This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you're a political junkie, I'm guessing a couple of words will make your skin crawl: hanging chads. Or you might like pregnant chads or whatever - we didn't know what a chad was before then. After the problems counting ballots in the 2000 election in Florida, municipalities around the country moved to adopt electronic voting systems with the thought that they would be easier to use, more straightforward to count.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:13 am
President Obama and congressional leaders from both major parties met at the White House this morning for the first of what will likely be many negotiations aimed at averting a plunge over the so-called fiscal cliff.
We watched for news from the key players — who include House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — and updated with highlights.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:23 pm
As the lame ducks waddle up to Capitol Hill for the final few weeks of this Congress, some political observers are hoping they will bring the "Spirit of 2010" with them.
Despite all the partisan bickering, the lame-duck session two years ago — bolstered by a bevy of outgoing Democrats with nothing to lose — actually got big things done, including the $850 billion stimulus and tax cut deal, a measure setting in motion the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," passage of the defense authorization bill and an arms treaty.
(We added a new top to this post at 12:40 p.m. ET to round up the latest developments.)
The White House did not insert politics into the process of determining what could be said about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in the days immediately afterward, former CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress this morning, according to lawmakers who were inside closed briefings today.
Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 4:49 am
The two biggest fears of the fiscal cliff are defense cuts and tax hikes. The nation's mayors say the devastating effects of automatic cuts reach further than the Defense Department — right into their own cities. Steve Inskeep talks to the Democratic Mayor of Charleston, S.C., Jospeh Riley and Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., about the impact sequestration could have in their cities.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:10 pm
Some Democrats complain that Republicans in recent decades have had the edge in House races because GOP state legislatures have been better at the gerrymandering game. Except that may not be true.
Some political experts believe there's an easier explanation, and perhaps a tougher one for Democrats to overcome: Voters supporting Republican House candidates, they say, are spread over more congressional districts than those who support Democrats. It's that simple. It's merely a matter of geography.
Voters were frustrated by a 2012 presidential race they called more negative than usual and more devoid of substantive discussion of issues, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
And voters are pessimistic about the prospect of a more productive Congress, Pew found.
Two-thirds of registered voters surveyed after Election Day said they believe relations between Democrats and Republicans will stay the same or worsen over the coming year.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Fault lines are forming in the Republican Party over comments from Mitt Romney about why he lost last week's election. In a conference call yesterday, with some of his biggest donors and fundraisers, Romney said President Obama won by bestowing gifts on targeted groups, including young people and minorities.
We're going to dig into some of those policy differences now between Republicans and Democrats. When it comes to reducing the deficit, both sides insist it's time for compromise. But President Obama says tax cuts for the richest Americans must end.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When it comes to the top two percent, what I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. In a few minutes, we will speak with the winner of the prestigious National Book Award for Nonfiction, author Katherine Boo. She was honored for her book about the people in a neighborhood in Mumbai, and she'll tell us more about it in a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 2:16 pm
There has been no dearth of post-election Republican self-flagellation.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, on the eve of heading out to a meeting of Republican governors in Las Vegas, warned the GOP to "stop being the stupid party." At the gathering Wednesday night, he leveled more harsh criticism at party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: One commentator called it the demographic cliff. With young voters trending blue, and more and more of them coming of age each election, it doesn't bode well for the GOP.
MEGAN HIGGINBOTHAM: What do y'all feel?
SMITH: Twenty-three-year-old Megan Higginbotham sat in a local restaurant in Georgetown, Texas, this week, commiserating with other members of her Young Republicans Club - like 25-year-old Kristen Smith.
The Republican Governor's Association is meeting this week in Las Vegas. Republicans lost seats in the House, Senate and the presidential race. But the GOP gained one more state, North Carolina, to put the number of Republican governors at 30. The governors say there's nothing wrong with the party that a few changes around the margins won't fix.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:17 am
President Obama continues to insist that any agreement to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff next year must include higher taxes on the wealthy. But Obama left the door open to structuring that tax increase in various ways. He's hoping to strike a bargain with congressional Republicans that would prevent a broader tax hike on the middle class that could send the country back into recession.
Both House and Senate committees hold closed-door hearings Thursday to question administration officials about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. Some leading Republicans say only a dedicated Watergate-style committee can get to the bottom what happened.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:01 am
President Obama travels to New York Thursday to get a first hand look at the continuing recovery efforts and lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy. Damage and lost economic activity from the storm have been estimated as high as $50 billion. State officials and lawmakers from the affected region say they intend to tap the federal government for as much assistance as possible.
When President Obama sets off to Asia this weekend to highlight his so-called pivot to the region, he will make a bit of history: Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar.
The country, also known as Burma, was a pariah state for decades, ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship. That is changing, and the Obama administration has encouraged a dramatic reform process in the country. But it may be too early for a victory lap.
A liberal think-tank closely allied with the Obama administration is proposing a health care spending plan it says could save hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlement spending without hurting middle- and low-income patients.
Political leaders from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have not been shy about their intent to seek as much federal funding as possible for their storm-struck states. Damages and lost economic activity as a result of Hurricane Sandy have been estimated as high as $50 billion.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., wants $30 billion in federal assistance to help rebuild his state. This request, and others, come at a time when Congress is already consumed with reducing the deficit.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:46 pm
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
As the White House and Congress debate taxes and entitlement reform, an influential liberal think-tank is offering what appears to be an olive branch. It comes at a time when many Democrats are trying to protect entitlements, such as Medicare. At the same time, Republicans say those entitlements are too expensive in their present form.
After President Obama's news conference today, he moved on to a meeting with the CEOs of a number of big corporations to talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff. We're going to talk now with one business leader who has advised the White House in the past, although he was not at today's meeting. Gary Loveman is the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, the worldwide casino company. He's been a member of President Obama's export council, and he's also part of the Fix the Debt campaign. Welcome to the program.
President Obama sounds like he's in for a fight over the woman who could be the next secretary of state. Republicans have been blasting U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the way she characterized the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11.
But the president came to her defense in his news conference Wednesday afternoon.
"When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me," he told reporters.
Now, to one place where the fight over the future direction over the Republican Party is playing out - the House of Representatives. A race for the number four House Republican leadership post has taken on broader significance, pitting a conservative congressman from Georgia against a congresswoman from Washington state, who has said the GOP has to become, quote, "more modern." And today, that Washington congresswoman won.
President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters at the White House today, in his first press conference since March. NPR's Ken Rudin and political strategists Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman, and Anna Greenberg, a democratic pollster, analyze the President's remarks.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 12:20 pm
Maine, Maryland, and Washington passed same-sex marriage on the ballot in the 2012 election. Minnesotans struck down a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Now, people on both sides of the issue are reevaluating their strategies.