FROM Andrew E. Smith
After Iowa: the GOP Survival Test in New Hampshire Donald Trump took a major hit in Iowa, where he wasn't "the winner" as he predicted. He needs a comeback, and insults are flying. Ted Cruz scored an upset but, in New England, he's on shakier ground, while Marco Rubio is trying to make third place look like a victory. Bush, Christie and Kasich aren't giving up, but a poor showing on Tuesday could put any one of their campaigns on life support. New Hampshire will play a major role in shaping what could be a long nomination contest to come.
US Senate Elections that Could Make a Difference Republicans and Democrats are calling each other "brain dead," "un-American," "tools of special interests" and "enemies of the Middle Class," par for the course during midterm elections. But this year the stakes are nothing less than control of the Senate during President Obama's final two years. Kentucky, New Hampshire and Louisiana — states that don't always matter -- could help determine the course and content of presidential campaigns in 2016. The ultimate consequences couldn't be higher, for issues including Obamacare, the minimum wage — and your tax bill. We get a preview.
Romney Makes It Official, but Will Palin Steal the Spotlight? At the Bittersweet Farm in Strathum, New Hampshire today, Mitt Romney made official what everyone's known for years: he's running for the Republican nomination for President. His ultimate target, of course, is the incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama . We hear what he said and why he said it in New Hampshire, with Sarah Palin just down the road, and look at the rest of a sprawling Republican presidential field.
Can the Republicans Find a Road to the White House? Mitt Romney 's second campaign for President is old news, so today's "official" announcement at Bittersweet Farm in Strathum, New Hampshire was supposed to show the media it's time to get serious. But Sarah Palin gets massive news coverage just by riding a Harley or eating pizza with Donald Trump on a trip she insists is not really political. In Iowa, Tim Pawlenty does it the old fashioned way — meeting with small groups of voters — while candidates who aren't even running get the attention. Can Romney maintain his Republican front-runner status? Can the GOP agree on a message against incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama ?
Massachusetts Senate Race: Healthcare and More in the Balance Stumping for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts yesterday, President Obama referred to modern reality in the US Senate, where passing legislation requires not just a majority of 51 votes but a super-majority of 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
Massachusetts Senate Race: Healthcare and More in the Balance In the bluest state in the nation, Republicans are all fired up and ready to go, and the Democrats could lose the US Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy. Yesterday, President Obama made a last-ditch effort to get Massachusetts voters to replace Kennedy with a Democrat . Will the "liberal lion" be replaced by a conservative who wants to kill Kennedy's dream of healthcare reform and scuttle President Obama's legislative agenda? We get the latest on tomorrow's special election and look at the Senate rule that makes it important nationwide. Is the filibuster a reasonable way to protect the minority or does it make a mockery of majority rule?
The GOP Primary Race On the Republican side of the Presidential campaign , there is no clear front-runner. Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Mike Huckabee , Fred Thompson and John McCain all have a chance to win at least one of the three key contests in Iowa , New Hampshire or South Carolina . Will the new National Intelligence Estimate make a difference?
Front-Loading the Primaries To give the western states a louder voice, the Democrats will hold nominating caucuses in Nevada in January, before the New Hampshire primary. Meantime, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants next year's primary on February 5, to give California a voice in selecting presidential nominees. Increased political clout may motivate Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature to go along. Elected officials may hope that voters asked to change the primary date, will also respond favorably to extending term limits of Senators and Assembly members. There's also the argument that an early California primary means discussion of California issues. (An extended version of this discussion was originally broadcast earlier today on To the Point .)
Will Voters Be Singing Christmas Carols in New Hampshire? Next year's presidential primary process may be over exactly one year from today as big states and little states compete to become more important. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, echoing the familiar complaint that California has become a sort of ATM for candidates looking for big money, has encouraged the Democrats who control the State Legislature to move next year's primary up to February 5. Other big states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey are threatening to do the same thing. Moves by Nevada and Iowa may push New Hampshire up to December of this year, with 11 months still to go before the general election. What would that mean for discussion of issues or the chances of dark horse candidates who don't have massive war chests? Would they still have to shake hands with voters, or would it all be about TV?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.