In the Loop

No Scruffies, Just Princetonians

By Al Kamen
Tuesday, September 14, 2010; 10:34 PM

Look for President Obama to have a relatively polished and well-mannered crowd at his Monday town hall in the Washington area.

A chunk of the audience is likely to be Princeton graduates, judging from an ALUMNI ALERT! e-mail from the Princeton Club of Washington that someone passed on about the event.

"The Princeton Club of Washington has received a TIME-SENSITIVE INVITATION," the e-mail said, " to participate in a TOWN HALL with President Obama on Sept. 20."

Here's what the invite, from CNBC, said:

CNBC will be holding a special live Town Hall event from Washington D.C., featuring President Barack Obama. We would like to invite you to be a member of the audience. We want your voice to be heard. We are looking to capture the sentiment of the nation ahead of the mid-term elections. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask their questions directly to the President during the live event.

Also, CNBC said, "Please write a question you would like to ask or have answered by the President."

So don't look for scruffy folks yelling about the Tenth Amendment and Obamacare. (Well, they might be there, but they won't be scruffy.)

Yes, Japan, we still care

The Japanese, as Loop Fans have learned in recent months, are hyper-sensitive about what U.S. officials say - or maybe don't say - about their country, gleaning significance in every utterance.

They went into a frenzy last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a broad policy address to the Council on Foreign Relations and said "we reaffirmed our bonds with close allies like South Korea, Japan, Australia . . ."

Sounds okay, but the Yomiuri Shimbun, the country's largest daily, had this headline: "Japan is Lower Than South Korea in the Ranking of U.S. Allies in Asia."

The newspaper said this changed the order traditionally used in the past: Japan, South Korea and Australia, and this related to tensions over the U.S. base in Okinawa. "Some Japan experts in the U.S. speculate that it's a message" from the administration "to get Japan to realize . . . that the U.S. has reviewed Japan's ranking."

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