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In a perfect world — or even a really good one — there’s no doubt that the debt ceiling agreement President Biden struck with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend would be a frustration and a disappointment. The agreement will inflict all manner of painful cuts to core public structures and services that are both essential to the nation’s wellbeing and eminently affordable for a country as large and wealthy as the United States. Americans have right to expect much, much better. Read moreRob Schofield: Biden makes best of impossible situation again

Here we go again.

A strong, prominent woman in the political arena comes under attack for being too strong, too ambitious, having too big a role in her spouse's campaign.

Sound familiar? Painfully so. Sexist? No question.

Only this time, the target is not Hillary Clinton, although the treatment is the same.

This time, the target is not a self-described feminist, but the wife of a hardcore right winger, Casey DeSantis. It doesn't matter. Sexism comes in many colors, red as well as blue.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is married to a former television anchor and breast cancer survivor who is the mother of three young children and, reportedly, a powerful voice in her husband's campaigns. Sort of like Bill and Hill. The presidential campaign has yet to formally begin, but already she has been the target of criticism because she is her husband's partner in many ways and plays a powerful role in his innermost circle of advisers.

Why shouldn't she? Why should she be attacked for it? Haven't we gotten to the point where the spouse — whether it be husband or wife — has a right to play any role their spouse wants them to play in the campaign?

In a much-quoted article last week, Politico described Casey DeSantis as her husband's greatest asset and his greatest liability, with the emphasis on the latter. The Lady Macbeth analogy was attributed to Roger Stone, a longtime Trump supporter and opponent of DeSantis, who remarked in a Telegram post: "Have you ever noticed how much Ron DeSantis' wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?" — an agent, in other words, of her husband's undoing.

Maybe Roger Stone is an agent of his Don's undoing?

I probably don't agree with Casey DeSantis, and I certainly can't imagine any reason I'd ever support her husband, but the best thing I've heard about him is that he has a strong, outspoken wife, and I'll be damned if I've spent most of my life in politics promoting powerful women only to see the same old shabby treatment heaped on a woman I disagree with.

Take her at her word and disagree with her. About something she says or does. Not just for being her. Not for being too bright, too charming or, even worse, not charming enough.

Not for bragging too much about her husband's accomplishments, as Politico did about Casey (and isn't this what wives are supposed to do?) or not bragging enough. It's time to stop judging wives for being too involved, or not involved enough, too powerful an influence on their husbands or too removed from what matters.

Casey DeSantis has three young children to raise while her husband runs for president. Anyone and everyone can find something to fault her for in how she chooses to balance her family and the campaign and on her roles as wife, partner and mother, which is why none of us should be sitting in judgment. I talk about spouses, but let's be real. What Casey DeSantis faces is uniquely a woman's problem, and Stone's comment is sexism 101.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


Last Updated: Friday, May 26, 2023 16:48:42 -0700 Read moreSusan Estrich: Sexism still wrong, red or blue

We can tell a lot about a presidential candidate from the company he keeps, and Elon Musk’s presence spoke volumes on Twitter hosting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Musk owns Twitter, plus he is a billionaire many times over. A boost from a rich guy who owns a media platform gives DeSantis a leg up in the Republican primary contests. Read moreDouglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift: Political climate requires remembering the U.S.S. Maine

Mark Robinson is still the prohibitive frontrunner for the GOP primary, even if the last few weeks’ developments have bruised his image a bit. But the fact is that several candidates have joined Robinson in the primary contest, and although each of them faces forbidding probabilities in their quest to languish the large fellow from Greensboro, their candidacies still merit attention. Read moreAlexander H. Jones: Hate, rage will get Robinson GOP nomination

The North Carolina General Assembly is about to make all children eligible for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program. They won’t all receive the same amounts — poor and middle-income families will be eligible for vouchers in the range of $6,500 to $7,200 per student, while upper-income households will receive much less. Nevertheless, both proponents and opponents are quite properly using the term “universal” to describe the policy, which will go into effect for the 2024-25 academic year. Read moreJohn Hood: School choice offers a brighter future

State AP Stories

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Toyota will invest another $2.1 billion in an electric and hybrid vehicle battery factory that’s under construction near Greensboro, North Carolina. The plant will supply batteries to Toyota’s huge complex in Georgetown, Kentucky, which will build Toyota’s first U.S.-made electric vehicle, a new SUV with three rows of seats. The plans announced Wednesday won’t immediately create any more jobs at either factory.  Toyota plans to have 2,100 employees at the battery factory. The investment will prepare infrastructure to expand for growth. Production is to start in 2025. It brings the total investment to $5.9 billion. The huge Kentucky complex now employs 9,500 people.  The company says jobs will shift to the new electric vehicle when production starts in 2025.

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The North Carolina General Assembly’s chief advocate for legalizing medical marijuana in the state has revealed how he smoked pot over 20 years ago to withstand intense chemotherapy during his fight with cancer. Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County has previously described himself as a colon cancer survivor. But he had been reticent on details like whether he used marijuana until pitching his legislation on Tuesday to the House Health Committee. The measure passed the Senate three months ago. Rabon recalled how a physician told him to obtain marijuana when he sought a more aggressive form of treatment. Medical pot opponents say marijuana may cause harm to patients.

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As the Supreme Court decides the fate of affirmative action, most people in the U.S. say the court should allow consideration of race as part of the admissions process. Yet few believe students’ race should play a significant role in those decisions. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 63% say the Supreme Court should not stop colleges from considering race or ethnicity in their admission systems. The poll shows little divide along political or racial lines. People are more likely to say grades and standardized test scores should be significant factors. Lawsuits are challenging admissions systems at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

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Two North Carolina state House Republicans have lost their caucus leadership positions following recent comments directed at Democratic colleagues questioning their religion and educational attainment. A top House GOP leader announced on Thursday that Reps. Keith Kidwell and Jeff McNeely, who are both white, are no longer deputy majority whips after their resignations were sought by other GOP leaders. The Democrats who were the subject of the comments are both Black. McNeely took criticism during debate last week on legislation to expand the state’s private-school voucher system when he asked a question about a colleague's time at Harvard University. A television station reported that Kidwell disparaged a colleague's religion as she debated a bill restricting abortion.

National & World AP Stories

The future king of Jordan and an architect from Saudi Arabia linked to her country’s own monarchy are getting married in a palace celebration that introduces him to the world. Thursday's nuptials also emphasize continuity in an Arab state prized for its longstanding stability. The union of Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Alseif seals the Western ally’s succession and refreshes the royal family’s image after a palace feud. It may even help resource-poor Jordan forge a strategic bond with its oil-rich neighbor, Saudi Arabia. Excitement over the wedding has been building in the capital of Amman. Shops had competing displays of royal regalia. Royal watchers speculated about which dress designer Alseif would select.