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FROM THIS EPISODE

Southern evangelical Christians will have a big voice in the early Republican primaries. Will Mitt Romney's Mormon religion be an issue?  Why has Herman Cain outstripped Rick Perry in public opinion polls? We look at Republican prospects. Also, economists breathe a sigh of relief over jobs numbers. On Reporter's Notebook, is Afghanistan better off than it was 10 years ago? We hear what Afghan-Americans who went home to help out are saying now.

Banner image: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Herman Cain, Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney at the end of the presidential debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express on September 12, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Sonya Geis
Caitlin Shamberg

Making News Economists Breathe a Sigh of Relief over Jobs Numbers 7 MIN, 18 SEC

In what passes for good news in these economic times, the nation's labor market showed some signs of improvement last month. Employment grew by 103,000 workers: not great, according to one economist, but "less bad than expected." Greg Robb is senior Washington correspondent for MarketWatch.com.

Guests:
Greg Robb, MarketWatch.com

Main Topic Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Religion in Politics 36 MIN, 26 SEC

At the Citadel military college in South Carolina, Mitt Romney made a neo-conservative foreign policy speech today. He called for reversing cuts in the Pentagon and increasing military spending, and suggested that President Obama had surrendered America's role as being the strongest nation on earth. Romney is still regarded as the Republican front-runner, but polls show he lacks enough conservative backing to make him the sure nominee. Last July, Herman Cain said that Romney's Mormon religion was no problem for him, but that it would be for southern evangelical Christians. Even though Cain apologized, did he have a point?  And if Romney got the GOP nomination, would his religion turn off secular Democrats and Independents? We hear different opinions on Romney's prospects and ask why Cain has suddenly shot up in public opinion polls.  What about Rick Perry?

Guests:
Warren Cole Smith, World magazine
Nancy French, Evangelicals for Mitt
Merle Black, Emory University
Janet Wylie, Florida businesswoman and Republican delegate

Reporter's Notebook Afghan Expatriates Take Stock after Ten Years of War 6 MIN, 39 SEC

Ten years ago today, just a month after September 11, US military planes began bombing Taliban training camps in Afghanistan. Now, after $338 billion has been spent and 1780 American lives have been lost, one former US commander says the US and its NATO allies are "a little better than halfway" to achieving their goals. When Afghanistan's Taliban government fell to America's military power, many expatriates here in America flooded home, for various different reasons. For the Washington Post, Ernest Londoño has been reporting on how they feel now.

Guests:
Ernesto Londono, Washington Post (@londonoe)

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