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Correction to This Article
This article incorrectly named the librarian of Congress. He is James H. Billington.
Federal City Digest

Monday, March 2, 2009

FTC's Lone Democrat Named as New Chairman

A major government ally of American consumers in the fight against unfair and deceptive business practices and identity fraud will be getting a new chief. Jon Leibowitz, the only Democrat on the five-member Federal Trade Commission, has been named by President Obama to be its next chairman, the White House announced.

Leibowitz, who is married to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, became a commissioner in 2004; as chairman, he will oversee a staff of nearly 1,100.

Before joining the FTC, Leibowitz was vice president for congressional affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America from 2000 to 2004. He has also served as the Democratic chief counsel and staff director for the Senate antitrust subcommittee and chief counsel and staff director for Senate subcommittees on terrorism and technology and juvenile justice.

WHAT TO WATCH

-- President Obama introduces Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius at an afternoon White House event. [Story, A4.] Vice President Biden acts the part of average Joe and visits the University of Pennsylvania for a routine follow-up to sinus surgery he had last year.

-- Oh, the stuff you'll learn! Michelle Obama participates in the National Education Association's Read Across America Day to celebrate Dr. Seuss's 105th birthday at the Library of Congress. She will be joined there by public school students, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Librarian of Congress David Billington, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and members of Congress. [Ed. Note: This event has been cancelled due to inclement weather.]

-- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell are in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for a conference on the Gaza Strip, where they will take on the delicate question of how to provide aid to the residents of Gaza without bolstering Hamas, which runs the Palestinian territory. Clinton will be on the road through March 7, traveling through Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, Belgium, Switzerland and Turkey.

-- The Congressional Joint Economic Committee gets the latest on "The Employment Situation: February 2009" from Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall. Good news is not expected.

-- If you're on the Hill, you may stumble across dueling pro- and anti-coal protests today as the Capitol Climate Action rally near the Longworth and Rayburn House office buildings at 1 p.m. demands that the Capitol Power Plant switch from coal to natural gas (a march to the plant is included), while the Competitive Enterprise Institute holds the competing (natch) "Celebrate Coal!" rally at the plant, also at 1 p.m.

-- The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the Muslim-West Facts Project, in which Gallup is a partner, tell us more about our evolving nation with the release of "Muslim Americans: A National Portrait," a study based on more than 300,000 national household surveys.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta federalcity@washpost.com

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