Dispatch from the Front: The Week of October 18

Congress campaigns, the President campaigns, and the week should be good for a dozen October surprises.

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, addresses the Economic Club of Memphis on Thursday.

President Obama today hosts the White House Science Fair celebrating the winners of various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. Starting Wednesday he heads out on the campaign and cash trail, first in Portland, Ore., and Seattle; Thursday it’s on to San Francisco; Friday he does events in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and Saturday it’s Minneapolis. See the President’s week’s schedule here.

Congress is on recess as incumbents scrabble for votes. The Senate does hold pro forma sessions Tuesday and Friday to prevent President Obama from making recess appointments, although the constitutional legitimacy of this gavel gimmick is suspect.

Executive Branch: Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaks this morning in Washington at the GridWeek conference, the “must attend Smart Grid gathering.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano holds an event today at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, California, to tout the Administration’s record on improving border security. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar speaks today on “clean energy” at the Society of Exploration Geologists’ annual meeting in Denver. (Also on the agenda are James Hackett, CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., and Jeffrey Ventura, president of Range Resources, Jeffrey L. Ventura.) Attorney General Eric Holder attends the 2010 International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference in Hong Kong. (More at the Underwriters Laboratories.) Among Vice President Biden’s campaign events this week is a Reno, Nev., event Wednesday for Senate Majority Leader Reid.

Economic Reports: The Federal Reserve today releases industrial production figures for September, and the National Association of Home Builders releases its home builders index for October. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department makes public September data on housing starts. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday publishes its Beige Book narrative report on the economy. On Thursday, the Conference Board issues its leading indicators index for September, and the Philadelphia Fed provides an update on manufacturing activity in the region. For more, see the MarketWatch report, and Neil Irwin’s weekly column at The Washington Post.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival concludes on the National Mall on Saturday and Sunday with the Grand Finale Expo.

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