The Democrats are gathering in Denver, getting ready to nominate the first African American candidate for President. But history aside, the Dems have their work cut out for them; the polls are showing a close race. Guest host Judy Muller discusses the challenges facing the Obama campaign as it looks for a boost from the Vice Presidential pick and a convention that could prove to be unconventional. Also, Russia begins withdrawing from Georgia, leaving "peace-keepers" behind, and at the Olympics, Jamaicans are tearing up the track as new questions arise over the age of Chinese gymnasts.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Military convoys are rolling out of Georgia today. The pull-back comes two weeks after thousands of troops roared into the former Soviet Republic, deeply straining relations between Russia and the West. Western leaders are adamant that Moscow remove its troops, even as the Russian parliament prepares to debate whether to recognize the independence of the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Meantime, Russians "peacekeepers" are establishing a long-term presence in those areas. Tony Halpin, Moscow Bureau Chief for the Times of London, is in the Georgian city of Gori.
Tony Halpin, Moscow Bureau Chief, Times of London
Next week's Democratic convention is going to be an historic event as the party nominates the first African American presidential candidate in US history. In a major departure from tradition, Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech before a crowd of 75 thousand at the football stadium in Denver and a worldwide audience of millions. This will happen 45 years to the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech" in Washington. But the polls are showing a close race between McCain and Obama and the campaigns seem mired in mud, with candidates trading accusations about who is more "elitist." What can we expect from the convention? Will the vice-presidential choice boost Obama's chances? Will Hillary's supporters get on board? Can those polls really be trusted?
Karen Tumulty, Washington Post (@ktumulty)
Robert Dallek, Presidential historian
Nate Silver, New York Times
Adrian Wooldridge, The Economist (@adwooldridge)
Terence Samuel, Deputy Editor, TheRoot.com
Millions of people have been hooked on the Beijing Olympics. Every day brings new drama, some tinged with controversy. Today the International Olympic Committee asked the world governing body for gymnastics to investigate whether members of the Chinese women's team were too young to compete. A spokeswoman for the IOC says more information has been brought to light. This new information comes several days after the competition ended. Alan Abrahamson is chief columnist for the NBCOlympics.com.
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Touching down in fly-over country Dodge City, Kansas and Erie, Pennsylvania may have something in common. That’s just one surprise in “Our Towns,” a new book by James and Deborah Fallows. The veteran Atlantic magazine correspondent and his scholarly wife spent two weeks in each of 25 different cities. Their search for America’s character provides anecdotes, comparisons and distinctions after a journey of 100,000 miles.
Teachers are battling back Teachers are mad as hell in several red states. They’re walking out over cuts in pay and reductions in classroom support. It’s a grass-roots rebellion from West Virginia to Kentucky and Arizona. Will it renew support for the value of public education in a changing economy?
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