Politics

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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Politics
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Conservatives Huddle At Strategy Meeting

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While many Americans take time off this weekend, a group of conservative activists are meeting in Florida. Americans for Prosperity, a group that was founded by David and Charles Koch, is holding its annual summit in Orlando. That gathering includes several rising stars among conservatives - Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But in terms of issues, NPR's Greg Allen reports, one seems to stand above all - stopping Obamacare.

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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.

It's All Politics
10:21 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Newest War Veterans In Congress Troubled By Syria Prospects

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who served a tour of duty in Iraq, is not convinced a military strike against Syria is the right thing to do.
Marc Levy AP

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 6:45 am

President Obama's contemplation of a military strike in Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons has roused at least 170 members of Congress to question the constitutionality of such action, and others to urge caution informed by the quagmire of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Few congressional voices, however, may be more resonant than those of the more than 100 military veterans in the House and Senate — particularly the 16 who served in the post-Sept. 11 conflicts in the Middle East, in both combat and non-combat roles.

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It's All Politics
5:33 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

6 Things To Keep In Mind As Obama Confronts Syria

President Obama pauses after answering questions from the news media during his meeting with Baltic leaders at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 6:07 pm

As President Obama attempts to make good on his threats to punish Syrian officials for crossing a "red line" by allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, he's being buffeted by political crosscurrents.

Some arise from the structure of U.S. democracy itself, and the balance of powers between the branches. Others emerge from the nation's particular state of mind after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here are six points to keep in mind as Obama considers how best to demonstrate American resolve to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

What's Next In Syria? A Sampling Of Opinion

A Tomahawk cruise missile lifts off from the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) in 2011. If a U.S. strike against Syria goes ahead, what comes next?
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:36 pm

As a U.S. military strike on Syria looks increasingly likely in the next few hours or days, various publications are weighing in on what such an attack would accomplish and what would happen next.

Here's a sampling of opinion:

The BBC's Tara McKelvey says:

"The US military would most likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles for an attack on the Syrian government forces. These missiles are now stored on destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Barbershop
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Does The NFL's Proposed Settlement Change The Game?

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Faith Matters
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Evangelicals' New Chief Says Days Of Moral Majority Over

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you tell us more - editor Ammad Omar and I are going to dig in to the listener inbox to hear what you had to say about stories we've covered this week.

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Middle East
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Syrians Anxious About Worsening Humanitarian Crisis

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later this hour, a newsmaker interview with a man who's taken on one of the most prominent posts representing American evangelicals.

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Politics
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Key Members Of Congress Briefed On Syria Intelligence

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

President Obama is trying to convince Congress to get on board with his plans for Syria. Thursday night, some key members of Congress heard from top White House officials during a 90 minute phone call.

Politics
1:01 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Filner's Exit Isn't The End Of San Diego's Mayoral Mayhem

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announces his resignation last week. His last day in office is Friday.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

On Friday, the embattled mayor of San Diego officially steps down. Allegations of sexual harassment against Bob Filner have rocked the eighth-largest American city, which now has to pick up the pieces and elect a new mayor.

The announcement last week that Filner would leave office was greeted with cheers, boos and a flurry of activity from the press — but it all went quiet when the soon-to-be ex-mayor emerged from a swell of bodyguards to speak at the podium.

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Middle East
3:34 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:23 pm

The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Court Backs Calif. Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors

A federal appeals court has reversed an injunction that kept California's law banning conversion therapy from taking effect. This composite image shows sate Sen. Ted Lieu, left, who introduced the original bill, and David Pickup, a marriage and family therapist who is a plaintiff in the suit against it.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

California's pioneering law that prohibits treating young gay people with psychotherapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation has cleared a constitutional challenge in federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the ban does not violate essential rights.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu August 29, 2013

President To Issue New Executive Orders On Guns

A weapon is used on the indoor firing range at the National Armory gun store in Pompano Beach, Fla., in April.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:12 am

The White House says President Obama will issue two new executive orders on guns — one to curb the import of military surplus weapons and another that closes a loophole allowing some felons to get around background checks.

