Garance Franke-Ruta is a senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic. More
Franke-Ruta was previously national web politics editor at The Washington Post, and has also worked at The American Prospect, The Washington City Paper, The New Republic and National Journal magazines. In 2007, she and the other contributors to The American Prospect 's blog "Tapped" won the Hillman Prize. In 2006, she was fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., and in 2007, a summer fellow with The Iowa Independent, based in Des Moines, Iowa. Garance has lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Art Museums, Williams College, Wellesley College, Brandeis and Georgetown Universities, and taught in Georgetown's Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program. She has also has made numerous appearances on national and regional television and radio programs. Born in the South of France, Franke-Ruta grew up in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico; New York City; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., since graduating from Harvard in 1997.
D.C. police confirmed that a substance ingested by students at a northwest D.C. elementary school was cocaine, according to D.C. Public Schools.
Several children became ill when they ingested a powdery substance Thursday at Thomson Elementary School, located in the 1200 block of L Street.
D.C. Fire and EMS was called to the school at about 12:30 p.m.
Apparently, one student took a powdery substance to school and passed it out to other students. The children who ingested it complained of throat irritation, NBC Washington's Derrick Ward reported.
Five were taken to area hospitals by ambulance for observation. Parents took a sixth student from the school.
Why not see what their tax dollars are paying for? One educational gem happens to be the closest public school to their new home. Strong John Thomson Elementary School is at 1200 L St. NW, three-fifths of a mile from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Go north on 15th, turn right on L and three blocks farther it's on the right. ...
Sixty-nine percent of Thomson's 355 students are from low-income families. Forty percent are Hispanic, 34 percent black, 22 percent Asian American and 5 percent white. That demographic mix often means remedial instruction and little enrichment, but parents say the school offers a feast of music, art and foreign languages as good as what they would find in a private school. ...
The last president to send a child to a D.C. public school was Jimmy Carter.
David Broder was the best political reporter of his or any other generation. He defined the beat as it had not been defined before. He spent a lifetime instructing succeeding generations of reporters - never by dictate but always by example.
He could be tough on politicians when they deserved it, but he was extraordinarily generous to his colleagues, particularly those new to the beat. He created a climate of collegiality that allowed everyone else to flourish, even while demonstrating from one campaign to the next the keenest insights and shrewdest judgments.
His secret was no secret at all. He was a tireless reporter. He wrote two columns a week for most of the past 40 years, but for almost that entire time he carried a full load as a reporter on The Post's national staff. As influential as he was as a columnist, he considered himself a reporter first and foremost.
He brought enormous integrity and humility to his craft. He wanted to know what others thought. He did not form his judgments and then go prove his point. He listened to people, no matter how grand or small their station, and took their scattered observations and spun them into the wisdom he dispensed in his writings.
He knew the details of everything but never lost sight of the big picture. In an era when political reporting has become more and more focused on minutiae, he kept his focus where it belonged - on the events and forces that move ordinary Americans and shape history. He loved the inside stuff, but he never mistook the whim of the moment for something real.
the moment I will always remember about the Dean came in January 2008. I was in Iowa, trudging through the snow and ice to make my way to an event at the Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines and cursing the fact that the nation's first in the nation caucuses happened to be in a state where the temperature rarely got out of single digits in the winter.
I looked across the street and saw Broder -- at that point in his late 70s -- trudging toward the same place. We caught eyes and he yelled out "Hello, Chris" in an impossibly cheery voice.
That was David Broder. A man who had been to thousands of political events in Iowa but was excited about going to one more. A man whose curiosity and intensity about politics shined through to anyone who met him. A man who was never too big to listen to the thoughts of a junior reporter like me. A man whose kindness and open-mindedness sent the tone in the Post newsroom for decades.
I count myself lucky to have spent time talking to and working alongside David. He is the standard to which all political reporters aspire. And he will be missed.
If there were a more decent and generous journalist in our business than David Broder, I've never met the person.
Broder ("David" to everyone in the hallway, the elevator, the campaign filing center, of course) remained the consummate collegial figure long after -- decades after -- earning the status of "dean of the Washington press corps." He had no pretense in him. He was a big-name pundit, but, most of all, he was a thing we used to call "a newspaper reporter." He knocked on doors to the very end of his career, interviewing voters, getting to know the local political organizers, never promoting himself to a rank too exalted to conduct shoe-leather reporting or pound out a deadline story in a cold gym in some remote corner of New Hampshire or Iowa.
Who am I kidding: He loved those gyms! And the tighter the deadline, the better.
