Politics

It's All Politics
1:27 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Rep. Allyson Schwartz is flanked at a forum for Pennsylvania Democratic candidates for governor by Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, and Tom Wolf, a businessman.
Jacqueline Larma AP

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Georgia Law OKs Guns In Schools, Churches

Georgians will now be able to carry firearms in such places as schools, bars, churches and government buildings under a sweeping new law signed by the governor on Wednesday.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known to critics as the "Guns Everywhere Bill," was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who said it will allow "people who follow the rules [to] protect themselves and their families from people who don't follow the rules.

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Obama Assures Japan Of U.S. Security Commitment

President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe depart Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo, on Wednesday. Obama met with Abe on the first stop of a four-nation visit to Asia.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.

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It's All Politics
10:21 am
Wed April 23, 2014

A Path Out Of Prison For Low-Level, Nonviolent Drug Offenders

The new guidelines are part of the Obama administration's effort to address long mandatory minimum sentences. Antwain Black (left) was released early after sentencing laws were first eased in 2010.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:44 pm

Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

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Around the Nation
9:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Kansas Residents To First Lady: Stay Out

Guest restrictions and increased security measures are looming as Michelle Obama plans to appear at a Kansas high school graduation next month. Thousands have petitioned to revoke her invitation.

Education
9:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Propronents Of Affirmative Action Losing The Battle?

The Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on using race as a factor in public university admissions. Tell Me More looks at the internal debate within the affirmative action movement.

It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

Volunteer Tom Strain carries debris from an empty lot as part of an Earth Day cleanup effort in Camden, N.J. The Earth Day events celebrated on April 22 promote a sustainable and clean environment.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:11 pm

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

One Month From Mudslide, Wash. Governor Takes Stock Of Damage

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee offers an update on the deadly mudslides near the town of Oso in March. President Obama is visiting Oso on Tuesday.

News
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Longtime D.C. Lawyer Is White House's Next Top Counsel

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

President Obama is getting a new lawyer. Longtime Washington attorney Neil Eggleston will be the next White House counsel. The news comes just in time for midterm elections that could deliver the Senate to Republicans, and launch a new wave of oversight investigations.

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports Eggleston will have to muster all of his legal and political skills.

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It's All Politics
1:31 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Out Of Clout: Some States Brace For Washington Power Outage

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest-serving member of Congress, is celebrated by colleagues, including Vice President Biden, on Capitol Hill in June 2013. A former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell, now 87, announced in February that he will retire after this term.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:31 am

When the next Congress is sworn in, Iowa's congressional delegation will be unusually green. Precisely half of its lawmakers on Capitol Hill are retiring at the end of this session, meaning the state will be losing decades of clout and seniority in Washington, D.C.

And Iowa isn't even the biggest loser this year. California is losing two House Democrats with 40 years of experience each — Henry Waxman and George Miller — along with Republican House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, who's been in Congress for more than two decades.

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It's All Politics
1:31 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

In TV Ad, GOP Senate Candidate Mocks 'War On Women' Rhetoric

A scene from Michigan GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land's first TV ad, titled, "Really?"
Terri Lynn Land campaign

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 2:48 pm

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Louisiana Lawmaker Pulls Bill To Make Bible State's Official Book

A parishioner holds the Holy Bible during a service. A Louisiana bill that would have made the Bible the state's official book has been withdrawn.
Kevin Rivoli The Post-Standard /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 11:12 am

The sponsor of a bill to make the Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana has withdrawn the measure ahead of a full vote in the state House of Representatives, saying the proposal has become a distraction.

As we reported last week, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had moved the largely symbolic bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport, out of committee on an 8-5 vote.

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Law
3:16 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge To Ohio Ban On Campaign Lies

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:12 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday testing whether states can make it a crime to lie about candidates during an election campaign.

At issue is an Ohio law that imposes potential jail time or a fine for the first offense, and possibly loss of the right to vote for anyone convicted twice. The case before the court, however, involves not a person, but an organization.

