This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
One final presidential debate means one final close read of what Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama said last night, this time on foreign policy. A team of NPR correspondents has been checking facts and also just trying to help explain statements, starting with this one by Mitt Romney on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
A print in The Illustrated London News of Dec. 3, 1864, depicts Election Day in a wealthy (top) and poor (bottom) neighborhood in New York. The top caption reads: "A polling-place in the 'upper ten.' " The bottom caption reads: "A polling-place among the 'lower twenty.' " Click Here To See A Full-Size Image
It's Tuesday — exactly two weeks out from Nov. 6, Election Day. Why is voting day for American federal elections always a Tuesday? The answer is a bit obscure and has to do with buggies.
Let me explain.
The story starts all the way back with the Founding Fathers. "The Constitutional Convention just met for a very brief time during the summer of 1787," Senate Historian Don Ritchie says. "By the time they got finished they were exhausted and they hadn't made up their minds on a lot of things."
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:55 pm
For most American viewers, including this one, much of Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy was conducted as though it were in a foreign language.
References to Mali, to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, missile shields in Poland, "status of forces" agreements — could only have befuddled the voting public.
It's not that the candidates invoked unimportant issues. And it's not that the two held so elevated a conversation mere mortals could not understand. It's that they were debating almost entirely in tone rather than content.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:10 pm
In at least one sense, the final presidential debate of the year looked a lot like the previous ones between Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Regardless of what they were asked, each offered talking points he had prepared and was determined to make. The candidates, not moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News, set both the tone and the pace of the debate.
That included switching gears far from the nominal subject of Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Fla., which was foreign policy. The domestic economy received at least as much attention and verbiage as Iran, Libya or China.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 8:55 am
Fact checkers got a shout out Monday night from President Obama when he declared that Republican challenger Mitt Romney had repeated "the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign."
"Every fact checker and every reporter who's looked at it, governor, has said this is not true," the president pointed out — correctly — during Monday's debate after Romney charged that Obama went on an "apology tour" during his first year in office.
Foreign policy proved to be a subject that kept the tone mostly substantive tonight in the third and final debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before the Nov. 6 election.
In many of his campaign speeches, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney likes to chide the Obama administration for cutting military spending. And Romney says one force in particular is suffering from a lack of resources.
"The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916," he says in many of his stump speeches. Romney promises to rebuild the Navy until it reaches 350 ships. But does a bigger Navy make the U.S. more secure?
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. In Iowa, two long-time members of the House of Representatives are waging a nasty reelection battle that will leave one of them out of a job come January. Both had their districts redrawn into one new district after Iowa lost a seat through reapportionment. NPR's David Welna reports on this rare incumbent face-off.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:26 pm
Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern died Sunday at the age of 90. A liberal icon, he made two failed bids for president, but remained active and worked for several organizations battling world hunger. NPR's Ron Elving and Jill Callison of The Argus Leader discuss McGovern's politics and legacy.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The Middle East presents a series of challenges for whomever wins on November 6th: immediate problems in Libya and Syria, a seemingly eternal problem with Israel and the Palestinians, but maybe the biggest problem: the looming crisis with Iran.
A Ford Focus on the assembly line in Wayne, Mich. "We have a lot going for us; we've got our problems, but others have problems that are as bad or worse," says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:28 pm
At Monday night's foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve "America's role in the world."
The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That's what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:48 pm
President Obama and Mitt Romney haven't spent much time talking about world affairs on the campaign trail, yet foreign policy can often define a presidency. America's next leader faces tough choices that range from redefining the U.S. role in the Middle East to managing the crucial relationship with China.
With that in mind, let's look at the topics most likely to come up in tonight's foreign policy debate — the candidates' final faceoff — in Boca Raton, Fla., and how international issues will shape the next administration.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
Tonight the presidential candidates meet for the final debate of this presidential election. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will be in Boca Raton, Florida. The event will focus on foreign policy, which was never expected to rival the economy as a major issue in this campaign. But foreign policy has played a bigger role than anticipated in recent weeks.
As we just heard, the candidates have already said a lot about foreign policy, but they have not necessarily addressed every question. Tom Ricks has been thinking about a subject that lurks somewhere beneath almost all discussions about global hotspots. Ricks has covered the U.S. military for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and in many books. His most recent work, "The Generals," examines top military officers in recent history and their grasp of strategy.
Workers scramble on a scaffold at a construction site in Hefei, central China's Anhui province, last month. China has approved a massive infrastructure package worth more than $158 billion, state media said in September, as the government seeks to boost the flagging economy.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 5:26 am
If the last presidential debate was any indication, you'll be hearing a lot about China in tonight's third and final face-off between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Last week's debate was ostensibly about domestic issues, but that didn't stop China from being mentioned numerous times. Tonight's debate, focused on foreign policy, is sure to see relations with Beijing get a lot of airplay.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:11 pm
If George McGovern often seemed miscast as a presidential candidate, he was at least as improbable as an icon of the anti-war movement.
The Vietnam War gave birth to an opposition movement unlike any America had seen in its previous wars. It was young, unconventional and countercultural, defiant of authority and deeply suspicious of government.
Iran is hurting. Economic and banking sanctions, plus an effective oil embargo led by the European Union, have brought chaos to Iran's economy. The bottom fell out of its currency, the rial, a couple of weeks ago, provoking street protests. Iranians of all social classes are struggling to cope.
