Politics

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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.

It's taken as a given that American voters in 2012 aren't as concerned about foreign policy as they are the domestic economy.

It's also accepted as true that on matters of foreign policy, President Obama has an advantage over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lacks significant firsthand foreign policy experience.

But Romney has made it a point lately to show that he's not ceding foreign policy and national security to Obama.

It's not so much what Mitt Romney said about whether the government should guarantee people health care in his interview on CBS's 60 Minutes Sunday that has health care policy types buzzing. It's how that compares to what he has said before.

To back up a bit, Scott Pelley asked the former Massachusetts governor if he thinks "the government has a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don't have it today?"

Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls "prosperity pacts" that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop "the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights."

Romney was addressing the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a forum that will host President Obama later today.

If he's elected in November, Romney said (per his prepared remarks):

Is it possible to tell whether you are a liberal or a conservative by the jokes you think are funny?

Maybe so. "Like smell or taste, humor is a sense and different people are going to think different things are funny," says Alison Dagnes, author of the just-published book A Conservative Walks Into a Bar: The Politics of Political Humor. "When you throw politics into the mix, our opinions and our biases will affect the way the jokes land."

SALEM, Ore. – This November, voters in Oregon and Washington will decide whether to legalize marijuana. The Washington effort is backed by some deep-pocketed national donors. But Oregon's campaign is struggling to raise even a bare minimum of cash.

Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow adults to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores. Oregon's Measure 80 would do that too, and would allow people to grow their own pot. The Washington backers have rung up more than $3 million in donations, allowing them to hit the TV airwaves.

Methodology: Counting Hispanic Surnames

Sep 24, 2012

So you may be wondering how we reached the conclusion that just 2 percent of the elected officials in the Northwest are Hispanic. Here's how we did it.

First, we collected the names of every elected state official ... every county commissioner, city councilor, mayor and school board member. We added in members of Congress for good measure. We came up with 8, 244 names.

Latinos barely represented on NW elected bodies

Sep 24, 2012

WOODBURN, Ore. - Across the Northwest, Latinos make up nearly 12 percent of the population. Yet our research estimates only two percent of the region’s elected officials are Hispanic. It’s a disparity that voters like Jose Ramirez want to change.

“If someone can vote and doesn’t, well, that doesn’t do any good," he says. "You’re allowing others to vote in your place, to make different laws than you might like.”

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