- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Those who are dismissive of Ben Carson and his presidential campaign should not underestimate the popular appeal of his common-sense observations — such as a simple message to voters produced as Mr. Carson rolled across Iowa in his campaign bus on Wednesday. Once posted online, the one-minute greeting had been viewed over 130,000 times with a few hours.

“I always enjoy being in Iowa with so many people who relate to the same values and principles that made America into a great nation. Hopefully people will begin to recognize pretty soon that we’re not each other’s enemies. And if we begin to think that way, we can really begin to solve the problems and save our nation for the generations who are coming behind us,” Mr. Carson advised above the hum of the bus wheels.

Adviser Terry Giles told Inside the Beltway earlier this year: “There’s a calmness, a humbleness about him. He has the ability to listen. Americans haven’t really seen these qualities on the public stage before. You have to remember that this is a man who has done 15,000 brain surgeries, almost every one a life-and-death situation where he had to sit down with patients to go over their options. This is a man who literally made life-and-death decisions every day. You do that, and you get really calm after a while.”

Mr. Carson will be in Baltimore on Thursday, incidentally, to meet with local citizens as the city sorts through the aftermath of troubled days. He lived in the city for 36 years and notes, “I’m meeting with faith and community leaders because I also believe that the people who love Baltimore must also take action that will help heal the city.”

A VISIT TO OREGON AND SOUTH DAKOTA

Rev up Air Force One. President Obama journeys to Oregon on Thursday for two reasons. First he’ll attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a hotel in Portland to support the organization’s 2016 White House Victory Fund - tickets up to $10,000 each. Then it’s on to Nike headquarters in Beaverton on Friday to talk up “progressive, high-standards trade agreements that would open up new markets and support high-quality jobs for businesses large and small,” according to the White House.

Some question the logic of the visit.

“Nike made $12.4 billion in profits last year, thanks in large part to 1 million subcontracted workers at factories primarily in low-wage countries in Asia. For years, the company has faced allegations that a number of those factories use sweatshop conditions and illegally low wages to produce sneakers and clothes that Nike then sells in much wealthier countries,” writes National Journal’s White House correspondent S.V. Date.

“According to a 2014 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the only things Nike manufactures in the United States are ‘Air-Sole’ cushion components and ‘small amounts’ of other plastic products it sells to other manufacturers,” he notes.

The locals are bracing for the visit.

“Get ready for Obama Jam 2015. President Obama’s visits to Portland in recent years have created epic traffic jams,” Joseph Rose, a columnist for The Oregonian, warned his readers. “Obama’s trip to the Portland area this Thursday and Friday could wind up creating not just one but two days of nightmarish gridlock for commuters.”

But wait, there’s more. Mr. Obama also pays his very first visit to South Dakota on Friday, the featured speaker at commencement ceremonies for the Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown.

HOLA, HILLARY

A poll of registered Latino voters released six months ago contains telling results for Hillary Rodham Clinton and her quest for the White House. How important is her support — and potential expansion — of President Obama’s executive amnesty proposal to this coveted voting bloc? The poll found that if Mrs. Clinton backs the executive order, 85 percent of Latino voters said they would likely support her for president; 11 percent would not. If she lets the order expire, she’d only earn 37 percent of Latino support. The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions, Presente.org, NALACC and Mi Familia Vota in November.

Keep in mind that a record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, according to the Pew Hispanic Center; 71 percent supported Mr. Obama and 27 percent Mitt Romney. The Republican Party continues to reach out to Latinos, seeking to establish common ties based on faith, a strong work ethic and belief in traditional values — with outreach programs in 11 states.

“More than 60,000 Hispanics turn 18 each month. If we don’t talk to these new or independent voters, how will they ever hear from Republicans?” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in March. “That’s why this matters. That’s why I said two years ago things were going to change. And that’s why I’ve kept my word.”

UNHAPPY WEEK AT AL JAZEERA AMERICA

The ambitious Qatar-based news network that essentially grew out of Al Gore’s Current TV two years ago now has its own drama. Al Jazeera America was first slapped with a $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit by a former employee last week, followed by the resignation of three top executives — all women — on Monday. Chief executive Ehab Al Shihabi was ousted without warning on Wednesday afternoon, to be replaced by Al Anstey, previously managing director for Al Jazeera English, based in London. There was considerable news coverage of the turmoil, complete with anecdotal chatter about poor morale and negative corporate culture within the troubled network. Mr. Anstey, however, issued a statement:

“Having started my career with CBS News, and lived in the U.S. later in my career, I’m very pleased to be returning to the U.S. to continue to uphold the highest standards of organizational excellence at the channel, with an absolute commitment to the very best in journalism and storytelling,” he said.

And the background: Al Jazeera America was launched in 2013 after Qatar’s financial backers purchased Mr. Gore’s network for $500 million, later investing a reported $1.5 billion in staff hires, studios and other facilities. The network’s nightly audience averaged around 30,000 viewers; Fox News typically draws about 2 million.

IN REMEMBRANCE AND HONOR

Just revealed: Here’s who’s in the lineup for the 2015 National Memorial Day Parade along Constitution Ave. in the nation’s capital at month’s end, the largest Memorial Day event in the country. Organizers say the most important guests are dozens of surviving veterans from World War II who will act as grand marshals “representing the 16 million who have served and more than 400,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Also on hand: Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna, celebrity chef Robert Irvine, guest singers Billy Corgan and “American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, TNA Wrestling stars, including Army vet Chris Melendez, and country artist Beau Davidson.

All are mindful of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Additionally, anyone can “march” with the troops online at Virtualbootsontheground.com. More information can be found here: Americanveteranscenter.org/parade.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of Americans say “strength and experience” is most important in a presidential candidate; 59 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent overall say “new directions and new ideas” are more important in a candidate; 37 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall say an ideal candidate should be between 50 and 59 years old; 53 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say an ideal candidate should be between 40 and 49 years old; 37 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent overall say an ideal candidate should be younger than 40; 5 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

8 percent overall say an ideal candidate should be between 60 and 69 years old; 4 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 988 U.S. adults conducted April 22-24 and released Monday.

Cranky asides, reluctant agreement to [email protected]

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