Telephone Call for Action

Difficulty for farmers contacting USDA


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Call for Action

President Obama said this week help was just a phone call away for a corn farmer who had questions about potential regulations.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If you ever have a question as to whether we're putting something in place that's going to make it harder for you to farm, contact USDA. Talk to them directly.


So a reporter for Politico did just that...Or tried to.

She says she was bounced from the USDA hotline to the Illinois Department of Agriculture to the Illinois Farm Bureau back to various agencies within the Illinois Agriculture Department to a local USDA office which asked if she'd tried Googling her question to the Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Finally USDA media relations told her the subject matter does not fall within the department's jurisdiction.

Bottom line: "Still no answer to the farmer's question."

Money Matters

President Obama is outpacing his predecessors in the fundraising department. The USA Today reports he has headlined 127 events since taking office.

Compare that to his five most recent predecessors at this point in their first terms:

George W. Bush: 88

Bill Clinton: 76

George H.W. Bush: 90

Ronald Reagan: 63

Jimmy Carter: 44

Island Fever

Speaking of fundraisers, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been criticizing the president's vacation on Martha's Vineyard saying it's the wrong time and the wrong place for a vacation on the island.

But, the former governor opened himself to some criticism. Because, next week, Romney has a $2,500 per-person event on, you guessed it, Martha's Vineyard.

Romney's camp points out their candidate is from Massachusetts, the island stop is not a vacation, and he'll leave after the fundraiser.