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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Polls

Relax, America, California's not worried about terrorism

Mickey and Minnie in the happiest place on earth

With that awful anniversary of 9/11 arriving soon, the thought of terrorism might well be on the minds of many Americans.

But not to worry, not with sunny California setting the nation's trends.

According to a new Los Angeles Times/USC Dornsife poll, two out of three California voters aren't really concerned about a terror attack at all. So, why should anyone else be?

Californians, who know it's winter somewhere when they see football fans in stocking caps on TV, watched the 9/11 attacks like everyone else. But now, a decade later, fully a third are not at all concerned that they or family will be involved in a terror attack. Only 11% were very concerned, likely transplanted New Yorkers.

Of course, Californians being Californians, they overwhelmingly approve of President Obama's handling of the war on terror, by a 2-1 margin, in fact.

However, when it comes to the decade-long war in Afghanistan, the most visible anti-terror battleground and now the nation's longest military conflict, Californians disapprove of Obama's leadership there, 52% to 41%.

Forty-six percent of voters in the most populous state have somehow convinced themselves that the United States is winning the war on terrorism. Fifteen percent are unsure, but they're probably from Arizona.

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Somehow many media miss James Hoffa's S.O.B. quote, but not Jake Tapper

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse, two carefree California rodents, appear in a parade at Disneyland. Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty Images

Presidential debate: The most entertaining, unexpected, weirdest and awkward moments

presidential debate Reagan library Nancy reagan 8-9-7-11

Quick take-aways from last night's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library:

BIGGEST WINNERS: Rick Perry, who did much better than not bomb, and Mitt Romney, who looked presidential again and magnanimous.

BIGGEST LOSER: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who wasn't there, but will learn this morning that he'll be joining the 14 million unemployed if virtually any of these Republicans get to the White House.

BEST PRESIDENTIAL PUT-DOWN: Romney calling the president a nice fella but one who's clueless about economics.

MOST OUTSPOKEN LIBERTARIAN: Ron Paul.

MOST ELOQUENT: Newt Gingrich warning moderators probing for differences among the eight Republicans that any minor distinctions pale in comparison to their unity over defeating Barack Obama.

LOUDEST APPLAUSE: See Most Eloquent.

BIGGEST AIRPLANE EVER HANGING OVER DEBATERS: President Reagan's Air Force One 707.

PINKEST TIE: Rick Santorum.

MOST ENTERTAINING CHRIS MATTHEWS BLOOD PRESSURE RAISER: Perry on this whole global warming hoax.

WARMEST FAMILY MENTION: Michele Bachmann, as message-disciplined as ever on Obama killing jobs, also recalling raising five biological and 23 foster children.

MOST PUZZLING PLAN ABOUT SOMETHING: Herman Cain's 9-9-9.

BEST FINANCIAL TIP IF THE GOP WINS NEXT YEAR: Buy stock in border fence companies.

MOST UNEXPECTED APPLAUSE-GETTER: NBC's Brian Williams asking Perry about Texas executing 234 convicted murderers.

BEST FIVE-WORD ANSWER: Perry asked to explain that applause: "I think Americans understand justice."

CALMEST CHINESE-SPEAKING EX-AMBASSADOR: Jon Huntsman.

MOST AWKWARD MOMENT: Moderator John Harris introducing a gotcha video clip of Romney that wouldn't play. So, the gotcha guy got got.

UNDECLARED CANDIDATE WHOSE ABSENCE WENT LEAST NOTICED: What's-her-name from Alaska.

WEIRDEST SUGGESTED ECONOMY MOVE: Ron Paul's idea to save billions by bringing home air conditioners cooling troop tents in Afghanistan.

BIGGEST UNANSWERED QUESTION: What in the world did Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart do to be denied a chair on stage like Williams and Harris had?

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Chris Carlson / Associated Press (Nancy Reagan and the eight Republican presidential debaters in the library's reconstructed Oval Office).

Urgent Democratic vocab alert: Pelosi bans the S-word (stimulus)

Democrat Nancy Pelosi Grabs the microphone 8-30-11

Actually, it's understandable. And actually surprising that ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) took this long. She must not be getting out much.

Remember way back in 2009 when D.C. Democrats were promising that the $787-billion you-know-what program was going to start you-know-whating the economy almost immediately with those shovel-ready projects that were going to keep unemployment below 8%?

President Obama even flew Air Force One almost four hours round-trip one day for a 10-minute speech to point out how well the you-know-whating was working in Ohio. The rate there is 9% now and, nationally, 9.1% with no new jobs created last month.

Other than that, all of Joe Biden's hundreds-of-thousands-of-new-jobs-any-month-now promises came true.

Fact is, utter the S-word in political conversation these days and chuckles are the most likely response -- if you're not among the 14-plus million officially unemployed. And the many millions of others who've given up.

Which Pelosi hasn't.

The S-plan didn't really S-anything sufficiently. But that's not stopping Pelosi et al from pushing yet another S-plan, this one maybe even bigger than the other one that didn't work. Can you say $1 trillion?

The unions would love it. And although their membership is only 11% of U.S. workers now, they make up a much higher percentage of the crumbling political base Obama needs to win reelection.

So, Pelosi has launched a campaign to pressure Obama to include some kind of gigantic "job creation" package in his grand Thursday night jobs address to Congress that will finally surely fix the nation's troubled economy once and for all.

He's had -- what? -- 961 days to get his economy act together and chew through all those economic advisors. Obama won't be calling his plans S-plans either. They'll be investments, which sound less lethal than another dying S-word, "spending."

Also, FYI, "Recovery Act" is also gone the way of the Obama administration's "man-caused disaster." Now, it'll be something about Made in America. Make It in America. That sort of thing. Which will make all the difference in the world.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pelosi on Aug. 30. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press

Late-night jokes: Obama's job approval now lower than his uncle's blood-alcohol level

Obama's Uncle Onyango arrested in Massachusetts for DUI 8-11As The Ticket's 72,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,100 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Letterman: Big Labor Day Weekend. The day each year we celebrate our work force. Do we even have a work force anymore?

Leno: So the U.S. economy created zero jobs in August. Zero. President Obama says don't read too much into that. How can we? There's nothing there. It's zero!

Fallon: Denny's is now selling The Mac ‘n Cheese Big Daddy Patty, a burger-melt with macaroni and cheese. I know what you’re thinking – no bacon???

Leno: President Obama's Uncle Omar is in trouble. Imagine getting picked up for drunk driving, jailed and the only person you can call for bail money is $14 trillion in debt.

Fallon: Hurricane Irene caused $7 billion in damages. Mainly to the bodies of people who ate a week's worth of food supplies in one night.

Leno: Did you see Hurricane Irene over the weekend? Got downgraded to a tropical storm. Now, even our hurricanes get downgraded.

Leno: Well, at least Hurricane Irene did something the economy couldn't do. It got President Obama back into the White House.

Letterman: Labor Day Weekend. Big annual family picnic. Geez, where are the hurricanes when you need them? Dennys Logo

Letterman: President Obama’s uncle was arrested for DUI. Here’s the odd part: His blood-alcohol level was actually higher than the president’s job approval.

Leno: As Hurricane Irene approached, 6 million people were evacuated from New Jersey. Today, three of them went back.

Letterman: The CIA is hoping Kadafi's weapons don't fall into the wrong hands. And I said, Wait! Aren’t they already in the wrong hands?

Letterman: Such a lovely day today in New York City. Warm, sunny, blue skies. So because of that, Mayor Bloomberg only held three emergency briefings.

Fallon: A new survey finds that half of all American employees have faked a sick day. While the other half have just lied on a survey.

Letterman: President Obama unveils his next big jobs bill this week. I'm sure that will sail right through.

Fallon: A new study found that women gain more weight after marriage, but men gain more weight after a divorce. Yeah, the divorce usually takes place after the man points out that the woman gained more weight after marriage.

Fallon: Big movie news: Box office revenues were up this summer, although ticket sales were down. I was so confused, I almost spilled my $30 bucket of popcorn.

