And now to our Friday political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times. Welcome back to you both.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.
E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.
BLOCK: So this week, Angela Merkel apparently joining the list of world leaders whose cell phones have been monitored by the NSA. And it was enough to draw in a cry of enough is enough from the French European Commissioner Michel Barnier, talking to the BBC.
As we just heard, Republican Party approval ratings are lower than ever, but that's not stopping Texas Senator Ted Cruz from taking a post-shutdown victory lap in Iowa tonight. Cruz is headlining the state Republican Party's annual Reagan dinner and he's often talked about as a potential presidential candidate. Iowa, of course, holds the first presidential caucus. NPR's Tamara Keith is in Des Moines to hear the speech and she joins us now. Hey there, Tamara.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 1:37 pm
A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.
A young black man is suing high-end retailer Barneys, saying he was arrested after buying a $350 belt. Host Michel Martin checks in with the Barbershop guys for a fresh cut on that story and the rest of the week's news.
With Democrat Tom Harkin retiring, Iowa will have an open U.S. Senate seat for the first time in nearly 30 years. For Republicans hoping to gain a majority in the Senate, this is a key opening. But the GOP is far from settling on a candidate.
As House Republicans pummeled the White House at a hearing Thursday on the rocky online debut of federal insurance exchanges, President Obama tried changing the subject. He again urged Republicans in the House to do as the Senate has done and pass a broad rewrite of the nation's immigration laws. But the chances that could happen any time soon appear remote.
The fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law.
The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can't comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:12 pm
Doug Gansler is Maryland's top law enforcement official. As the state's attorney general, he's spoken out against the perils of underage drinking.
So, naturally, the posting of an Instagram photo of Gansler in the middle of what appears to be a wild underage drinking party — the attorney general is surrounded by shirtless dancing teenagers and red plastic cups — is proving to be a big political problem.
Virginia holds elections next month for state offices, including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. But what was historically a pretty sedate affair is, this year, drawing millions of dollars from all over the country.
Today's hearing may not have cleared up many questions about exactly what's wrong with the health care website, but it does represent a new chapter in the political fight over the Affordable Care Act.
Joining us now is NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. And, Mara, just after Republicans failed in their efforts to defund or delay the health care law through budget fights, the program's right back in the spotlight. Where does the political debate stand?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
On Capitol Hill, it was a day of tough questions and finger-pointing. Lawmakers got their first chance to grill government contractors over the botched rollout of the new government health insurance website. It was the first in a series of hearings. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle directed their anger at the contractors and at each other.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's no secret that it's getting harder to move on up in this country, to achieve upward mobility that is. Last week, we asked whether the ability of Americans to literally move to different parts of the country is playing a role in this. We heard from so many listeners about this that we decided to dig into the story a bit more, and we'll have that in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:01 am
HealthCare.gov, the faulty website where people can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has become nearly synonymous with the word "glitch" — sometimes defensively, sometimes mockingly.
Re-election trouble is brewing for longtime Republican senators in deep-red states, from South Carolina to Wyoming. And the trouble is from within.
The GOP's restive Tea Party and libertarian wings, energized by their titular leader, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and funded in part by starve-government groups like the Club for Growth, are waging 2014 Senate primary challenges in six states — and counting.
The first of what is likely to be many congressional hearings on the Affordable Care Act rollout happens Thursday. After more than three weeks, consumers trying out the new health care exchanges have complained of delays, inaccurate information and other computer problems. House Republicans are determined to shine a spotlight on the bungles.
The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.
The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.
Finally, the government shutdown and the congressional fight over the debt ceiling prompted critical comments about U.S. political dysfunction.
President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?
There's a battle for control of the GOP between establishment Republicans and a new brand of conservatives.
"You can call them populist, you can call them insurgents, you can them Tea Party adherents. ... I think the general term I try to use is the 'insurgent' wing," says New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin.