The announcement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, would seem to give Republicans a big opening in a state that has gone deep red in recent presidential elections.
But West Virginia's animus toward recent Democrats in the White House, especially President Obama, doesn't necessarily translate into Republican advantages in statewide races.
Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio of Atlanta has withdrawn from giving the inaugural benediction. He's being criticized for remarks he made against homosexuality about two decades ago. Host Michel Martin speaks with Laurie Goodstein, national religion correspondent for The New York Times, about the reaction to Pastor Giglio.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new rules for mortgages this week. But neither the banking industry, nor consumer groups are completely happy. Host Michel Martin gets a sense of the current state of mortgages and foreclosures with real estate columnist Ilyce Glink and Keli Goff, political correspondent for The Root.
His second-term inauguration is a certainty. His cabinet choices may not be. President Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel to head up the Defense Department still faces hurdles, and there are questions about John Brennan at the CIA. Plus: Joe Biden tries for a consensus on guns. And Barney Frank wants to be the interim senator from Massachusetts. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving try to make sense of it all.
Let's hear another perspective on President Obama's choice for Defense secretary. Chuck Hagel faces sharp questions at the least on his way to Senate confirmation. Earlier this week on this program, the analyst Danielle Pletka argued that the former Republican senator has omnidirectionally offended everyone, with his views on Israel, talking to Iran, the war in Iraq, and much more.