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Are SuperPACs Good For Democracy?

Sep 18, 2012

Money is flowing through this election season like never before. The proliferation is due in part to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and other recent rulings, which paved the way for superPACs, other outside groups and massive, secret donations from individuals, corporations and unions.

Mitt Romney has gotten into political hot water for asserting that "47 percent of the people" favor President Obama because they are "dependent upon government."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to start the program today talking about that secret recording of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney making what he, himself, has now called inelegant remarks to a group of wealthy donors about Obama voters, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his connection to Mexico.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we are going to continue our conversation about this, with two respected analysts whom we turn to, from time to time. I spoke with them earlier. Mary Kate Cary is a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. She's now a blogger and columnist for "U.S. News & World Report." Maria Teresa Kumar is the president and CEO of Voto Latino. That's a nonpartisan group that encourages Latinos to get involved in the political process. Previously, she was an aide to the House Democratic Caucus.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Leo Manzano came home from the London Olympics with a silver medal. It was a proud moment for his family and for the country, but how he displayed that pride landed him in a little hot water. We're going to talk to the runner about that and how he made history in London. That conversation is in just a few minutes.

The emergence of video secretly recorded in May, in which Mitt Romney speaks scornfully of President Obama's supporters, has sparked the inevitable comparisons to controversial comments President Obama made in 2008.

Watching the first 20 minutes of Saturday Night Live's season premiere in Denver, I counted at least four ads by the Obama campaign and liberal groups backing the president. Just one ad countering their message was aired in the same span by the Romney campaign.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told supporters that "there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what" because they are "dependent upon government ... believe that they are victims ... believe the government has a responsibility to care for them ... these are people who pay no income tax."

Who was he talking about?

Renee Montagne talks to David Carr, the media and culture columnist for The New York Times, about the trend toward journalists agreeing to quotation approval as a condition of access. Carr says he doesn't think the people who are making history should be allowed to rewrite it.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Mitt Romney says he's standing by the substance of his comments about American voters. A recording first revealed by Mother Jones magazine captured Romney at a fundraiser. He said 47 percent of Americans are hopelessly lost to President Obama, that they pay no income taxes, quote, "think they are victims, that they're entitled," and that he can't make them take responsibility or care for their lives.

Mitt Romney made yet another attempt Monday to narrow President Obama's substantial polling lead over him with Latino voters.

The Republican presidential nominee spoke at the Los Angeles convention of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he was respectfully received.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears a man under siege.

His political strategists are feuding over the direction of the campaign. He bungled his "presidential moment" with an ill-timed and ill-informed response to violence in Libya that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

President Obama kicked off the week in the battleground state of Ohio, where he spent much of the time Monday talking about China.

His administration filed a new trade complaint against China with the World Trade Organization on Monday. The White House is challenging Chinese subsidies for auto parts.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Sep 17, 2012

People are attacking our embassies around the world for one reason, and one reason only: They want to stop the spread of ScuttleButton puzzles.

But they will not succeed.

There's nothing like a ready-made crowd to help a group get its message out. That's why a conservative political organization set up shop Sunday outside the St. Louis Rams-Washington Redskins NFL football game.

Why mix politics and football?

"People are here," explained Patrick Werner, Missouri state director for Americans for Prosperity.

Football fans are used to encountering promotional tents for sports-talk radio stations and brands of beer and mixed nuts on their way to the game. Not so many of them expect to discuss politics as part of the pregame festivities.

Is The 'Fiscal Cliff' As Bad As It Sounds?

Sep 17, 2012

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, last year the Occupy Wall Street movement dominated headlines for weeks and added terms like the 99 percent to our political vocabularies. But a year after the protests started we wanted to know where the movement stands now. We're going to call writer and activist Debra Dickerson about this. She's at the heart of the anniversary protest. That's later in the program.

A Year On, What Did 'Occupy' Accomplish?

Sep 17, 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement marks its first anniversary this week. Its supporters argue that it elevated the issue of economic inequality, but others say it made more noise than change. Host Michel Martin discusses the movement with author Debra Dickerson, who is still participating in protests and writes about them for Slate.com.

Obama Launching China Trade Case

Sep 17, 2012

President Obama will launch a new trade enforcement case against China Monday, using the power of incumbency to counter Republican Mitt Romney's criticism that he is ceding American jobs to the Asian power.

Two years ago, I asked Texas Sen. John Cornyn, then (and still) the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), if the GOP was going to win enough seats to take back the majority it lost in 2006.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Could SuperPACS Shift Strategy To Congress?

Sep 16, 2012

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Polls can be unstable. Up until the last moment, Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan in 1980. And in the past two weeks, President Obama has started to pull ahead of Mitt Romney.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

A very important, somewhat political convention took place here in Washington this past week.

STEVE KELLEY: Fantastic. Oops. I hit the little button again. If you hit the button here...

RAZ: It was on the campus of George Washington University where we found New Orleans Times Picayune cartoonist Steve Kelley trying out a digital drawing board.

Pennsylvania's politically split Supreme Court is considering a challenge to a lower court ruling that upheld the state's polarizing voter identification law.

The law requires a state-issued photo ID card to vote, and supporters say it will help prevent voter fraud. Voting-rights activists have now shifted strategies from attempting to overturn the law, to instead putting up to a million state-issued photo ID cards in the hands of residents.

State officials recently estimated it is possible nearly 200,000 Philadelphia residents alone don't have proper ID.

We've heard much about big money pouring into some of the congressional races around the country, and now some of that money is breathing new life into the campaign of one unlikely candidate.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of books such as Kosher Sex and Kosher Jesus, and the host of Shalom in the Home, a reality show that worked with struggling couples, is running for Congress in New Jersey's 9th District.

Boteach is hoping to unseat Democrat Bill Pascrell in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Iranian nuclear program was "in the last 20 yards," and denied he was taking sides in the U.S. presidential election.

"They're in the last 20 yards, and you can't let them cross that goal line. You can't let them score a touchdown," he said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. "Because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences for the peace and security of us all."

What To Watch For In Race For Hispanic Vote

Sep 16, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

With about 50 days to go before Election Day, both parties are focusing on what will lead them to victory in both the battle for the White House, as well as control in Congress. What everyone seems to agree upon is that the Latino vote will be crucial. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S. increased by some 43 percent. Latino voters can mean the difference in several states.

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