Fallon: A cute story here. Beyonce reveals that she and Jay-Z are expecting a baby. That kid is gonna have everything! Except a last name.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Framingham Police Dept. (Onyango Obama); Denny's.

As big jobs speech looms, 77% say Obama has nation on wrong track

Obama Labor Day crowd in Detroit shows president how many years he will have in office 9-5-11

It could be worse.

But not much.

With only 427 days left before Americans pass judgment on Barack Obama's presidency, nearly eight out of 10 of them say in a poll that they believe the country is seriously off on the wrong track.

That 77% is up 17 points just this year. And it's the highest since George W. Bush went back to Texas.

Here's how bad the new ABC News/Washington Post Poll is for Obama: The good news for now is that by only a 2-to-1 margin (34%-17%), respondents say the Democrat's efforts on the economy have done more harm than good.

After all, with recorded unemployment at 9.1%, no new jobs created last month and no outlook for improvement, the number could be 3-to-1. And it may well become that. No wonder Rick Perry entered the Republican race.

It's so bad that Vice President Joe Biden may want to look around for a new top of the ticket in 2012, lest he lose his job and that lucrative rent on the guest house from the Secret Service agents protecting him.

Even less-than-conservative websites like salon.com are publishing anguished articles nowadays such as "What Democrats Can Do About Obama."

The former state senator appeared Monday at a Detroit Labor Council rally.

Introducing the nation's chief executive, Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. appealed for union members to follow Obama's campaign promise to shun harsh partisanship and to reason and work together with political opponents such as thjames Hoffa exhorts union members in detroit 9-5-11e "tea party" to build a better America for everyone.

Well, no, actually Hoffa didn't do that. He said many things about the tea party. But here's the Hoffa action sentence:

"Let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong."

Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer said Hoffa's "inexcusable" and "inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric" amount to "a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members."

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce asked for White House comment. You will be shocked to learn that presidential spokesmen declined to comment on the union president's call to take out tea party people, presumably not in a social dating sense.

This comes about two weeks after Joe Biden called tea party people "terrorists" and the same day he called them "barbarians" in a Cincinnati labor speech.

The new ABC News poll also revealed that a record 62% of respondents say they disapprove of Obama's work on the economy. In a measure of intensity that analysts called "striking," nearly half the respondents (47%) said they "strongly" disapprove of Obama's performance, while barely 15% strongly approve.

Usually when Obama gets in trouble like this, the Real Good Talker does two things: He schedules a round of fundraisers to hear the paying crowds cheer ("Thank you. Thank you. Be seated.") and he announces a "major speech" to fix things up. Oh, look! He's scheduled a major speech for Thursday night to talk about a jobs plan after 961 days in office.

Since all his other jobs speeches in recent months haven't worked, maybe one more will.

You know, how Obama inherited a huge economic hole and how he knows the recovery is insufficient (or nonexistent, depending on your employment status) and how he really wants Congress to finally get off its collective duff and do something about the problem that he and Joe said was fixed two years ago. Especially those pesky Republicans who didn't control either house back then.

In Detroit Monday, a tieless Obama warned Republicans, who were not numerous in the crowd, that if the GOP didn't accept the new job and spending ideas that he hasn't detailed yet, he is going to take his case to the American people.

Judging by the steady decline in Obama's job approval all summer and his pathetic numbers in this latest poll, Republicans can only hope that the Democrat carries through on that threat.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Upper photo: President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit. Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Lower photo: Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. at the Labor Day rally. Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Sunday shows: Cheney, Huntsman, DeMint, Trumka

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) with Dana Loesch, Jon Karl, Clarence Page, Michael Gerson, Carol Lee, Jared Bernstein and Douglas Holtz-Eakinformer vice president Dick Cheney Book In My Time

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Frank Gehry, Heather Knight, Zanab Salbi, Sheryl WuDunn and husband Nicholas Kristof, and Platon

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: DeMint, James Hoffa of the Teamsters, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Michael Duffy and Peter Baker

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Dick Cheney with Ed Gillespie, Bill Kristol, Kirsten Powers and Mara Liasson

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Paul Gigot, Mark McKinnon and Tom Friedman

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Rick Perry broadens national lead over Romney, Bachmann, Palin

Texas Republican governor Rick Perry demonstrates his brand of intense campaigning 8-15-11

Fourteen days after announcing his Republican presidential candidacy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has expanded his lead in a new national poll, while both Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin slide slightly and Michele Bachmann is in single digits.

