NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


Obama Must Keep Wordiness In Check At Debate

Oct 2, 2012
Originally published on October 2, 2012 6:14 pm



President Obama and Mitt Romney had no public events on their campaign schedules today. They're both busy preparing for tomorrow's big event: a prime-time debate that could be one of their last opportunities to sway undecided voters. Yesterday, we heard from NPR's Ari Shapiro about Mitt Romney's preparations. And today, we get a scouting report on President Obama from NPR's Scott Horsley.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: President Obama has spent the last couple of days hold up in a lake-front resort outside Las Vegas. There's a golf course and palm tree-lined swimming pool. But as Mr. Obama told volunteers at a local campaign office, his staff hasn't allowed much time for recreation.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Basically, they're keeping me indoors all the time. It's a drag.


OBAMA: They're making me do my homework.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama faces a big test tomorrow night when he squares off for the first time against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Political communications expert Mitchell McKinney of the University of Missouri says Mr. Obama's debate experience from 2008 shows practice does make a difference.

MITCHELL MCKINNEY: Early on in his primary debates, he was tagged quite often with this somewhat halting, you know, the charitable description was the more professorial approach, sometimes wonkish. He then was able to sharpen his message a bit by the time he got to the end of that primary cycle, and then I think that carried over very well with his debates with John McCain.

HORSLEY: But that was four years ago, and Obama staffers have tried to lower expectations for their candidate by painting the president as woefully out of practice. Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki says, while Mitt Romney has spent much of the last year debating primary opponents, Mr. Obama has been busy running the country.

JEN PSAKI: He has had less time to prepare than we anticipated. It's difficult to schedule significant blocks of time when you're the president, regardless of your party. That's been challenging.

HORSLEY: Over the last couple of days, the campaign has blocked out some time, and Mr. Obama has been sparring with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry playing the role of Romney. Psaki says one of the big challenges is keeping the president's wordiness in check.

PSAKI: He has a tendency to give longer, substantive answers. It's just his nature. That's something clearly we're working on. And the format of the debate makes that a little bit more difficult.

HORSLEY: For all the hand-wringing about long-windedness, though, it was a short answer that caused the most grief for Mr. Obama back in 2008. It came in this exchange with Hillary Clinton.


SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: He's very likeable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: You're likeable enough, Hillary. No doubt.

CLINTON: You know - thank you.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama has to guard against that kind of snarkiness and condescension tomorrow night. While the president has a modest lead in the polls, history suggests challengers have a built-in advantage in the first debate. They tend to benefit from the equalizing effect of simply sharing a platform with the leader of the free world. Mr. Obama's supporters are worried about that. Romney supporters are banking on it. Republican Governor Chris Christie told NBC's David Gregory he thinks it will upend the presidential contest.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Mitt Romney is going to be standing on the same stage as the president of the United States. And I am telling you, David, come Thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change.

HORSLEY: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and John Kerry all got a boost from their first debate when challenging a sitting president. Romney's camp especially likes the 1980 example. Communications expert McKinney says Reagan's strong debate performance that year helped seal Jimmy Carter's fate.

MCKINNEY: Viewers came away from that thinking that Carter seemed a bit under siege, defeatist, defensive. And Reagan carried himself very well in terms of projecting strength that he could, yes, handle the job.

HORSLEY: McKinney says the challenge for Mr. Obama tomorrow is to defend his record without sounding defensive and to make the case that his economic policies are working without seeming insensitive to the millions of Americans who are still struggling.

MCKINNEY: That dynamic can be a little tricky of empathizing, understanding, recognizing hard times, but the message can't be one of gloom and doom for the incumbent. There has to be hope.

HORSLEY: Calibrating optimism with harsh reality is nothing new for Mr. Obama. He's been practicing that message for more than three and a half years. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Denver. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.