- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Would she be a frugal, wise leader with money stowed away in the cookie jar? Guess not. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign tends to be long on marketing but often short on substance in such matters — prompting the National Taxpayers Union Foundation to seek insight through Mrs. Clinton’s actual legislative record during her eight years as a U.S. senator from New York. Their findings might not bode well should she become Madame President as frugal she’s not. Overall, the watchdog group’s analysis finds that her average legislative agenda would have increased federal spending by $226 billion per year.

“In each Congress, Senator Clinton proposed far more new spending increases than decreases. On average, she supported $226.4 billion in new spending each year and $254 million in savings, for a net average of $226.1 billion in annual spending increase,” the study says, revealing that, for each dollar to reduce spending, Mrs. Clinton proposed $892 in new spending in each and every Congress.

“Since Hillary Clinton has yet to provide much detail on her platform, our data can step in to provide insight into how she might budget,” says Demian Brady, director of research. “Clinton’s propensity to spend without seeking off-setting cuts is clearly demonstrated in our research.”

SANTORUM MEETS STEPHANOPOULOS

Following his exuberant debut as a Republican presidential hopeful on Wednesday, Rick Santorum granted his very first interview to George Stephanopoulos, though the ABC News anchor has generated considerable hubbub in recent days. “I’m ready to do this again. Obviously, we learned something from the last campaign. Number one, we’re going to have more money,” the candidate told the newsman, promptly addressing concerns of blue-collar conservatives and working-class folk, key demographics in his voter fan base.

“When you see all these reports coming out, one after another, from the far left and the far right talking about how the middle of America is hollowing out and the jobs just aren’t there for the 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree — families are breaking down,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, has been scrutinized for weeks following revelations that he contributed $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. With Mrs. Clinton the lead contender for the Democratic Party, critics say the donation compromises Mr. Stephanopoulos’ credibility as a journalist and suggest he refrain from covering the 2016 race.

A recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that 46 percent of likely voters felt Mr. Stephanopoulos should be “banned” from covering the race; that number included 66 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats. And, obviously, the anchorman does not agree.

VISIT SCENIC VERMONT

Once upon a time — 47 years ago, to be exact — Vermont passed a law banning billboards across the verdant state, courtesy of some landmark legislation introduced by the late Ted Riehle, a Republican state lawmaker who had the support of then-Governor Phil Hoff, a Democrat. Both were determined to protect the scenery from gaudy commercialism. But time marches on.

In the welter of competition for tourist dollars, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing has launched a new advertising campaign targeting potential visitors from Boston and New York City, of course, along with Baltimore, Atlanta and the nation’s capital. Yes, the aggressive outreach does include a “healthy amount of outdoor advertising,” Steven Cook, deputy commissioner for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, tells Marketing Daily, an industry publication.

And the money at stake here? Vermont typically earns $460 million a year in tourism — and should the state go ahead and legalize marijuana, that would bring in another $75 million, according to a research study now under consideration by the state legislature. Three stalwart states still ban billboards, however: Maine, Alaska and Hawaii — and no comment yet from Sen. Bernard Sanders, newly minted Democratic presidential hopeful and former mayor of Burlington.

MARCO GOES TO VEGAS

Send us a postcard? Sen. Marco Rubio turns 44 with much ado on Thursday, journeying to Las Vegas for a private celebration hosted by Rick Harrison, star of the History Channel’s reality show “Pawn Stars.” Mr. Harrison is not much of a fan of Obamacare or the Obama administration’s treatment of small businesses. Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison will serve as co-host, as well as the state coordinator of Mr. Rubio’s campaign, billing him as a “new generation conservative.” Things are busy, to say the least.

“We’re hoping to surprise him by raising $44,000 in honor of his 44th birthday,” advises the Rubio campaign team.

AUTHOR O’REILLY AT WORK AGAIN

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, relentless author of such best-sellers as “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Jesus,” is back into this disquieting but popular theme.

“There are four books in the ‘killing series’ — Lincoln, Kennedy, Patton, Jesus. Right now 12 million copies of those books are in print,” Mr. O’Reilly told his vast audience Wednesday night. “The next book will be out September 22, and the title is ‘Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault that Changed a Presidency.’ Like all the others, this book will be somewhat controversial because we have uncovered brand-new stuff, some of it surprising. You’ll like it. It’s the history of our times.”

Mr. Reilly coauthored the book with Martin Dugard; it will be published by Henry Holt.

“Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after an assassin’s bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable — or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world?” the authors ask.

BEN CARSON TWEAKS HIS CRITICS

Politics can still be predictable, despite the best efforts of strategists and marketing gurus. Just as his critics prepared to dismiss him, presidential hopeful Ben Carson won a straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference and placed well in a major Fox News poll — making him eligible to participate in the all-important upcoming GOP presidential debates.

“The media and the political class don’t know what to do with us quite yet. They discount me by saying things like ‘Ben Carson has no political experience.’ For once the ruling political class is right,” Mr. Carson says. “I have never voted for a budget we could not afford. I have never voted to raise the debt limit. I have never voted to raise taxes. And I have never promised a lobbyist anything for a donation.”

POLL DU JOUR

65 percent of Americans say they are “doing OK” financially.

53 percent say they could cover a $400 extra expense without borrowing money.

38 percent of “nonretired respondents” say they do not plan to retire or will work as long as possible.

31 percent of working people have no retirement savings or pension.

31 percent say they have delayed medical care in the past year because they couldn’t afford it.

23 percent have some form of student debt.

Source: U.S. Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households survey of 5,896 U.S. adults conducted in October 2014 and released Wednesday.

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