- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2013

Americans looked back on the George W. Bush era as his presidential library opened, and they liked what they saw.

On the international stage, the Assad regime appears to have used sarin gas on its own people, and a female U.S. soldier beat down a would-be rapist in the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s a recap, or wrap, on the week that was from The Washington Times.

CURL: W outclasses Barack and Bill, without even trying

DALLAS — Shortly after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, a fellow reporter who’d covered President George W. Bush all eight years told me she’d had enough of the travel and stress and strain of the White House beat, that she was moving on.

We reminisced about all the places we’d been, all the crazy days and wild nights, all the history we’d seen — first hand. Just before we said our goodbyes, I asked her if she’d miss covering President Obama.

“Not at all. He’s an inch deep. Bush is a bottomless chasm, a deep, mysterious, emotional, profound man. Obama is all surface — shallow, obvious, robotic, and, frankly, not nearly as smart as he thinks. Bush was the one.”

U.S. female sailor beats Dubai rapist bus driver into submission

An off-duty U.S. navy sailor wrestled a Dubai bus driver to the ground and beat him into submission after he tried to rape her at knifepoint on Jan. 19, a courtroom heard Wednesday.

The woman, 28, was on 24-hour shore leave in Dubai when she was attacked by a bus driver after he picked her up from the Mall of the Emirates shopping center.

Bill Maher: Islamic violence ‘more than just a fringe element’

Comedian Bill Maher butted heads Friday night with Brian Levin, a professor at California State University at San Bernardino and director of its Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, after the late-night host took issue with comparing Islamic extremism with all fundamentalism.

“You know what, yeah, yeah,” the HBO host said. “You know what — that’s liberal [expletive] right there … they’re not as dangerous.”

Reese Witherspoon: Actress ‘deeply embarrassed’ after arrest

ATLANTA — Reese Witherspoon is “deeply embarrassed” about what she said to police officers after she and her husband were arrested during a traffic stop in Atlanta. … 

“Do you know my name?” Witherspoon is quoted as saying in a state trooper’s report.

99.5% of illegal immigrants get approval for legal status; high number raises concerns about fraud

The administration has approved 99.5 percent of applications of those who have applied for legal status under President Obama’s nondeportation policy for young adults, granting legal status to more than 250,000 formerly illegal immigrants.

Obama, Clinton blew Benghazi response: Republican report

House Republicans have concluded that the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies bear no blame for failing to halt the terrorist assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, releasing a report Tuesday that said President Obama and the State Department set up the military for failure.

The report also found that plenty of intelligence presaged the attack, but the White House and State Department — including the secretary at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton — failed to heed the warnings.

Obama backs out of Planned Parenthood keynote address

President Obama has canceled plans to deliver a keynote address at Planned Parenthood&rsquo’s annual fundraising dinner Thursday night, citing a desire to spend more time with family of the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.

White House spokesman Jay Carney announced the decision to cancel the keynote speech at the gala during his daily press briefing with reporters Wednesday. He said Mr. Obama will still address Planned Parenthood and its supporters Friday morning.

GOP tells Obama to release Clinton cable on Benghazi

House Republicans on Wednesday asked President Obama to release to the public a State Department cable the GOP says would show former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton approved cutting security at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, ahead of last year’s deadly attack.

Congress tells Obama to stop FAA furloughs

The new bill orders the Transportation Department to cut $253 million from elsewhere in its budget and send the money to the FAA. The bill would also cancel a future move FAA had planned to close dozens of contract air traffic control towers. …

Republicans on Capitol Hill accused Mr. Obama of making the furloughs as painful as possible as a political stunt. They said FAA could have focused the furloughs on employees who weren’t controllers, but instead applied them to all employees equally. They also argued FAA could have shifted the furloughs because some airports could handle the cuts better than others.

Obama wants more proof of Syria’s use of sarin gas

A cautious White House said Friday it is trying to “firmly establish” that Syria’s dictator has used chemical weapons against his opponents, a day after the Obama administration told lawmakers that the Syrian regime likely has launched attacks with the deadly gas sarin.

Bill Clinton joins Twitter, tweets without Colbert’s help

Former President Bill Clinton decided to officially join the Twitterverse Wednesday night, posting his own tweets a couple weeks after Comedy Central funny man Stephen Colbert set the account up for him.

“Excited to join @ChelseaClinton and my good friend @StephenAtHome on Twitter!” @billclinton tweeted Wednesday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev quits talking after Miranda warning is read to him

The surviving suspect in the Boston bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, quit talking to investigators right after he was read his Miranda rights, four authorities briefed on the investigation said.