- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Rep. Adam Schiff has used the House’s Russia investigation as his big break, becoming a near-constant presence on cable TV to raise his profile,” reports a Republican National Committee analysis, which based this conclusion on news coverage from Politico, CNN, C-SPAN, and other sources, including Nexis. Here is what they found.

From Jan. 23, 2017 until Feb. 25, 2018, California Democrat and the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, participated in 227 TV interviews — which totaled 26 hours, 4 minutes, and 10 seconds of airtime. Mr. Schiff favored two networks, appearing in 111 interviews on MSNBC, or a total time of 12 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds. The lawmaker also appeared in 87 interviews with CNN for a total time of 10 hours, 58 minutes, and 50 seconds.

“In comparison to his extensive television appearances, in 2017 Rep. Schiff spoke on the House floor a meager 10 times for a total of 36 minutes, and 29 seconds,” the analysis said, citing some telling headlines.

“Schiff has been described as becoming an ‘overnight celebrity’ in Democrat circles in the past year,” noted a new CNN headline this week — though this kind of observation has been around for a while.

“Schiff could use Russia probe as Senate springboard,” predicted a Politico headline almost a year ago.

The GOP researchers also point out that in the same amount of time Mr. Schiff spent in front of the cameras, he could have made 312 five-minute phone calls to his constituents in California — or walked to the Senate side of Congress and back 195 times.

“It’s clear that Mr. Schiff, who recently had no national profile, has used the House’s Russia investigation as a self-serving platform to increase his visibility and is incentivized to prologuize, dramatize, and overhype the investigation so he can continue preening for the cameras,” reported the GOP team.

DEMOCRATS PRIMED FOR MORE ‘INTERFERENCE’

A new Marist Poll reveals that Democrats already have pre-determined expectations about the midterms: 70 percent say there will be “Russian interference” in the November elections. Overall 48 percent of Americans overall agree with that — 32 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents agree.

A MOMENT IN THE PRESS

“In some cases, we’ve lost a big connection to what’s beyond the East and West Coasts. Journalists need to be more in touch with what the entire country is thinking, not just the elites.”

Now there’s a thought.

The quote is from Dan Balz, chief political correspondent for The Washington Post, delivered to a recent media panel which included Hallie Jackson, NBC News chief White House correspondent; Domenico Montanaro, NPR’s lead political editor; Shannon Pettypiece, White House correspondent for Bloomberg News; and Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent for Slate.com.

Mr. Balz was the moderator for the public event, staged by St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, home of “Politics & Eggs,” the must-do event for all presidential hopefuls ­— along with politicians with much on their minds. Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, will appear there next month.

One of the journalists, meanwhile, had a positive take on President Trump’s frequent tweets.

“It’s what he’s really thinking, not a crafted message from media professionals,” Mr. Montanaro told his peers.

“I see it as a statement of policy. These are the president’s words. He is not performing. This is the way he feels,” added Ms. Jackson.

BUSINESS IS BRISK

More very promising news from the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is carefully tracking businesses who are raising salaries or increasing benefits for their employees thanks to President Trump’s tax reform.

There are now over 400 companies who are looking after their staffs. The latest is Carter’s Inc.; the children’s clothing manufacturer has increased its employees retirement plan contributions by $20 million, and given bonuses to employees, including part-timers.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is expected to have a significant and positive impact on our Company’s future earnings, cash flow, and ability to invest in its growth strategies,” notes chairmen and CEO Michael D. Casey.

Other familiar brands which are offering similar bonuses and benefits: Apple, Best Buy, Disney, Hostess, Marriott, Pepsico, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, UHaul and Walmart.

PENCIL THEM IN

The old No. 2 pencil appears to be an unfamiliar tool to many children.

“Children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of an excessive use of technology, senior pediatric doctors have warned. An overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently to enable them to hold a pencil correctly,” reports The Guardian.

Kids are now doing therapeutic hand exercises to help them develop the knack.

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil,” one occupational therapist told the British news organization.

POLL DU JOUR

 38 percent of Americans would vote for the Democratic candidate if the midterm elections were held today; 5 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

 30 percent overall would vote for the Republican candidate; 79 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

 17 percent don’t know who they’d vote for; 10 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

 12 percent do not plan to vote; 5 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

 4 percent will vote for someone from another political party; 1 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 1 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An IPSOS/Reuters poll of 1,104 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 16-20.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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