Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:10 pm
Look at this map, and notice that deep, deep in the Republican South, there's a thin blue band stretching from the Carolinas through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. These are the counties that went for Obama in the last election. A blue crescent in a sea of red.
Now we turn to the former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. She served under President George W. Bush. She's now the founder and leader of Margaret Spellings and Company. That's a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. Madam Secretary, welcome to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
MARGARET SPELLINGS: Glad to be here, Michel. I'm sorry I'm not seeing you face to face. Hurry back.
Our next guest spent years allied with key conservatives on education reform. Diane Ravitch is the former assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush. During her time in that administration and afterwards, she advocated standardized testing and expanding school choice through charter schools. Those would later become key elements of No Child Left Behind under President George W. Bush, but she eventually became a critic of these approaches.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Today we want to bring you into one of the most important conversations we are having in this country. It's about our schools. Welcome to our Twitter Education Forum. Today we are broadcasting from member station WLRN in Miami, but the conversation has actually already started.
For the past month on Twitter, using the hashtag npredchat, we've already been hearing from our radio audience and from our digital audience.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 11:11 am
Joe Donnelly is counting on the auto industry bailout to help him out.
Donnelly, a third-term Democratic representative, is running for U.S. Senate in Indiana, which remains heavily dependent on the auto and RV industry. His opponent, GOP state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, not only opposed the bailout of Chrysler, but sued to block it.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in Iowa and Ohio Tuesday, as a wave of new polls suggested Romney's strong debate performance last week paid off. Swing states that recently seemed far out of his reach now look like a virtual tie in polls, or even leaning in the Republican's direction.
With the presidential race tightening, both candidates are eying the same prize: Ohio. President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney both campaigned there Tuesday. It was Obama's second visit to Ohio in five days.
For our series First and Main, Morning Edition is traveling to contested counties in swing states to find out what is shaping voters' decisions this election season. The latest trip took us to Larimer County, Colo.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:56 pm
With 27 days until the general election, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was on an Iowa farm Tuesday where he did what he's done for months: criticized President Obama's economic policies, though his critique understandably had an agricultural slant.
When Mitt Romney said he would cut PBS funding in the first presidential debate — and singled out Big Bird, whom he said he liked a lot — he perhaps inadvertently introduced the befeathered yellow children's icon smack into the center of political debate. President Obama approved a cable-only commercial dinging Romney for going after Sesame Street rather than Wall Street, but Romney appears to think he has a winning hand — castigating the president for focusing on a profitable educational puppet empire rather than big issues, like terrorism in the Arab world.
From Ohio now to Michigan, where labor unions are betting big this election. They're throwing their weight behind not one, but three new ballot proposals. The most ambitious of the three would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state's constitution. As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, that could reverse as many as 170 state laws that currently limit union bargaining power and fundraising.
Mitt Romney's day began in Iowa and ends in Ohio and that's where President Obama is as well for an evening rally in Columbus. NPR's Scott Horsley is already in Columbus and he joins us now. And Scott, the reaction to last week's debate has been mostly negative for President Obama. Are his Ohio supporters worried about that?
Job seekers line up to register at a Miami job fair in January. A new study shows that Florida voters discuss joblessness in ways quite different from those in Ohio and Virginia, two other presidential battleground states.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:21 pm
Dante Chinni is the director of Patchwork Nation, which uses demographic, voting and cultural data to study communities. It is part of the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Jefferson Institute, which teamed with NPR to examine what can be learned about different communities through online text analysis. The project had Knight Foundation funding.
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, unemployment has driven much of the national conversation, and with good reason.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 2:50 pm
Culture warriors on the left and right would be wise to carefully examine a new survey from the Pew Research Center showing that a growing number of Americans are moving away from religious labels.
The study, titled "Nones" on the Rise, indicates that 1 in 5 Americans now identifies as "religiously unaffiliated," a group that includes those who say they have no particular religion, as well as atheists and agnostics.
Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:12 pm
In its attempt to turn the tables on Mitt Romney following the Republican presidential nominee's big win in the first presidential debate, President Obama's campaign has sought to enlist Big Bird.
The president has repeatedly reminded supporters at rallies that Romney, during the debate, specifically cited Big Bird when he promised to defund the Public Broadcasting Service to reduce federal deficits.
When you consider how carefully staged and planned the debates are and how long they've been around, it's remarkable how often candidates manage to screw them up. Sometimes they're undone by a simple gaffe or an ill-conceived bit of stagecraft, like Gerald Ford's slip-up about Soviet domination of eastern Europe in 1976, or Al Gore's histrionic sighing in 2000. Sometimes it's just a sign of a candidate having a bad day, like Ronald Reagan's woolly ramblings in the first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
There was a time when Republicans seemed very likely to take control of the Senate this fall. They still have a good chance of that - though political odds makers now see the contest as close. It will be decided by races like the one in Virginia, where two former governors are running and debated last night. Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine are among the biggest political names in their state.
On a Tuesday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Just about every poll since last week's presidential debate, shows that Mitt Romney has made the race very close. A Pew survey showed Romney tied with President Obama, among registered voters; and leading by four points, among likely voters.
You heard Brian mention outside groups spending in Virginia. That spending was made easier by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling back in 2010, which opened the door to more corporate political spending. Loud complaints about that decision came from the state of Montana, where we're going next. It has a history of restricting corporate political spending, and officials worried that outside groups would swamp their tiny media market - which they have, as NPR's Martin Kaste reports.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 8:28 am
The reviews are in and, agree with them or not, most people thought Mitt Romney bested Barack Obama in Wednesday's presidential debate. The two don't meet again until Oct. 16, but in the meantime, there will be the vice-presidential face-off this Thursday.
How much pressure is riding on Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan?
One of the toughest, and strangest, congressional races in the country is between two Los Angeles incumbents. Redistricting put Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman into the same territory. Their faceoff in this election is a result of California's new non-partisan primary system, which sends the top two finishers to the general election, even if they're from the same party.
In the five days since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was declared by many the winner of the first presidential debate, political watchers have waited to see if polls would shift in response to his performance. And, they did.
In the next two installments of Solve This, NPR's series on the major issues facing the country, we'll examine each presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. First, President Obama's strategy, then Mitt Romney's.
Job creation is the centerpiece of President Obama's campaign speeches.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Mitt Romney's campaign spent almost the whole month of September in freefall. Almost nothing he did seemed right and almost everything was criticized, at least in part because he was trailing in the polls. That's a perception that feeds on itself. Then came last week's presidential debate, and surveys over this past weekend show the race much tighter. Now we watch to see what happens next.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Simpson, Bowles - the names flew by eight times, without explanation, during Wednesday's presidential debate. Google reported that Simpson-Bowles was among the most searched-for terms online that night. The reference was to Republican elder statesman Alan Simpson and his Democratic counterpart, Erskine Bowles. The two headed a 2010 commission on the national debt.