Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:02 am
Tuesday, as those who follow politics probably know, is Election Day. The battle between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been contentious, expensive, personal, illuminating, ugly, frustrating, petty, enlightening and, above all, long. And it is expected to be close.
This week's Political Junkie column is an attempt to guide you to what's at stake on Tuesday, both in the contest for the White House as well as the 33 Senate and 435 House seats on the ballot.
Asking voters to raise taxes on themselves is a tough sell, but there are initiatives around the country doing just that. In Missouri, it's the cigarette tax. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax of any state, and some of the highest smoking and lung cancer rates. St. Louis Public Radio's Veronique LaCapra reports.
Mitt Romney is making his final appearance in the states where he needs to slip past President Obama in Tuesday's election. Over the weekend, Romney traveled more than 5,000 miles and held eight rallies in seven states.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
When voters go to sleep on election night, they have usually heard reports on who's won the election. Many people are devoutly hoping that that will be the case on Tuesday night. But not all the results are actual results. Some are vote tallies, but most are projections based on exit polls and other data collected by pollsters.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with the president, who's also milking every last hour from these final days. Mr. Obama was up long past midnight, and he's planning another 14-hour, voice-taxing marathon today, ending with a final rally in Iowa, where his national campaign began five years ago.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm here today because I'm not ready to give up on the fight. I know I look a little older, but I got a lot of fight left in me.
The U.S. economy has been slowly recovering, but economists warn it could plunge back into recession if Congress does not take action to avoid what's become known as the fiscal cliff.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That is the name that some clever communications specialist gave to the combination of expiring tax cuts - in other words, tax increases - and broad, mandatory spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. The two are set to go into effect at the end of the year.
NPR business news begins with television the day after tomorrow.
All those political ads on TV and radio, billions of dollars worth, are about to come to an end. Which, if you're a TV station, raises the question of what will take their place?
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: This year, Political spending will reach an all-time high. The Center for Responsive Politics puts the figure at about six billion dollars. More than half of that has gone into TV ads for president and everything else.
Estimates of the economic cost of the storm damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast, are as high as $50 billion. A lot of that is physical damage. Just under half of those losses, though, are from things people didn't, or couldn't, do during the storm; like eat in restaurants, go to the theater, or just work. Reporter Tracey Samuelson brings us this look at the blows Sandy has dealt a pair of small-business owners in New York City.
And now, here's our daily look at the bottom line, which in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, can be found on those long and exhausting gas lines in New Jersey. Today's date has new meaning for drivers in New Jersey, where gas is being rationed. This being an odd-numbered day, November 5th, those allowed to buy gas must have an odd number at the end of their license plate.
As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, the odd-even rationing system doesn't seem to be shortening the lines.
The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).
But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.
Women use wordplay to protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's position on women's health care outside the Hyatt Regency, where Romney was scheduled to attend a fundraiser, on March 22 in Washington, D.C.
Anyone who traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, in New York City in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as recently as a few of days ago, would have needed an SUV — its main thoroughfare was under 3 feet of water. Today, you can see pavement. It sounds like a small victory, but this beachfront, blue-collar town is willing to accept progress in increments.
Lianne La Havas was pretty much unknown until she appeared on the influential TV show in Britain called Later with Jools Holland. It was just her, singing and playing guitar. Her voice was clear, pure and soulful. The song she performed — called "Age" — was both jazzy and sassy.
"Time seemed to stand still," wrote one critic of La Havas' live performance. There were much more established artists on the music show that day, but Alison Howe, the producer, says La Havas was the standout.
We made it. After six weeks and nearly 4,000 stories, we've reached the end of Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, where we ask listeners to come up with an original short story that can be read in about three minutes.
Graduate students from around the country helped read all the submissions. The winning story was chosen by this round's judge, novelist Brad Meltzer. Meltzer wrote the best-selling books The Inner Circle and The Book of Lies. His new book, due out in January, is called The Fifth Assassin.
Melissa Fults, treasurer for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, holds up cards at the back of a news conference in Little Rock, Ark., with the names of doctors she says support a ballot issue that would legalize medical marijuana.
Credit Alex Brandon / AP
Voters will decide on 174 ballot initiatives across 37 states this election.
Voters will decide 174 ballot propositions across 37 states this election. Reid Wilson, the editor in chief of National Journal's Hotline, says he believes these decisions will change the day-to-day lives of average Americans more than who wins the presidency.
He spoke to Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about some key initiatives across the country.
The final poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center ahead of Tuesday's election shows President Obama has a 3 percentage point lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just two days before the general election.
Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 45 percent in the poll of 2,709 likely voters, which has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. The poll was conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
Gas customers on foot with portable containers and lines of vehicles wait for gas pumps to open at a service station on Saturday in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that resolving gas shortages could take days.
Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 10:59 am
Election Day is promising many firsts — and not just the obvious ones.
Yes, the country could get its first Mormon president if Republican Mitt Romney is elected. And of course, it could get its first two-term African-American commander in chief if President Obama is re-elected.
But Tuesday offers a smorgasbord of other potential "first" opportunities across the nation — from New Hampshire, which could end up with the nation's first all-female congressional delegation, to Arizona, which could elect its first Hispanic U.S. senator.
Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 4:28 pm
With Election Day just two days away, the presidential campaigns of Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney are spending the final hours criss-crossing the swing states trying to get their supporters to the polls.
Among the areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy were Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Chelsea, home to many of the city's art galleries, jazz clubs, dance venues and off-Broadway theaters. Jeff Lunden spoke with some of those making plans to get back to work now that power has returned.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In this final weekend before Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are both looking for an edge as they make their final arguments to voters in a handful of battleground states.
For more, Mara Liasson, NPR's national political correspondent joins us. Mara, welcome.
Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 10:08 am
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. And here's a summary of Romney's final sprint: a rally in New Hampshire, a flight to Iowa for another rally, a flight to Colorado, two rallies there with a long bus drive in between then back to Iowa for a few hours' sleep in Des Moines. And that was just yesterday. Romney means it when he says:
MITT ROMNEY: We've had some long days and some very short nights.