Is Barack Obama a tax-and-spend liberal Democrat or is he not liberal enough? Is Republican John McCain a real conservative -- a "maverick" -- or something else? After decades of political polarization, both candidates claim they want to be agents of change. Do the familiar labels still matter at all? Also, rising flood waters continue to wreak havoc in Iowa, and California is scheduled to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses next week. County clerks are bracing for a tidal wave from all over the country.
FROM THIS EPISODE
As the presidential campaign begins in earnest, both candidates are trying to define themselves and each other. But the distinctions are blurred. "Blue Dog" Congressional Democrats say Barack Obama's too liberal, while labor leaders worry that he's not liberal enough. John McCain is supposed to be a "maverick" Republican, but he's sounding more like President Bush. Is he or is he not a real conservative? Why are some Republicans calling themselves "Obamacons?" Will those labels still matter this coming November?
Ben Evans, Reporter, Associated Press
Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers of America
David Hill, Republican pollster
Bruce Bartlett, Fiscal Times (@BruceBartlett)
David Corn, Mother Jones magazine (@DavidCornDC)
Rising waters in the Des Moines River are threatening Iowa's state capital with mandatory evacuations. Voluntary evacuations already had been called for. The Cedar and Iowa Rivers are among those still rising. Thirty-five highways are already closed in the state's worst flooding ever. In Cedar Rapids, 135 patients on wheelchairs and stretchers have been evacuated from the Mercy Medical Center. Steve Buttry, editor of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, has an update.
Steve Buttry, Editor, The Gazette
As soon as the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last month, wedding planners, bakers and hotels began booking more business. On Monday, clerks in 58 counties will start issuing licenses, and the state is looking at a rush of applicants from all over the US. Though opponents are asking the courts to stop the process, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome promises to start holding ceremonies right away. Brad Sears is Executive Director of UCLA's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law.
Brad Sears, Executive Director, UCLA's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Policy