Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:06 am
The process of electing a new governor in Texas begins in earnest Tuesday, when Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are expected to easily dispatch their primary opponents and move on to the Nov. 4 battle.
As if they hadn't already.
Both Abbott, 56, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court judge, and Davis, 50, a state senator and former Fort Worth City Council member, have been amassing money and press since at least last fall.
The Conservative Political Action Conference — better known as CPAC — kicks off its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. It's a who's-who of Republican presidential contenders and marquee conservatives like Jim DeMint, a former senator from South Carolina who has played a key role in the rise of the Tea Party.
There's been a lot of talk lately about Democrats' plan to turn Texas blue. But it is at the moment an exercise in optimism. To understand just how conservative much of the state is, look no further than the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. The incumbent, veteran powerbroker David Dewhurst, is running against three strong challengers.
And as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, all four candidates have been racing each other to the right.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama met today in the Oval Office with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the top of the president's agenda: Getting Israel to accept a framework for peace talks with the Palestinians.
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.
To the list of political issues with which we began this mid-term election year, which had the Affordable Care Act and the economy at the top, we can now add Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
But while the domestic issues divide along fairly clear blue and red lines, the political question of what the U.S. should do about Russian President Vladimir Putin's deployment of the Russian military into Ukraine's Crimea is scrambling Washington's normal partisan lines.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who has described Moscow's military intervention in the Crimea an "incredible act of aggression," will travel to Ukraine's capital on Tuesday to meet with the country's embattled government.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement late Sunday that Kerry "will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada [Ukraine's parliament], and members of the civil society."
Now to hear more about those primary elections I mentioned, we called in NPR political editor Charles Mahtesian to walk us through the primary races we should be watching. With congressional approval rating is at a record low, I asked Mahtesian whether that means more incumbents are being challenged within their own parties this year.
On Tuesday, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the coming year. But for all the sound and fury surrounding the president's spending plan, it's likely to have very little significance. Congress routinely ignores the president's budget. And lawmakers have already settled on overall spending levels for the coming year.
That's led some to ask whether it's time to bring the curtain down on this annual exercise in political theater.
The Pakistani Taliban said Saturday it will observe a month-long cease-fire to revive failed peace talks with Islamabad.
"The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," the militant group said in a statement.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:46 pm
Saying that the United States is "deeply concerned" by reports that Russia is taking military action in Ukraine, President Obama urged Russia not to intervene in the destabilized country, where tensions have reached new highs this week.
Obama said that he had spoken to Russia's President Putin in recent days, to foster cooperation in coping with the situation.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:41 pm
George Prescott Bush.
Ring a bell?
It should, and if it doesn't, it soon will. George P. Bush, 37, is a great-grandson of a late U.S. senator from Connecticut; a grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents; and the eldest son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who just may run for president himself in 2016.
On Tuesday, George P., referred to by some as the "Hispanic George Bush" because of his mother's Mexican heritage, will take his generation's first crack at the family business when he runs in a statewide Republican primary for Texas land commissioner.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Clinton Library and the National Archives released some 4,000 documents today from the Clinton administration. Among other things, the papers the deal with the Clinton's defeated healthcare reforms and then First Lady Hillary Clinton's image. They're part of a trove of documents and the first of several batches to be made public. NPR's Brian Naylor has been going through them and he joins me now. Brian, welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Late today, President Obama addressed the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine. He said his administration is deeply concerned by reports of Russian military movement inside Ukraine, and he sent this message to Russia.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
Now we'd like to turn to Venezuela, where violent protests have filled the streets for two weeks now - a story that may have been overshadowed in this country somewhat by the turmoil in Ukraine. The unrest is putting a spotlight on President Nicolas Maduro and the country's economic problems. We wanted to hear more so we've called Andrew Rosati. He's a freelance journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela. And he's with us from there now. Welcome back, Andrew. Thanks so much for joining us again.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 7:37 am
The House of Representatives has approved several bills that would limit and change the way the federal government regulates businesses. The Republican-backed measures were all passed by largely party-line votes; none are seen as likely to be enacted into law.
The legislation underscores "an increasingly symbolic thrust of legislation as Congress heads toward midterm elections," NPR's David Welna reports for our Newscast unit.
Democrats believe they've discovered a way to play more offense against Republican efforts that have had the effect of making it harder for many voters — especially young, senior and minority citizens — to cast their ballots.
Their answer: a new initiative, announced by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting in Washington, aimed at countering voter ID and other laws and practices that can dampen voting.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:42 pm
Celebrities regularly testify on Capitol Hill about issues important to them. But when comic actor Seth Rogen addressed a U.S. Senate subcommittee about Alzheimer's disease Wednesday, the experience was anything but typical.
Disappointed by the hearing's low turnout, Rogen took to Twitter — where his account has 1.84 million followers — to voice his frustration.
"Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing. Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer's. Seems to be a low priority," Rogen tweeted after the hearing.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:16 pm
He has held his seat in the House of Representatives since 1991 But today Rep. Ed Pastor announced that he won't seek another term. Pastor, 70, announced his decision on Twitter, saying that it was time for him "to seek out a new endeavor."
"After 23 years in Congress serving the people of AZ, I have decided not to seek re-election this year. It has been an honor," he tweeted. "Thank you."