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Of Back Rooms and Classrooms

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In this week's issue of Huffington, just in time for the Republican convention in Tampa, Jon Ward chronicles Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Jon Ward began reporting on the Romney campaign long before Romney took the stage to announce Paul Ryan in front of the battleship USS Wisconsin -- an event, he writes, that included an "elaborately arranged secret meeting" and "was executed without a hiccup." Here, through interviews with some of Romney's top advisers -- including Matt Rhoades, Romney's 37-year-old campaign manager who posits that a Romney presidency might look something like the James K. Polk years -- Jon Ward explores what Romney's campaigning style might tell us about his governing style.

He also places Romney's choice of Paul Ryan against the backdrop of America's fiscal realities: the national debt is approaching $16 trillion; nearly 50 million Americans over 64 rely on Medicare for their health care, at a time when the baby boomer generation is just entering the program; and 10,000 Americans will enroll every day for the next 20 years.

As the Republican National Convention presents Mitt Romney to the country, and the world, Jon Ward captures the campaign's bravado. As Rhoades, the campaign manager, puts it: "We're going to win. And Mitt's going to fix the mess."

Far from the back rooms where political decisions are made, Saki Knafo tells the story of a girl named Noor, whose parents came to America from what is now South Sudan, and her teacher Ms. Sabrina. The setting is North Carolina, and Saki's reporting takes us deep inside the debate over pre-kindergarten: a world of political battles, constant threats of budget cuts, and -- often lost in the shuffle -- the first critical educational and social experiences of a young child's life.

By putting flesh and blood on the research -- including one study showing that more funding for pre-kindergarten has been linked to higher-than-average math and reading scores -- Saki Knafo's reporting puts the spotlight on a critical period in a child's life. "Until recently," he writes, "the mind of the young child was as obscure as a distant galaxy."

Jon Ward's story takes us inside the campaign of Mitt Romney, a man whose entire life seems to have been preparation for this moment; Saki Knafo's takes us inside the world of little Noor, taking her tentative steps into a world of someone else's making.

This post originally appeared in our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store.