Politics

Politics
3:41 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Nonconservative Groups Say IRS Scrutinized Them, Too

Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 4:46 pm

The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.

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Business
10:51 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Tesla Rides High, But Faces Formidable Foe: Car Dealers

The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Tesla Motors, the American maker of luxury electric cars, has been riding a wave of good publicity.

Its Model S sedan (base priced at $62,400, after federal tax credits) was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year. Reviewers at Consumer Reports gave the lithium-ion battery powered vehicle a rave.

And the company, headed by billionaire innovator Elon Musk, 41, posted a profit for the first time in its 10-year history — powered in part by zero-emission environmental credits.

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Politics
5:23 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Highly Charged IRS Case Pulls In Political Agendas

NPR's Peter Overby reports on the Congressional testimony of IRS officials in response to the scandal over special scrutiny of tea party groups. Underneath all the politics, there's a policy question that hasn't been addressed.

It's All Politics
3:13 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Immigration Bill Chugs Along, But Some See Deal-Breakers

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to work on immigration legislation on May 9.
Michael Reynolds EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 5:23 am

It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.

The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.

In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."

"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

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NPR Story
3:13 am
Sat May 18, 2013

What A Week: White House Rattled By Controversy

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 5:23 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

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It's All Politics
5:31 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Why The IRS Scandal Is Built To Last

Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller (right) and J. Russell George, a Treasury inspector general, take the oath before testifying on before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 6:41 pm

Of all the controversies swirling around the Obama White House, the Internal Revenue Service scandal seems likeliest to have the longest shelf life.

While the Benghazi affair has long been in the news, it's never really taken off as an issue beyond the Republican base.

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It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama U: What Graduation Speeches Say About The President

President Obama's commencement speeches seem to be his real State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:52 pm

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Politics
2:20 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Outgoing Acting IRS Director Grilled By House Lawmakers

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:52 pm

The House Ways and Means Committee became the first oversight panel in Congress to weigh in on the IRS tax-exempt group controversy on Friday morning.

It's All Politics
1:36 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

A Field Guide To Democratic Responses To Scandals

President Obama checks to see if it's still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Thursday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 2:49 pm

President Obama's first term was free from the kind of scandal that consumes every ounce of political oxygen in Washington. Now, in light of a trio of controversies, his supporters find themselves in the uncomfortable and unaccustomed position of having to defend some hard-to-defend events.

Democrats have offered up a range of responses. They view the issues — Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press — as separate issues that shouldn't be lumped together.

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U.S.
1:11 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

After Deadly Chemical Plant Disasters, There's Little Action

The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:52 pm

You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."

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It's All Politics
12:58 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Conservative Advice To GOP: Don't Legislate, Focus On Scandals

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 2:25 pm

Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.

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Health Care
9:31 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Nearly Half The Country Doesn't Know Health Law Exists

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:51 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to Ohio where black business owners are meeting to swap some new ideas. Basketball legend Magic Johnson even got a lead on an investment there. We'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes. But first, House Republicans voted yesterday to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law - again.

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Barbershop
9:31 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Could The President's Week Get Any Worse?

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:51 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away and it is time yet again for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news, what's on their minds.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
7:18 am
Fri May 17, 2013

It's All Politics, May 16, 2013

J. Scott Applewhite AP
  • Listen to the Roundup

NPR's Ron Elving and National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, sitting in for Ken Rudin, look back at the week of scandals rocking the Obama administration. The president says he's angry and fires the IRS chief for the agency's targeting of groups with names that include "Tea Party" and "patriot" for extra scrutiny. And Attorney General Eric Holder is back on Capitol Hill, this time testifying on the Justice Department's seizing of phone records of journalists.

The Two-Way
6:54 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Gingrich Cautions GOP About 'Overreach' On Scandals

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in April 2012.
Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch MCT /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 9:36 am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was front-and-center during the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, is cautioning his GOP colleagues about the risk of appearing to be too eager as they dig into the scandals now dogging the Obama administration.

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The Two-Way
4:34 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Congress Due To Grill Ousted IRS Chief

Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Steve Miller as he was being sworn in Friday before a House Ways and Means committee hearing.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:53 am

(Most recent update: 12:50 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection," the outgoing head of the Internal Revenue Service told Congress on Friday that he and the agency want to apologize for the targeting of some conservative groups during the 2012 campaign cycle.

