Politics

It's All Politics
1:21 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Skeptical Democrat Takes A Stand Against Striking Syria

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., arrives to register for orientation as newly elected members of Congress descend on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 3:16 pm

A majority of Congress remains undecided, at least publicly, about President Obama's plan to launch a military strike against Syria.

Not Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan. The 69-year-old Democrat is a firm "no" vote.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Wed September 4, 2013

So McCain Plays Games On His Phone When He's Bored; Do You?

Those are the hands and phone of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. He gets bored sometimes, the lawmaker says. So, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday, he played a little poker.
Melina Mara The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 10:32 am

We were shocked, shocked to see a photo taken by The Washington Post's Melina Mara of Sen.

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Beauty Shop
10:03 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Who Are The Smartest People On Twitter?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Sheila Bridges stood out for many reasons in her chosen field of interior design. Her celebrity client list, being African-American, but then she began to stand out in a way she did not want - she started losing her hair. We'll talk about how that changed her life and her focus. She talks about that in her new memoir "The Bald Mermaid." And we'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

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Politics
9:58 am
Wed September 4, 2013

What Does America Think Of President Obama's 'Red Line?'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to spend a good amount of time today hearing various points of view about how the U.S. and the international community should respond to events in Syria. Later, when we head into the Beauty Shop, we'll ask our panel of women journalists and commentators for their thoughts. And we also want to ask them about a list published by a business magazine of the smartest women on Twitter that was notably lacking in diversity. That's in just a few minutes.

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Politics
4:58 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Sen. McCain Caught Playing Poker During Syria Hearing

During the more than three hour hearing on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain started playing poker on his phone. A photographer for The Washington Post snapped the photo. McCain confessed on Twitter, and said, "Worst of all I lost."

Politics
3:11 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Senators Rand Paul And John McCain Differ On Syria Strikes

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:42 am

Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona approach the question of military strikes on Syria from opposite wings of the Republican Party. Paul from the isolationist wing and McCain from the traditional, more hawkish wing. Their disagreement played out in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, and serves as a preview for the far more consequential version of this debate among House Republicans.

It's All Politics
4:52 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

What If Congress Votes 'No' On Syria?

President Obama attends a White House meeting on Syria Tuesday with congressional leaders.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:30 pm

With Republican House leaders lining up behind President Obama's planned U.S. military strike on Syria, the chances for congressional authorization seemed higher on Tuesday than they did over the weekend.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

In Colorado, Campaigns To Recall 2 Lawmakers Heat Up

In Colorado, two state senators face recall elections next week. The recalls are the first ever for state lawmakers there. Just one issue is motivating the historic efforts: gun control. Robert Siegel talks to Denver Post reporter Kurtis Lee about the recall campaigns.

Politics
3:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Kerry Makes Case For U.S. Action In Syria

Obama administration officials are making their case for action in Syria, with several Cabinet officials appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Secretary of State John Kerry argues that the U.S. needs to hold Bashar Assad's government accountable for the use of chemical weapons.

Politics
3:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Obama Gets Some Support For Military Action In Syria

Sixteen party leaders and key committee figures from both the House and Senate met with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday. House Speaker John Boehner was among those who emerged to say they backed the idea of military intervention in Syria.

Politics
2:25 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Senate Expected To Vote First On Syria Strikes

President Obama pauses after speaking to media in the White House on Tuesday before a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. With the president: House Speaker John Boehner (from left), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:14 pm

President Obama cleared one of the most important hurdles Tuesday in his effort to win support in Congress for taking action against Syria: Both of the top Republican House leaders — Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia — said they would support such a resolution.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Boehner, Pelosi Unite Behind President On Syria

President Obama met with more than a dozen lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the White House on Tuesday to press his case for a military strike in Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:30 pm

President Obama's call for Congress to give him the go-ahead to strike targets in Syria has put House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the same side of an important issue for one of the few times in recent years.

Calling Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons "a barbarous act," Boehner emerged from a meeting at the White House to say he supports Obama's request.

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World
9:57 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Washington Group Aiding Syrian Opposition

While President Obama is trying to convince members of Congress that action is needed in Syria, one Washington-based group is already aiding opposition forces. Host Michel Martin talks with Dan Layman of the Syrian Opposition Group about their efforts to fund the Free Syrian Army.

The Two-Way
8:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Syria Resolution Will Hit Mark, Obama Predicts

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:25 am

The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.

Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."

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Politics
3:27 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Rep. Smith On Syria: What Is The Limitation Of U.S. Power?

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Here's a simple reality of democracy. The president can ask people for support, and if they give it, he's stronger. But they can also say no. That's the reason that presidents have often launched military action without a formal vote in Congress.

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Politics
3:15 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Obama Meets With McCain, Graham About Syria Strikes

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

This morning, we're looking at how Members of Congress are responding to President Obama's call for military action in Syria.

INSKEEP: In fact, we can expect to hear many voices in that debate in the coming days on MORNING EDITION.

