Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, announced today that he's reversing his opposition to same-sex marriage. Portman's op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch makes him the first GOP senator to publicly support gay marriage. He said he made the switch because of a personal family experience. Portman's college-age son told his family in 2011 that he is gay.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Mitt Romney returned to the national stage today. At the CPAC convention just outside Washington, D.C. Romney gave his first political speech since losing the presidential election. His audience was a group of conservative activists and as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, they gave Romney an effusive reception.
It is a theme that has become increasingly familiar during the rapid evolution of American political attitudes toward same-sex marriage: People who learn that a friend or loved one is gay are far more likely to support same-sex marriage, even if they were once adamantly opposed.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who became the first Republican in the U.S. Senate to openly endorse same-sex marriage, is simply the latest.
In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.
Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.
Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?
That's one of the questions being debated as Republicans — like all parties that have lost a national election — plot their comeback.
Some think they need to take a new tack on issues such as immigration in order to appeal to changing times and demographic changes. Others believe that the GOP's core conservative principles are still political winners, if delivered in a more convincing manner than was the case during last year's presidential race.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might've been following the long debate over whether this country locks up too many people for too little reason and for too long. It turns out something else interesting is happening that you might not heard about - the racial breakdown of the prison population is changing. More white people, especially more white women, are getting locked up. And we'll find out more about that in a few minutes.
The white smoke has appeared and that can mean only one thing: the new edition of the It's All Politics podcast with NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving is ready. It also means that there's no budget deal in Congress, that the annual Conservative Political Action Conference is underway and that Carl Levin has decided that 36 years in the Senate is enough.
The Conservative Political Action Conference is drawing a huge crowd of politicians, activists and Republican presidential hopefuls, all looking to break the Republican Party's recent string of presidential election losses. It kicked off Thursday with speeches by two young senators interested in the White House — Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.