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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Early Word: Fallout


In Today's Times:
The deadly attack on an American consulate in Libya on Tuesday pushed foreign policy to the front of the presidential campaign, with Mitt Romney quickly attacking President Obama for his response to the situation, Peter Baker and Ashley Parker write. But Mr. Romney's attempt to use the event to draw a contrast with Mr. Obama on foreign policy started a confrontation that landed him on the defensive and drew attention away from questions about Mr. Obama's handling of uprisings in the Arab world.

In contrast to the helpful and forceful response of Libyan officials to the attack on the American consulate, Egyptian officials' tepid response to attacks the same day on the American E mbassy in Cairo has illuminated concerns in the Obama administration that “bigger, longer-term problems” lie in Egypt, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler write.

Mr. Obama is increasingly leaning on his biggest donors and fund-raisers for his re-election campaign, and Mr. Romney has fielded a similarly powerful group, Nicholas Confessore writes. Watchdog groups say that the campaigns' willingness to reward those individuals with perks like access and entertainment confirm a give-more, get-more state of play in the game of presidential fund-raising.

The fight between Chicago and its teachers' union threatens to expose rifts within the Democratic coalition that could undermine Mr. Obama's re-election effort, Steven Greenhouse writes. To conservatives' delight, the strike pits Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wealthy liberals against the teachers' union and other labor groups, all allies of Mr. Obama, who has tried to stay on the sidelines.

Representative Paul D. Rya n, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, is playing up his native appeal in Wisconsin, as both campaign see the state as up for grabs in November, Jeff Zeleny and Trip Gabriel write. Republicans are hopeful after Democrats' unsuccessful efforts in 2010 to recall Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. But Democrats aren't giving up easily on a state Mr. Obama won in 2008, running ads in the state starting Wednesday and sending in Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. today.

Congressional negotiators appear unlikely to reach a deal on a five-year farm bill after the previous authorization expired last month, Jennifer Steinhauer writes. The House refuses to act on the Senate's legislation or its own version of the bill, and the political polarization on Capitol Hill makes coming up with new legislation impossible.

A federal judge in Washington has blocked the government from enforcing a provision of law that allows the authorities to hold certain terror suspects indefin itely without trial, a ruling handed down as the House voted to extend a law that expands the government's surveillance powers. Charlie Savage writes that the ruling against the Obama administration and the House action signal that “the debate over the balance between national security and civil liberties is still unfolding 11 years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.”

Happening in Washington:
Economic data expected today include the August producer price index and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., followed by weekly mortgage rates at 10.

Mr. Romney is scheduled to make a campaign stop at 11 in Fairfax, Va.

At 2:15 p.m., Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, will hold a news conference as the central bank's policy committee concludes two days of meetings on interest rates. The panel will issue a statement at 12:30 p.m., followed by an updated economic forecast at 2.

At 7, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual awards ceremony.