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.

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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!":


Presidential Campaign Ads Target Seniors In Fla., Younger Voters In N.H.

Aug 23, 2012
Originally published on August 24, 2012 3:27 pm

Ask your average American about Florida, and you'll hear something like this: It's hot, it has Disney World, and lots of old people live there.

And since the weather and Mickey Mouse don't make good attack ads, both presidential campaigns are trying to scare the bejeezus out of Florida's senior population over Medicare.

In New Hampshire, by comparison, President Obama's campaign is currently aiming at young voters — specifically those who might need student loans — and their parents, by trying to link the Republican ticket to state GOP-led cuts to higher education funding.

The dueling strategies show how the campaigns are tailoring their ad message to specific voters, especially in the battleground states.

Florida And Medicare

In his first trip to the Sunshine State as a vice presidential candidate last weekend, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin focused almost exclusively on Medicare.

Ryan spoke at The Villages, a sprawling 55-plus retirement community. He and his 78-year-old mother (who lives in Florida) stood under a banner reading, "Protect and Strengthen Medicare."

"We will end the raid of Medicare, we will restore the promise of this program," Ryan said, accusing Obama of taking $716 billion out of the program to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. The Romney campaign used Ryan's meeting with his mother, and the claim of $716 billion in Medicare cuts (which the fact-checking site PolitiFact rated "Mostly False"), to create a Web ad.

The Obama campaign thinks it has a winner subject with Medicare, too. Its new radio ad in Florida features elderly narrators saying, "In Florida, they're already talking about how the Ryan-Romney plan will end Medicare and replace it with a voucher."

Again, PolitiFact gives this claim a "Mostly False" rating.

Seniors make up about a quarter of the electorate in Florida — a higher percentage than in almost any other state.

But political scientist Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida questions the senior focus, especially for Obama.

"It's stupid," she said.

MacManus says most seniors have already made up their minds. And in general, they're befuddled by the conflicting claims about Medicare.

"The nonstop ads on Medicare are confusing them," she said, "so they end up believing their own candidate."

She says Obama won Florida narrowly in 2008 by turning out young people and minorities — and that's where he should focus his efforts.

New Hampshire and Student Loans

The radio spot airing in New Hampshire, called "Parent's Voice," takes aim at the Ryan budget plan and its cuts to Pell Grants, the federally funded higher education aid program.

Narrated by a concerned-sounding mother worried about her son ("Andrew goes back to school pretty soon; we sure need that Pell Grant"), the ad is out to link the Romney/Ryan ticket to cuts in higher education spending made by local Republicans.

Democrats say the Ryan budget that passed the House but failed in the Senate would have cost 1 million students their Pell Grants. Republicans says reductions to the grants, which max out at $5,550, would not be immediate or across the board.

The Romney campaign, whose ads in New Hampshire have focused on the economy, says the ads are an attempt to distract from the president's own record.

"Under President Obama, school quality has declined, college tuition costs have skyrocketed and his economic policies have made it harder to get jobs," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

So why is this ad airing in New Hampshire? Here are a few reasons:

New Hampshire has always been stingy when it comes to funding higher education, but last year the GOP-controlled Legislature made the deepest cuts to state higher education funding in the country, 42 percent. And the state already ranked last in the country in per capita college and university funding.

According to the Project on Student Debt, New Hampshire also ranks first in average student debt, at $31,048 per capita, and second in proportion of students carrying debt, at 74 percent. With the new budget cuts driving up the cost of attending a state-funded school by around 10 percent, those numbers aren't likely to improve.

New Hampshire Democrats have made the cuts to higher education a rallying cry against a state Legislature they say is "too extreme." There is some indication that argument may be taking root. A University of New Hampshire survey center poll in April found that voters consider the Republican Legislature the state's second-largest problem.

Whether the Obama campaign intends this ad to mainly shore up Democratic support or to sow doubt among potential swing voters is unclear. The campaign isn't commenting.

University of New Hampshire pollster Andy Smith thinks the message is likely to resonate mostly with people already voting for Obama. But, he says, the ads could also work among a coveted segment of the 2012 electorate: middle-aged female swing voters.

"They are probably trying to get the women, who tend to be more concerned about these issues then men are," Smith said.

Scott Finn is news director at WUSF Public Broadcasting in Tampa, Fla. Josh Rogers is a political reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio.

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