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Around the Nation
3:31 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Cape Cod Community To Vote On Status Of Wind Turbines

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Next week, voters in Falmouth, Massachusetts decide whether to spend $14 million to tear down two wind turbines - or turbines if you prefer. The Cape Cod town installed these turbines just three years ago in an effort to produce renewable energy and cut costs. Nearby residents says the turbines are a health hazard and that the only cure is to take them down.

Sean Corcoran of member station WCAI has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF WIND TURBINES)

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Politics
3:14 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama Moves Aggressively Into Damage Control Mode

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Renee's in Afghanistan. I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration has gone through entire seasons when it seemed the bottom was falling out. The administration's outward approach at times like this has been to seem unflappable and move on.

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Politics
1:03 am
Fri May 17, 2013

AP Case Adds To Obama Team's Tough Record On Leaks

President Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday. He told reporters: "Leaks related to national security can put people at risk."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 7:34 am

President Obama had a reputation when he took office as a liberal former constitutional lawyer who had condemned Bush-era national security policies.

But he has proven to be even tougher than President George W. Bush on prosecuting national security leaks. The seizure of Associated Press phone records is just the latest example.

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Politics
1:02 am
Fri May 17, 2013

LA Mayoral Candidates Try To Persuade Voters To Pay Attention

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel had similar records while serving together on the City Council.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 2:46 pm

The candidates have spent a record amount of money. They've stumped hard in a city that isn't easy to campaign in — 470 square miles sliced up into neighborhoods divided by a web of freeways.

Yet despite nearly $20 million in spending in the March primary alone, turnout is expected to be low next Tuesday in Los Angeles when voters go to the polls to pick a new mayor to replace the term-limited Antonio Villaraigosa.

As a result, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are engaged in an all-out blitz for votes across the sprawling city.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

A New Front In The War On Obamacare: Twitter

Few things likely please the Obama White House as a political battle fought on social media. Above, President Obama participates in a "Twitter Town Hall" in 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

A simple idea: attack Obamacare tersely.

On the same day House Republicans scheduled their latest symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, as part of their full-court press against the law they also took to Twitter to say, in three words, why they oppose the legislation.

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It's All Politics
4:01 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Some Lawmakers Want Big-Budget Groups Included In IRS Debate

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

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The Salt
3:47 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Congress: Where Food Reforms Go To Die?

Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 4:17 pm

Two seemingly common-sense, bipartisan food reforms have gotten mugged on Capitol Hill in recent days. If you're a loyal reader of The Salt, you've heard of them.

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Politics
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

House Republicans Take Another Stab At Repealing Obamacare

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

The House held a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — again. This time it was to make freshman Republicans happy by giving them a vote to take home.

Politics
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Responds To Questions On IRS, Benghazi, AP Phone Logs

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Turkey's Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Washington today. After meeting with President Obama, the two leaders took questions from the press in the White House rose garden. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, the president took the opportunity to respond to some of the controversies that have been buffeting his administration.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Has 'Complete Confidence' In Attorney Gen. Holder

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:21 pm

The Justice Department's controversial decision to search phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors while investigating the source of a leak has not shaken his trust in Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, President Obama said Thursday.

He has "complete confidence in Eric Holder as attorney general," the president said at a joint White House news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Your Money
12:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Tricky Business Of Retirement: Hidden 401(K) Fees

iStockPhoto.com

A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Names New Acting IRS Commissioner

Rain fell Thursday during part of President Obama's joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:39 pm

Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave

Another official is out at the embattled agency.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief

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Politics
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Acts To Control Controversies

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. There are some weeks when a White House controls the agenda, and there are weeks like this one, when the White House is forced largely to react. President Obama has been juggling multiple controversies, and last night his White House tried to take two of them head-on.

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Politics
2:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Focus On Women, Families Propels New York's Sen. Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand greets panel members from the military and the Defense Department testifying on Capitol Hill on March 13 before the subcommittee's hearing on sexual assault in the military.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 8:31 am

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is introducing legislation with other lawmakers Thursday that would change how the military handles sexual assault cases. The proposal would let military prosecutors — rather than commanders — decide whether to bring serious military crimes to trial.

It's the latest high-publicity move for a senator who was virtually unknown four years ago when she was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. Now, she's on some lists for possible candidates for vice president — even president.

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