In an age when presidential campaigns are typically heavily scripted, town-hall style meetings are anything but.
The upside is that you get the informality of the candidate interacting with regular voters as he or she fields their questions and seems accessible. The downside is you never know what a voter handed the microphone will say.
Mitt Romney, who appears well on his way to becoming the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, got a taste of that risk at a Monday event at a Euclid, OH manufacturing company.
U.S. authorities say they have foiled a terrorist plot to target an airliner. A suicide bomber was planning to bring down a plane headed to the United States. The Associated Press first reported the story. Al-Qaida's affiliate group in Yemen is believed to be behind the plot, which national security officials say had not advanced far enough, that the suspect bought plane tickets or tried to board a plane.
NPR's Carrie Johnson has been reporting on this story. She joins me now. And, Carrie, what else have you found out?
In Indiana, Republican primary voters Tuesday will decide whether to give GOP Sen. Richard Lugar the opportunity to seek a seventh term in November's general election. A recent independent poll shows him in trouble in his own party, with his Tea Party-backed opponent, Richard Mourdock, in the lead.
The early reporting of the story had a undeniably alluring narrative: Scientists say dinosaurs passed so much gas, they affected climate enough to cause their demise. That's how Fox News and the Daily Mail, one of the first to move the story, framed this latest research.
I'm standing in the Manhattan office of Andrew Farnsworth, a research associate at Cornell University's ornithology lab. Farnsworth is using meteorological data, radar data, crowd-sourced eBird data and acoustic data from the flight calls of migrating birds to predict where birds are going and when they'll be there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, May 6. Netanyahu said Monday that the next general elections would be held on Sept. 4, instead of the original schedule of October 2013.
At the ripening age of 80 years old — more than 35 of them spent in Congress — Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is scrapping for political survival. On Tuesday he faces state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his party's primary.
Barack Obama, then a Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat, delivers his concession speech to supporters, while his wife, Michelle, tends to their daughter, Malia, on March 21, 2000, in Chicago.
Credit Frank Polich / AP
Then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama walks with his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Malia, age 1 1/2, in Chicago on primary day in March 2000. Obama lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in the primary.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the leading voice for austerity in Europe. But election results over the weekend showed a voter backlash. Merkel said Monday that she still supported the austerity moves.
Credit Sean Gallup / Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, shown here at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, has led the call for austerity in Europe. But Sunday's elections in France and Greece point to a growing backlash on the Continent.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made all the right gestures Monday: the obligatory phone call congratulating French President-elect Francois Hollande. She vowed that the two will "work together well and intensively." And she invited Hollande to Berlin after his inauguration and said she would welcome him "with open arms."
But clearly the French election results mark a setback for Merkel and her goal of solving Europe's economic crisis with financial austerity.
Europe's unsettled political climate after the weekend elections in France and Greece raise one obvious question: What's next?
The elections, in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated and Greece's major political parties struggled to form a governing coalition, have raised fears about the political and economic stability of the European Union. Some potential scenarios coming out of the elections:
Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office during his inauguration as Russia's president at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Monday. Putin will be serving his third term as president, after four years as prime minister and two previous presidential terms.
Credit Dmitry Astakhov, / AP
Riot police detain an opposition supporter during an anti-Putin protest in Moscow on Monday. Tens of thousands of people — mostly young Russians — turned out in protest against Putin on Sunday and Monday.
Teresa MacBain was pastor of a United Methodist church. In March, she made a confession: She is now an atheist. MacBain, NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty and Jerry DeWitt, executive director of Recovering from Religion talk about how losing faith changes lives and communities.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a number of Greek incumbents in parliament became the latest victims of growing frustration among voters across Europe over the ongoing debt crisis and widespread austerity measures. President-elect Francois Hollande has promised France a "fresh start."
Police officers carry an anti-Putin protester, who was detained in central Moscow, on Monday.
Credit Andrey Smirnov / AFP/Getty Images
Russia's Vladimir Putin enters St. Andrew's Hall to take the oath of office during his inauguration as Russian president in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Tuesday.
Credit Alexei Druzhinin / AP
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila speak with Russian Orthodox Church head, Patriarch Kirill, during a service at Blagoveshchensky (the Annunciation) cathedral after Putin's inauguration ceremony. Putin took his oath of office today to become Russia's president for a historic third mandate at a glittering ceremony inside the Kremlin.
Credit Alexey Druzhinin / AFP/Getty Images
Alexei Navalny, a prominent anti-corruption whistleblower and blogger, holds an issue of <em>Time</em> <em>Magazine</em>, with his photograph, as he stands behind bars in a prison after he was detained in Moscow on Sunday.
As we've reported, Vladimir Putin's return to Russia's presidency was fraught with drama. But a disputed parliamentary election and many unprecedented protests later, Putin took the oath of office for a third time today.
Putin took the oath amid protests. The New York Times reports 300 were detained, following the round up of 400 detained after a surprisingly large anti-Putin demonstration popped up on Sunday.
The election of socialist Francois Hollande as France's new president has leached into the U.S. election as some conservatives view it as giving them an opening to attack President Obama who, along with his agenda, has been labeled socialistic by many on the right.
U.S. Senate candidate from Florida, George Lemieux, for instance, took the opportunity of Hollande's win to tweet a warning:
The current issue of Oxford American magazine (known as "the Southern magazine of good writing") is titled the "Visual South Issue." In its 100 under 100 list, the magazine identifies "the most talented and thrilling up-and-coming artists in the South." This week, we'll take a look at five of the photographers on that list.
If a preliminary report holds true, the number of road deaths fell again in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 32,310 people died on highways last year, down almost 2 percent from the 32,885 people who died in 2010.
Both Democrats come off unsuccessful gov. campaigns; Barrett lost to Walker in 2010, and Falk lost the primary in 2006.
Credit Ken Rudin collection
Lugar's career in buttons: (1) first elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1967; (2) challenged Sen. Birch Bayh in 1974, but (3) running in a year when Watergate put Republicans on the defensive, and tarred as "Richard Nixon's favorite mayor," he lost; (4) came back in 1976 and trounced Sen. Vance Hartke; (5) was a VP hopeful in 1980; (6) made a brief bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 1996.
Credit Ken Rudin collection
He also ran for mayor of NYC, finishing 3rd in 1949 with 13.4% of the vote.
When Richard Lugar, the mayor of Indianapolis, first ran for the Senate, against Democratic incumbent Birch Bayh in 1974, a big part of his problem was that he was a partisan Republican.
In fairness, there was nothing wrong with being a partisan Republican in good GOP years ... in, say, 1972, when President Richard Nixon was on his way to a landslide re-election and Lugar was the keynote speaker at the GOP national convention.
Host Michel Martin discusses April's jobs report with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., head of the Congressional Black Caucus, and NPR's Business Editor Marilyn Geewax. Just 115,000 jobs were created, fewer than most economists expected, but the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent.