The president's appearance at that memorial service came on the same day he joined with all his living predecessors. He met with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whose presidential library was dedicated in Texas.
A photograph, sent out on Twitter incidentally, by former President Clinton, shows the five men in a circle, chatting. Three Democrats joined two Republicans on a day when political differences were overlooked.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
I recently got a tour of the Spangler Candy Co., a family-owned firm in Bryan, Ohio. The company makes 10 million Dum Dums lollipops there every day, and it has a whole separate building where it stores the sugar — enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.
The CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says he wants to expand the factory and make even more candy there. There's just one thing he needs.
Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 11:50 am
Will history judge George W. Bush more kindly than his contemporaries have?
The man himself seems fairly indifferent.
"I don't think he really cares much at all, to be honest with you," says Kevin Sullivan, who served as White House communications director during Bush's second term. "I think he cares very little about where his approval rating stands today, compared to 2005 or 2008."
From 'Morning Edition': Former first lady Laura Bush talks with NPR's David Greene
We're due for one of those rare moments Thursday morning when the current president and all of his living predecessors will be together.
The occasion: The dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are due to be there along with, of course, George W. Bush.
Air travelers are growing less and less happy. Automatic budget cuts are now leading to hundreds of flight delays, about half of all delayed flights this week.
NPR's Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Up until this point, the effects of the sequester have been scattered and hard to pin down: hiring freezes, delayed park openings. But then the furloughs of air traffic controllers the Federal Aviation Administration had been threatening for months hit and, bam, the sequester got real, real fast.
Auto executives got a grilling on Capitol Hill yesterday. Not the usual suspects from Detroit's Big Three. Think much, much smaller. Executives from the hybrid carmaker Fisker testified about hundreds of millions of dollars in loans Fisker got from the government. Today, the company is on the verge of collapse.
NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Fisker, the car company, isn't dead yet. But Congress has already begun the autopsy.
The U.S. Senate may vote this week on the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax from more online retailers. And as the political and retail landscape has shifted from the last time around, the Senate is expected to approve the measure.
The proposal to require online sellers to collect out-of-state sales tax has been kicked around for many years. For a decade, Amazon was a fierce opponent.
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 5:31 pm
The opportunistic political sentiment of never letting a crisis go to waste (see: Rahm Emanuel, among others) has been reframed since the Boston bombings by those seizing on the attack as certain evidence of their positions.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the final cases of the term, which began last October and is expected to end in late June after high-profile rulings on gay marriage, affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act.
Audio from Wednesday's arguments will be available at week's end at the court's website, but that's a relatively new development at an institution that has historically been somewhat shuttered from public view.
After the Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, the superPAC created by shooting victim and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, onetime astronaut Mark Kelly, vowed to remind voters of which lawmakers voted against the plan.
In the days since the Boston Marathon bombings, local law enforcement officials have been given high marks for their response to the attack and the coordination among numerous federal, state and local agencies involved.
But at the same time, questions are being raised about the coordination among federal agencies handling intelligence they had about the suspects in the months before the attack.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Sanford trails in South Carolina, the Democrats get it on in Massachusetts, and the lady from Maine scoffs at sequestration. It's Wednesday and time for a...
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: Manufactured crisis...
CONAN: Edition of the political junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 3:37 pm
You think you're so smart. You think it's easy being the president of the United States. OK, pal — here's your chance.
One of the attractions of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas — scheduled to be dedicated on Thursday — is Decision Points Theater, an interactive experience. The venue allows visitors to participate in a simplified simulation of the presidential decision-making process.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we will meet one of this country's most influential tech executives. We'll also hear about his very interesting personal story about how he rose from humble beginnings in Mexico to become one of this country's top leaders in high tech. That's later in the program.
But, first, we want to continue our conversation with three thoughtful Muslim Americans in the wake of the attack on the Boston Marathon and the news that two of the suspects were indeed Muslim.
Many Muslim people were hoping the Boston bombers didn't share their religion. However, the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is indeed Muslim, according to family members. Host Michel Martin speaks to Muslims from different ethnic backgrounds about the conversations they're having at dinner tables and in their neighborhoods.
The U.S. Senate is poised to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act that allows states to collect taxes from out-of-state merchants. Tax policy experts say this long-sought bill brings fairness to the tax system and much needed money to state and local governments. But small online sellers are incensed at what they see as a new tax burden.
Gun-control groups are regrouping after a bill to tighten background checks for gun sales failed to overcome a filibuster last week in the Senate. The failure was not only a stinging defeat for President Obama, it was also a setback for the new players in the debate.
Even al-Qaida gloats about what's possible under U.S. gun laws. In June 2011, a senior al-Qaida operative, Adam Gadahn, released a video message rallying people to take advantage of opportunities those laws provide.
"America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," Gadahn says, explaining that "you can go down to a gun show at the local convention center" and buy a gun without a background check.
Then a faint smile crosses Gadahn's face. "So what are you waiting for?" he asks.
Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 9:02 am
Blame shifting was in high gear Tuesday on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the first air traffic delays tied to the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration controllers began to get attention.
The Republicans' message: Delays at some airports this week — a result of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester that took effect in March, but whose resulting furloughs are just kicking in — was a "manufactured crisis," and that the administration wants voters angry enough to force Congress to give President Obama the higher taxes he seeks.
More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.
The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.
And one other piece of news from the Senate, Democrat Max Baucus is retiring. The powerful chair of the Senate Finance Committee has represented Montana since 1978. Baucus is the sixth Senate Democrat to announce he won't run for reelection in 2014. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith has that story.
Footage from surveillance cameras along the Boston Marathon route gave the FBI early clues about the bombing suspects. And prosecutors say they'll use some of those images to try to prove their criminal case against 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But the proliferation of cameras in America's big cities is raising some tricky questions about the balance between security and privacy.
It was pictures of two brothers taken by a camera outside the Lord & Taylor department store that provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.