In Kentucky yesterday, there was another sign of Tea Party clout. Mitch McConnell - minority leader in the U.S. Senate, and Kentucky's most powerful politician - turned up at his first-ever Tea Party rally. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: This was not McConnell's first Tea Party rally. He participated in a Tea Party event in 2010.] This year, Tea Party candidates have scored upsets in Republican primaries in Missouri, Texas and Indiana. That's where longtime Senator Richard Lugar lost.
Battleground states are not always neighbors. And for President Obama, yesterday was one of those days when a candidate stops in one and flies across most of the entire country to another. Mr. Obama was in Ohio and then Nevada, visiting college campuses. This morning he'll keep with the education theme at a high school near Las Vegas. The president has been highlighting steps he's taken to make higher education more affordable.
Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: How many students do we have here?
As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year. This week, we're spending time in Winnebago County, Wis., where we spoke with two women — one Democrat, one Republican — who embody their state's Midwestern charm and spirit of self-reliance. First, we hear from the Democrat.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.
But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.
In Tampa, Fla., a week ahead of their national convention, Republicans are drawing up their party platform. There are muted disagreements over a few issues, such as immigration and same-sex marriage. But at least within the platform committee, one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion.
With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion.
President Obama campaigned in Ohio on Tuesday. His message was personal and aimed at college students. The president said he too had been saddled with student loans, and that he understands the burden and the value of education. He also criticized his Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for supporting a budget that would make deep cuts in Pell Grants and other programs important to young people. Melissa Block talks with Scott Horsley.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour in Pennsylvania. When it comes to presidential elections, the state has been reliably blue, but Mitt Romney and his new running mate hope to change that. Paul Ryan held two events in Pennsylvania today, while Romney was raising money out of the public spotlight. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from the campaign trail.
Facing a deadline to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race, Representative Todd Akin says he will not step aside. Akin has been under fire for days for his controversial comments about so-called "legitimate rape." Many members of the Republican establishment, including Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell, have put pressure on Akin to pull out of the Senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. On Tuesday, Missouri's Republican U.S. Senator and four former Republican senators issued a joint statement calling on Akin to step aside. Audie Cornish talks with Brian Naylor.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:55 pm
After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus posed a question: "Is it any wonder Americans hate politics?" Republicans, she says, reacted just strongly enough to serve their own interests. And Democrats, Marcus argues, do their own part by driving voter cynicism.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:34 pm
Paul Ryan's controversial plan to reshape Medicare has provoked conversation, some of it confusing, about entitlement reform. Traditionally a campaign rallying cry for Democrats, Republicans seem to be putting President Obama on the defensive about Medicare and the new health law.