Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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PR Experts: Obamacare Message (Not Just The Site) Needs Fix

Oct 26, 2013

There's little doubt that the Obama administration would like a health care website do-over.

Since its rollout Oct. 1, Obamacare's online insurance exchange sign-up, critical to success of the health care overhaul, has been a well-documented disaster.

The White House, in addition to managing considerable political fallout, also is dealing with a big, fat public relations problem. Just how does the administration go about winning the trust of the American people after the October Obamacare debacle?

For some answers, we turned separately to two top public relations executives: Ben Boyd, global chair of corporate practice at Edelman, the world's largest public relations firm; and Greg Jenkins, a former official in the George W. Bush White House, and now a San Francisco-based public relations consultant:

NPR: Some have compared the health care rollout to that of "New Coke," the disastrous cola remake. But this strikes me as nothing like that. The Coca-Cola people took a beloved product, tried to change it and simply reverted to the "classic" recipe to end the pain. Obamacare is a new product that people are already confused about. Now they're further confused and many are frustrated. Can you recall another product that had a troubled introduction and how it managed a public relations turnaround? What were the key elements of the effort?

Boyd: I also don't see it as a New Coke. It's more of a Netflix — a service that was introduced, not a product launch. There was outrage when Netflix changed its pricing structure. The CEO — across multiple channels including letters, YouTube and Facebook — acknowledged the mistake but didn't necessarily have an immediate answer. In a situation like that, it's almost like stop, drop and roll: Stop the personal investment in defending your decision, and roll forward into what should have been done.

That being said, you have to contextualize this in the political environment. Netflix did not have a public adversary. They dealt with outrage of their consumer base. The administration has had to deal with frustration of the citizenry, and also the political fallout. There is hyper-transparency. It is not a normal service screw up.

Jenkins: Regular people don't view health care like a soda or a car. The risks of choosing one "product" over another aren't life-threatening. Most people are naturally just a little suspicious of government to begin with. That's part of American DNA. So, when government can't make the case for something in simple, compelling terms, either government doesn't understand what it's pushing, or doesn't believe in it. Either way, people have a pretty good sense about these things. If it's a good deal, they'll take it. If it's not, they won't.

NPR: When President Obama gave his televised speech to apologize for the troubled launch of, he recited a 1-800 help number. He was subsequently mocked by some for sounding like an infomercial. Did you find that appropriate (isn't getting information out there PR rule No. 1?) or was it another stumble that exacerbated the public perception of big trouble? What should the president's public role be in recovering from the debacle?

Boyd: That was such a lose-lose situation. He made a judgment call that speaks to his pragmatism. He saw his primary responsibility as using the bully pulpit to create awareness out there of how people could enroll. It was probably more presidential to read it rather than have a chyron across the bottom of the screen.

NPR: When you look back on the past few weeks and how this has played out, from the White House response to congressional reaction — including Republican efforts to capitalize on the problems to attack the law — what is the biggest public relations lesson the administration should have learned?

Boyd: You can't put lipstick on a pig. In today's world, what's been forced on everybody is transparency, even though a lot don't like it. The changing dynamic in the way we communicate means that everything grows so fast. A lack of confidence in the strength and functionality of the website? There's nothing that public relations could have done to fix that. If they weren't at a 99 percent confidence level, they would have been far better to delay it. The buck stops with one person, and that person could have called any number of tech people in the world to find out what it would have taken to make this a success from the start.

Jenkins: The administration failed to appreciate that this is a two-sided coin. It's not a matter of how poorly the administration positioned the Affordable Care Act, it's a matter of the administration not appreciating the Republicans' ability to counter-position ACA. It seems like the administration drank a little of their own Kool-Aid and projected their heartfelt belief in ACA onto a skeptical public.

NPR: Looking forward, and setting aside the obvious political aspect for a moment, what should the administration do to turn around the conversation about Obamacare from "a disaster" to, at the very least, something along the lines of "a potentially valuable work in progress"?

Boyd: First, immediately begin talking about the success stories. Tell human stories about the difference the access to health care has made for families, individuals. Work across all channels, in multiple ways. Get labor unions, small business, third parties to tell their stories — that's more effective.

Second, accountability. This was a massive screw up. People want a reason to believe, and the administration is trying give that — they called it a "tech surge." I got it, but now who's on it? Our polling over 13 years shows us that the tech industry is the industry most trusted by the general public. Get a photo of the president sitting at a table with the head of innovation at Microsoft, Intel, and get him, sleeves rolled up, at a computer looking at the website interface. Provide weekly reports that create some public accountability. They can't afford not to be transparent about this.

Jenkins: Admit the entry-way to the system is flawed, but is getting fixed — they're doing that. Then move on and reduce their muddled messaging to two easily understood points directed at the public and nobody else: it's cheaper, it's better. If they can't easily do that, consumers may conclude it's a product they simply don't want.

Note: On Friday, the administration promised that the health insurance website would be operating well for most users by the end of November. Jeffrey Zients, the adviser brought in to manage multiple repairs needed to improve the site's performance, said: " is fixable."

"It will take a lot of work, and there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed. But let me be clear. is fixable."

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