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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Weekend Word: Empty Benches


Today's Times

  • When President Obama ends this term, he will have made dozens fewer appointments to lower courts than the two previous presidents, in large part because of a deliberate political strategy, Charlie Savage reports. Mr. Obama has moved slowly to nominate appeals court judges and sought relatively moderate jurists who he hoped would not provoke culture wars that distracted attention from his ambitious legislative agenda.
  • Much has been written about Representative Paul D. Ryan's intellectual influences, but since coming to Washington, he has become a particular favorite of â€" and powerful influence on â€" the intellectuals, economists, writers and policy makers who are at the heart of the conservative establishment, Annie Lowrey writes.
  • The announcement of this year's moderators for the presidential debates exposed a gulf between a new media environment and the secretive Commi ssion on Presidential Debates, Brian Stelter and Trip Gabriel report. Despite the selection of CNN's Candy Crowley as the first female moderator in 20 years, strategists are complaining that the four moderators are “pretty mainstream” and lack diversity.
  • One way Mr. Ryan is the lid to Mitt Romney's pot is the approachability and comfort level he inspires in everyday people, Trip Gabriel writes. He has completed his first week as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, easily passing the “deer in the headlights” test that undermined the rollout of earlier Republican vice-presidential picks.
  • Mr. Ryan and his wife, Janna, paid 20 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal taxes in 2010, David Kocieniewski reports.

Weekly Addresses

  • President Obama used this week's address to focus on the teachers who “work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies.” As o ther countries race to “out-educate” America, Mr. Obama expressed concern that several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school this year. “Since 2009, we've lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level,” Mr. Obama said. “Think about what that means for our country. These cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergartners, and shorten the school week and school year. That's the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.” He blamed Congress for not providing support to states that would prevent further layoffs and called out Republicans for voting in favor of an economic plan that “would make the situation even worse.”
  • Representative Vicky Hartzler, Republican of Missouri, delivered her party's weekly address, citing an independent report from Ernst & Young that says a tax increase would “destroy” more than 700,000 jobs. She says that President Obama and Congressional Democrats' proposed tax increases would have a disproportionate impact on small businesses and weaken an already struggling economy. “Perhaps they haven't been listening to the manufacturers and small-business owners who are already canceling plans to hire and expand,” Ms. Hartzler said. “Or the group of 88 economists who warn this tax hike must be stopped.” Pointing to the House's passage of 30 jobs bills and its approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, she said that her party has been consistent in offering solutions to the nation's most pressing challenges.

Around the Web

  • Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island was once a V.I.P. at the Republican National Convention, but will be attending the Democratic National Convention this year, WPRI reports.
  • Politico names this year's presidential and vice-presidential candidates “the most workout-obsessed Republican and Democratic tic kets in U.S. history,” saying they collectively look nothing like America.