In the Michigan Republican primary Tuesday, Mitt Romney had a near-death experience, but he squeaked out a narrow victory over Rick Santorum. That, says veteran Republican strategist Ed Rogers, has calmed some of the anxiety in Republican circles about Romney's strength as a general election candidate.
"Mitt Romney did what he needed to do to give more certainty and more clarity to the race. He dodged a bullet; it was an ugly win," Rogers says. "It's not over. Santorum is still very competitive."
Los Angeles is easing its stance on truancy. For the past decade, a tough city ordinance slapped huge fines on students for even one instance of skipping school or being late, but the Los Angeles City Council is changing that law to focus on helping students get to class because it turns out those harsh fines were backfiring.
Two years ago, Nabil Romero, a young Angeleno with a thin black mustache, was running late to his first period at a public high school on LA's Westside.
Some 75,000 babies are born every day in India. The total population is 1.2 billion and climbing. That's a lot of people to keep track of, and the Indian government has struggled to keep up.
Many Indians, especially the poor, don't have any ID, which makes it increasingly difficult for them to be full participants in a society that is rapidly modernizing. But a new project aims to fix that.
At the Fort Polk military base in the pine forests of central Louisiana, the Army has created a miniature version of Afghanistan — with mock villages and American soldiers working alongside Afghan role-players.
This is the training ground for a new American approach in Afghanistan as the U.S. begins to look ahead to the goal of bringing home the U.S. forces by the end of 2014. The idea is that Afghan forces have to be good enough to defend their country against the Taliban, and to make that happen, the U.S. Army is creating small U.S. training teams at Fort Polk.
A next-day analysis of the Republican presidential primaries in Michigan and Arizona won by Mitt Romney underscores one of his weaknesses with his party's base, especially with the ascent of his now-chief rival Rick Santorum: He fares more poorly with born-again and evangelical voters than with nonevangelicals.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a reporter Wednesday that he opposes a measure being considered by the Senate that would allow employers to decline to provide contraception coverage to women.
"I'm not for the bill," Romney said during an interview with Ohio News Network reporter Jim Heath. "But, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I'm not going there."
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 6:01 pm
As an editor who helps put Morning Edition on the air, I work overnight. There is something called sleep hygiene that some of us who work while you sleep have studied closely. Sleep hygiene is a set of practices that aim to help you sleep better — like not reading in bed, not watching TV there or playing Angry Birds or reading the news.
Despite some green shoots in the economy, the housing sector remains weak. With 11 million Americans still underwater on their mortgages, some housing experts believe it's time for more dramatic solutions.
The idea of reducing the principal on the loans of underwater homeowners used to be a fringe concept, embraced by a few outliers. Today, many policymakers believe principal reduction is necessary to keep some troubled homeowners afloat.
But so far, the nation's biggest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, haven't embraced the idea.
There's been lots of talk on the Web and the news channels today about The Washington Post's front page account of what happened when Barbara Johnson went to Communion on Saturday during the funeral mass for her mother in Gaithersburg, Md.
The priest, Rev. Marcel Guarnizo said he would not give her the sacrament because she is a sinner.
When GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum was growing up, he says, John F. Kennedy was a hero in his Catholic home.
In a speech last year, he said he had always heard glowing reports of Kennedy's speech about religion to Protestant ministers in 1960.
"And then very late in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech and I almost threw up," Santorum told a group of college students last year. "You should read the speech. In my opinion, it was the beginning of the secular movement of politicians to separate their faith from the public square."
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 7:02 pm
On its opening weekend, the Navy SEAL's movie Act of Valor grossed over $20 million at the box office. The military movie is believed to be the first to feature active duty military personnel as actors in the film.
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 5:36 pm
Scary labels the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would require on cigarette packages later this year were nixed today.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington ruled the requirement that cigarette makers put the labels — some quite gruesome and all quite large — on their products would "violate the First Amendment by unconstitutionally compelling speech."
North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and missile tests, and the U.S. says it will provide food aid. The agreement should set the stage for a new round of nuclear disarmament talks. But analysts caution this is a small first step.
U.S. State Department officials returned from three days of talks in Beijing with a deal meant to improve the atmosphere for a resumption of so-called six-party nuclear disarmament talks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined the deal in Congress on Wednesday.
Mitt Romney's decisive victory in Arizona on Tuesday won him every one of that state's 29 delegates in what was a winner-take-all election. But it was quite a different story in Michigan.
Even though Rick Santorum finished 3 percentage points behind Romney, Santorum ended up with the same amount of delegates: 15. That's because Michigan awards most of its delegates according to congressional districts.
Every one of the 10 states voting next week on Super Tuesday will also award delegates on a proportional basis.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Deadly tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight and this morning, killing at least eight people. The storm system hammered parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, where it still poses a threat.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, hardest hit is the small city of Harrisburg in southern Illinois.
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 5:59 pm
(Updated at 5:57 pm ET)
A day after Senate Democrats' chances of keeping control of the chamber seemed to improve with the news that Maine Republican Olympia Snowe was retiring from a seat Democrats seem likely to gain, they got apparently more good news — Bob Kerrey finally decided to run for the soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat from Nebraska.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. With the Michigan and Arizona primaries in his rearview mirror, Mitt Romney sped off to Ohio today. That's one of the 10 states that will vote next week on Super Tuesday. In a few minutes, we'll measure the broader picture of the GOP nominating contest with some members of the Republican establishment. First, NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea caught up with last night's winner in Toledo.
In defiance of Congress, the Obama administration has issued new rules on how it will comply with a defense law mandating that many al-Qaida suspects be sent into military custody: It will issue waivers in many cases. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the trouble with waivers and the need for flexibility in dealing with suspects.
Robert Siegel talks to three former GOP party chairmen and governors about the results of Tuesday's primaries in Michigan and Arizona. Haley Barbour of Mississippi says the campaign should now focus on social issues. Marc Racicot of Montana agrees, but says attention must be paid to those who care about such issues, and Jim Gilmore of Virginia says he feels a connection must be made between the GOP and blue collar voters.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the economy is improving on Wednesday, but he isn't convinced the recovery is self-sustaining. He reaffirmed the Fed's position that the economy will likely need super-low interest rates well into 2014.
Federal health officials have added new safety alerts to statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration cited rare side effects, including memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain. Robert Siegel talks to Rob Stein about the news.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
At the White House tonight, President Obama hosts a thank you dinner for a few dozen Iraq War veterans. They represent more than 1 million uniformed men and women who served during the nine-year conflict. The dinner is meant to be a show of gratitude.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports that some who served are also looking for more practical assistance as they cope with the war's lingering effects.
Singer Davy Jones, of The Monkees, died Wednesday at the age of 66. A spokesman for the singer said he died of a heart attack. NPR's John Donvan remembers the pop star who sang lead in hits like "Daydream Believer."
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 4:18 pm
Mitt Romney's campaign isn't about to stop citing Rick Santorum's robocalls to Michigan Democrats, as the former Massachusetts governor continues to try to stoke a backlash against his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination.