- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One more name has emerged onto the presidential campaign battleground. That would be Austin Petersen, who is running for president as a pro-life Libertarian, and has won a very eloquent endorsement from longtime political analyst Mary Matalin.

“In these tumultuous times of domestic and global uncertainty, the country would be well served with Austin Petersen on the national ballot along with the two established party candidates. The times call for, and Americans deserve, a full-throated, clear, coherent call for the restoration of those principles our founders divined and their progeny refined. Austin Petersen is a courageous adherent of and best represents Jefferson’s inviolate first principle: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” noted Ms. Matalin on Tuesday.

Following a nationally televised appearance on a Fox Business Network debate for third-party candidates, Mr. Petersen has become buzzworthy. The social media entrepreneur and publisher is only 34, and is now being billed as the ultimate “outsider” candidate.

“I may be the youngest candidate in the race, but younger men than I founded this country, and it will be young people’s responsibility to save it,” Mr. Petersen tells Inside the Beltway.

He celebrated Ms. Matalin’s vote of confidence during an appearance with Glenn Beck, offering a veiled poke at Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“She was so disgusted by he-who-shall-not-be-named, she joined our campaign and said, ‘What can we do?’ We weren’t even courting her. So apparently she was attracted to my message — being the only pro-life, pro-Constitution candidate who is running for [the] Libertarian nomination. And now I’m running like heck toward that nomination.”

Which is fast approaching. The Libertarian Party’s national convention is in Orlando this weekend.


On Monday the Central Intelligence Agency paid tribute to clandestine officers who died in the line of duty. The agency added four new stars to the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters just outside the nation’s capital. There are no names, only stars, on this simple, white marble wall — dedicated 42 years ago with 31 stars, each representing a fallen comrade, each cut into the wall to a depth of a half-inch by a stone carver. There are now 117 stars. The quiet event drew hundreds of employees, retirees and family members.

“For anyone who wants to understand the essence of the CIA, one need look no further than this hallowed wall,” agency director John O. Brennan told the gathering. “These stars, and the memories they hold, will forever inspire and sustain us as we carry on the work to which those whose stars find lasting peace in this finely chiseled constellation devoted their lives.”


“Trump Victory Committee”

It’s official, as of Tuesday. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus announced the formation of the 17-person Trump Victory Committee to “provide coordinated support to likely presumptive nominee Donald J. Trump.”

They have hit the ground running and will host the first official fundraising dinner in Los Angeles on Wednesday. It is a private event in a fabulous home, possibly drawing a few rare conservative movie stars — and showcase the influential cachet of host Thomas Barrack, a billionaire real estate investor. “We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us to defeat Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, ” Mr. Priebus notes.

And from the ever-confident Mr. Trump himself, who has spent $40 million on his campaign: “The money raised is an investment in the Republican Party and the future of our country, which, as president, I am going to make better and stronger than ever before.”


Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton has come a long way from her days as first lady some 23 years ago. After strategic stints as a U.S. senator, secretary of state and 2008 presidential hopeful, Mrs. Clinton has emerged with a determined, market-driven, seamless image projecting her as a wise, qualified, fearless woman of experience — or words to that effect. Then along came Republican rival Donald Trump. His campaign is now in attack mode. But there’s a reason for that, and a viable one: A huge crop of voters simply don’t know the back history.

“You have to understand that since 1990, and all through the ‘90s, we now have 30 or 40 million new voters who didn’t participate in the Clinton presidency years, so they don’t know this stuff. The younger voters don’t know this stuff, so it is kind of an education process for them,” Barry Bennett, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, tells the Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“I don’t judge these things in good and bad, it’s a necessary thing, unfortunately. The Clintons don’t play beanbag. They’re very serious, they’re very skilled. They’ve destroyed a lot of their enemies, so we need to do everything we can to defeat them,” Mr. Bennett explains.


“The National Safety Council estimates 439 people may be killed and an additional 50,500 will be seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes during the three-day Memorial Day holiday period. If the estimate holds, this will be the deadliest Memorial Day holiday since 2009, when 462 Americans were killed on the nation’s roadways, according to federal data,” says the nonprofit council.

“The estimate comes as traffic fatalities continue to trend upwards. In February the National Safety Council released its preliminary estimates showing motor vehicle fatalities had increased 8 percent in 2015 compared to 2014 — the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years.”


93 percent of veterans who served in the military after 9/11 are registered to vote and plan to vote in the presidential election.

80 percent voted in the 2014 midterm elections.

61 percent say veterans issues are “very important” in influencing their vote, 58 percent cite defense issues, 58 percent Second Amendment issues, 51 percent the economy and 50 percent homeland security.

38 percent say they are independents, 36 percent are Republicans, 18 percent are Democrats, 5 percent Libertarians and 1 percent Green Party.

37 percent have considered running for office themselves.

Source: An Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America survey of 1,501 of U.S. military vets conducted from January to June 2015 and released Tuesday.

Murmurs and aside to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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