John McCaslin

Americans abroad are partying in support of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

This evening, in far off Milan, Italy, we're told, backers of the Democratic presidential candidate will each pay a 40 euros cover at Time Restaurant to hear "What an Obama Presidency Would Mean for America and the World."

"The Obama for President Committee of Milan" is sponsoring the event, which is sold out in advance because of maximum occupancy at the restaurant.

According to the invitation, professor Gianfranco Pasquino of the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will be on hand to spell out the "differences" between Mr. Obama and fellow candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Also, Jennifer Clark will explain how Americans abroad can participate in the primaries by voting online for their candidate of choice.

Meanwhile, our American readers in England will be interested to learn about an "Oxford for Obama Cocktail Evening" tomorrow, to be held in a basement flat. The cost is $20, at least for Mr. Obama's supporters, given this note on the invitation: "Hillary supporters: Please donate $40 and leave your buttons at home."

Believe it

Think you've been seeing a lot of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton lately? You're not alone.

Sure, the New York Democrat and former first lady is seeking her party's nomination for president, which will get anybody of her stature ink and airtime. But Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, says one study "has reaffirmed what many of us have long observed: media coverage of Democratic presidential candidates has been far more abundant and favorable than coverage of Republican presidential candidates."

If you didn't see the study by Harvard University and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, it finds that 49 percent of all stories so far this campaign season center around Democratic candidates, while just 31 percent involve Republican candidates.

Mrs. Clinton, furthermore, drew nearly twice as much press coverage as any Republican nominee, which leads Mr. Smith to think that the press is trying to "influence elections."

One question, on the other hand, is how much weight the press carries with Americans. Mr. Smith drew attention to another poll, this one from Sacred Heart University, finding less than 20 percent of those surveyed "believe" what the press reports in the first place.

Niagara falls

Communist China's "slave labor" is targeting every U.S. manufacturing industry for extinction — textiles, steel, paper, automobiles, toys, pots and pans, even ammunition. As a result, one congressman says, his constituents need "psychological support."

Rep. Steve Kagen, Wisconsin Democrat, issued the unusual plea for counseling late last week, after the owner of a paper company in the Wisconsin town of Niagara, population 1,900, announced that all of the mill's 319 papermaking jobs would be eliminated.

"The mill is closing. Period. It's gone," said the congressman, who points out that the company is the town's primary source of income and tax base. "And as Niagara goes, so goes our nation."

More fair

Number of federal observers sent by the Justice Department to monitor elections during the 2000 presidential calendar year: 750.

Number of federal observers sent to monitor elections during the 2004 presidential calendar year: 1,996.

Source: Department of Justice

Packing it up

One thing's for certain about federally registered political action committees (PACs): They come and go.

Since Jan. 1, 2007, we learned yesterday, 370 new PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, while 319 ended their federal activity and terminated. As of this month, there are 4,234 registered PACs across the country.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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