In the east room of the White House today, union leaders sat side by side with civil rights luminaries as President Obama announced his choice for secretary of Labor. The nominee, Justice Department lawyer Thomas Perez, has a back-story the president finds irresistible.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Like so many Americans, Tom knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity. He's the son of Dominican immigrants. He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse.
After failing to take the presidency or U.S. Senate in 2012 and losing House seats, Republicans launched the "Growth and Opportunity Project" to understand what went wrong. Party Chairman Reince Priebus and others toured the country and released a report with recommendations on Monday.
NPR's business news starts with a new labor secretary.
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MONTAGNE: President Obama has chosen justice department lawyer Thomas Perez for the post. Perez is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. He ran the labor department in his home state of Maryland and he will add a high profile Latino voice to the cabinet. But, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, his nomination is not without controversy.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, R&B heavyweight Brian McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums over the course of his 20 year career. He'll tell us about his latest and he pushes back against some critics and the fans who think he may have gotten just a little too grown for their taste. We'll tell you what we mean in just a few minutes.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that she supports same-sex marriage, saying gays and lesbians are "full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship."
"That includes marriage," Clinton says in an online video released Monday by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. Clinton adds that she backs gay marriage both "personally and as a matter of policy and law."
Two Democrats and 16 Republicans are running for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District seat in a special election Tuesday. The seat is open because former Rep. Tim Scott was tapped to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who retired midterm.
The biggest name in the race is former Gov. Mark Sanford, whose infamous affair led to his political downfall. Sanford is trying to stage the political comeback of a lifetime.
And he's doing it one diner at a time — greeting customers over eggs and grits at Page's Okra Grill, just outside Charleston in Mount Pleasant.
It is remarkable how fast the issue of same-sex marriage has moved the American public. Of course, some long-time proponents will argue the opposite, that it has taken far too long for it to gain acceptance. And they say that there is no shortage of efforts around the country to block or overturn the practice.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could upend the federal effort to spur and streamline voter registration.
At issue is an Arizona law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the state law must fall because it conflicts with federal law.