When I went to Washington in 1969, Broder was the gold standard of political reporters, as he would be for decades. What I didn't realize until I joined The Post in 1972 was that his influence on his colleagues was even greater than his influence on his readers. He saw to it that the newest and rawest members of the national staff, of which I was one, received top assignments that resulted in Page One stories, even if that meant that he took a back seat. At the 1972 Republican National Convention, he sat in a smoke-filled room for four hours, taking notes for me on an obscure issue that I had been covering so I could write the lead story that day. In putting himself out for his colleagues, Broder taught us that it was the story that mattered, not our egos. He inspired us to work as a team and lifted the confidence and quality of the entire newsroom.
Many years ago, he wrote a piece that began, "Let us be modest, ladies and gentlemen of the press, for we have much to be modest about." It impressed me - and it impressed my eldest son, Carl, even more. When Carl was at the Baltimore Sun, a young reporter complained that one of the prima donnas in our business had treated him shoddily. Carl told him to forget it and to think instead of the example set by Broder. "Don't ever think it's necessary to be puffed up," Carl advised the young reporter. When I was a teenager, he said, David Broder never came to our house and didn't ask me what I was doing or how I felt. He is the greatest of them all, and he never had a swelled head.
When Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post editorial page, offered me the chance to write a weekly column, the first person I turned to for advice was Dave Broder.
I headed to Dave's glassed-in cubicle in the midst of the newsroom. Back in the days when I used to lead tours of The Post for my kids' pre-school classes, this site was always the biggest hit with the moms -- not because Broder was such a journalistic mega-star, which he was, but because the office was so astonishingly, dangerously piled with books and papers it cried out for "clean-up time."
As always, sitting amid the chaos, Dave had a minute. As always, Dave demurred at the thought that he had any wisdom to offer. As always, he did. "I can't tell you how to write a column but I can tell you what works for me," he said. First, he said, you can only have one big thought per 750-word column. Second, he said, he couldn't simply sit in his office and conjure up Big Thoughts. He had to go out and report.
That was classic Broder, indeed a reporter at heart.
In early April, Newt Gingrich told a meeting of the House Republican leadership that the party could afford to say nothing about the then-raging Monica Lewinsky scandal, because Republicans were "mathematically" certain to gain seats in the November elections. Since the Civil War, Gingrich explained, the nonpresidential party had never lost congressional seats in the sixth year of an administration. In fact, it had tended to gain between two and three dozen.
In late April, as President Clinton showed signs of emerging from the initial tumult of the Lewinsky scandal with his presidential powers intact, Gingrich changed course, saying, "I will never again, as long as I am speaker, make a speech without commenting on this topic." But he didn't change his underlying assumptions: first, that Monica Lewinsky was an electoral bonanza for the GOP; second, that the tide of voter sentiment was surging so powerfully in a Republican direction that the party would pile up election wins even if it didn't tell the country how it planned to use its expanded power. Republicans paid the price for such arrogance on election day, with a stunning loss of five seats; Gingrich paid days later with his job.
Gingrich's certitude was typical of the hubris that made him the most unpopular American politician of the decade. His presiding over a political campaign utterly lacking in content, however, was out of character. It was Gingrich, after all, who in his first months as Speaker had urged a politics of "permanent offense," involving radical institutional reform, the devolution of government, and wide-ranging legislation. If Gingrich failed to develop an agenda for the 1998 elections, it's not because he didn't want to. It's because he couldn't.
MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --
MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.
HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.
Full disclosure: Bernard and I are friends. He will bring a certain warmth and irreverence to the job that will make him a joy for his colleagues to work with. His knowledge of the Obamas and his intense attention to detail will ensure that their vision for the people's house continues seamlessly. And he has a reverence for the presidency and the meaning of the White House that will make him an imaginative steward of their image.
The president and the first lady have made an excellent choice.
To be a full-fledged power couple, you need a decent-size kitchen and/or the number of a good caterer. This is essential to staging one of those fabled dinner parties, which are usually held in a baroque-looking house somewhere on the Hill, Kalorama or Georgetown. But not always: Obama brings with him some young, urban cool; a nice downtown apartment will do.
Rufus Gifford, 34, and Jeremy Bernard, 44 -- leading candidates for Washington's new same-sex power couple -- just migrated from Los Angeles, where they raised millions of dollars for Obama. They landed a two-bedroom apartment in a trendy "green" building in Logan Circle.
"We had that conversation: Is it big enough to entertain," says Gifford, new finance director for the Democratic National Committee. "It's certainly more confined that we are used to, but we can fit a cocktail party for a couple dozen people."
Initiated to Washington ways as deputy treasurer for the Clinton '93 inaugural committee, Bernard has been appointed White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities. He and Gifford have been together three years; they placed on Out magazine's 2008 list of the country's 50 most influential gays.
"We had a certain amount of juice out West, but we're newcomers here and we're going to have to work hard," says Gifford, a former entertainment industry executive. He and Bernard mainly knew the Obama Chicago crowd from a distance, by phone. Here, "we will have time to cement relationships, and to expand the circle ... and see what makes this town tick."
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