A new CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans out today shows Perry now holds the support of more than one-in-four (27%), up significantly from the 15% he had before his Aug. 13 announcement at the Redstate Gathering of conservative writers in South Carolina.

Romney, who had 17% then, now has 14%. Sarah Palin, who's expected to make her candidacy plans or lack thereof known at an Iowa tea party rally Saturday, has slipped from 12% to  10%.

Bachmann, the Iowa native and early tea party favorite, has the support of 9%, down from 12% in mid-July. The congresswoman's win at the Ames Straw Poll seems to have provided a short-lived bump.

In a poll that removes Palin and non-candidate Rudy Giuliani from the race, Perry's support jumps to 32% and Romney's to 18%.

The latest poll numbers reveal the tectonic shifts caused by Perry's energetic entry as the nation's longest-serving governor. Perry's support is strongest among tea party supporters but crosses a broad swath of the GOP and appears to be drawing support away from Bachmann and even perennial candidate Ron Paul.Rick Perry campaign Logo

The numbers also highlight the potential dangers of Romney's strategy so far of focusing heavily on New Hampshire and attacking President Obama while largely ceding Iowa and South Carolina to other GOP hopefuls.

His strategy is based on the belief that, in the end, Republican primary voters will eschew the excitement of the moment and choose someone, anyone, they believe can defeat the Democratic incumbent on Nov. 6, 2012.

The new CNN/ORC Pollalso shows that despite his dedicated disciples' determination, Paul's national standing has faded by half from early August, from 12% down to 6%.

A recent Gallup Poll of Republicans found a similar commanding lead for the Texan with a broad base of support among GOP incomes, gender and educations. And a new Rasmussen Reports survey found 38% of likely U.S. voters agree with Perry's professed goal of making Washington as inconsequential as possible in Americans' lives.

Even further changes in allegiance are likely in coming days as Labor Day and the fall campaign season arrive.

In addition to  Palin's long-teased decision Saturday, this weekend features a tea party candidate forum in South Carolina run by Sen. Jim DeMint where for the first time Perry will mix it up with GOP competitors like Bachmann and persistent critic and fellow Texan Paul. Romney is taking a pass on that event.

Then comes a flurry of debates including one at the Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 7 and another in Tampa, Fla.

The same CNN/ORC poll found that fewer that three out of four Democrats favor Obama's renomination. The 72% who do is statistically about the same as the 70% who said that in early August but down from the 81% who liked that idea in early June. Likewise, those favoring a different Democrat as presidential nominee has surged from 18% in June to 27%.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Rick Perry shows his intense campaign style. Perry's campaign logo.

Credits: Jim Young / Reuters; Andrew Malcolm/Los Angeles Times

Late-night jokes: East Coast quake also cracks Nancy Pelosi's hair

Happy Nancy Pelosi 6-7-11As The Ticket's 71,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,100 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Jay Leno: A new report out says that a growing number of Americans are worth $1 million. The bad news: Last year they were worth $5 million.

David Letterman: Things are looking really bad for President Obama. His job approval is way down. He's up there on Martha’s Vineyard again. And it looks like he may be voted off the island.

Conan O'Brien: Oprah Winfrey is returning to TV with a new show. That’s right, that’s how bad things are in this country -- even Oprah has run out of money.

Jimmy Fallon: A new study says eating healthy adds $380 to your grocery costs yearly. Or as Americans put it, ‘Cool, I saved $380 this year!’

O'Brien: A brawl broke out during Vice President Joe Biden's recent speech in China. Apparently, someone was blocking the exit.

O'Brien: The stock market plunged today and the price of gold is at a record high. In fact, the price of gold is so high, today an angry mob looted Mr. T.

