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Sharron Angle and the makeup of the electorate

By Al Kamen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 3, 2011; 7:25 PM

Sharron Angle, the tea party favorite who performed a political miracle last fall when she somehow managed, against all odds, to lose to wildly unpopular Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) by nearly six points, raised some eyebrows last week when she showed up in Johnston, Iowa. She joined some prominent Republican Party officials and a couple of hundred folks at the premiere of a conservative Christian movie called "The Genesis Code."

Any non-Iowan pol who shows up in the Hawkeye State gets some attention. And sure enough, a Des Moines Register reporter asked her whether she was running for president. "I'll just say I have lots of options for the future, and I'm investigating all my options," she replied. She also talked of returning soon. "Please, just invite me back," she said.

Earlier this week, an invitation surfaced that indicates Angle's not sulking over her stunning loss but making the rounds - maybe working to lock up the women's vote? The invite was to a Jan. 21 "evening with Joni Rogers-Kante, Founder & CEO of SeneGence International, featuring Makeup & Skincare Experts Jeri Taylor-Swade & Amber London and special guest Sharron Angle, former candidate for US Senate."

The evening of fun in Vegas promised wonderful "Girlfriend time" and a chance to "Chat with Sharron."

"Sharron will be sharing her beauty and makeup challenges during the campaign and how she overcame them! She had confidence that she would look great with 14 -16 hour days & with numerous appearances daily . . . so can you!

Funny. If she was so confident, how come reporters out there constantly complained that she was running from the press?

We're a franchise

The spectacular political collapse of Japan's Yukio Hatoyama was already well in motion in mid-April when we added a tiny push by writing, after the big nuclear summit here, that the then-prime minister was "hapless and (in the opinion of some Obama administration officials) increasingly loopy."

The Japanese media went into overdrive, and on June 2, Hatoyama, who had agreed at one point that he may have been "loopy," resigned. And the word itself made its way onto T-shirts, iPhone covers, computer cases and such.

A Japanese T-shirt company, ClubT, announced "Loopy" as the winner of the most popular T-shirt message in 2010, and we recently discovered that it was named - by one of many year-end polls and lists in Japan - one of the 60 most popular words in that country in 2010.

According to a Web site called Cartoon Leap:

"In April, the English word 'loopy' captured the fancy of the Japanese media," the listing explained, "after a Washington Post columnist used it to describe Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's recent behavior, particularly with respect to the issue of how to handle the future of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, a major sticking point between the two countries."

Speechless.

No refudiating this one

Speaking of new words, the new ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), came up - inadvertently, it appears - with a new one that might be of some use: "Wikiledia."

Chambliss unveiled the neologism Thursday afternoon at a hearing on the nomination of Stephanie L. O'Sullivan, a senior CIA official named to be principal deputy director of national intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's No. 2.

Chambliss obviously was referring to WikiLeaks but managed to combine WikiLeaks, Wikipedia and maybe even the mainstream media in one phrase. Not bad.

Clinton in a squeaker

We knew the race between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, for most-traveled secretary in the first two years in office, was going to be a nail-biter - and it was.

But, in the end, Clinton, with a late flurry of January jaunts - including a six-day 16,500-miler to the Middle East - broke the tape with a virtual last-minute, one-day trip on Jan. 30 to Haiti. (The two-year count, compiled by our colleague Glenn Kessler, ends on Jan. 31 because a new administration's Cabinet members aren't confirmed until late January.)

So, the final standings:

Clinton - 165 days on the road, 40 trips.

Rice - 163 days on the road, 39 trips.

Warren Christopher - 148 days, 28 trips.

Madeleine K. Albright - 146 days, 35 trips.

James A. Baker III - 139 days, 27 trips.

Colin L. Powell - 127 days, 29 trips.

Try, try again

Speaking of the diplomatic world, there's buzz that the administration - as it promised - plans to resubmit the nomination of career diplomat Larry Palmer to be ambassador to Venezuela - even though Venezuela has said it would not let him into the country.

Relations with the mercurial and increasingly dictatorial Hugo Chavez have been most rocky of these days, but last summer, when Palmer was first nominated, the Venezuelan president signed off on the nomination - what the diplos call giving "agrement."

Palmer's Senate hearing went along okay, but there were concerns that he hadn't been forceful enough on Chavez's human rights abuses. So Palmer took a much tougher line on Chavez in post-hearing questions. Chavez then withdrew his agreement. (Pretty unusual for a country not to grant agrement, much less withdraw it, but we're talking Chavez here.)

After that, some diplomacy got things back on track and Chavez relented. But in September an accused anti-Chavez bomber was spirited out of a Venezuela prison (after being held there over six years) and got a visa to come to the U.S.

Chavez was newly unhappy, and things got off track.

More diplomatic work apparently got things moving again but State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, at a briefing in mid-December, came down hard on Chavez as "autocratic and for "subverting the will of the Venezuelan people" by issuing dictatorial decrees. So naturally Chavez the Autocratic Subverter was miffed anew.

It's unclear whether the administration can out-macho Chavez on his own turf and try to force him to take Palmer. He's holding the high cards. On the other hand, you don't want him deciding who you pick. There may not be an ambassador anytime soon.

Yuko Miller contributed to this column.

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