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Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Weekend Word: Back to School


Today's Times

  • Cass R. Sunstein, who wielded enormous power as the White House overseer of federal regulation, announced Friday that he was leaving the administration to return to Harvard Law School, John M. Broder reports. He is departing with a record that left many business interests disappointed and environmental, health and consumer advocates even more unhappy.
  • Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, has a long history of making provocative comments about his opponents, but his latest volleys â€" in which he cited an unnamed source who claims Mitt Romney has not paid taxes for a decade â€" have generated more than the usual outrage from Republicans. Michael D. Shear and Richard A. Oppel Jr. report on the testy exchanges and how they grow out of a broader Democratic strategy seeking to disqualify Mr. Romney in the eyes of middle-class voters.
  • Mr. Romney is facing a worrisome underc urrent in Iowa â€" a state that is considered up for grabs â€" as the grass-roots voters who animated the caucuses are not fully behind his candidacy, Trip Gabriel reports. There is little doubt that conservatives want to drive President Obama from office, but whether Mr. Romney â€" who once backed universal health care and abortion rights â€" can generate the excitement needed to draw those voters to the polls is a question that worries some Republicans.
  • President Obama's 51st birthday party will be held at his Chicago home with strangers who made campaign donations to be there, marking another milestone in the transformation of the president who once tried to limit the role of politics in his personal life, Jodi Kantor writes. The party raises questions about how far the Obamas will go in mortgaging their personal appeal for political gain in the months before the election.
  • The “Obamacare” moniker, once a derogatory term for the Afford able Care Act of 2010, has been adopted by an unlikely group: Democrats. After three years on the defensive, they have resigned themselves to the fact that “Obamacare” has become the popular name for the sweeping social program and they are trying to spin it in a different direction, Peter Baker reports.

Weekly Address

  • President Obama took off the campaign hat during this week's address to root for his countrymen competing in the Olympics and Paralympics in London. “These games remind us that for all our differences, we're Americans first,” he said. Noting that Michelle Obama led the delegation there and reaffirmed “the special relationship” the country has with Britain, he admitted that he was “a little jealous” that he couldn't join her, but expressed the pride he felt watching Gabby Douglas win the all-around gold in gymnastics and Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. “And I'm just as proud of all o ur athletes in sports that don't always get as much attention,” citing the gold medals Team U.S.A. has won in women's rowing, judo and skeet shooting. “But it's not the medal count alone that inspires us â€" most of our athletes won't claim a medal at all,” he said. “It's the unconquerable spirit â€" that American spirit â€" that says even though we may have very different stories to tell; even though we may not look alike or talk alike or be dealt the same hand in life â€" if we work hard, we can achieve our dreams.”

Around the Web

  • The Senate gave unanimous consent to the Architect of the Capitol on Thursday to begin constructing battery-recharging stations for electric cars in Congressional parking areas, The Hill reports.