This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In this final weekend before Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are both looking for an edge as they make their final arguments to voters in a handful of battleground states.
For more, Mara Liasson, NPR's national political correspondent joins us. Mara, welcome.
Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 10:08 am
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. And here's a summary of Romney's final sprint: a rally in New Hampshire, a flight to Iowa for another rally, a flight to Colorado, two rallies there with a long bus drive in between then back to Iowa for a few hours' sleep in Des Moines. And that was just yesterday. Romney means it when he says:
MITT ROMNEY: We've had some long days and some very short nights.
SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: And I'm Sarah McCammon in Des Moines, where Republicans are fighting hard to get out the vote for Mitt Romney.
NATALIE LIEDMAN: Hi, Darlene. This is Natalie from the Republican Party. And I was just wondering if Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican ticket can count on your support in this November's election?
Republicans are hoping to gain control of the U.S. Senate. The path toward victory had Indiana solidly on their side. That was, until Indiana's treasurer Richard Mourdock beat longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary.
Then, during a debate on Oct. 23, Mourdock and his Democratic opponent, Congressman Joe Donnelly, were asked about abortion and contraception. Like Donnelly, Mourdock said he was against abortion.
In a country of dreamers and achievers, we seem surprisingly content in the middle.
The term "middle class" is at once useful for political purposes and practically useless as an economic descriptor. Without a consensus on an economic definition, nearly half of the country self-identifies as being in the middle class.
That gives politicians an opportunity to make far-reaching appeals to voters, speaking to Americans with incomes of $30,000 and $100,000 in the same breath.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 8:44 am
It may be too little, too late for Rep. Todd Akin.
The Republican candidate for Senate from Missouri is seeing an influx of money in the closing days of his campaign. Still, it would come as a surprise to seasoned observers in the state if Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill went down to defeat.
Both campaigns want to claim momentum heading into the final days of the campaign. This is especially true in battleground states like Iowa, where enthusiasm and voter turnout can make all the difference.
It's a common political metaphor â€” momentum â€” but is it a good one?
In the vast majority of pre-election polls, likely voters are usually asked, "If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?"
That's the wrong question to ask, says Justin Wolfers, a political economist with the University of Michigan. He's spent years researching polls, and in a new paper he offers what he says is the right question:
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 5:44 pm
President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are making the most of every moment this weekend, with only three days left before Americans choose who will lead the government for the next four years.
Update at 4 p.m. ET. Focus Is On Early Voting:
On his first stop today in the final campaign sprint, President Obama was in the super-battleground state of Ohio. The AP reports that the president reminded voters that Tuesday's election is "not just a choice between two candidates or two parties, it's a choice between two different visions for America."
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:44 am
Rick and Cindy Oleshak won't be voting the same way in the presidential election, and they want the world to know it.
The couple display competing yard signs in front of their house in Webster Groves, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. The Romney-Ryan sign is clearly marked "his," while Obama-Biden is "hers."
"We don't watch the debates together," says Cindy Underwood-Oleshak, a marketing consultant. "It took us probably 45 minutes to an hour longer to watch the debates four years ago, because we kept stopping and pausing and arguing."
Dan Lungren has been in and out of public office since 1979. The Republican represented a Southern California district in the '80s, served as the state's attorney general for eight years, and then returned to Congress to represent the Sacramento area in 2004.
These days, he's still the same pro-business, limited-government conservative he's always been, Lungren told a friendly audience in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 4:34 pm
Have you heard the story that's swept the liberal blogosphere in recent days about how Mitt Romney's son Tagg is going to steal the election for his dad?
It's not true, but like all good conspiracy theories, it is based on kernels of truth.
This conspiracy centers on voting machines in Ohio, a key battleground in this election. A couple of Ohio counties use voting machines made by a company called Hart InterCivic. According to the rumor, Tagg Romney owns part of Hart. So, goes the story, Tagg Romney could fix the election.
In battleground states like Ohio, distant national figures running for the White House show up in person to capture the local news cycle again and again and again. The campaigns' desire to get "free media" simply by appearing is a source of excitement and exhaustion for local news organizations, which know they're being used but can't help themselves.
Social media and the liberal blogosphere have raised questions about a Texas-based voting system company's connections to several fundraisers for Mitt Romney and Romney's son Tagg. Further stirring concern, the voting systems are used in two counties in Ohio. We look at the issue in the latest installment of our series In Context. Tamara Keith talks to Audie Cornish.
Both candidates seized on Friday's jobs report to make the case for why they should be elected next Tuesday. Employers added a better than expected 171,000 jobs in October. But the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent as more Americans entered the labor force to look for work.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 5:20 pm
Each month, the Labor Department issues an employment report. On Friday, that report showed job creation rose in October â€” and it revealed something more.
With its latest unemployment assessment, the government in effect took a BEFORE snapshot of the U.S. economy. It collected all of the data before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast and before the election outcome could be known. Each of those two events has the potential to change the AFTER outlook.
Election Day 2012 is just around the corner, and many Americans will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. But how reliable are these devices? Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech, discusses the technologies at your polling station.
Superstorm Sandy, the October Surprise no one anticipated, throws a monkey wrench into the final days of the campaign. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving spend the final pre-election podcast scouting the key presidential battleground states and have a forecast for control of the House and Senate in advance of Tuesday's voting.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for their pre-Election Day political roundup.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, Superstorm Sandy might've turned out the lights along the East Coast, but Twitter was ablaze with comments. We want to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly that Sandy brought out on social media. We'll have that conversation in a few minutes.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:20 am
(Revised @ 12 p.m. ET)
The final monthly jobs report before Tuesday's general election contained something for both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney to work into their closing arguments to voters.
For Obama, it was the news that the economy in October created significantly more jobs â€” 171,000 â€” than many economists had forecast. And the Labor Department revised upward the job numbers for September and August, suggesting even more underlying strength in the economy than earlier appeared to be the case.