- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 20, 2015

He’s got the knack: Republican front-runner Donald Trump wields provocative ideas, blunt talk and inimitable style. Now it appears to be Sen. Rand Paul’s turn. He’s up next as the designated straight talker, with Hillary Rodham Clinton as his target, and her email scandal as the perfect vehicle.

“Why did Hillary need a private server? The Clintons are up to so many damn shenanigans, I’ve never seen anybody so abuse their public office to enrich themselves. I think even Democrats are having second thoughts,” Mr. Paul told an enthusiastic audience at the Mackinac Island GOP Leadership Conference in Michigan on Saturday.

The lawmaker won the presidential straw poll at the event, with Carly Fiorina in second place, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Mr. Trump was in seventh place.

“I think we’ve seen the crest of Donald Trump, and I believe we’ve seen the last of him leading in the primaries,” Mr. Paul declared in the aftermath.

Meanwhile, Mr. Paul’s biggest fan remains his father. Ron Paul — once a presidential hopeful with a devoted, gleeful, hybrid following — who has taken to campaigning for his offspring.

The elder Mr. Paul says in a new voter message, “228 years ago, delegates met and signed our Constitution. It has never been more under attack. I fear it will continue unless Rand Paul is our next president.”

“Whether it is auditing an out of control Federal Reserve or fighting the Patriot Act, the simple fact is, Rand stands up for you and me and our belief in liberty. The media plays favorites — they give Rand less time just like they did to me. Our message scares them. And it should,” the father says. “A Rand Paul presidency would be a threat to the status quo. The Constitution won’t protect itself. Someone has to stand and fight. That someone is my son, Rand Paul.”

TRUMP, MAN OF FAITH

“I’m one of you. Just remember that. I brought my Bible. See? I’m better than you thought.”

— Republican front-runner Donald Trump, to an audience of evangelical voters at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner on Saturday night; yes, he brought his Bible to the podium.

TRUMP, CARSON, BUSH, FIORINA

Some very simple numbers before we start a very complicated week: Which candidates are seen as “likely” or “not likely” to win the Republican nomination? Here’s the current cascade: 59 percent see Ben Carson as a likely nominee, 58 percent see Donald Trump that way, Carly Fiorina registers at 41 percent, and 40 percent vouch for Jeb Bush.

The survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters comes from Rasmussen Reports and was conducted Sept. 16-17; respondents could pick more than one person as a “likely” nominee. Follow the numbers as you would sports scores or stock market activity. Things change, and thus the charm.

PREDICTABLY CROOKED LEADERSHIP

Americans look askance at their government: 75 percent now believe the U.S. government is “corrupt,” according to a Gallup Analytics review of recent trends.

“The percentage of U.S. adults who see corruption as pervasive has never been less than a majority in the past decade, which has had no shortage of controversies from the U.S. Justice Department’s firings of U.S. attorneys to the IRS scandal,” the research says.

The lowest percentage in this time period was 66 percent. Gallup calls the whole phenomenon “disconcerting.” And, of course, the U.S. is not alone in this sentiment. On a list of 40 nations with a “free press,” Lithuania leads the way: 90 percent of its residents say government corruption is widespread. Sweden ranks last, with a mere 14 percent of Swedes frowning on their government.

“The U.S. does not make the top 10 list, but notably, it is not far from it,” Gallup says in its commentary. Indeed, America ranks 13th on the list, between Israel and Mauritius.

DEBATE MODERATORS: THE BLAB EFFECT

Between the CNN and Fox News moderators, who talked the most during the GOP debates? Yes, someone has counted the minutes and done the math. Overall, CNN moderator Jake Tapper along with Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash spoke for 25 minutes and seven seconds during the second debate, or 15.6 percent of the total candidate/moderator speaking time, according to the ever-exacting Eric J. Ostermeier, a politics professor with the University of Minnesota.

Fox moderators Brett Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, meanwhile, spoke for 31 minutes and 53 seconds, or 31.7 percent of the candidate/moderator speaking time. So by the numbers, the CNN crew was less blabby, though the debate stretched to three whopping hours. Mr. Ostermeier also found that the Fox folk asked longer questions.

“Whereas Fox moderators asked questions of a half-minute or longer on 25 occasions during the debate in Cleveland, CNN moderators did so only nine times on Wednesday,” the professor says.

POLL DU JOUR

77 percent of Americans say illegal immigration is a serious problem; 95 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent overall favor a “path” for illegals to become U.S. citizens; 36 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say illegal immigration is a serious problem in their own community; 60 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent would report illegal immigrants living in their neighborhood; 55 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent say it’s possible to deport all illegal immigrants in the U.S.; 44 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall personally know an illegal immigrant; 31 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 1-2 and released Friday.

Annoyances, chatter to [email protected]


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