Letterman: You know that big East coast earthquake, 5.8 down in D.C. It was so strong that Nancy Pelosi's hair actually cracked.

Letterman: As you know, President Obama was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. It's really sad when your SPF factor is higher than your approval rating.

Letterman: If Libya's Kadafi goes, can that country get a functioning stable government? And if they can, for the love of God, will they show us how to do it?

O'Brien: Ford is working on a new automotive technology to enable your car to communicate with other cars around it.  The new technology is being called a horn.Yoda puppet this is

Letterman: I tell ya tough times for President Obama. His poll numbers are way down. The other day he went for a walk on the beach. And the tide went out.

Letterman: Regis Philbin celebrated his 80th birthday quietly with his money. 80 years old. Oh, and firefighters have the cake under control.

O'Brien: The American Psychological Assn. says that workplace incivility is on the rise. I heard about that from one of my stupid employees who I'll probably fire.

O'Brien: A year after their rescue, those Chilean miners are still unemployed. Most employers hesitate to hire them because of the giant gap in their resume.

O'Brien: They have a new GPS device out with Yoda's voice. Is it just me? If you are getting turn-by-turn directions, do you really want someone who speaks backwards?

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: (top) Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Credit: Yuri Gripas / AFP/Getty Images

(bottom) Yoda puppet that is. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

Sunday shows: Ron Paul, Fugate, Warner, Powell

Texas Republican Representative Ron Pau

ABC's "This Week" with Jake Tapper: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, with George Will, Donna Brazile, Ron Brownstein, Cokie Roberts, Robert Kagan, Robin Wright and Rajiv Chadrasakaren.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital" with Al Hunt: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Colin Powell on Martin Luther King Jr..

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Hurricane Irene coverage.

Fox News Channel's "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Fugate, with Bill Kristol, Dana Perino, Mara Liasson and Juan Williams.

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Fugate with Jamie Gangel on Dick Cheney's new book, "In My Times," Katy Kay and Michael Dyson.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo:Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg (Ron Paul).

Jeb Bush, still not running, denies any family split with surging Rick Perry

Republican former Florida governor Jeb BushSpeaking of Florida, the former Republican governor there, Jeb Bush, says he is still not running for the 2012 GOP nomination and he will, of course, support the party's choice.

However, Bush told Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto this evening, he may be endorsing a candidate before the contest is settled.

And the two-term governor denies any split between his family and the Rick Perry wing of the Texas GOP:

I’ve never heard anyone in my family say anything but good things about Rick Perry. Not with my brother, my dad, not with me at all. I admire him and I think Texas has got a great story and he can legitimately talk about that story as a candidate for president.

Now the longest-serving governor in Lone Star State history, the 61-year-old Perry as lieutenant governor inherited the top office when George W. Bush resigned in December 2001 to become president.

Cavuto asked Bush to evaluate President Obama's job performance, which has been sagging in recent polls:

I think the president was dealt a tough hand. He didn’t have the experience on how to deal with it. He made a mistake of outsourcing big policy decisions to Congress to Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team and that was a disaster. He’s made a situation that was bad worse. He is deserving of criticism for that.

He’s not deserving of criticism of everything, the common cold all the way up the chain.

And Bush suggested some Obama opponents err when they ascribe bad motives to the Democrat. People want solutions, not personal attacks, he said.

Bush then brought the conversation back to the nation's top economic issue: jobs.

I am neutral in the presidential race, but I am an admirer of Gov. Romney’s and I’m excited that he’s laying out a jobs agenda to set the agenda a little bit because the conversation needs to get to how do we grow so we can create jobs over a long period of time, not just short term.

Every one of these things in Washington that’s been tried, Cash for Clunkers, home incentives and stuff like that, the net result is it gets a little burst and then it creates a worse problem. My guess is Gov. Romney will have a proposal that will be longer term and create sustained growth and the election ought to be about that so I’m excited that in September he’s launching that.

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Obama bus tour meme: Washington (not him) screwed up and we should spend more

-- Andrew Malcolm

Keep track of this administration's spending; follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press (Jeb Bush).

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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