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Law
1:02 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in February. In a landmark decision half a century ago, the justices guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:37 am

All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. And in many states, the public defense system has operated in crisis for years.

But an unprecedented recent court filing from the Justice Department has cheered the typically overburdened attorneys who represent the poor and could have dramatic implications for the representation of indigent defendants.

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Politics
1:31 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Syria Resolution Could Be A Hard Sell On Capitol Hill

From left, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., and Rep. Brad Schneider, D- ll., walk to a closed members-only briefing on Syria on Sunday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 4:41 pm

Twenty-four hours after President Obama announced on Saturday that he'll wait for congressional authorization before launching strikes on Syria; members of Congress attended a classified briefing at the Capitol.

For days, most of the discontent among members of Congress has been about not being included in the deliberations on Syria, about not getting the chance to vote. Now that they've gotten their way, each member of Congress will have to go on the record.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Kerry: Tests Indicate Sarin Used In Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria at the Department of State last week.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 2:46 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry says that tests have shown evidence of Syria's use of the chemical agent sarin in an attack on the opposition last month that the White House has blamed on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from East Damascus, from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.

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Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

What One GOP Congressman Would Do About Syria

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 8:08 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

We turn now to Republican congressman Tom McClintock, to hear from him about Syria. He represents California's 4th District. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.

CONGRESSMAN TOM MCCLINTOCK: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

GOODWYN: Are you pleased that the president has decided to bring this matter to Congress?

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Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Obama's Nod To Congress Could Be Smart Politics

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:23 am

Members of Congress have been arguing for a week that the president should seek their approval on a military response to Syria. Now that Obama has agreed, it may be a case of "careful what you wish for." Guest host Wade Goodwyn asks NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson what Congress might do.

Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Congress Gets Its Say On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 1:54 pm

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said he has evidence that the Syrian regime used sarin gas. The evidence was found in blood and hair samples gathered by first responders, and is separate from that collected by U.N. inspectors. With us now to talk about the president's announcement yesterday is NPR's Congressional reporter, Ailsa Chang. Good morning, Ailsa.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Good morning.

GOODWYN: OK. So, the president got the message. How loud have the cheers been from members of Congress?

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Syrian Media Declares 'Historic American Retreat'

Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border on Sunday.
Gregorio Borgia Associated Press

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 7:09 am

Syrian state media on Sunday reacted to President Obama's decision to ask Congress for authorization to strike President Bashar al-Assad's regime, calling the move the start of a U.S. retreat.

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Republican Who Asked For Congressional Say Gets His Wish

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Tom Cole is a U.S. congressman from Oklahoma. He's a Republican and has served in the Congress since 2003. Congressman Cole, thank you for being with us.

REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: Thank you.

LYDEN: Congressman, you signed a letter with more than 100 of your colleagues asking the president to consult with Congress before acting in Syria. Well, President Obama now says he will do exactly that. Are you happy with the president's approach?

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

On Syria, How Might Congress Vote?

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

With us now to talk about congressional reaction to the president's announcement this afternoon is NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Thanks for being with us.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: You're welcome. Good to be here.

LYDEN: So it seems the president has been listening to the rancor this week, Ailsa, from members of both parties. What's been the reaction from congressional leaders you've had a chance to speak to since the announcement?

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Obama Asks Congress To Approve Action On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

It was a stunner today for pundits on the Potomac. President Obama announced in the Rose Garden that while he has the authority to unilaterally attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons, he won't use it. Only 24 hours after Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for military action, the president made the case for congressional approval.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Lawmakers Welcome President Asking For Their OK On Syria

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 2:10 pm

(This post last updated at 4:10 p.m. ET)

Lawmakers, many of whom had urged President Obama to seek authority from Congress before going ahead with a military strike against Syria, were largely positive about his decision to do just that.

The president, in a Rose Garden address on Saturday, said that the U.S. should respond militarily to Syria's Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but that he would first seek authorization from Congress.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
1:01 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Read And Listen: President Obama Turns To Congress On Syria

President Obama speaks about Syria from the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 1:24 pm

  • Listen To President Obama's Full Speech
  • NPR Special Coverage Of Obama's Remarks

A transcript of President Obama's remarks on possible U.S. military action in Syria, as released by the White House:

Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Obama To Seek Congressional Approval For Action Against Syria

At the White House Saturday, President Obama said he would seek congressional approval before taking action in Syria.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:48 am

  • President Obama's Full Speech
  • NPR Special Coverage Of Obama's Speech

(Post updated at 10 p.m. ET)

President Obama said Saturday he had decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, but that he will seek a congressional authorization for the action that could come "tomorrow, or next week or one month from now."

Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president said he believed that he had the authority to act without Congress, but said, "I know the country will be stronger if we take this course."

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Middle East
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Does Obama Need Congressional Approval On Syria?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 9:59 am

Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed letters insisting that the president submit plans for any military strike in Syria for authorization. Host Scott Simon talks with Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who has signed one of the letters.

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