Politics

It's All Politics
8:52 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lobbyists Amp Up Efforts To Sell Washington On E-Cigarettes

Blair Roberts, a 22-year-old sales associate at Colorado E-Smokes, "vapes" with an electronic cigarette in the Aurora, Colo., store. In the absence of federal rules, Colorado is among states that considered its own age requirements for the nicotine-delivery devices.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 3:57 pm

In a scene from the new season of the popular Netflix political drama House of Cards, the elegant Claire Underwood catches her soon-to-be vice president husband puffing an e-cigarette.

"You're cheating," she says, referring to their efforts to quit smoking.

"No, I'm not," Congressman Francis Underwood replies. "It's vapor ... addiction without the consequences."

A Washington-based drama with an implicit endorsement of "vaping" — the practice of partaking in nicotine without burning tobacco?

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Politics
3:10 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Davis, Abbott Expected To Win Texas Gubernatorial Primary

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:43 am

State Senator Wendy Davis is the Democratic hopeful. She's challenging Republican Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general. Both are expected to easily win their primaries.

It's All Politics
5:49 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Obama And Boehner Relationship Anything But Solid

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner were all smiles at a rare White House meeting Tuesday. But their relationship has more often been marked by angry finger-pointing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If more were actually getting done in Washington, there probably would be much less attention focused on how few times President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have met face-to-face, and on their "relationship."

But Congress is testing new lows in terms of legislative productivity, which leaves plenty of time for journalists to muse about the president-speaker relationship, such as it is, on the day of one of their rare meetings.

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It's All Politics
5:16 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Talking History: Black Senators Celebrate Their Legacy

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action in Oct. 2013.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:29 pm

Five current and former black senators appeared together Tuesday at an unprecedented event celebrating the legacy and contributions of the nine African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The event, held at the Library of Congress to mark Black History Month, was the brainchild of Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. The only Republican at the summit, Scott was joined by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Sens. William "Mo" Cowan of Massachusetts as well as Roland Burris and Carol Moseley Braun, both of Illinois.

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Politics
3:22 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Chris Christie's Sandy Problem

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a Feb. 12 gathering in Toms River, N.J., that included some victims still out of their homes or businesses as a result of Superstorm Sandy.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing criticism over what was once a source of his political strength — his handling of Superstorm Sandy.

While national attention focuses on accusations that the governor's top aides created traffic jams to punish political adversaries, back home it's the slow storm recovery from Sandy that's causing him new headaches.

Sandy crashed into the Jersey Shore eight days before the 2012 presidential election. Republican Christie had been campaigning hard for Mitt Romney, and trashing President Obama.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

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Law
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Amid Controversy, 'Right To Refuse' Bill Hits Governor's Desk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer is being pressured to veto a bill that would allow business owners in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians. To deny service, the business owner has to have sincerely held religious beliefs. That's the legislation's wording. It's become so controversial that even some lawmakers who voted for it are now regretting it.

NPR's Ted Robbins has more.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Equal rights.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

After More Than A Year, Obama And Boehner Sit Down Just To Talk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

It's a sign of deeply partisan times when a Democratic president and a Republican House speaker make headlines just by sitting down and talking to each other. That's what happened today in a rare hour-long meeting that aides call constructive. How constructive is not exactly clear. And while the president and House speaker agreed to work together in areas where there's common ground, that appears to be very small territory.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Religious Freedom Bills Rooted In Fears Of Obama Policies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has been urged by the state's two U.S. senators, both Republicans, to veto a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:43 pm

Many religious leaders are feeling under siege. They believe the Obama administration is at worst hostile but at least "tone deaf" to the demands of faith. In their view, the government is attempting to make them act in ways that violate their convictions.

That is the context in which so-called religious freedom bills are being considered in Arizona and numerous other states.

The bills, which would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs, appear discriminatory on their face.

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Politics
3:34 am
Tue February 25, 2014

After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:06 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

I n 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets was a top hit on the music charts, and John Dingell became a member of Congress. Nearly six decades later, the Michigan Democrat, the longest-serving member of Congress is leaving. He announced his retirement yesterday.

Here's NPR's David Welna.

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Panel Charged With Eliminating Child Abuse Deaths

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:58 am

A federal commission to prevent children's deaths from abuse and neglect held its first meeting on Monday. Figuring out the extent of the problem is just one challenge facing the new commission.

Politics
1:37 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has won some conservative supporters in her state, but her support for Obamacare is putting her re-election at risk.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:06 am

If Democrats are going to keep their majority in the Senate, they'll need to hang on to a few critical seats they hold in conservative states.

Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has one of those, and like some of her colleagues up for re-election, her support of the Affordable Care Act could be the mountain to overcome this fall.

The question for Landrieu is: Will Louisiana voters define her by Obamacare, or judge her on the entire record she's built over nearly two decades as a senator?

For Some, Obamacare's A Dealbreaker

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

The Lessons Of John Dingell's Departure

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., whose House career stretches nearly 60 years, will retire at the end of his term as the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:23 pm

Nearly every news account Monday of Rep. John Dingell's retirement announcement made mention of his amazing longevity — the Michigan Democrat is the longest-serving member in the history of Congress.

