Mitt Romney's rally in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday began the way every political event begins. "Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and our country's national anthem."
This is always an uncomfortable moment for me. While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling:
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 3:05 pm
When Mitt Romney uses the Pledge of Allegiance as a metaphor for all that's good and right with America, how many in his audience know that the two-sentence loyalty oath was penned not by the Founding Fathers in 1776, but a fascist preacher more than 100 years later?
Or that the original recommended posture was with a straightened arm raised upward and outward? Or that it was changed to the hand over the heart during World War II after the Nazis adopted the original as their salute?
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice and, if you followed the political conventions, then you know that there was a lot of talk about leadership and the economy, but there was also a lot of talk about family.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's proposal to overhaul the tax code continues to draw scrutiny.
Romney says it is possible to cut tax rates without driving the government deeper into the red, and that he can make up for the lost revenue by closing tax loopholes. But analysts have had a hard time testing Romney's claim because he hasn't offered many specifics.
When he was pressed by NBC's David Gregory this weekend to give an example of a loophole he would close, Romney didn't offer much detail.
To try to get a sense of what it really means to be the president of the United States, writer Michael Lewis spent six months in President Obama's shadow. Lewis hoped to find out just what it's like to be in the president's shoes — down to something as simple as how he decides what to wear every day.
Around the country there are moves to tighten restrictions on voters at the polls, some of which fall under the purview of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Melissa Block takes a step back with voting and election law expert Nate Persily of Columbia University, to talk about the Voting Rights Act, and in particular Section 5. That provision, originally aimed at states in the South, requires certain states, counties and townships to get "pre-clearance" from the federal government before changing laws that affect voters.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
In Chicago today, teachers walked picket lines at more than 600 schools. It's the city's first teacher strike in 25 years. Over the weekend, negotiators failed to reach agreement on a contract. They're back at the bargaining table today in hopes of sending 350,000 students back to school before the public's patience wears thin.
From member station WBEZ in Chicago, Becky Vevea has the story.
Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.
Among the cases: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear an appeal to overturn that state's new voter ID law. An appeal is expected in a case involving early voting in Ohio. And a federal court is still considering whether South Carolina can go ahead with its new voter ID law.
They may have shut down Stephen Strasburg, but they'll never shut down ScuttleButton.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up: The designers are sending their creations down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. And just in case your invitations to some of those big-name shows got lost in the mail, we will bring the runway to you. We'll talk with a reporter who's in the mix to tell us what's hot and what's not. That's later in the program.
The Democrats were no sooner out of Charlotte when the bad economic news came.
A more disappointing job report than had been forecast. Economic numbers weaker than expected. Just 96,000 jobs were created in August, far fewer than what economists were anticipating. And even a lower unemployment rate — down to 8.1 percent from 8.3 — was explained as that more people had simply stopped looking for work. The hope of four years ago is quickly becoming a fading memory, especially for those whose lives have not seen the change Barack Obama once promised.
Foreign policy has not been a major focus of this election campaign, but whoever wins in November will have a messy inbox when it comes to the delicate tangle of issues in the Middle East.
For decades, the U.S. relied on authoritarian regimes to provide stability in the region. Now, it must deal with a new government in Egypt, an intensifying conflict in Syria, nervous allies in the Persian Gulf — and a major decision about Iran.
There's a new stimulus plan underway in America: $5.8 billion is being injected into the U.S. economy, particularly in states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Florida.
We're talking of course about campaign spending, and this year's elections will be the most expensive in history. In fact, by the time we all head to the voting booth on Election Day, nearly $6 billion will have been spent on campaigns — big and small — all across America.
One overlooked part of the convention frenzy was the party platforms. They seemed to cause more embarrassment than excitement at the DNC, where party leaders fumbled at reinserting clauses about Jerusalem and God into their platform. And at the RNC, Rep. John Boehner admitted he'd never even read his party's platform. NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to talk about the platforms and what — if anything — they mean in 2012.
And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. There was a time when the Senate would, every once in a while, use a special tool to protect the rights of the minority party.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Half of official Washington is here to see democracy's finest show, the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form.
Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.
When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.
Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 9:34 am
If you grew up in a bilingual Hispanic household, listening to the Democratic and Republican conventions may have sounded a lot like home.
It's no coincidence that both parties highlighted politicians like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
Rubio, whose parents are from Cuba, introduced Mitt Romney at the Republican convention; Castro, whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, became the first Latino to give the Democrats' keynote address.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Just under two months to go before Election Day. The national conventions are over. We're weeks away from debates. And while Democrats and Republicans try to win the White House, they are also locked in a battle for control of Congress. Republicans made historic gains in the House in 2010. And while the GOP didn't quite get a majority in the Senate, they had great expectations of this year because the numbers are in their favor.
We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So, Mara, as we heard, President Obama and Mitt Romney are back on the road again, their conventions behind them. According to national polls, it looks like the Democrats got some momentum from their time in Charlotte.
Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.
On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.
U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei is openly gay. He's also openly Republican.
"You know what, in Massachusetts, it's a lot easier to be gay than be a Republican," he says, "as far as trying to get elected to office."
But Tisei could make political history for the Massachusetts GOP. Not just because they could win their first U.S. House seat in 15 years, but also because Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican to be elected to a term in Congress.
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won nearly all the African-American vote. And this year, a recent poll found that less than 1 percent of black voters will back Mitt Romney. But in Ohio, as NPR's Allison Keyes found out, some black voters are agonizing over whether to vote in November at all.