NEWS AND OPINION:
“In the aftermath of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris — and months after the start of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS — there has been little change in the public’s worries about an imminent terrorist attack in the United States. One-in-four are very worried about a domestic terrorist attack happening ‘soon,’ while about four-in-ten (39 percent) are somewhat worried; 36 percent are not too worried or not at all worried. That balance of opinion has not significantly changed since last July. The long-term trend on terrorism concerns has been fairly stable, except on a few occasions, since the fall of 2001,” reports a Pew Research Center survey released Monday.
There’s some partisan differences: 77 percent of Republicans report they are concerned about a terrorist attack on these shores, compared to 66 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats. Some Republicans remain ever vigilant.
“I fear we are entering new phase against terrorism, find ourselves dealing with more terror groups, safe havens, & capability than before 9/11,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Monday, followed by another that read, “In a perverse way there’s a ‘Jihadi Olympic’ contest between terror groups and Gold Medal goes to the one that can hit us here in America.”
PARSING THE WHITE HOUSE ‘ADMISSION’
In the case of big public mistakes, crisis management experts counsel the high and mighty to immediately “own” the error, confess, apologize and move on. Which is more or less what happened when White House spokesman John Earnest agreed that management over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue “should have” sent a major player to a unity rally against terrorism in Paris attended by 40 world leaders and 4 million French people. The big faux pas has a short shelf life, though. The dizzying pace of the news cycle will soon tumble the situation behind onrushing factoids and news bits until the flavor is gone and the press is tired of it.
Meanwhile, the admission was subject to interpretation by hundreds of journalists who had themselves a feast — for a while, anyway. Mr. Earnest’s statement was “a rare admission of error” according to ABC, CBS, The Atlantic and multiple news organizations. At the National Review, the White House was “eating crow,” at The New York Post it was all deemed a “mea culpa.” The Huffington Post admitted the admission was “a bit of a surprise” while Time magazine framed it as “blundering.” Opinions offered stark contrasts. President Obama is “no longer the leader of the Free World,” declared Commentary Magazine columnist Jonathan Toubin.
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“Obama’s mistake is no disgrace. America doesn’t need to march its president in the streets of Paris to prove its resolve,” countered the National Journal’s Ron Fournier in his own column — insisting the situation was a mistake but “no embarrassment.”
MR. DEMINT SHARES SOME KNOWLEDGE
“The Heritage Foundation is giving notice to those who use the law as profiteers, whether they walk the halls of Congress or Wall Street, who have bent the greatest institutions of the common good to serve their own ends. Our rallying cry: opportunity for all, but favoritism to none,” notes Jim DeMint, president of the aforementioned organization, in the foreward to a 192-page book published to the complement the “Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None” summit, continuing in the nation’s capital through Tuesday.
“The policy solutions contained within this book envision an America where the sweetheart deals are shattered and the smoke filled rooms are blown clear,” Mr. DeMint adds. Heritage wants to get the word out. Download the entire book for free here: HeritageAction.com/opportunityforall
MR. PAUL’s VERY BIG DAY
A certain Kentucky Republican appears to be indefatigable. Sen. Ran Paul journeys to New Hampshire on Wednesday where he will make a half a dozen stops in three cities — in a matter of eight hours. He’ll have morning breakfast with local legislators at a diner in Manchester, meet with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, then sit before a Second Amendment rights question-and-answer event at noon at the Londonderry Fish & Game Club in Litchfield, a few miles south of town. Then it’s off on a tour of a public charter school followed by another forum, this on Common Core standards — capped off by a meeting with local business leaders and activists at a sports bar that boasts a sizable list of lagers and ales, and much homemade barbecue.
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Is Mr. Paul upping his ante in the White House derby? He now counts veteran GOP strategist Chris LaCivita as a senior adviser, who most recently assisted Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas in his defeat of high profile independent Greg Orman. Mr. LaCivita was also as political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — and is remembered for coordinating the “Swift Boat” challenge to then-senator John F. Kerry‘s military record in the 2004 presidential campaign.
“I never lost a wink of sleep over it. I’d do it again tomorrow,” Mr. LaCivita recently told The Wall Street Journal. “We have to nominate a conservative who can win. Rand is first and foremost a conservative, but he’s not afraid to expand the party’s tent by competing for nontraditional GOP voters like young people and minorities.”
THE DAWN OF COLBERT
Goodbye Letterman, hello Colbert. At long last, CBS has revealed when David Letterman will vacate his late night throne and make room for the former fake Comedy Central news guy Stephen Colbert as his replacement. The new “Late Show” will premiere after Labor Day on September 8, with much on its agenda. “With an election year ahead, it’s going to be nice to have the smartest guy in the room on at 11:30 p.m.,” CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler assured the Television Critics Associations on Monday.
“I have nine months to make a show, just like a baby. So first, I should find out how you make a baby,” Mr. Colbert told the audience.
Ms. Tassler assured the audience, that CBS would be “letting him do what he wants to do.”
THE DAWN OF THE DRONES
Overhead coverage just got a big boost. “CNN has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to advance efforts to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into newsgathering and reporting,” the network noted in a very formal announcement on Monday. The network has already been investigating safety protocols for such things with the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups. Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem,” says CNN senior vice president David Vigilante.
POLL DU JOUR
• 50 percent of Americans expect the economy to stay the same in the next year; 54 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall say the economy will improve; 17 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent overall say the economy will get worse; 29 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.
• 38 percent of Americans overall plan to cut back on household spending in 2015; 36 percent will save more, 35 percent will pay down their debt.
• 24 percent don’t expect to do anything different financially, 21 percent will save more for retirement, 15 percent will get rid of one or more credit cards, 13 percent will make home improvements.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,255 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 10-15 and released Friday.
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