While his durability is the stuff of legend, it's also remarkable that an accomplished, heavyweight legislator like Dingell stayed so long into an era of congressional dysfunction.

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Africa
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

How Will Ugandan Gay Refugees Be Received By U.S.?

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

A Ugandan law punishes "offenders" of homosexual acts with prison terms. Aaron Morris, legal director at Immigration Equality, explains the U.S. track record of granting asylum in such situations.

Politics
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

After Nearly Six Decades In Office, Dingell Decides Not To Run

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

John Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, announced he won't run in 2014. As Tracy Samilton reports, Dingell's state will lose more than an icon when he retires.

It's All Politics
1:32 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Study: Conservatives And Liberals Rarely Debate On Twitter

When it comes to political discourse, Twitter chatter splits along liberal and conservative lines that rarely cross, according to a new report.

The Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation together used software to map and analyze words, hashtags and urls that define Twitter conversation. The results show that when the nature of a conversation on Twitter is political, two distinct and polarized groups tend to form.

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Politics
11:56 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December

J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:37 pm

The leader of an influential Justice Department office that offers legal advice on surveillance, drones and other issues at the center of security and executive power quietly left government before Christmas.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Rep. John Dingell, Who Has Served A Record 58 Years, Is Retiring

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 11:23 am

Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell, who was first elected to Congress in 1955 to fill a seat his father had held, says he will not seek re-election later this year.

He'll leave office having served in Congress longer than anyone else in history. Last June, Dingell passed the previous record holder, the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Pentagon Budget-Cutting Plans Sure To Draw Flak

Mark Wilson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:37 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Bowman talks with host David Greene about the Pentagon's budget problems

Click here to jump to Monday afternoon's highlights of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement. We've rewritten the top of this post since Hagel announced his budget plan.

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Environment
3:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Billionaire Steyer Puts Money Toward Climate, Energy Issues

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. So in the words of that political scientist in Peter's piece, wealthy donors like Tom Steyer are putting a pistol to someone's head, forcing their pet issues on candidates. Steyer himself sees things very differently. He quit his hedge fund with $1.5 billion and now in his view he's fighting as hard as he can with money and passion to do something very noble - save the planet. When he sat down to speak with us he said his goal is to use his money to limit carbon emissions.

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Politics
3:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

America's Richest Political Activists Pour Money Into SuperPACs

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Some of America's richest political activists are pouring money into new SuperPACs as they seek to influence the issues in upcoming Senate and House races. Billionaires including Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and Fred Eychaner used SuperPACs to support their favored presidential candidates in 2012.

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Around the Nation
3:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Pentagon Officials To Outline Defense Budget Priorities

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:34 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will outline budget priorities during a news conference on Monday. A key question for the Pentagon: How to curb growth of military pay and benefits?

Politics
6:04 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Running For Congress At Age 101

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 9:57 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I don't know about you but if I make it to the age of 100, I plan on spending my time in some beach town with a lot of friends and family, a pile of books and the occasional highball. In other words, I would plan to relax. Joe Newman is not that kind of centenarian. The resident of Sarasota, Florida is running for Congress at the age of 101. Candidate Joe Newman joins me from his campaign headquarters. Thanks so much for being here, Mr. Newman.

JOE NEWMAN: Thank you for having me.

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Politics
6:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

A Republican View: U.S. Military Should Play No Role In Syria

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:08 pm

Some in Congress believe sending aid to Syria's opposition forces will drag the U.S. into a war it can't win. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., about his adamant stance.

Politics
6:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Should The U.S. Choose Sides In Syria? A Democrat Says 'Yes'

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 11:06 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The dying and suffering in Syria gets worse every week, even as turmoil in other areas demands coverage, too. Last September 10th, President Obama seemed to make the case for U.S. involvement following Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians. This is not a world we should accept, said the president. It is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.

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It's All Politics
7:59 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

FCC Won't Ask Journalists To Explain Themselves After All

Critics told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler his agency's proposed news media study would threaten press freedom.
Susan Walsh AP

It may not be in full retreat, but the Federal Communications Commission certainly seemed to be in a major strategic withdrawal from a plan that has caused a political firestorm: a study that would have asked journalists and media owners how they decide what is and isn't news.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Texan's Final Campaign May Act As National Barometer

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In northeast Texas, from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana, Republican Ralph Hall is seeking an 18th term in Congress. Hall is 90 years old and the oldest member of Congress. At a time of deep voter anger with Washington, Hall's long incumbency and his age have drawn a crowded field of primary challengers. He's assuring his constituents that it will be his last campaign, but if there's an anti-incumbent wave building, his east Texas district may be an early barometer.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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Economy
2:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Fannie Mae: Now Free From Debt But Still Under Government's Wing

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

With another $7.2 billion in payments to the Treasury Department, Fannie Mae is now in the black for the first time since it entered conservatorship in 2008. Yet Fannie's future is as murky as ever.

Law
2:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Detroit Unrolls Its Bankruptcy Blueprint

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Detroit officials have filed a blueprint for the city's emergence from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Quinn Klinefelter of WDET reports that unions and others vow to fight the plan.

Politics
2:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Week In Politics: Minimum Wage And Boehner's Pressures

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Political commentators Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times discuss a proposed minimum wage raise and the challenges facing GOP congressional leaders.

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