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FROM THIS EPISODE

With billions of dollars flowing more freely than ever before into the nation's political process, has the US reached the point where money is all that matters when it comes to elections? The balance of power between big money, much of it anonymous, and the average voter is stretched more tightly than ever before thanks to recent court rulings that have chipped away at campaign finance reform and transparency. Want to know who's paying how much to which candidate? You may never find out. Also, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wraps up her world tour in Israel, and a grass-roots effort aimed at getting average people from the left and the right talking about politics, instead of arguing about it. Sara Terry guest hosts.

Banner image: Screen grab from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign site

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Sonya Geis
Anna Scott

Reporter's Notebook Bringing It to the Table 6 MIN, 51 SEC

It all began with a conversation over dinner. Julie Winokur's teenage son told her she was the most intolerant person he knew, a shocker for a writer and documentary film producer. But Winokur decided her son was right, that she wasn't listening to people who didn't agree with her politically. A lot of planning and one successful Kickstarter campaign later, she's launched Bring it to the Table, which aims to engage Americans in civil discourse about politics in public settings across the country.

Guests:
Julie Winokur, Talking Eyes Media (@Talking_Eyes)

Making News Hillary Clinton Wraps Up World Tour in Israel 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is wrapping up a two-week trip through Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her last stop was today in Jerusalem, where she met with top Israeli officials to talk about ways that Israel and the US can work together to resolve regional issues, including Iran's efforts to build a nuclear program. Josh Rogin reports for Foreign Policy magazine, where he writes The Cable blog.

Guests:
Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast (@joshrogin)

Main Topic Big Money and Secret Money in the 2012 Campaign 36 MIN, 12 SEC

It's a game-changing year in the election business. This is the first presidential campaign season operating under new rules about donations, which allow unlimited funds to flow in from corporations, unions and individuals. It's being called "dark" money, because much of it remains anonymous. Throw in all the costs related to this year's elections, both presidential and congressional, and some observers are putting the price tag at between six and twelve billion dollars. Whatever happened to campaign finance reform?

Guests:
Ken Vogel, Politico.com (@kenvogel)
Bob Biersack, Center for Responsive Politics (@OpenSecretsDC)
David Keating, Club for Growth (@campaignfreedom)
Elizabeth Wilner, Kantar Media (@CMAGAdFacts)

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