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 made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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Romney, SuperPAC Outspend Rivals Combined

Mar 21, 2012
Originally published on March 21, 2012 10:23 am

As Mitt Romney decisively won the Illinois Republican presidential primary Tuesday night, financial reports filed at the Federal Election Commission showed that Romney and a superPAC supporting him yet again spent more than all of his GOP opponents combined.

The reports cover the month of February, which started with Romney's win in Nevada and ended with contests in Michigan and Arizona, which the former Massachusetts governor also won.

In between, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took three smaller states.

But John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron, points out that none of these victories gave a fundraising bounce to anyone.

"We haven't seen the kind of momentum in fundraising that we've seen in some past elections, where a candidate wins a primary decisively or unexpectedly, and then there's a sudden bonanza of funds that flows in," he says.

A Tale Of Two Kinds Of Campaigns

Romney's fundraising shot up from less than $6.5 million in January to $11.6 million in February.

As a percentage increase, Santorum's take came even closer to doubling — from January's $4.5 million to February's $8.9 million.

February was not kind to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He fared badly in the balloting, and his monthly fundraising fell by nearly half — to just $2.6 million.

Green says it's a tale of two different kinds of campaigns: Romney has a traditional campaign, based on big donors. Santorum and Gingrich do not.

But Green says that's not the fatal flaw that it used to be. "It's who has enough money. And at least Sen. Santorum, up to this point, has been able to raise enough money, even though he's running behind Gov. Romney, to sort of keep the campaign going," he says.

And here's an even sharper twist to the story: When it came to small donors — those who gave $200 or less — the powerful Romney fundraising machine collected less than Santorum, or even Gingrich.

Sheila Krumholz, director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money, says "it's amazing that the raw dollars are lower."

"Small, kind of that grassroots fundraising has always been a weakness for the Romney campaign," she says.

The campaign claims confidence in its base of donors who give the maximum $2,500 contributions.

Krumholz has her doubts. "There will come a time when it's harder and harder to find those deep pockets," she says. "I think in this day and age, a successful campaign has to figure out the calculus for online small donations."

Small Donors Vs. SuperPACs

And one campaign that's focused like a laser on Internet giving is President Obama's.

His re-election operation raised $45 million in February — a big increase from January, due to a stepped-up fundraising schedule by the president.

Those high-dollar events drove down the percentage of money from small donors. But still, so far in this election cycle, the Obama campaign has raised nearly as much from small donors as the Romney campaign has raised, period.

But this is a year when thousands of small donors can be balanced out by superPACs that raise unlimited contributions.

"Such a tiny pool, about 100 donors, give 80 percent of the contributions to all superPACs," Krumholz says.

So the pro-Romney superPAC finished February with $10.5 million in the bank, even though it's been spending — mostly on attack ads — at twice the rate of its fundraising.

Bob Perry of Texas — a generous donor to conservative causes — gave $3 million.

But Green, the political scientist, says the superPACs opposing Romney actually have more impact.

"The superPACs have, up to this point, been even more important for Romney's rivals, for Santorum and Gingrich in particular, because those superPACs have been able to keep those campaigns operating in key states," Green says.

SuperPAC Backers

The filing by Winning Our Future, the superPAC backing Newt Gingrich, shows that it's gotten 85 percent of its money overall from Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family.

The Red, White & Blue Fund, supporting Santorum, picked up a million dollars from Annette Simmons. Her husband, Texas investor Harold Simmons, has given to the superPACs supporting both Romney and Gingrich.

And the pro-Obama superPAC, called Priorities USA Action, showed signs of life: It raised just over $2 million. About half of that came from one donor — comedian Bill Maher.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

As he campaigned toward a victory in Illinois last night, presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a little vignette about raising campaign cash.

MITT ROMNEY: I woke up this morning and found I did not have any shirts that would be appropriate for a fundraiser, so I had to wash my shirt out in the sink.

INSKEEP: As our own Ari Shapiro reports elsewhere in this program, the Republican frontrunner says he ended up ironing the shirt dry. Whatever the inconvenience, Romney has maintained his massive lead in fundraising. Reports filed at the Federal Election Commission show the scale of the advantage for Romney and a superPAC supporting him. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: The reports cover the month of February. It started with Romney's win in Nevada and ended with Michigan and Arizona, which the former Massachusetts governor also won. In between, former senator Rick Santorum took three smaller states. But John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron, points out none of these gave a fundraising bounce to anyone.

JOHN GREEN: We haven't seen the kind of momentum in fundraising that we've seen in some past elections, where a candidate wins a primary decisively or unexpectedly and then there's a sudden bonanza of funds that flows in.

OVERBY: Some quick numbers: Romney's fundraising shot up from less than $6.5 million in January to $11.6 million in February. As a percentage increase, Santorum's take came even closer to doubling - from January's 4.5 million to February's 8.9. February was not kind to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He fared badly in the balloting and his monthly fundraising fell by nearly half, to just 2.6 million.

Green says it's a tale of two different kinds of campaigns. Romney has a traditional campaign, based on big donors. Santorum and Gingrich do not. Green says that's not the fatal flaw that it used to be.

GREEN: It's who has enough money. And at least Senator Santorum up to this point has been able to raise enough money, even though he's running behind Governor Romney, to sort of keep the campaign going.

OVERBY: And here's an even sharper twist to the story. When it came to small donors, those who gave $200 or less, the powerful Romney fundraising machine collected less than Santorum or even Gingrich. Sheila Krumholz is director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ: It's amazing that the raw dollars are lower. Small, kind of that grassroots fundraising has always been a weakness for the Romney campaign.

OVERBY: The campaign claims confidence in its base of donors who give the maximum $2,500 contributions. Krumholz has her doubts.

KRUMHOLZ: There will come a time when it's harder and harder to find those deep pockets. I think in this day and age, a successful campaign has to figure out the calculus for online small donations.

OVERBY: And one campaign that's focused like a laser on Internet giving is that of President Obama. His re-election operation raised $45 million in February. It's a big increase from January, due to a stepped-up fundraising schedule by the president.

Those high-dollar events drove down the percentage of money from small donors. But still, so far this election cycle, the Obama campaign has raised nearly as much from small donors as the Romney campaign has raised, period. But this is a year when thousands of small donors can be balanced out by superPACs that raise unlimited contributions. Again, Sheila Krumholz.

KRUMHOLZ: Such a tiny pool, about 100 donors, give 80 percent of the contributions to all superPACs.

OVERBY: So the pro-Romney superPAC finished February with $10.5 million in the bank, even though it's been spending - mostly on attack ads - at twice the rate of its fundraising. Three million dollars came from Bob Perry of Texas, a generous donor to conservative causes. But John Green, the political scientist, says the superPACs opposing Romney actually have more impact.

GREEN: The superPACs have, up to this point, been even more important for Romney's rivals, for Santorum and Gingrich in particular, because those superPACs have been able to keep those campaigns operating in key states.

OVERBY: The filing by the superPAC backing Newt Gingrich shows that it's gotten 85 percent of its money overall from Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family. The superPAC supporting Santorum picked up a million dollars from Annette Simmons. Her husband, Texas investor Harold Simmons, has given to the superPAC supporting both Romney and Gingrich. And the pro-Obama superPAC showed signs of life. It raised just over $2 million. About half of that came from one donor, comedian Bill Maher.

Peter Overby NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.