A container ship from China is offloaded at Massport's Conley Terminal in the port of Boston in July. Trade issues with China has been a major talking point for the presidential candidates.
Credit Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
Stand-ins for President Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and moderator Bob Scheiffer rehearse a day ahead of the final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla, on Sunday.
Credit Lucas Jackson / Reuters /Landov
At the U.N. Sept. 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a graphic to show how far he says Iran will be by mid-2013 in a quest to develop nuclear weapons.
Credit Mohammed Ballas / AP
A Palestinian man smokes a nargileh (waterpipe) next to a mural of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in a coffee shop in the West Bank city of Jenin in September.
President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney are getting ready to answer any and all possible questions about foreign policy for Monday night's debate, the last one before the Nov. 6 election.
Iran, Israeli-Palestinian talks and China are among likely topics for the debate — and also major issues awaiting the next president. Each case is a matter of building and maintaining alliances while applying pressure to protect U.S. interests.
The Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center is the site off the upcoming presidential debate at Lynn University. The small Florida college is awaiting its big moment in the spotlight on Monday.
Credit Wilfredo Lee / AP
Members of the media tour the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center on Thursday in advance of Monday's presidential debate.
Whenever 19-year-old Robbie Walsh tells friends and family back home in Maryland that he goes to Lynn University, they do a double-take.
"They go, 'Lynn University? What?'" he says. "Then I have to tell them it's in Boca Raton, Florida, and a lot of them say, 'Oh, FAU,' or 'The University of Miami.'"
Many of Lynn's students and faculty who gather at the campus cafe say they hear that sort of thing all the time. But university spokesman Joshua Glanzer says a new T-shirt showing up on campus gives it right back.
Former Sen. George McGovern (D-S.C.) accepts the Democratic nomination for president at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Fla.
Credit McGovern Family / AP
McGovern receives the Distinguished Flying Cross during World War II in 1944.
President John F. Kennedy talks with McGovern, at the time a special presidential assistant and director of the Food for Peace program, at the White House in 1961.
Credit Henry Burroughs / AP
In the Senate, McGovern took on the issue of hunger in America. Here he discusses his recommendations for more vigorous efforts to use surplus food at a news conference in Washington in 1961.
McGovern, the presidential candidate, stands with Sen.Thomas F. Eagleton, the vice presidential nominee, at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Fla.,1972.
In the final hours of his campaign for the presidency, McGovern speaks at a rally in Long Beach, Calif., 1972. He lost the race to Richard Nixon in a landslide.
Credit Ric Feld / AP
McGovern (third from right) ran for president again in 1984. He conceded his race to Democratic nominee Walter Mondale (third from left). Here, moderator John Chancellor (left) stands with five of the candidates for the Democratic nomination prepare a debate.
Credit Mike Okoniewski / AP
McGovern, who lost his Senate seat in 1980, teaches American foreign policy at Cornell in 1990.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark (right) is endorsed by McGovern during a pancake breakfast in Keene, N.H., 2004.
Credit Matt Sayles / AP
McGovern in Los Angeles, 2008.
Former Sen. George McGovern (D-S.C.) accepts the Democratic nomination for president at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Fla.
Former Sen. George McGovern, the liberal senator from conservative South Dakota, died on Sunday. He was 90 years old.
McGovern lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon by a landslide, carrying only Massachusetts. But his candidacy and opposition to the Vietnam War were embraced by a new generation of voters.
The defining moments in McGovern's life included not only winning the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, and not just the dismal loss to Nixon that followed, but also safely landing an airplane that the German army had tried to blow out of the sky.
The latest filing deadline for fundraising reports in the presidential campaigns was Saturday night, and the totals are staggering.
President Obama and the Democratic Party's grand total is just north of $900 million dollars for the current cycle, while Mitt Romney and the Republicans topped $800 million. Both sides are on track to raise and spend $1 billion by Election Day.
The candidates agreed to 21 pages of debate rules, but whether they obey them is another story.
Click on the documents to read the full memorandum.
Credit Win McNamee / Getty Images
Both the Romney and Obama campaigns agreed to a laundry list of rules for the debates. That "Memorandum of Understanding" is 21 pages long and covers everything from air conditioning to props. Whether the candidates obey the rules is another story.
When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney meet for their third presidential debate on Monday, there will be some rules for the candidates — and the audience.
In the first debate, Jim Lehrer of PBS demanded "Absolute silence!" Although Lehrer caught some flack for letting the candidates freewheel in that debate, he meant business when it came to keeping the audience quiet.
"If you hear something that's really terrific, sit on it!" he told the audience. "If you hear something you don't like, sit on it!"
An empty bullet shell in the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 13, after the attack on the building late on Sept. 11, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 10:24 am
In the end, it's an argument about competence.
The Obama administration's response to the Sept. 11 killings at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has become a staple of the campaign. It's bound to come up again during Monday's debate about foreign policy.
Mitt Romney will use the event — which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens — to question President Obama's veracity and his handling of foreign policy in general.
With the final presidential debate on Monday tackling foreign policy issues, surely China will be a familiar topic. It seems every four years, the U.S. relationship with China takes a beating during campaign events. Host Guy Raz speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about why candidates attack China yet presidents always balance their rhetoric.