2012 Elections

Calling on Americans to "answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom," President Obama used his second inaugural address to push for action on the nation's problems and to say that partisan politics should not get in the way of pragmatism.

Update: Feds haven't made up their minds about legal pot

Nov 13, 2012
Kathleen Ann / Flickr

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire says the federal government still hasn't decided whether to take action to block new laws legalizing marijuana in her state and Colorado.

Gregoire met Tuesday with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. Gregoire told Cole she would prefer to know "sooner rather than later," because Washington is in the process of getting ready to decriminalize pot, which is still illegal under federal law.

They're asking politely. Malcontents from 20 different states are petitioning the White House to allow them to secede from the union.

Using the White House website's We the People function, in which petitions garnering at least 25,000 signatures get a response from the president, people from the state of Texas are asking to "peacefully ... withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."

The Associated Press

With the passage of laws approving same-sex marriages in several states including Washington, the National Organization for Marriage says it will keep up its efforts to make Starbucks suffer for its support of the laws.

The Colorado Independent, an online news organization, reported NOM’s efforts against Starbucks will be focused in the Middle East. The news org said it got the information from a news conference.

The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY – Mexico and three Central American nations are calling for a review of international drug policies after two U.S. states voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Will fact checks always be ignored by politicians?

Nov 11, 2012

Just because there's more fact checking, doesn't mean there's more truth telling.

Given this, David Carr of The New York Times declared that journalistic efforts to set the record straight during "the most fact-checked [presidential] election in history" didn't work.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Jay Inslee elected governor of Washington as Rob McKenna concedes.

Inslee secured victory in Washington's close race for governor Friday, vowing to focus his administration on jump-starting the state's economy. He thanked opponent Rob McKenna for what he described as a gracious conversation Friday night in which the Republican conceded the race.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna is conceding defeat.

Campaign manager Randy Pepple told reporters Friday night that McKenna called Democrat Jay Inslee to congratulate him. Inslee had steadily held a 51 percent advantage in the race as ballots were counted this week.

The decision brings to end one of the most watched, most expensive gubernatorial races in the country. The two candidates and outside political groups raised and spent some $40 million in the race.

Prosecutors for King and Pierce counties announced this afternoon that all misdemeanor marijuana cases in their counties have been dropped.

With legal possession of up to an ounce of pot just around the corner, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said that dismissing these cases is the right thing to do.

"No-drama Obama" got emotional as he thanked his campaign staff this week in Chicago, and a video released Thursday of him tearing up is going viral.

Nimataradji photography / Flickr

Foes of the same-sex marriage referendum in Washington have conceded the law will pass. The group that sponsored Referendum 74 declared victory yesterday.

Now that voters have legalized recreational marijuana in Washington state, the question is whether the federal government will sue to block it. One legal expert says he expects a court challenge.

Washington’s initiative 502 doesn’t just legalize possession of small quantities of marijuana. It sets up a system for licensing cultivation and sale of the drug and then imposes a tax system. Sam Kamin is a professor of law at the University of Denver. He says he thinks the federal government will determine that Washington’s law is going too far and will challenge it in court.

Kathleen Ann / Flickr

Washington joined Colorado in voting to become the first states to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but people shouldn't expect to be able to buy a bag of legitimate weed any time soon.

Nor should they expect the law to go into effect with out a fight with federal law agencies, said Sam Kamin, professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

“My gut feeling is that the federal government won’t currently tolerate the commercial recreational sale of marijuana, that is they will not allow it to be regulated like alcohol. That just seems a bridge too far,” he said.

Complete I-502 story.

Same-sex marriage backers say they've won

Washington United for Marriage has declared victory in the same-sex marriage referendum.

“This is a clear win,” the group's campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release.

SALEM, Ore. – Republicans in the Oregon House will be in the minority after this week’s election. A historic 30-30 split in the chamber has ended with Democratic wins Tuesday night in key districts. But Republicans say they hope the recent bipartisanship will carry over into the next legislative session.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Democrat Jay Inslee is still ahead in the race for Washington governor. The tally now stands at 51% for the former Congressman.

Inslee says he’s waiting for a call from his opponent, Attorney General Rob McKenna, before he’ll declare victory. But, that didn’t stop him from holding a press conference Wednesday to talk about his transition team.

Rusty Blazenhof / Flickr

Washington voters have approved the recreational use of marijuana. Many questions remain about how this will work, since it’s still a federal crime to use pot. But the state agency that will regulate the industry is getting into gear.

