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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Caucus Click: Stopping for a Snack


Sunday Breakfast Menu, Sept. 23


Campaign surrogates for each of the candidates have been dispatched to the Sunday shows this week, focusing less on the unrest in the Arab world and more on the economy and current climate of the campaign trail. But first, the candidates themselves will appear on Univision's “Al Punto” for an in-depth look at their policies and platforms. Telemundo's “Enfoque” will air an extended version of a sit-down with Mitt Romney, who goes into detail about what some view as problems within his campaign and United States foreign policy toward Mexico and Latin America.   Representative Xavier Becerra of California will be on hand to deliver a Democratic rebuttal.

Former President Bill Clinton will be on C BS's “Face the Nation” to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting, an event that both President Obama and Mitt Romney will attend. The candidates and other world leaders are expected to discuss ways to work together on addressing issues like business, education and technology. Mr. Clinton will also appear on CNN's “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

Things venture back into partisan territory from there, as Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, will spar with David Axelrod, senior adviser for the Obama campaign, on ABC's “This Week” over the comments made by Mr. Romney in the secret campaign video and Mr. Obama's first-term record. Other top campaign proxies â€" Gov. Deval Patrick, Democrat of Massachussetts, and Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire â€" will face off on NBC's “Meet the Press” over the economy, taxes and reforming government programs.

Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Sen ator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, will have their own debate over which candidate has the upper hand on campaign strategy in the final weeks before the election. Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, will weigh in on the emerging details surrounding the attack that killed a United States ambassador in Libya.

Robert Gibbs, a top adviser for the Obama campaign, will also discuss the administration's handling of the situation in Libya on FOX's “Fox News Sunday.” Gov. Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, will appear on the show as well, offering his take on the state of Mr. Romney's campaign following the secret video and all the talk about taxes.

Bloomberg's “Political Capital” will host a discussion with Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi.



The Return of Joe the Greek


MANCHESTER, N.H. - About “Joe Bidenopoulos.”

When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. sat down at a diner on Saturday, wouldn't you know it, he met another table of Greek Americans - which gave him the chance to set the record straight on an earlier bit of campaign cheese some portrayed as a gaffe.

Visiting a diner in Ohio last month, Mr. Biden had introduced himself to a table of Greeks as Joe Bidenopoulos. Internet wags called it a tin-eared attempt to win favor with an ethnic group, or worse, an insult. “Vice President Joe Biden mocked a Greek,” wrote the conservative Weekly Standard.

On a two-day swing through New Hampshire, Mr. Biden visited the Airplane Diner here, and plunked h imself at a table with Marika Spirou, who reminded him that her husband, Chris Spirou, was once chairman of the Democratic Party of New Hampshire. Mr. Biden and Ms. Spirou traded stories, including Mr. Biden's description of a trip to Athens. Then he brought up the Bidenopoulos business, describing his visit to the Mocha House in Warren, Ohio on Aug. 31.

“I walked in and someone said to me, ‘We love you,'” Mr. Biden recounted.

One of the diners, “He says, they tell me you're Greek,” he continued. “I sat down at the table, all the press was listening, they made fun of me because I sat down and there were three older Greek men. I said, My name is Joe Bidenopoulos. Because he had just said that. And these guys'' - meaning the pool of journalists hanging over the table, straining to hear his words â€" “played it like Biden's pretending to be Greek.''

Mr. Biden chuckled and moved on to take a seat at the counter next to his wife, Jill Biden, for lunch.

The Weekend Word: Tax Day


Today's Times

  • On Friday, Mitt Romney made public his most recent tax return and some information from previous years, responding to political pressure and asserting that he paid a double-digit federal income tax rate for more than two decades, Nicholas Confessore and David Kocieniewski report.
  • President Obama and Representative Paul D. Ryan made back-to-back appearances at the AARP convention on Friday, each insisting his opponent's policies would threaten the future of Medicare, Mark Landler and Richard A. Oppel Jr. report. The crowd gave a better reception to Mr. Obama than to Mr. Ryan, who was met with boos at his suggestion of repealing the new health care law.
  • The Senate passed a stopgap spending measure, and then lawmakers headed home until ballots are cast in the November elections, Jonathan Weisman reports. And Congress lurched to the exits the way it started - amid partisan acrimony and backbiting even within the parties.
  • A special investigator has ruled that Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, did not violate House ethics rules for her involvement during the financial crisis, clearing the way for her to become the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, Eric Lipton reports. Her chief of staff is now the primary focus of an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee.
  • Though pop culture references have become a campaign fixture, President Obama and Mitt Romney's love for the television show “Modern Family” comes with a few politically sensitive elements likely to alienate both the liberal and conservative bases, Alessandra Stanley writes.

Weekly Add resses

  • In this week's address, President Obama criticized Congress for recessing when “their work isn't finished.” He blamed their absence for the lack of a farm bill, legislation that would have helped homeowners and small businesses, and a bill that sought to set up a job corps for veterans. “All of these ideas would strength our economy and help the middle class right now,” he said. “That's why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, members of congress should come back in November and do this work.”

Around the Web

  • Representative Todd Akin, Republican of Missouri, may have found a few friends to support his Senate campaign after much of his party shunned him for making inflammatory comments about rape. The Hill says that Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, is considering financially supporting Mr. Akin's campaign, and Politico reports that Newt Gingrich will host a joint news confer ence with him on Monday and attend a fund-raiser for Mr. Akin.
  • Three senators made cameos on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” on Thursday, Politico reports. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, and Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, acted alongside Amy Poehler, whom some may remember for her impersonation of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2008 elections.

Happenings in Washington

  • Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at an awards dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition will be held in the National Museum of Natural History this weekend. The event will also feature a “Women, Music and Diplomacy” gala honoring Madeleine K. Albright, former secretary of state.
  • The Library of Congress will host the National Book Festival on the Nat ional Mall.