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 http://www.npr.org/.

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!":

Pages

There's Still Time For Romney To Make An Effective Case

Sep 22, 2012
Originally published on September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.

Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.

"I don't think you can make a broad and sweeping statement about Mitt Romney on the basis of the last three weeks, where you've had a number of these self-inflicted political errors," he says." Just because they did not make an effective case, for example at the convention, does not inhibit them from beginning to make an effective case."

Not everyone is so optimistic. In The Wall Street Journal on Friday, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan expanded on previous comments:

"The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.'"

Romney, for his part, shrugs off polls showing he's slipping. In a 60 Minutes interview to be broadcast Sunday, Scott Pelley of CBS News asks the candidate how he plans to turn things around with little more than six weeks to go until Election Day. Romney responds:

"Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States."

Schmidt spoke with NPR before Romney's campaign released the candidate's 2011 tax return on Friday, just as the issue had been slipping out of the headlines. By then, there were already new challenges for the campaign to overcome.

There was the video leaked on Monday where Romney talks about the "47 percent" of Americans who would vote for President Obama, which drew negative reaction in swing states. Plus, there has been news of infighting among his campaign staff, including a Politico report last Sunday.

Schmidt says internal campaign strife can be demoralizing. "When you see people doing that, that's a sign of losing control," he says.

The goal for Romney's people, he notes, is to focus on what they have in common: their belief in Romney. "And that one big thing, that unifies the campaign staff, has to be able to overcome all the other differences to create functionality in the campaign."

It's too early to tell whether these challenges are a reflection on Romney's leadership, Schmidt says. "To a degree, a presidential campaign is the most elaborate character test that we could possibly design to see who has the mettle to be president.

"If they come back from this, it'll be viewed as a great achievement and it will show grittiness and determination," he says. Until the campaign is finished, "we can't write that chapter yet."

That means there's still time for the Romney campaign to make that effective case.

"They can't focus on opportunities lost. They've got to focus on the opportunities ahead. And the opportunities ahead are these debates," Schmidt says. "You can't overstate their importance."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For some insight into the stresses and strains of a presidential campaign at this point in the process, we turn to Steve Schmidt. He was John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election. And we spoke with Mr. Schmidt before Governor Romney released his tax returns. Mr. Schmidt, thanks so much for being with us.

STEVE SCHMIDT: Great to be with you. Thank you.

SIMON: First, how damaging has this week been for the Romney campaign, do you think?

SCHMIDT: There's two things going on. There is a narrative that's building around the Romney campaign and around the larger race that's very bad for the Romney campaign. But at the same time, even though Mitt Romney had this terrible stretch of a couple of weeks, he is still very much in the game.

SIMON: There are numerous reports of in-fighting among Romney campaign staff. Can you help us understand what it's like for a staff to read this stuff on websites and blogs and in the newspapers? Does it get in the way of running a campaign?

SCHMIDT: Oh, of course it does. Look, it's demoralizing. You know, I had the opportunity, I was, you know, on two presidential campaigns on senior levels. And on the Bush campaign, it was a campaign that we knew it was going to be a very close race. But that's a high-morale, unified, disciplined operation. And then, you know, I've been part of one where, you know, there was a lot of in-fighting. And it's something that you recognize intellectually, I think, that when you see people doing that, that's a sign of losing control. You know, people just have to figure it out and understand that they're making a case for the country, you know, and their belief that Mitt Romney is the right guy and one big thing that unifies the campaign staff has to be able to overcome all the other differences to create functionality in the campaign.

SIMON: Does he have the right campaign staff? Is he an effective leader of that campaign staff?

SCHMIDT: Well, to a degree, presidential campaign is the most elaborate character test that we could possibly design, you know, to see who has the mettle to be president. I mean, Mitt Romney right now, how he's doing as the heavy campaign organization, we'll know at the end of campaign. Because, you know, if they come back from this, it'll be viewed as a great achievement and it will show grittiness and determination. And I think you can't write that chapter yet.

SIMON: Mr. Schmidt, when you see polls this week that suggest that Mr. Romney is falling behind by a few points in key electoral states that were considered to be virtually tied up - I'm thinking of Ohio, Virginia and Florida - if polling like that persists, does the campaign then have to make a practical decision as to how much of their resources to concentrate there?

SCHMIDT: You know, pulling out of those states is not a viable strategic option. And the Romney campaign, for example, is much more highly capitalized than the McCain campaign was in 2008. They have a lot of money, and the battleground is small enough and the money plenty enough that they don't have to make strategic choices like that in the race. It's very difficult to put together 270 electoral votes, you know, without winning Florida and Ohio.

SIMON: I have heard Mr. Romney speak on a few occasions and speak effectively. And I wonder if you have any reflection on how he's been talking in recent weeks.

SCHMIDT: I don't think that you can make a broad and sweeping statement about Mitt Romney on the basis of last three weeks, where you've had a number of these self-inflicted political errors. Just because they did not make an effective case, for example, at the convention does not inhibit them from beginning to make an effective case. And there is an effective case to be made both for Mitt Romney and a critique that could be made of the president. And I think that he has every opportunity to make it with the time left. But, you know, they can't focus on opportunities lost. They got to focus on the opportunities ahead. And they opportunities ahead are these debates. And we know that, you know, the polling can move with what goes on in these debates. You can't overstate their importance.

SIMON: Mr. Schmidt, are you surprised that week-in and week-out the economy hasn't always been the central issue of the campaign the way people were suggesting it would?

SCHMIDT: You know, when Mitt Romney, you know, said earlier in the campaign, you know, that they were talking about the economy, that they were winning and, you know, when we're not we're losing. And, you know, there hasn't been a lot of economic talk in the campaign lately. And they obviously need to clear out of another bad week and then look for Mitt Romney to get his equilibrium and start making the argument.

SIMON: Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist who was senior campaign advisor to Senator John McCain in 2008. Mr. Schmidt, thanks so much.

SCHMIDT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.