The Tea Party may have took the 2010 midterm elections by storm, but many analysts are now asking if the party's influence has cooled off. Host Michel Martin looks at the Tea Party's prospects for this election with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving and Shelby Blakely, journalist coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots.
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And I'm Renee Montagne, good morning.
Presidential candidates play a game before debates, each lowers expectations that he'll do well, then tries to beat expectations. The last part didn't work out for President Obama this last time, so he tries again tonight.
INSKEEP: The president meets Mitt Romney with their contest effectively tied. They hold a town hall meeting with about 80 uncommitted voters.
Military veterans across the country have a whole range of concerns this election season, from the high rate of suicide to special challenges for female vets. But like everyone else, they're especially concerned with health care and jobs.
The nation's obligations to some 2 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan pose a challenge for the next commander in chief. Unemployment for post-Sept. 11 vets is about 2 percentage points worse than the national average, and veterans want solutions.
As Mitt Romney and President Obama get ready for their second debate, a new bipartisan survey shows a surge for Romney in a key voter group following their first debate Oct. 3.
The random cellphone and land line poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey's respondents. Obama's support is now down to 37 percent among rural battleground voters, a plunge of 10 points from the actual rural vote in those states four years ago.
Since April, most of the TV ads supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have come from outside groups, not from Romney's own campaign. And those groups raised more than half of their money from secret donors, according to a six-month study of ads.
The nation's poverty rate is as high as it's been in almost two decades. Last year, 1 in 6 Americans was poor — more than 46 million people, including 16 million children.
But on the campaign trail, the issue of poverty has received surprisingly little attention.
When he first ran for president, Barack Obama went to a low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and spoke passionately about hunger and poverty. He repeated Bobby Kennedy's question in 1967: "How can a country like this allow it?"
Romney adviser Dan Senor talking with NPR's Steve Inskeep
A President Mitt Romney would make the "military option" a credible threat in the effort to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons by repeatedly saying that it "remains on the table, that it is real" and by making sure that senior officials don't imply otherwise, a top foreign policy adviser to the 2012 Republican presidential nominee tells Morning Edition.
In three weeks, millions of Americans cast their vote for president in an election that both campaigns depict as a stark choice between two fundamentally different visions for the country. But the chief executive's power is limited in real ways, by Congress, foreign interests, and other players.