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Inside the Beltway: Mitt Romney strolls along the comeback trail

It’s curious to note that former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney still maintains an active campaign website, which bears the notice “Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.” There is a public point of contact, social media links and a noble-looking photo of the onetime Republican candidate — complete with a message that reads “I still believe in the people of America,” plus a vow to pray for the nation.

Mr. Romney has re-emerged in the news. Rumors that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah have percolated for quite some time. He’s weighing in on weighty matters, like President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate agreement and comedian Kathy Griffin’s questionable photo op with a grisly prop head of the president.

Mr. Romney is also making public appearances. Last week, he headlined a fundraiser in the nation’s capital to benefit Yellowstone National Park. This weekend, he is in kingmaker mode, serving as the big draw for two fundraisers for Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. June 8 marks Mr. Romney’s fifth annual “Experts and Enthusiasts Summit” — the E2 Summit — to be staged in a posh resort in Park City, Utah. It is a convivial big league fundraiser, with big name guests. Last year’s event featured six GOP presidential hopefuls. This year, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham top the roster.

The event will not be a “Trump-bashing” festival says Kirk Jowers, a longtime local Mitt watcher who made his prediction to Utah radio station KSL. Yes, well. It was Mr. Romney himself who called Mr. Trump a “fraud” before he even arrived at the White House. Meanwhile, the summit is sure to be bustling; a call for helpful volunteers has gone out to Brigham Young University students.

What does it all mean? Simply put, it means that Mr. Romney is not quite done with public life, and it appears he may be upping the ante.

HISTORIC TRUMPISM

“New York City has all the money. And money decides who goes to Washington.”

— Then-businessman Donald Trump, to Newsweek on June 29, 1988.

A DISMAL OBAMACARE UPDATE

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services confirms what many critics of Obamacare have claimed. Things are not so good.

“From 2013 To 2017, states experienced an average of 105 percent premium increase with the median state average increase being 108 percent,” the federal agency notes. “During this same period of time, average health care premiums in the individual market increased from $ 232 in 2013 to $ 476 in 2017.”

Some states suffered more than others, including Alabama, where premiums are up by 222 percent, plus West Virginia (169 percent), and Missouri, Montana and Pennsylvania, each up at least 120 percent.

Sixteen states had premium increases below the national average of 105 percent, 20 states had increases between 105 percent and 200 percent, and three states saw premiums up by 200 percent or more, the agency analysis said.

PEACEFUL, OR MAYBE NOT

Land of the free, home of the brave — but America may not be the most peaceful spot on Earth according to the 11th annual “Global Peace Index,” which bases judgment calls on a complex gauge of social, economic and political factors, including rates of homicide and terrorism activities.

The U.S. is now at No. 114, falling 11 places over the last year, the analysis says, citing “internal conflict” following the 2016 election, among other things. Armenia and Rwanda are just in front of America on the list, El Salvador and China follow.

“Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark. There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen,” the report said.

Most U.S. allies are in the top-20 of the index, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Ireland and Germany. The United Kingdom is at No. 41, however.

The index was produced by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, which figures that the impact of strife worldwide is $ 14.3 trillion. News is not all bad, though. In a nutshell, the index found that 93 nations became “more peaceful” in the last year, 68 were “less peaceful.”

FOXIFIED

The Fox News Channel continues to roll out new political programming. Sunday marks the debut of “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton,” which focuses on the impact of the populist movement here and abroad. Mr. Hilton will host the hour-long show from the network’s snappy new Los Angeles studio, augmented by a trio of experts and a regular feature called “SwampWatch” — gauging who or what may be hindering President Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp.” Look for the new show at 9 p.m. EDT.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Original Frank Lloyd Wright home, built on 4 acres in 1960 in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. Three bedrooms, two baths; 2,647 square feet. Vaulted great room, glass walls, extensive built-ins; original fixtures and furniture are part of the deal. Natural wood and stone interior; foyer, dining and living room with massive fireplace, family room, modern kitchen with Wright-built island, office, finished basement; extensive exterior brick walkways. Priced at $ 1.3 million through Coldwellbankerhomes.com/Minnesota; enter 4726597 in search function.

POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans have “financial regrets.”

22 percent regret not saving for retirement early enough, 16 percent regret not saving for emergency expenses.

9 percent regret taking on too much credit card debt, 9 percent regret taking on too much student loan debt.

8 percent regret not saving enough for their children’s education, 2 percent regret buying “more house” than they could afford.

20 percent had no financial regrets.

Source: A Bankrate/Princeton Survey Research poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted May 4-7 and released Wednesday.

• Yays, yeas and nays to jharper@washingtontimes.com


Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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