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Even many Republicans concede that the GOP has given up on the cities, concentrating instead on the fast-growing suburbs. But will turning away from the urban centers mean political costs in the future? What could the party learn from its few big-city mayors? Also, tensions build after Turkey grounds a Russian airliner, and the decline and fall of Lance Armstrong.

Banner image of downtown Chicago by Gravitywave/flickr

Making News Tensions Build after Turkey Grounds a Russian Airliner 7 MIN, 27 SEC

The prospect of regional conflict in the Middle East has been raised again by Turkey's interception of a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to Damascus, and Russia today demanded an explanation.  Liz Sly of the Washington Post is reporting the story from Beirut, Lebanon.

Liz Sly, Washington Post (@lizsly)

Main Topic Why Don't the National Candidates Campaign in the Cities? 30 MIN, 54 SEC

Tonight's vice presidential debate will dramatize a political pattern that doesn't get much attention: the parties have not contested the cities for years. Paul Ryan epitomizes the ideal of “small-town conservatism,” while Joe Biden comes from hard-scrabble, blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania. Has the national GOP given up on the cities?  Is there good reason, since the suburbs are where populations are growing? What about those few big-city Republican Mayors?  Does their success indicate that their party is missing what could be a decisive contingent of voters?

Are you watching tonight's debate? Join To the Point's live chat on our election page. Read along as TtP and special guests Rachel Hastings, W. Kamau Bell, Ted Johnson, Joshua Trevino and others weigh in with their opinions Follow along at KCRW.com/election/2012. Have something to add? Tweet your own thoughts with the #KCRW hashtag.

Kevin Baker, New York Observer
Joshua Trevino, Texas Public Policy Foundation (@jstrevino)
Arnold Steinberg, Republican political strategist
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post (@thefix)

Reporter's Notebook Could Armstrong Doping Scandal Force Cycling to Clean Up? 12 MIN, 26 SEC

After years of rumors, reports and denials, the United States Anti-Doping Agency has released a 200-page report and thousands of pages of evidence against Lance Armstrong, who survived cancer to win the Tour de France more than anyone else in history. It paints an ugly picture of cheating, lying, bullying and conspiring with teammates and coaches to cover-up years of using dangerous drugs to become an international phenomenon. Armstrong retired last year and, in August, said he would not contest doping charges by the USADA. His agent said he had no comment to yesterday's announcement. 

Juliet Macur, New York Times (@JulietMacur)
Brendan Gallagher, Daily Telegraph (@gallagherbren)

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