Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times with Obama's first-term report card Obama has been disappointing in many ways. The economy gets a B; education, an A-; foreign policy, a B+. But the real issue is not what he did but how he communicated it: He failed. "A president’s central job is not policy wonk but national team captain," Kristof writes. "There Obama failed us."

Ezra Klein in The Washington Post on Bill Clinton as wonk-in-chief Clinton's speech is what Klein expected Paul Ryan's to be: a policy talk. Democrats "can't escape their policies," Klein says, and Clinton's speech was a choice to defend them. "His role was wonk-in-chief, and he was trying to persuade the public of an old idea: That the best way to understand this election is to simply do the arithmetic."

Susan Antilla in Bloomberg View on trusting financial brokers Investors are asking more questions now, but most free websites supposedly vetting financial brokers don't tell investors critical details. On one site, brokers don't have to disclose if they've been sued for a non-investment matter. In one case, most of the 253 brokers in a fraud lawsuit did not disclose it. Four years after the crisis, it's still hard to get the whole story.

Linda Greenhouse in The New York Times on how we talk about abortion Fifty years ago, a woman named Sherri Chessen made news for wanting to abort a baby that was going to be born with no arms or legs after she took a bad German pill. She ultimately had to go abroad for the abortion in the pre-Roe v. Wade world. Abortion became a more mainstream topic, and soon after, a majority of people supported abortion rights, including Republicans. Now, Republicans "use the abortion issue as a tool of party realignment and political self-interest."

Steve Coll in The New Yorker on rowdy Senate elections The presidential race is boring compared to the super PAC money fueled characters running for Senate. In Florida, Senator Bill Nelson is reminding voters that his opponent Connie Mack IV used to promote Hooters. There's Linda McMahon, the former leader of World Wrestling Entertainment. "The Presidential race does not give off much of a feeling of high stakes," Coll writes. "Some of the Senate races, in contrast, look like Three Stooges punch-ups."