During the 2010 midterm elections, the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List wanted to put up a billboard ad targeting then-Rep. Steven Driehaus, D-Ohio, for his vote on the Affordable Care Act.

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Education
3:03 am
Tue April 22, 2014

What Exactly Is 'High-Quality' Preschool?

Nikki Jones' preschool class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:38 am

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Law
3:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

High Court To Consider Political Lies, Future Of Broadcasting

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:34 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Two important cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. One of them involves a high-stakes, high-tech battle that has raised the possibility of major TV networks no longer broadcasting over the air. The other case involves the future of lying in political campaigns. Here's NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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NPR Story
2:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Georgia Bill Loosens Restrictions On Guns In Public Places

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, more than 70 measures have gone into effect around the U.S. actually loosening restrictions on guns. And tomorrow the governor of Georgia is expected to sign a bill that will allow gung to be carried in more places. Among those against the gun bill are cities in Georgia concerned about having to spend more on security. Susanna Capelouto has this report.

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Politics
1:28 am
Tue April 22, 2014

'Ready For Hillary': Clinton's Campaign-In-Waiting

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a keynote address in San Francisco.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 1:09 pm

In a high-rise office in Rosslyn, Va., Adam Parkhomenko is selling campaign paraphernalia for a campaign that may or may not happen.

"Bumper stickers, magnets, and then we have everything from T-shirts, we have baby onesies that we're almost out of now," says Parkhomenko.

Parkhomenko runs a group called Ready for Hillary. It's more than a Clinton fan club: It's a superPAC, a list-building superPAC.

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It's All Politics
10:35 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Rand Paul Bids To Loosen Democratic Hold On African-American Vote

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky testified last year in favor of revamping the nation's mandatory federal minimum sentencing laws.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:37 pm

For more than a year, GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been staking out positions on issues that resonate in the black community, including school choice and prison sentencing reform. And he's been showing up in some unexpected — for a Republican — venues, including historically black colleges.

It's stirred an unusual degree of curiosity about the freshman Kentucky senator — and 2016 GOP presidential prospect — among the Democratic Party's most reliable voting bloc.

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Economy
10:27 am
Mon April 21, 2014

President Obama Will Skip China, But Asia Trip Sends A Message

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. President Obama heads overseas this week to Asia. He hopes to strengthen U.S. economic ties with that region.

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It's All Politics
10:20 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Obama Seeks Wider Authority To Release Drug Offenders

President Obama signs the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, as Attorney General Eric Holder and a bipartisan group of senators look on.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:17 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Obama administration is formulating new rules that would give it, and the president, far more latitude to pardon or reduce the sentences of thousands of drug offenders serving long federal prison sentences.

The move comes amid a broad national reconsideration of mandatory minimum sentences approved by Congress in 1986, when America's big cities were in the grip of a crack cocaine-fueled crime wave.

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Asia
4:15 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Obama Trip To Focus On Relations With Asia

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 5:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama sets off for Asia this week. He'll be visiting four countries - Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. The trip is part of the president's long-term strategy to refocus America's attention towards Asia, something that's proving a little bit hard to do.

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now to talk about the trip. Good morning.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Code Switch
3:03 am
Mon April 21, 2014

In Asian-Majority District, House Race Divides Calif. Voters

Rep. Mike Honda (left) walks down the House steps with Rep. Raul Ruiz after a vote at the Capitol on March 20, 2013.
Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:41 pm

In the heated race for a congressional seat in northern California, Mai Xuan Nguyen fought for her candidate with another cold call.

"Yes, that's K, H, A, N, N, A," she patiently explained in Vietnamese to a potential voter, spelling out her choice for Congress, Democrat Ro Khanna, as she marked her call list one recent evening at a coffeehouse in San Jose, Calif.

It was all part of Nguyen's role in an only-in-America scene: a Vietnamese-language phone bank for an Indian-American lawyer, who's challenging a Japanese-American congressman.

