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Inside the Beltway: Ron Paul’s optimism

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Rep. Ron Paul, addressing the Texas Republican state convention Thursday in Fort Worth, is looking ahead to the party’s national convention in August in Tampa, Fla., where he will have hundreds of bound delegates and other supporters. (Associated Press)

Rep. Ron Paul has more or less suspended his presidential campaign, but he has not suspended his hold on political influence, either among his devoted followers or at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Citing “the hard work and diligence” of his fans, Mr. Paul anticipates sending 200 “bound delegates” to the Grand Old Party’s grand old party in August. That number “shatters the predictions of the pundits and talking heads and shows the seriousness of our movement,” he says.

“We will send several hundred additional supporters to Tampa who, while bound to Mitt Romney, believe in our ideas of liberty, constitutional government, and a common-sense foreign policy,” the Lone Star State lawmaker continues. “We will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the convention floor. And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP.”

THE EVOLVING CLINTON

It is a teachable moment: Bill Clinton is honing some brand new media skills, now that he must negotiate a journalistic landscape that has changed, perhaps, since he was in office. Consider that Mr. Clinton’s casual asides were once a political asset, suggesting he was cozy on the campaign trail and in office. But alas. Jaunty commentary can be a liability in these excruciating times.

Mr. Clinton’s recent positive remarks about tax cuts and the business prowess of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, for instance, got stuck in the 24/7 media feedback loop, eventually causing Mr. Clinton regret. During an appearance on CNN, he apologized for “stirring up” doubts about his loyalties to President Obama.

“I don’t think I should have to say bad things about Gov. Romney personally to disagree with him politically,” Mr. Clinton explained.

“The fact that I was complimentary of his success as a businessman doesn’t mean that I think he should be elected and President Obama shouldn’t.”

But journalists are not much moved or pacified by such gestures. In review, a few headlines in the aftermath:

“Bill Clinton, will you please come home?” (Huffington Post), “The Battle for Bubba (Slate), “Is Bill Clinton off message?” (CNN), “Reality check: the limitations of Clinton’s clout” (National Journal), “Clinton aides: Bill screwed up” (Politico), “Good Bill Clinton Vs. Bad Bill Clinton” (The Washington Post).

HISTORIC MUDSLINGING

“I said to my liberal friend that we are fundamentally the same. I spend money like it’s my money. And you spend money like it’s my money.”

(Then Republican Rep. Dick Armey, during an appearance on PBS’ “Firing Line,” Sept. 14, 1990)

WEEKEND READING

Cheerful, tacky, bold, practical, patriotic, retro. That describes items from Kotula’s — “the guys with goods” — which include jumbo inflatable “islands” big enough for six people for pool or lake, 1950s kitchen furniture, cool-kid stuff, inventive ice chests, weird hats, lawn ornaments, barbecue and garden tools of every persuasion and yes, a dog-watering station shaped like a toilet bowl. The print catalogue is a snappy affair; consult www.kotulas.com, or call 800/931-3999,

BAIN NOT THE BANE

Continual caterwaul from Democratic strategists over Mitt Romney’s association with Bain Capital may be falling on deaf ears. A Monmouth University Poll finds that yes, two-thirds of voters are familiar with the venture-capital field. But 42 percent describe it as “good for the nation’s economy” compared with 22 percent who say venture firms are “bad.” As far as job creation goes — the major thrust of Democratic attacks on Mr. Romney’s Bain connection — 36 percent of the respondents say these firms create jobs compared with 21 percent who say they eliminate them.

“For most American voters, ‘venture capital’ is not a dirty word. That means the Obama campaign has to walk a fine line between attacking Romney’s individual record and impugning an industry which many voters view positively,” said Patrick Murray, polling director at the New Jersey-based campus.

The survey of 1,035 U.S. voters was conducted June 4-6.

THE ‘QUEER’ VOTE

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About the Author

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper’s Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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