- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A new presidential library has officially arrived.

The Obama Presidential Center became a reality Tuesday afternoon with a formal ground-breaking ceremony in a historic park on the south side of Chicago. The occasion marked the public introduction of a 19-acre complex that will include research facilities, a museum and archives — along with a sledding hill, a recording studio and a gym.

Both former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were part of the program marking the emergence of the “OPC” — described by the organizers as “a university for activism and social change” and a “global hub.”

“I believe we have it in us to reimagine our institutions,” Mr. Obama said in a speech during the ceremony, offering substantial descriptions of the center itself.

“There will be, at the top, an incredible room where people can look out over the Chicago landscape. We’ll have a branch of the Chicago Library here. We’ll have classrooms and recording studios, where young people can learn how to tell their stories,” he said.



Construction on the center was delayed by several years after the activist group Protect Our Parks claimed in a federal lawsuit that the historically significant land for the library had been illegally transferred to the Obama Foundation. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in 2019.

The center is now destined to be completed in four years, at a cost of $830 million.

“Documents released by the Obama Foundation show $700 million is for construction; $90 million will be for preparing exhibits and artifacts; and $40 million will be allocated for the first year of operating costs,” noted The Associated Press in an analysis of the documents released in August.

Curious about the plans and the center? Consult Obama.org.

FOX NEWS THE TOP NETWORK AGAIN

Tenacity and a sense of both mission and style have paid off for Fox News. The cable news network is marking its 25th anniversary with another quarter as the highest-rated cable network, besting both the news and non-news competition.

Fox News Channel (FNC) completed the most recent quarter of 2021 as the most-watched network in all of basic cable with total daytime and prime-time viewers, marking FNC’s 25th anniversary delivering its highest-rated quarter of the year in both total viewers and the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic,” the network said in a statement.

“According to Nielsen Media Research, FNC crushed the competition across the board, beating CNN and MSNBC combined in total day and prime-time total viewers and the 25-54-year-old demo for both the quarter and month of September,” Fox News said.

And the most recent ratings numbers from Nielsen: Fox News enjoyed 2.4 million viewers during the prime-time hours; MSNBC drew 1.3 million and CNN 822,000.

ESPN was the top non-news competitor with an audience of 1.2 million, followed by HGTV (1 million) and TLC (896,000).

Prime-time host Tucker Carlson remains the biggest draw for Fox News, averaging 3.2 million viewers each night, followed by “The Five” with an audience of 3 million. Fellow hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were not far behind, with 2.9 million and 2.3 million viewers, respectively.

Last but certainly not least, Fox News claimed 13 of the top 14 cable news programs during the month of September.

A MOMENT WITH TRUMP

Why do the challenges on the southern border continue? Former President Donald Trump offered a blunt reason.

“You look at the border, countries are emptying out their prisons, we are like a dumping ground. This country has changed so much in eight months, more than it has ever changed in its history, in my opinion,” Mr. Trump told Tom Bevan, co-founder and president of RealClear Politics, in an interview published Tuesday.

Mr. Trump deemed President Biden’s handling of the border trouble “the most incompetent thing I’ve ever seen — until I saw the Afghan withdrawal.”

The 45th president also had a comment on strategy.

“I ask what the Republican Party should do to hold on to the gains he made as the GOP looks to next year’s midterms and beyond,” Mr. Bevan wrote.

“He responds with the most concise answer of our entire 90-minute interview: ‘They have to hold on to Donald Trump.’”

THE TALKERS HAVE A SAY

Some 60 national and local talk radio hosts arrive in the nation’s capital on Wednesday to have a say about immigration in a two-day event organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest organization. The hosts hail from 20 states — including Texas, California and Florida.

The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” features live broadcasts and discussion from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time from a site that essentially overlooks the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers, policy experts and law enforcement officials are among the contributors, set to address the current challenges along the southern border.

“The Biden-Harris administration has taken a torch to every aspect of U.S. policy and law, with disastrous results,” said Bob Dane, executive director of the host organization — found at Fairus.org.

“The purpose of this year’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is to make sure that the administration and Congress feels the heat of the American public’s overwhelming rejection of their reckless and politically driven policies,” Mr. Dane noted.

POLL DU JOUR

• 42% of U.S. adults say they feel “pessimistic” about the next few years “with Joe Biden in office”; 80% of Republicans, 48% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.

• 47% of men and 36% of women also agree.

• 38% overall feel optimistic; 10% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 76% of Democrats agree.

• 38% of men and 39% of women also agree.

• 20% overall are not sure; 10% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 14% of Democrats agree.

• 15% of men and 25% of women also agree.

SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 18-21.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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