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Asia
6:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 9:40 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

For his second term, president Obama has touted that his administration would make a so-called Asia pivot - less focus on the Middle East, more on China. But history has a way of intervening. This week, the president will try to make something of his promise as he visits three U.S. allies - Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. He'll also be stopping in Malaysia, and he'll be the first U.S. president to do so in almost 50 years.

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It's All Politics
4:31 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Are Democrats Trying To Energize The Base With The Race Card?

Attorney General Eric Holder (right) recently expressed outrage at the treatment President Obama and he have received from conservatives. He stopped just short of saying it was race-related, leaving that for the African-American audience at the recent National Action Network convention to decide.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:46 pm

Few mixtures in American life are more emotionally combustible than the one formed by the combination of politics and race.

That helps explain why Democrats, in general, and President Obama, in particular, have tended to steer clear of overtly raising race as an issue to explain some of the opposition to Obama's presidency and agenda.

There seems to be a shift in recent days, however.

Top Democratic party officials have either directly or indirectly blamed race for some of the hostility to Obama, his policies, or both.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In Virginia, Politicians Fish For Support At Old-Fashioned Event

Former Sen. George Allen (center) greets attendees at the 64th annual Wakefield Shad Planking in Wakefield, Va., in April 2012. This year's Shad Planking featured Democratic Sen. Mark Warner as the speaker.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

At a time when new technologies and social media are transforming politics, we turn to a decidedly old-fashioned campaign event. It's an annual festival known as the Shad Planking, a spring rite of Virginia politics for nearly 70 years.

It's a must-attend event for state politicians, who practice the oldest form of retail politicking among tall pine trees at a dusty campsite.

In Wakefield, about an hour southeast of Virginia's capital of Richmond, shad fish have been roasting by on an open fire since 5 a.m. They're nailed to oak planks.

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Obama: Your Question, Ms. Keith?

Snapshots from a NPR White House correspondent's life. That's Tamara Keith's Air Force 1 selfie (bottom left), and her asking the president a question at Thursday's press conference (upper right).
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:04 am

I officially became NPR's White House correspondent in January. But the job didn't seem real until Thursday at 3:56 p.m., when the president of the United States looked down at a white note card and said "ahhhh, Tamara Keith."

That was my cue to ask a question — my first at a presidential press conference.

Here's what the experience felt like — and how it happened.

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Commentary
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Week In Politics: A Deal On Ukraine And Health Care Numbers

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And we're joined now by our regular Friday political observers, columnists E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.

E.J. DIONNE: Hey, good to be with you.

CORNISH: And David Brooks of The New York Times. Hi there, David.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to be with you.

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Environment
2:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pipeline Put Off, As Keystone Review Is Indefinitely Extended

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

The Keystone XL pipeline remains a major point of contention within the Democratic Party, as green voters pull President Obama one direction and pro-energy senators and labor unions pull the other. It looks as though the "comment period" for the project will be extended, delaying a decision past the November elections.

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Politics
2:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress?

People arrive on the National Mall Friday dressed as comic book characters during the kickoff of Awesome Con 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Friday to see if they could break the Guinness World Record for the largest group dressed as comic book characters ever assembled.

It was the kickoff to Awesome Con 2014, a comic book convention that will take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. In the end, the group came up short by several hundred people to break the world record.

But with so much superhero power concentrated next to the U.S. Capitol, NPR had to ask: Did the caped figures have any advice for Congress?

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It's All Politics
11:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Scott Walker Is Looking Beyond His Fan Base

GOP Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16 in Madison, Wis.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:14 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially announced this week that he is running for — wait for it — re-election as governor of Wisconsin.

It will be at least six months before he says anything definitive regarding that other office, the oval-shaped one in Washington, D.C.

And that's to be expected.

Governors in both parties routinely run for re-election while keeping coy about the White House — much like Bill Clinton in 1990 and George W. Bush in 1998 and Rick Perry in 2010.

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