This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.
Political conventions used to be dramatic events that made history. They nominated candidates for president. They debated crucial issues under glaring lights. Now, not so much. Presidential candidates win or lose nominations in primaries, and parties tend to see - and use - conventions as what amounts to advertisements for themselves. Our apologies to Norman Mailer.
If you want to understand how the White House race will play out in North Carolina as we enter the convention phase, talking to Carter Wrenn, a Republican, and Gary Pearce, a Democrat, is a good start.
The two veteran political strategists have, over decades, been involved in many a Tar Heel campaign.
One of Wrenn's best known clients was Jesse Helms, the late North Carolina senator renowned for both his surliness and race baiting.
Mitt Romney, 65, has spent the better part of a decade running for president. And as the son of a Michigan governor who headed a Detroit auto company, he's been in the public eye much longer.
Yet the former Massachusetts governor has remained an enigma to many voters, his political positions malleable, and much of his business and private life — including his Mormon religion — intentionally obscured.
Or simply declared off limits, like years of his tax returns.
Since Republican Rep. Todd Akin first said the words "legitimate rape" Sunday, just about everyone in the Republican Party has condemned those comments.
The Missouri Senate candidate later apologized, but his remarks continue to drive the political debate. They've also raised questions about the anti-abortion record of the Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. After a year and a half of planning, officials in Tampa say they are ready for next week's Republican National Convention. The Tampa Bay Forum, known mostly as a hockey arena, has been transformed into a multimedia political venue. The city has spent some $50 million from a federal grant on security. Much of downtown is cordoned off, patrolled by some 3,500 police officers.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Last week, I was in southern Idaho, and it was snowing in August, or at least it looked like it. Actually, it was raining ash, closing down airports, forcing people to remain inside, many miles away from the forest fire flames.
In Commerce, Mich., today, The Associated Press reports, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney told supporters that he and his wife, Ann, had been born in nearby hospitals. Then, Romney added, "no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate; they know that this is the place where both of us were born and raised."
Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 12:03 pm
Catholics are considered one of the most important swing groups in the country. Now, for the first time in history, both major political parties have Catholic vice presidential candidates. Guest host Viviana Hurtado discusses the Catholic voting bloc with pollster Robert Jones and conservative Catholic blogger Gayle Trotter.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. By now, people across the nation have heard remarks by Missouri Republican Todd Akin. He says he misspoke about pregnancy and rape, but his words shifted the polls in his race for a vital U.S. Senate seat. Now Democrats want to be sure the remarks have a national effect. Here's NPR's Ari Shapiro.