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Q&A: Hawaii senator is third in line of succession to president

Inouye third in line for president

Who is president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate in the line of succession to be president after Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio?

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, 86, the most senior member of the Senate, continues to serve as president pro tempore. Inouye is serving his ninth consecutive term.

Obama references differ

It seems like most news outlets commonly refer to the President as Mr. Obama rather than President Obama. Is there a journalistic protocol for this and how does it compare with coverage of previous presidents?

Jim Naughton, former president of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit educational institution that owns the St. Petersburg Times, provided some historical background.

"When I reported for the New York Times (1969-77), the style was to say President Nixon on first reference and the president or Mr. Nixon (or Mr. Ford, etc.) on second reference," he said. "But the Times was unusual in calling every named individual by an honorific, unless the individual was a convicted felon."

The New York Times typically uses President Obama (no first name) on first reference, then Mr. Obama on second reference. News outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and BBC have done the same. The 2010 Associated Press Stylebook says to use the first and family name on first reference to a current or former U.S. president or the president-elect and to use only last name on subsequent references.

Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the New York Times, says the paper's usage has not changed in the 20 years he has been with the Times. He said that through the years, he has received e-mails from readers who have complained that referring to the president as Mr. was somehow disrespectful.

The St. Petersburg Times follows AP style, using President Barack Obama on first reference and simply Obama thereafter.

Government sets vehicle 'class'

Commercials talk about a vehicle being the best in its "class." Is there an agency that officially lists what vehicles are in what class, or is this just an advertising gimmick?

The government looks at interior passenger and cargo volumes for cars, and weight and carrying capacity for trucks, to place vehicles in classes, according to the Department of Energy.

The website lists these classes: two-seaters, sedans, station wagons, pickup trucks, vans, minivans, sport utility vehicles and special purpose vehicles. Within some classes, there is a further breakdown.

Manufacturers compare their vehicles with others in the same class to make their argument to consumers, says Mike Quincy, automotive specialist with Consumer Reports.

Q&A: Hawaii senator is third in line of succession to president 01/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 5:51pm]
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