In the east room of the White House today, union leaders sat side by side with civil rights luminaries as President Obama announced his choice for secretary of Labor. The nominee, Justice Department lawyer Thomas Perez, has a back-story the president finds irresistible.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Like so many Americans, Tom knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity. He's the son of Dominican immigrants. He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse.
NPR's business news starts with a new labor secretary.
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MONTAGNE: President Obama has chosen justice department lawyer Thomas Perez for the post. Perez is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. He ran the labor department in his home state of Maryland and he will add a high profile Latino voice to the cabinet. But, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, his nomination is not without controversy.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, R&B heavyweight Brian McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums over the course of his 20 year career. He'll tell us about his latest and he pushes back against some critics and the fans who think he may have gotten just a little too grown for their taste. We'll tell you what we mean in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 10:57 am
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that she supports same-sex marriage, saying gays and lesbians are "full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship."
"That includes marriage," Clinton says in an online video released Monday by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. Clinton adds that she backs gay marriage both "personally and as a matter of policy and law."
Louie and guest host Dennis Woo talk to Julie Zimet and David Thackston about the National Issues Forum, which tackles several public issues of national concern each year, and invites the community to bypass the political process and discuss the issues rationally amongst themselves. Zimet and Thackston talk about the effectiveness of the National Issues Forum in impacting political change. Learn about an upcoming forums by calling 915-751-6481 or visiting www.nifi.org.
Two Democrats and 16 Republicans are running for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District seat in a special election Tuesday. The seat is open because former Rep. Tim Scott was tapped to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who retired midterm.
The biggest name in the race is former Gov. Mark Sanford, whose infamous affair led to his political downfall. Sanford is trying to stage the political comeback of a lifetime.
And he's doing it one diner at a time — greeting customers over eggs and grits at Page's Okra Grill, just outside Charleston in Mount Pleasant.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 9:36 am
It is remarkable how fast the issue of same-sex marriage has moved the American public. Of course, some long-time proponents will argue the opposite, that it has taken far too long for it to gain acceptance. And they say that there is no shortage of efforts around the country to block or overturn the practice.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could upend the federal effort to spur and streamline voter registration.
At issue is an Arizona law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the state law must fall because it conflicts with federal law.
Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi has closely watched the role of the United States as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his new book "Brokers of Deceit," he argues that U.S. involvement has made the goal of a lasting peace less attainable than ever. Rashid Khalidi is with us now from our studios in New York.
President Obama's trip to Israel presents all sorts of diplomatic difficulties, as we've heard. And there are plenty of logistical challenges too. That's a job for the White House advance team, responsible for planning and executing every scheduling and security detail of the president's trips at home and abroad, down to the minute.
Spencer Geissinger served eight years as President George W. Bush's advance man. His travels took him to over 98 foreign countries. He gave us a sense of what the work entails.
If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jacki Lyden.
As we just heard, longtime Republican Senator Rob Portman's position on gay marriage has evolved. Of course, gay marriage is one of the social issues that was front and center at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, otherwise known as CPAC. It's the annual gathering of the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.
NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea has been at CPAC, and he joins me now. Hi there, Don.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 5:39 pm
Conservative activists chose Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as their pick to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
As The Associated Press notes, "the win offers little more than bragging rights for Paul, who is popular with the younger generation of libertarian-minded conservatives who packed the conference."
When Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Friday became the latest conservative politician to announce his support for same-sex marriage, he disclosed that his son, Will, a junior at Yale University, had told him two years ago that he is gay; and that love and admiration for his son had moved the senator to reflect — and change.
When Mr. Portman was in the House of Representatives, he co-sponsored a 1996 law to prevent same-sex marriage.
The keynote speaker at Saturday night's closing session of the Conservative Political Action Conference is a 42-year-old Texan who's been a U.S. senator since January.
In that short time, Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz has already made a mark — and in doing so, he's simply ignored a tradition of new senators being seen, not heard. Cruz's sharp elbows have some colleagues wincing and others hoping he'll run for president.
Sarah Brady has worked for tougher gun laws for decades. Her husband, Jim Brady, was shot in the head by John Hinckley when he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Jim Brady was President Reagan's press secretary and has lived with a disability ever since. The Bradys founded the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which worked to pass a law that now bears their name, the Brady Bill.
And Sarah Brady joins us from her home in Virginia. Ms. Brady, thanks very for being with us.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Mitt Romney returned to the national stage today. At the CPAC convention just outside Washington, D.C. Romney gave his first political speech since losing the presidential election. His audience was a group of conservative activists and as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, they gave Romney an effusive reception.
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, announced today that he's reversing his opposition to same-sex marriage. Portman's op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch makes him the first GOP senator to publicly support gay marriage. He said he made the switch because of a personal family experience. Portman's college-age son told his family in 2011 that he is gay.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:42 pm
It is a theme that has become increasingly familiar during the rapid evolution of American political attitudes toward same-sex marriage: People who learn that a friend or loved one is gay are far more likely to support same-sex marriage, even if they were once adamantly opposed.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who became the first Republican in the U.S. Senate to openly endorse same-sex marriage, is simply the latest.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 3:58 am
And the Bushes just keep on coming.
In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.
Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.
Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?
That's one of the questions being debated as Republicans — like all parties that have lost a national election — plot their comeback.
Some think they need to take a new tack on issues such as immigration in order to appeal to changing times and demographic changes. Others believe that the GOP's core conservative principles are still political winners, if delivered in a more convincing manner than was the case during last year's presidential race.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might've been following the long debate over whether this country locks up too many people for too little reason and for too long. It turns out something else interesting is happening that you might not heard about - the racial breakdown of the prison population is changing. More white people, especially more white women, are getting locked up. And we'll find out more about that in a few minutes.