FROM Neil Swidley
Mitt Romney and Religion in America's Public Life Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy became America's first Catholic president after a speech in which he said no Catholic prelate would tell him what to do in the White House. In Texas today, less than 100 miles from where Kennedy made his address, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he does not define his presidential candidacy by his Mormon religion. He promised that if he's elected "no authorities of [his] church… will ever exert influence on presidential decisions." With a Constitutional ban on religious tests for public office, is it political bigotry to question any candidate's faith, or does Mormonism raise specific questions some voters have the right to ask? Did Romney tell them what they wanted to know?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new 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. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.