Income Inequality and Politics in an Election Year
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Income Inequality and Politics in an Election Year

From Pope Francis to President Obama to Republicans including Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, it's time to focus on income inequality. Can Democrats and Republicans even agree on extending benefits to the long-term unemployed? What about increasing the minimum wage? Also, West Virginia lifts its tap water ban. On today's Talking Point, did New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie use federal relief money for Hurricane Sandy to advance his own political interests?

Banner image: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Patty Murray (WA) and Charles Schumer (NY) call on Senate GOP to extend unemployment benefit for 1.3 million Americans, January 9, 2014. Photo: Senate Democrats

Making News

West Virginia Lifts Tap Water Ban ()

In the aftermath of a chemical spill, some 300,000 West Virginians were told not to drink tap water, take showers or even wash their clothes. That was five days ago. Today, the ban was partially lifted. Ashton Marra is covering the story for West Virginia Public Radio.

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Main Topic

Poverty and Politics in an Election Year ()

Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, President Obama says "the defining challenge of our generation” is income inequality. Both parties claim they want action, but even extending benefits to the 1.3 million long-term unemployed may be more than the Senate and Congress can manage. If there's no action on Capitol Hill, that number will rise by 72,000 people a week. Last week, six Republican Senators agreed to allow a bill to come to the floor. Now they're outraged at Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. Have Democrats mismanaged an issue that could help them in November's elections? Will Republicans take the blame anyway? We hear the latest about voter sentiment and a clash of opinions on other proposals, including a raise in the minimum wage.

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Today's Talking Point

Governor Christie's Sandy Ads under Investigation ()

Last week, it was all about gridlock on the George Washington Bridge. Today, the New Jersey Governor faces a federal investigation into possible misuse of government relief funds. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation of the New Jersey shore, Chris Christie aired a series of TV ads called, "Stronger than the Storm." Last August, Bob Jordan of the Asbury Park Press reported that the campaign was paid for with federal relief money. Today, it's been revealed that the Obama Administration is conducting an investigation. We get an update from Jordan and from Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post.

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