The two actions — to be announced by Vice President Joe Biden at the swearing-in of Todd Jones, the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — will join 23 others that the president has issued in an effort to reduce gun violence.

They are part of a set of recommendations from the vice president unveiled in January.

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Shots - Health News
9:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Politician And Health Quality Guru Berwick Consults For U.K.

Gubernatorial hopeful Dr. Donald Berwick speaks at the Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform Convention in July.
Aram Boghosian Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 10:23 am

Even as Dr. Donald Berwick runs for governor of Massachusetts, he's got a firm foothold in his former life as an expert on health quality.

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It's All Politics
4:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Maine Governor's Rough And Rude Style Clouds His Future

Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget on June 26 in Augusta.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

He's called state workers "corrupt." He's joked about blowing up a local newspaper office and used a rape-sans-Vaseline analogy to describe a Democratic legislator's actions.

In his most recent flap, Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage may or may not have accused President Obama of hating white people. Accounts vary.

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It's All Politics
4:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

How California Is Turning The Rest Of The West Blue

Newcomers from California are helping to shake up the politics in the Mountain West.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:15 am

Colorado's politics have become positively Californian lately. There are new restrictions on guns. Pot is legal. The legislative agenda featured an expansion of alternative-energy use requirements for rural consumers. Gay couples can now enter into civil unions.

There's a reason for all this.

Lots of Californians have moved to Denver and its environs, bringing a progressive strain of politics with them and angering more conservative parts of the state — so much so that 10 northeastern counties are planning symbolic but serious votes on secession this fall.

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Race
2:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Encourages Next Generation To Carry On King's Vision

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:06 am

Freedom bells rang out in Washington and across the country on Wednesday, as Americans marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. President Obama, who's often noted his own debt to the civil rights leader, praised the tens of thousands of Americans who marched with Dr. King in 1963. He also challenged a new generation to continue to press for racial and economic justice.

It's All Politics
1:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Yet Another Democrat Takes The Lead In NYC Mayor Race

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:45 am

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U.S.
2:41 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Transcript: Obama On The Legacy Of 1963 March On Washington

President Obama waves after speaking during a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

A transcript of President Obama's remarks on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, as released by the White House:

To the King family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much; to President Clinton; President Carter; Vice President Biden and Jill; fellow Americans.

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It's All Politics
2:31 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Many U.S. Lawmakers Want A Say On Taking Action In Syria

Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., has gotten dozens of House members to sign on to a letter demanding that President Obama ask for the official blessing of Congress before attacking Syria.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 5:44 pm

The Obama administration appears poised to attack Syria after concluding Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons, but many members of Congress say they haven't been briefed enough about why military action is warranted.

Opinions about Syria are all over the map, with many lawmakers saying the president cannot proceed without first getting authorization from Congress.

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Music
9:15 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Freedom Singer: 'Without Music, There Would Be No Movement'

Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 6:32 am

"Without the songs of the movement, personally I believe that there wouldn't have been a movement," says Rutha Mae Harris, one of the original Freedom Singers.

Fifty years ago, the Freedom Singers performed along with artists like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington.

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Shots - Health News
7:44 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Despite Distaste For Health Law, Americans Oppose Defunding

Defunding strikes most Americans as the wrong prescription for the Affordable Care Act.
Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 2:49 pm

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act often talk about how unpopular it is.

And this month's tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation bears them out. Negative views of the law (42 percent) top positive ones (37 percent).

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The March On Washington At 50
1:35 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Obama To Outline Unfinished Work, Decades After King's Dream

A spectator on the National Mall holds an image of President Obama and Martin Luther King during the 2013 presidential inauguration in January.
Gabriel B. Tait MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 10:33 am

President Obama will stand in the symbolic shadows of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday, as he marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Aides say Obama will use the opportunity to celebrate the progress that's been made, thanks to the civil rights movement. He'll also discuss the work that he says still has to be done to realize King's dream of racial justice in America.

That includes fighting to protect voting rights and building what the president calls "ladders of opportunity" for poor people of all races.

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