"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.
The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.
Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon considers all the attention Sen. Mark Rubio received, not for his comments on President Obama's State of the Union address, but for the water the Florida senator drank while delivering his remarks.
Politics is a subjective business, but a recent study seems to indicate — with some manipulation — people can claim to recall political events that never actually occurred. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam about the research.
President Obama's also trying to get the government more involved in trying to stop gun violence, but his supporters in Congress face an uphill battle in getting new gun control measures passed. Senator Richard Durbin's Senate judiciary subcommittee held hearings this week. The senator from Illinois, who is also majority whip, joins us now. Thanks for being with us.
SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: It's good to be with you, Scott.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from its current rate of 7.25.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong.
Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and syndicated columnist Mona Charen. The discuss the State of the Union, and Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary.
Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 6.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
Desiline Victor, 102, of North Miami, awaits the start of President Obama's State of the Union address, which she attended Tuesday in the U.S. Capitol. The president spoke about Victor's long wait to vote last year.
Credit Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images
Voters wait in long lines to cast their ballots on Nov. 6 at Victory Elementary School in Bristow, Va.
One of the more memorable moments in President Obama's State of the Union address this week was his introduction of an elderly woman sitting in the House gallery. The president said that Desiline Victor had to wait three hours last year to vote in North Miami.
"Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her," Obama said. "[Because] Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read, 'I Voted.' "
Earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be retiring from his position, but he's not the only prominent Catholic stepping down. Host Michel Martin speaks with top Catholic lobbyist and policy adviser, John Carr, about his own retirement and what's next for him and the Church.
President Obama argued for raising the minimum wage in his State of the Union address, but will it really help keep up with the cost of living? And the manhunt for Christopher Dorner kept the country on its toes for a week. Now that it's over, what questions remain? Host Michel Martin and the guys weigh in.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we've heard President Obama's State of the Union speech, but what about the state of Indian Nations? We'll hear more about the message from Indian Country in just a few minutes.
But first we turn to Los Angeles, where the hunt for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner is now over. Dorner's remains have now been positively identified after they were removed from the mountain cabin that burned down after a fiery standoff with authorities.
Mr. Speaker, The Podcast of the United States! NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving dissect President Obama's State of the Union address, make the obligatory and sophomoric quench-filling jokes about Marco Rubio and look at what seems to be the makings of a filibuster against Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel.
The president will leave the sequester debate behind this afternoon when he travels to Chicago. He's expected to talk about the gun violence that plagues his home town.
Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton became a symbol of the problem after she was murdered last month in a park about a mile from the president's Chicago home. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on what activists expect from President Obama.
Chuck Hagel will have to wait at least another 10 days to find out if the Senate will confirm him as the next secretary of defense. That's because Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 vote supermajority needed to break a GOP filibuster of the former Nebraska Republican senator's nomination.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.
NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.
Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:21 pm
The potential Democratic Party contest for a U.S. Senate seat between 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg and 43-year-old Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had been shaping up to be a generational battle royale.
Alas, it won't happen now that Lautenberg has announced that he won't run for re-election in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race. In a statement, the octogenarian senator said:
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey (from left), Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller Robert Hale wait for a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Military leaders are warning Congress about the effects of the sequester.
Following President Obama's State of the Union there was the customary response from the Republican Party, and for the second year there was another response from the Tea Party. Sen. Rand Paul delivered that response and joins Robert Siegel to talk about his differences with the Republican establishment.
Robert Siegel talks to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. She's chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Senate Majority Conference Secretary, making her the fourth highest ranking Democrat in the Senate. They discuss her hopes to forestall the coming sequester.
President Obama plays a learning game while visiting children at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center on Thursday in Decatur, Ga. Obama's campaign-style trip this week was to end with a nonworking stop in Florida.
Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:15 pm
These days, Washington is crawling with fact checkers who scour political speeches looking for errors and lies.
But sometimes, even accuracy can be misleading, especially when it comes to graphics and charts. On Tuesday night, President Obama gave his State of the Union address and the White House launched an "enhanced" experience, a multimedia display with video, 107 slides and 27 charts.
We are going to continue our conversation about gun violence. We're focusing on Chicago. President Obama is heading there tomorrow and our next guests say it's really about time that the violence in Chicago receives this kind of high level attention and response. They're both young people living in Chicago and they've both been directly affected by violence. They say that voices like theirs are not being heard in the national gun control debates, so we are going to bring them to you now.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama travels to Atlanta today, where he's announcing the details of a universal preschool plan. Georgia has the oldest universal pre-K program in the country. During his State of the Union address this week, the president outlined his argument for expanding pre-K nationally.
Pre-school is one example of how President Obama says the government can play a constructive role in the U.S. economy. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to refocus a debate that, for two years, has been all about cutting. The president is highlighting government programs that even many Republicans support.
Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, but President Obama says the government could be doing more to help.