The First Draft: the Supreme Court and the Spelling Bee
With Congress gone this week and President Barack Obama out of town for most of today, Washington turns to its two traditional inside-the-Beltway sporting events: handicapping a Supreme Court nominee’s chances of confirmation, and watching the nerve-wracking finals of the National Spelling Bee.
Sonia Sotomayor, picked by Obama on Tuesday, is already being praised in an ad by liberal groups and vilified as a racist by conservatives, including radio talk jock Rush Limbaugh, whom the White House has tried to style as the de facto head of the Republican Party. Obama himself stumped for his choice on a Western swing yesterday to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The president returns to Washington for a late afternoon meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Vice President Joe Biden was also out West yesterday too, giving a commencement speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy. When wind blew down the teleprompter, Biden told the crowd: “What am I going to tell the president when I tell him his teleprompter is broken? What will he do then?”
U.S. initial jobless claims fell for the second week in a row, but the total number of people who get unemployment insurance benefits hit a new record.
A few blocks from the White House, school children are gathered with their families and fans in a hotel basement for the final rounds of the National Spelling Bee. Formerly a curiosity followed mostly by the students’ parents and friends, this event is now a big media deal. Semifinals are shown on ESPN, with the finals broadcast on ABC this evening. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will be there.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Students from Missouri participate in the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC, May 27, 2009)