because of my 11 years on the air, I will be hosting longer than any of the other guys. And I will wear my mantle as dean very proudly,” says Mr. Wallace.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter asked Fox News prime time host Megyn Kelly what she would ask Hillary Rodham Clinton if she ever got the chance.

“I don’t just want to slam Hillary Clinton. I want to talk to her about a lot of things. I want to ask her about gender. Is it time for a female president — and does it have to be her? How important is it for her to see a woman in the White House, irrespective of party? Is there any Republican she could ever get behind who’s actually a woman?”

Hmm. Interesting. A new Fox News poll finds that 80 percent of Americans say it’s “wrong to assume most women will automatically vote” for Mrs. Clinton — that includes 79 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Lauren Bacall’s apartment, The Dakota residence, built in New York City in 1882. Three bedrooms, four bathrooms overlooking Central Park; 4,000 square-feet, 13-foot ceilings, grand foyer, multiple original fireplaces, carved mantels, Great Room, original mahogany pocket doors, wainscoting, woodworking, built-ins, mouldings. Living room, library, dining room, office, laundry, butler’s pantry, exterior balcony. The actress lived here for 53 years. Priced at $23.5 million through WarburgRealty.com; enter 1368908 in the search box at right of website.

POLL DU JOUR

71 percent of U.S. voters say inheritance taxes are “unfair”; 81 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent of voters overall say their own taxes are “too high”; 68 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

34 percent overall say their taxes are “about right”; 30 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall say federal income taxes are “the least fair”; 30 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent overall say local property taxes are the least fair; 23 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,025 registered U.S. voters conducted March 29-31.

Hoopla to jharper@washingtontimes.com; follow her @HarperBulletin on Twitter.

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