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President Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, engaged Thursday night in a sometimes spirited, but always cordial, debate that got very technical at times.

It was the "corporate executive" (Romney) vs. the "government professor" (Obama) and the GOP nominee appeared to be "full of confidence and full of sales pitch," NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving says, while Obama put pressure on the Republican to explain what he would do as president.

Looking to see and hear what the fact checkers are saying during and after tonight's presidential debate about the claims made by President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney?

-- PolitiFact.com says it will be updating on its website and on Twitter. It's also pitching an Argument Ender app.

KPLU reporters are looking into Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) to produce a series of stories that will separate facts from rumors and to learn exactly what would change if it’s approved. And on this page, we’re sharing some of the interesting facts as we learn them along the way.

Oct. 3 – If it's legal, you'll need some standards for the "quality" of the cannabis sold in state-licensed stores. But how will that be determined? 

As the presidential candidates prepare for tonight's debate, polls show President Obama averages a 15-point advantage in Washington over Republican rival Mitt Romney. Washington’s open race for governor is much closer.

The two candidates in that contest met Tuesday night in Yakima for a fiery third debate. But the polls highlight a reality for Republican Rob McKenna: he’ll have to woo a good number of Obama voters if he’s to become Washington’s first GOP governor in nearly 30 years.

Last night, Drudge Report trotted out its siren. Fox News, it reported, would be airing "Obama's other race speech."

Sean Hannity, who aired the video on his show, said it was a "bombshell... that could dramatically impact the race for the White House."

At one point in the video, Obama says he's going off script. He goes on to imply that the government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina was partly due to the fact that many in the city were black.

In their first debate Wednesday night, the two presidential candidates will explain their plans for fixing the U.S. economy.

Good luck.

The problems are complicated and long-standing, so the solutions may not be easy to spell out in the two minutes allowed for each answer under the debate rules.

But President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, will try, and about 60 million people are expected to tune in. This first debate will focus on domestic issues, with the economy topping the list of homefront problems.

Generation Y is asking why.

Why is it so hard to find a job? Why is health care so expensive? Smart questions from a smart generation. Their inquiries — and the presidential candidate they think can provide the best answers — could be a decisive factor in the 2012 election. If not the Tipping Point, as least a Tilting Point.

For many millennials, economic prospects are murky.

You can believe this latest poll result if you'd like. Or not.

A survey released Tuesday that was conducted by Public Policy Polling asked people if they thought pollsters were rigging their results to show President Obama leading Mitt Romney (h/t Josh Voorhees at The Slatest).

There's always a lot of noise around a presidential campaign — minor flaps that suck up a lot of media attention but are forgotten by Election Day.

John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington University and a founder of the blog The Monkey Cage, says there's no need to worry about a lot of the ephemera that news coverage tends to focus on.

"I'm telling you, all the fun things don't matter," Sides says.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It took seven years and hundreds of court filings. Now the legal fight over Washington’s top-two primary is over. The US Supreme Court Monday declined to hear an appeal brought by the state’s Democratic and Libertarian parties.

It’s an anticlimactic end to a protracted battle that pitted Washington’s Secretary of State -- and the will of voters -- against the state’s political parties.

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A staff attorney for Washington state Senate Republicans has agreed to drop his $1.75 million hostile workplace claim – and will receive no damages. The agreement announced Friday follows allegations that Senate leaders failed to protect the lawyer from verbal abuse by Senator Pam Roach.

The settlement comes six months after attorney Mike Hoover put Senator Roach back in the headlines. Roach has long been a lightning rod and was formally sanctioned in 2010 for her abusive treatment of Hoover.

Religion not a factor in Latino politics

Sep 28, 2012

PASCO, Wash. - Religion is one of the most defining characteristics of Latino culture. But pollsters say it plays virtually no role in how they vote. And for two Mexican-American siblings, faith shapes the lives but not their politics.

I learn a lot about Marielena Hernandez just by where she wants to meet for an interview.

Marielena is 21 years old and she greets me while holding her infant daughter Nicole at her childhood home, in Pasco, in Eastern Washington where her parents still live.

During the Republican National Convention last month, I traveled with Mitt Romney's campaign from Tampa, Fla., to the American Legion conference in Indianapolis.

Romney delivered a speech about foreign affairs and national security. Among the thousands of attendees from around the country, I interviewed one woman from Virginia whose quote sparked a conversation among NPR's audience and staff.

"Economic patriotism" is a catchy phrase. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, got noticed when he used it in his stemwinder of an attack on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Democratic National Convention.

In one of his more cutting lines, Strickland said:

From the magazine that brought you the infamous, secretly recorded "47 percent" video comes a new one about Republican candidate Mitt Romney — this one offering a very different objective for Bain Capital than the one he brags about on the campaign trail.

RICHLAND, Wash. - Latinos are a younger demographic. And younger people -- no matter what their ethnicity -- are much less likely to vote than older people. But one issue that’s energized many young Latinos is the DREAM Act. It would create a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

At a "Rock the Vote" event in downtown Richland, Washington, an energetic band in tight-fitting jeans plays short sets between political stump speeches.

Twenty-one-year-old Josh Alano really came here to see his friends’ band, but politely listened to the speeches.

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - According to a database of the Northwest's elected officials, just a handful of Latinos hold state office in the region. But this year, Latino voters have an edge for the first time in one of the Northwest’s major Hispanic hubs.

Redistricting gave them a majority. You might think the Latino candidate there would now be a shoo-in. Not so. Jessica Robinson has our latest story on why the region's largest minority group has so little clout in the political arena.

A slew of new presidential polls released this week not only confirm a long-established gender gap among voters, but also suggest that the male-female preference divide in this year's presidential contest could hit historic levels.

It may surprise that that divide appears not driven by social issues and arguments over reproductive care or choices, analysts say, but largely by the national conversation over the size of government.

Early voting is now an option in most of the country, and roughly a third of all Americans casting a ballot in the 2012 presidential race are expected to do so before Nov. 6, Election Day. For an early voting calendar and state deadlines for voter registration, visit http://apps.npr.org/early-voting-2012/

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court could decide by the end of this year whether a voter-approved two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is constitutional. But first, the justices must determine who has the right to challenge the law. That technical question was the focus of oral arguments Tuesday .

It’s not as if the Washington Supreme Court hasn’t heard this case before –- or at least ones similar. Four years ago, it was Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown leading the charge to strike down the supermajority rule.

New Republic: Obama's Ohio Turnaround

Sep 26, 2012

Alec MacGillis is senior editor at The New Republic.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down a rule that makes it more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes.

One presidential candidate talked about slavery, the other of freedom.

And the speeches President Obama and Mitt Romney gave at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Tuesday were as different as the men themselves.

Weekly Standard: The Obamacare Bowl

Sep 25, 2012

Jeffrey H. Anderson is a writer for The Weekly Standard and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

New Republic: Romney's health plan is the ER

Sep 25, 2012

Jonathan Cohn is senior editor at The New Republic.

50 million Americans have no health insurance. Does government have an obligation to help them? The answer is no, Mitt Romney suggested during a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on Sunday, in part because people can already get care through emergency rooms:

Using the example set by the life of slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, President Obama this morning told delegates to the United Nations that the diplomat's killers will not determine the world's future. Instead, Obama said, it will be people such as Stevens who build "bridges across oceans and cultures" and set the world's agenda.

We updated as the president spoke. Scroll down to read through the highlights.

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