Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 3:33 pm
A very good general election for Democrats got even better on Wednesday when they retained U.S. Senate seats in Montana and North Dakota, both of which had looked ripe for Republicans throughout much of the campaign.
Victories by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, in contests so close that concessions from the losing Republican candidates didn't occur until Wednesday, helped Senate Democrats reach 54 seats in the next Congress. That was a net increase of one seat from their current majority.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:43 am
Poor Chris Stewart. The former Air Force pilot had just won a landslide victory in his first bid for Congress in Utah, but the crowd of Republicans listening to his acceptance speech at a Salt Lake City hotel kept pointing to the massive television screen behind him.
"Do you want me to stop?" Stewart asked. "You would rather listen to Gov. Romney than to me, wouldn't you?"
Some in the crowd shouted "Yes!" and the sound of Romney's concession speech filled the room.
<strong>OUT:</strong> California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark arrives at an Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club endorsement meeting in Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 7. He lost his race Tuesday to a fellow Democrat.
Credit Jeff Chiu / AP
<strong>OUT:</strong> Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (foreground), with Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, speaks during a May news conference on Capitol Hill. Walsh, a Tea Party freshman, lost to Democrat Tammy Duckworth.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
<strong>OUT:</strong> Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, another Tea Party freshman, waves before a campaign rally for Mitt Romney last month in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Credit Lynne Sladky / AP
<strong>OUT:</strong> Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin and his wife, Lulli, acknowledge supporters before Akin makes his concession speech to incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday in Chesterfield, Mo.
Credit Charlie Riedel / AP
<strong>IN:</strong> Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann watches election results at a hotel in Bloomington, Minn., on Tuesday.
Credit Glen Stubbe / MCT/Landov
<strong>IN:</strong> New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel speaks during a news conference in Washington in June.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
<strong>IN:</strong> Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson pumps up the crowd at a state Democratic Party rally in Orlando in 2010.
Credit Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP
<strong>IN:</strong> California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters smiles at her husband, Sidney Williams, during a House Ethics Committee hearing in September. Waters was cleared of charges that she steered a $12 million federal bailout to a bank where her husband owns stock.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin and his wife, Lulli, acknowledge supporters before Akin makes his concession speech to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday in Chesterfield, Mo.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 3:02 pm
Is civility about to stage a comeback in Washington? Some of the most controversial members of Congress have lost their seats.
Still, there appears to be little danger that vitriol is about to go out of style. A number of outspoken members are coming back, including at least one who had previously lost his seat.
Also, while there may be a net loss in the number of members who have attracted a great deal of media attention by making testy statements or ending up in ethics investigations, some who have been more moderate in temperament won't be coming back, either.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:16 pm
The much-hyped battle for the battleground states turned into more of a rout on Election Day, as President Obama swept through eight key states and looked on course to capture Florida.
Swing states — Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire — viewed as tossups a day before the voting fell without much fight into the blue column. Only North Carolina went for Romney.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:44 pm
Shall we dance?
That's the key question for Congress now that another budget crisis is near. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, today said he's ready to do a little two-stepping with Republicans to twirl away from the edge of the so-called fiscal cliff.
"It's better to dance than to fight," the former amateur boxer told reporters at a press conference. "Everything doesn't have to be a fight."
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:16 pm
The balloons have fallen, the bunting's down, and President Obama has been re-elected.
That means Mitt Romney has been defeated — and with him, many election aspects that we presumed to be true. (You know what they say about presume — it makes a pres out of u and me.)
Maybe it's because we're sailing into a new and uncharted century. Maybe it's because of climate change or polar shift or Mayan calendrical mayhem. But the presidential election of 2012 provided a highly unusual, if not unique, set of circumstances.
