Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 3:46 pm
Sometimes it feels like everything that should be said about President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has already been said.
But maybe there is a way to talk about politicians in a fresher, cleaner way — without talking about politics. Like — or as — poets do it. Speaking metaphorically.
Sometimes you can say more about someone by not really talking about the person, but talking about something else. My love is like a red red rose, Robert Burns wrote. He is a feather in the wind, Led Zeppelin sang.
What business would you tell a young person to go into these days? Plastics? Oooh, that can mean lots of regulations. Wind turbines? Solar panels? Who knows how long those may take to pay off? App development? How many Angry Birds does the world need?
Then what about superPACS? They're political-action committees that can spend unlimited amounts of money to laud, mock or bash any political candidate.
As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, our focus is veterans affairs and defense spending.
Paying For War
Question from Sue Hoben of Canton, Conn.: "Why don't we increase taxes when we wage a war? For instance, Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely if national interest is at stake, then we should be willing to pay the price rather than add to the deficit."
By this point in the campaign season, the presidential polls may have your head spinning. Romney's up 7 points in one, Obama's up 3 in another ... and on any given day, a dozen other polls are swirling, each offering a different take.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 2:54 pm
After President Obama's self-described somnolent first debate performance, his female supporters lit up social media and tagged the campaign with complaints about his failure to talk about their issues, from pay equity to health and reproductive rights.
He's been playing catch-up ever since, focusing on shoring up his party's two-decade-long domination with female voters who are key to Obama's hold on the White House.
In Colorado, the presidential race is a statistical dead heat. The state went heavily for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 — but the president is now facing fierce headwinds.
Obama won last time by 9 points, an astounding margin in a state that hadn't gone Democratic since 1992. One Democratic strategist calls 2008 a one-time case of "irrational exuberance," especially among Colorado's large contingent of swing voters.
Candidates in a handful of other close Senate races squared off in their final debates last night. We're going to hear some of what they had to say in three states: Virginia, Connecticut and - first - Missouri.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:11 pm
As Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois was courting controversy last night by saying during a debate that the "health of the mother" isn't a reason for an abortion anymore, out in Arizona a Democratic candidate for Senate was stepping in it by telling a male debate moderator that "you're prettier" than CNN's Candy Crowley.
Presidential debate No. 2 is in the books, and the consensus is that — unlike debate No. 1 — President Obama came prepared for battle. For all the talk about "binders full of women," and what was said when after the events in Benghazi, Libya, Obama and Mitt Romney both made their cases. Now, they prepare for the third and final debate on Monday. We also bid farewell to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for the latest political roundup.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:03 am
In theBarbershop, the guys discuss President Obama and Mitt Romney's comedic commentary at a famed dinner Thursday night. Host Michel Martin is joined by writer Jimi Izrael; civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar; National Review columnist Mario Loyola and health care consultant Neil Minkoff.
President Obama and Governor Romney have discussed the middle class a great deal during the debates, but the candidates haven't spent nearly as much time talking about the poor. To get a read on the state of poverty in America, host Michel Martin talks with Irwin Redlener, of the Children's Health Fund and Timothy Noah, a columnist for The New Republic.
Women are certainly front and center in the presidential campaign. Over the past few days, both Mitt Romney and President Obama have released new ads in an effort to court women. This follows the latest presidential debate where work and family issues created some heated discussions onstage and then among voters. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.
JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: The ad wars are becoming as tit-for-tat as this week's debate. Right off the bat was this from the Romney camp, featuring a former Obama voter.
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There are some sure signs that a presidential election is fast approaching: Get out the vote rallies take on a new urgency and the really big names show up. That was all on display yesterday in Parma, Ohio, where Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen were the co-headliners. NPR's Don Gonyea was there.
In November, Democrats have an uphill battle if they want to try and take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But one bright spot for the party is the Sixth Congressional District in Maryland. State Democrats redrew the district's boundaries and now it favors their party. And that leaves 10-term Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett in trouble. NPR's Jeff Brady has our story from Hagerstown, Maryland.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning. The president and his Republican rival are both holding rallies today in swing states, meaning they'll likely be taking swings at each other's policies and political positions.
As the presidential race enters its final weeks, there are many factors that could affect the outcome: a great — or terrible — debate performance by one of the candidates on Monday in Florida; the next jobs report; or the presence of third-party candidates who are on the ballot in almost every state.
Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who's running on the Libertarian ticket, is on the ballot in 48 states.
One area where President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clearly disagree is defense spending. The president wants less, Romney wants more. But the difference in their approaches is about more than money.
When Romney looks at the future, he sees a series of threats: from unrest in the Middle East to a nuclear North Korea to what he sees as a defiant Russia.
Speaking to veterans in Virginia's Fairfax County last month, Romney blamed the Obama administration for cuts that will go into effect unless Congress and the president act.
An anonymous "family foundation" is paying for billboards warning against voter fraud, like this one in a minority neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. Clear Channel, which owns the space, says the anonymity violates its policies but it will not take the ads down.
Dozens of anonymous billboards have popped up in urban areas in the crucial battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin. The signs note that voter fraud is a felony, punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Civil rights groups and Democrats complain that the billboards are meant to intimidate voters.
Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 12:21 pm
Gathering voters to watch a presidential debate and then evaluate it is a long tradition in American journalism. So, I got to thinking: What would happen if I invited a bunch of interested foreigners — all of them Chinese citizens — to watch the presidential debate from my Shanghai office?
Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 8:00 am
As recently as last month, it was clear that a lot of Republicans were unhappy with their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
When I would ask GOP voters how they felt about Romney at campaign rallies or at their doorsteps, many made sour faces, like they were swallowing chalk. They offered their most backhanded endorsements, saying things like, "He wasn't my first choice," or, "He's who we've got."
It was clear they would vote for him, but for many it was not out of love — it was out of disdain for President Obama.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (left) and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Oct. 16, 2008. At center is Bishop Edward Michael Cardinal Egan.
After sharp words on the debate stage Tuesday and after weeks of tough talk about each other on the campaign trail, President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney face a different kind of challenge tonight:
They have to be funny about each other and about themselves.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the keynote address during last month's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Christie's election in 2009 was part of the first wave of Republican gubernatorial victories.
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell won one of two governorships that the GOP picked up in 2009.
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After their lively town hall debate on Long Island Tuesday night, President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney jetted off in different directions yesterday to rally the faithful and woo the undecided in some key battleground states.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with President Obama, who's eager to regain the advantage he once enjoyed with women voters. The Obama campaign spent much of yesterday taking Governor Romney to task for what some regard as his out-of-date comments about women in the workplace.
Mr. Obama drove the point home last night in front of 14,000 supporters on a college campus in Athens, Ohio.
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President Obama spent part of this week's debate pressing his opponent on the federal deficit. Mitt Romney has promised to cut tax rates by 20 percent, but he's vague about how he would do that without making the deficit even bigger. Mr. Obama promised he would raise taxes on the wealthy.
Former Maine Gov. Angus King is convinced that if the math works out he could be the power broker in the U.S. Senate, the independent candidate whose vote will break the political gridlock in Washington. But first he has some explaining to do.