FROM Michael Scherer
Round One for the Democrats For months, reports about the Democrats' chances of retaining the White House have centered on Hillary Clinton's personal emails while she was Secretary of State. During the party's first debate last night, Bernie Sanders had a surprise for political commentators, the audience at a Las Vegas casino — and Hillary Clinton. The Vermont Senator said he was sick of hearing about Clinton's emails, so the candidates found other points of difference. But the biggest contrast was between their polite, sometimes pointed, discussion of issues and the relentless political combat displayed recently by Republicans. Nobody had expected that kind of conflict, but last night's event drew a massive audience — giving three also-rans the chance to make themselves known. We look at some of the moments that are setting the stage for the party primaries and the general election beyond.
Will a "Tech Surge" Save Obamacare? President Obama conceded today that HealthCare.gov , the Obamacare website, is not working the way it’s supposed to. He promised the “best and the brightest” tech gurus will fix it and insisted that applicants who do get through are thrilled with the product. Republicans want some accountability. Can the President reassure enough people soon enough to avoid a disaster? In the Rose Garden with a group of apparently satisfied Obamacare customers, the President said the Affordable Health Act is working just fine—but he conceded major problems with the website, HealthCare.gov . The President did not hold anyone accountable for the problems, but he promised they’re going to be fixed.
Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced today for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents. After 3 years of legal wrangling and a a court martial that lasted for months: it’s 35 years in prison. Michael Scherer is the Washington Bureau Chief for Time.
The Last Debate: Foreign Policy, with Just Two Weeks Remaining In last night's final debate , it wasn't the challenger who went on the offensive as much as the incumbent. President Obama called Mitt Romney "wrong and reckless," and tried to associate him with policies of the past. Romney said US influence is "receding" around the world, but blamed the economy. On foreign affairs, he was all about peace, in both style and content, but he did not offer policies much different from those of Obama. Was he intimidated, inexperienced or reassuring voters he would not be a warmonger? Was Obama aggressive out of desperation? Did the world learn much last night about how the US might deal with crucial issues over the next four years?
The Democrats Get Down to Business Mitt Romney has taken heat for not being specific about proposals for turning the country around. Now it's the President's turn. Barack Obama has not laid out a specific second-term agenda, and Democrats have fumbled the ball when Paul Ryan asks, “Are you better off than four years ago?" With so many people still hurting, it's hard to run on the record. What can the President do to bring disappointed voters back into the fold? On Day One in Charlotte , we hear from reporters, Democrats and conservative columnist David Brooks of the New York Times. We also look at the Democrats' focus on the Latino vote, including tonight's Keynote Address and efforts at mobilization. (We also heard KCRW's Saul Gonzalez speaking with Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.) To the Point is broadcasting live from the Democratic convention all week. You can find all our coverage at KCRW.org/election2012 . DNC image: Chris Keane/Reuters
After Iowa: What's Next for the GOP Race? The Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear winner, and it’s on to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida before the end of this month. Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of 1st-place Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul was not far behind. But nobody got more than 25% of the vote. A dismal finish drove Michelle Bachman out of the race—but Rick Perry may still be a contender. Newt Gingrich says he’s not ready to quit.
Iowa’s Over. Let the Campaign Begin… The Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear winner, and it’s on to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida before the end of this month. Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of 1st-place Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul was not far behind. But nobody got more than 25% of the vote. A dismal finish drove Michelle Bachman out of the race—but Rick Perry may still be a contender. Newt Gingrich says he’s not ready to quit.
President Obama and the American Jobs Act President Obama challenged Congress last night to shut down the "political circus" in Washington and work together--before next year's election. He said everything in his American Jobs Act had been approved in the past by both Democrats and Republicans. He told them to pass it no less than 15 times. He asked Americans to demand action and today — as promised --he took his $447-billion program out on the road. The first stop is Richmond, Virginia,in the district of the Republican minority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor. Is it "bold" enough for Democrats to rally behind it? Is there any chance for support from the GOP? Will voters decide that the "circus" is still going on?
Republican Candidates: the Ins, Outs and In-betweens The Iowa Straw Poll drew a tiny minority of that state's voters to a Republican fundraiser on Saturday, but the results were disproportionate to the turnout. Tim Pawlenty has withdrawn; Michele Bachmann looks serious and Ron Paul is still a factor. Rick Perry , who wasn't there for the straw poll, announced his candidacy Saturday in South Carolina, then paid a visit to Iowa.
Republican Candidates: the Ins, the Outs and the In-betweens The Iowa Straw Poll drew a tiny minority of that state's voters to a Republican fundraiser on Saturday, but the results were disproportionate to the turnout. Texas Governor Rick Perry , who wasn't there for the straw poll is in; Tim Pawlenty is out. Is Michele Bachmann leaving enough room for Sarah Palin ? Is Mitt Romney still the front-runner? What about Ron Paul ? Meanwhile, President Obama begins a town-hall tour of swing states. We hear how his possible opposition is shaping up.
New Leadership, but the Same Strategy in Afghanistan In the Rose Garden today, President Obama said General Stanley McChrystal was a good soldier who was always courteous to his commander in chief. But, McChrystal's command in Afghanistan could not survive that interview with Rolling Stone magazine…
General McChrystal Is Relieved of Command General McChrystal is out as commander in Afghanistan , replaced by General David Petraeus, one of America's best-known military leaders. By trashing the President , McChrystal and his team spotlighted ongoing dispute over the War in Afghanistan. In the White House, in Congress and on the battlefield, one side supports a troop surge followed by economic development and government reform. Can Petraeus implement the President's strategy? What about those, including Vice President Biden, who warn against bogging down in an unwinnable war?
Senate Democrats and Obama Do Q&A For more than an hour today, live on cable TV, President Obama took tough questions from Democratic Senators with electoral problems at home. Asked about the deficit, Obama responded to Indiana's Evan Bayh that we enjoyed our last balanced budget "under a Democratic president who made some hard decisions." He blamed the deficit on two wars, tax cuts and a prescription drug program that were not paid for by the Bush Administration. Michael Scherer is White House correspondent for Time magazine.
Big Numbers and the White House Budget Introducing his $3.8 trillion budget today, President Obama first said he inherited a massive deficit run up by the Bush Administration. Then he laid out what he called a plan that's "more efficient and more effective.” While welcoming new ideas from either party, he rejected outright "the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off.” Michael Scherer is White House correspondent for Time magazine.
In Shocker, Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Committee today awarded the 2009 prize for Peace to US President Barack Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." After only nine months on the job, the President said he was "surprised and humbled," and acknowledged the honor as "an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations." Accepting the prize as "a call to action," Obama spoke of the many "transformative figures who have been honored by this prize, men and women who have inspired [him] and inspired the entire world by their courageous pursuit of peace." We get reaction from Washington and around the world.
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?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.