President Obama was the headliner Tuesday night, but most members of Congress also faced elections. Democrats retained control of the Senate while Republicans held on to control of the House. Now both sides of the divided Congress face significant challenges addressing the nation's fiscal problems.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The president scores four more years; a divided Congress remains, well, divided; and guess what? Florida is still counting. It's Wednesday and time for a post-election edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Darrell Royal, who coached the University of Texas Longhorns to three national titles "and became the biggest college football icon in a state that worships the sport, has died at age 88," Austin's American-Statesman reports.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:49 am
"You're driving up from redwood country, in the most beautiful park in America ... and when it's not on your radar, you have no idea it exists," says photographer H. Lee — referring to the marijuana industry that has proliferated, though unofficially, in that region of Northern California.
After a shaky few years, President Obama's health care legacy looks secure.
His health overhaul law barely made it through Congress and to his desk. Then there were the legal challenges, launched when the ink of his signature was barely dry, that were resolved by a surprising Supreme Court ruling in June.
Now, we want to turn to the international arena. The race for the White House last night had people around the world glued to their TVs and radios and reaction is pouring in from political figures around the globe.
Here is a small sample of what we've been hearing, starting with a spokesperson for the Afghan Foreign Ministry.
JENAN MOUSSA: We look forward to advancing our existing strong, broad, multifaceted partnership with the United States.
CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (Foreign language spoken)
Host Michel Martin has been checking in with two former speechwriters throughout the election season to sort through the rhetoric, and find out what messages struck a chord with voters. She reviews campaign messaging, and Tuesday night's victory and concession speeches with former presidential speechwriters Mary Kate Cary and Paul Orzulak.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're sure you know this by now, but just in case, President Obama won reelection and will serve a second term in office.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 11:14 am
What a difference $46 million in TV ad spending can make.
At least that was the consensus in the wee hours of the morning at the Yes on Proposition 37 party, held at a performance art space in San Francisco's Mission District, even before the final votes were tallied.
Outspent many times over, "we couldn't get up on the air," organizer Stacy Malkan told The Salt when it appeared the measure was going down. "You need a certain saturation to have an impact."
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:57 pm
New York and New Jersey, already battered by Superstorm Sandy, are bracing for winds of up to 60 mph, snow and rain.
A nor'easter is forecast to race up the east coast of the United States today and tomorrow. NPR's Richard Harris reports the National Weather Service says the storm will affect the mid-Atlantic as weel.
Republicans and independent analysts didn't think there was any way President Obama could reassemble the coalition that enthusiastically backed him in 2008. But Michael Dimock of the Pew Research Center found a few surprises in exit polls. Dimock talks with Steve Inskeep about the exit polling data.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent word congratulating President Obama on his victory. Still, as NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow, during the campaign, the Russian government and state-run media sough to discredit the American electoral process.
In China, President Obama's re-election has been greeted with muted relief, as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.
LOUISA LIM, BYLINE: As the vote closed in the U.S., ballots were still being cast in Beijing at a mock voting booth at the U.S. embassy's election party. For Chinese students like Lily Zhang and Zhang Weiwen, the novelty of voting was a heady experience.
LILY ZHANG: It was great. The first time I vote for the American president. That's very amazing and I'm very honored.
At the Casa de Maryland main building in Hyattsville, Maryland immigration advocates gathered on election night to watch the results come for question 4, The Maryland Dream Act and the race for the President.
Credit Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post/Getty Images
And it was no ordinary Election Day either in Belmar, New Jersey, one of the beach towns that was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Some of the regular polling places were flooded out and town officials had to come up with new ways to get voters to the polls. NPR's Jim Zarolli reports.
JIM ZAROLLI, BYLINE: These days the Belmar Town Hall has been turned into a kind of rescue center for displaced residents, a place where they can get food and clothing. And yesterday they could vote, too.
Voters in North Dakota famously like to mix things up - sending one party to the White House; the other, to Congress. In a closely watched Senate race there, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp narrowly leads the count vote - the vote count. But Republican Rick Berg says he won't concede the race until a recount is complete.
The race hinged on voters like those our reporter Neta Ulaby found.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Throughout this morning we've been reaching out for a variety of viewpoints on the election results and one person we've called is Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Mr. Gerson, welcome back to the program.
Israel is the United State's closest ally in the Middle East, and home to a large number of overseas American voters. Israelis have been debating which candidate, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, would do more to ensure their country's security.