The law making it legal to possess up to an ounce of pot takes effect one month after Election Day, on Dec. 6. And the state liquor board has a year after that to write the rules that will oversee marijuana production and sales.

The race for Washington governor remains too close to call. But Democrat Jay Inslee said Wednesday he’s already forming a transition team to prepare to take office. The former congressman leads Republican attorney general Rob McKenna 51 percent to 49 percent.

In a Seattle press conference, Inslee acknowledged ballots are still being counted. But he said he’s confident enough to begin the transition process.

You swore your allegiance. You voted. Perhaps you even volunteered your time. But your candidate just lost. What do you do now?

Some psychologists say you can look to the coping tactics of die-hard sports fans, who generally have to deal with defeat more than once every four years.

Play the blame game: You can blame the defeat on someone or something other than your candidate, says Tufts University associate professor of psychology Sam Sommers. In sports, you can blame factors like weather, an injury, or — most often — the referees.

Democrat Jay Inslee has a slim lead over Republican Rob McKenna in the race for Governor of Washinton. The initial ballot count shows Inslee with 51 percent to McKenna’s 49 percent.  In Bellevue, McKenna told supporters he’s still optimistic he can win and will wait for more votes to be counted. But, Inslee told a packed election night room in Seattle he expects the trend to continue in his favor.

Paul Evans / Flickr

First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people.

Colorado and Washington have become the first states to allow pot for recreational use.

Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war now have their chance to prove it.

Supporters of President Obama partied outside the White House on Wednesday morning, chanting "Four More Years!" and "U-S-A!" — and singing off-tune renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner.

"I knew I'd be coming here. I just didn't know whether I'd be coming to protest or to celebrate," said AnaLysa Sawyers, 38, a teacher from Maryland.

"You're driving up from redwood country, in the most beautiful park in America ... and when it's not on your radar, you have no idea it exists," says photographer H. Lee — referring to the marijuana industry that has proliferated, though unofficially, in that region of Northern California.

Gary Davis / KPLU

"I just phoned our son up in Bellingham and said, get ready for the wedding."

Washington United for Marriage has declared victory in the same-sex marriage referendum. Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote last night.

“This is a clear win,” the group's campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release.

“We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”

So far, official “Yes” votes have a slight advantage of 52 to 48 percent. Counties were expected to post additional vote results Wednesday afternoon.

However the group said in the press release:

With 60 percent of the vote counted, R74 already has the support of 65 percent of King County and is performing well in key Eastern Washington counties.  Simply put, it’s now impossible for opponents to overcome the 52-48 percent spread for R74.

Video: KPLU videographer David Kellogg captured the hopes and tensions of election night as one same-sex couple waited for elections results:

The Associated Press

Washington joined Colorado in voting to become the first states to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but people shouldn't expect to be able to buy a bag of legitimate weed any time soon.

Nor should they expect the law to go into effect with out a fight with federal law agencies, said Sam Kamin, professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

“My gut feeling is that the federal government won’t currently tolerate the commercial recreational sale of marijuana, that is they will not allow it to be regulated like alcohol. That just seems a bridge too far,” he said.

Seattle voters have approved a $290 million, 30-year bond measure to rebuild the seawall along the downtown waterfront on Elliott Bay.

And King County voters have approved a $119 million, six-year renewal of a levy to pay for fingerprint processing system for law enforcement. The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/RPHYiZ ) the two measures will increase property taxes on a $360,000 home in Seattle by $68 a year. The seawall is a necessary part of the project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel and renovated Seattle waterfront. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Election officials estimate that hundreds of thousands of votes are left to count in the race for governor of Washington.

Secretary of State Sam Reed says about 1.2 million ballots remain to be counted in Washington.

He says that's about half the expected total.

Reed told KING-TV more results due from counties Wednesday afternoon will likely show trends in the tight race for governor and other close races.

He says the outcome of the governor's race between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna should be clear by Friday "unless it's a real nail-biter."

Transcript of President Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Source: Federal News Service

Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

(Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The Associated Press

Washington state's race for governor remains too close to call, with hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count.

Early results Tuesday night showed Democrat Jay Inslee with a slight lead over Republican Rob McKenna. The two candidates have been competing in one of the most watched and most expensive gubernatorial races in the country, with the campaigns and outside political groups raising and spending some $40 million in the race.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Washington voters are narrowly approving same-sex marriage in the state, following the lead of voters in Maryland and Maine, where ballot measures on same-sex unions also are holding slim leads.

With about half of the expected vote counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 53 percent of the vote.

The referendum asked voters to approve or reject the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, but it's been on hold pending the election's outcome.

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