Nation Digest

Nation Digest: Stephanie Cutter to Advise Obama and His Supreme Court Nominee

Monday, May 18, 2009


Obama Hires Aide to Help Court Nominee

Stephanie Cutter, counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, is heading to the White House, where she will help shepherd a Supreme Court nominee through the Senate confirmation process, sources familiar with the move said Sunday.

Cutter will serve as an adviser to President Obama, handling a role similar to the one Steve Schmidt played for President George W. Bush during the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. (Schmidt later managed Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.)

Cutter is a veteran Democratic campaign operative. She was Sen. John F. Kerry's chief spokeswoman during the 2004 presidential campaign; a senior adviser to Obama in his 2008 presidential race; and chief of staff to Obama's wife, Michelle.

She has also spent considerable time on Capitol Hill as a senior adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and she helped guide Democratic tactics during the Roberts and Alito confirmations.

-- Chris Cillizza


Swine Flu Kills School Principal

An assistant principal at a Queens intermediate school died of swine flu Sunday in the city's first death linked to the virus.

Mitchell Wiener had been sick for nearly a week before his school was closed on Thursday. He had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Wiener worked at I.S. 238, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Intermediate School, in the Hollis neighborhood.

Although an outbreak of swine flu sickened hundreds of students at a Catholic high school in Queens, no one else in New York City besides Wiener has become seriously ill from the virus. That school, St. Francis Preparatory, has been cleaned and reopened.

Five more city schools will close Monday because of concern for swine flu, bringing the total to 11.

Health officials have reported five other deaths in the United States: three in Texas, one in Washington state and one in Arizona.

-- Associated Press

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