Don Gonyea | KUER 90.1

Don Gonyea

Among the many contenders who could wind up becoming presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate, there are some potential surprises — like former presidential candidate-turned TV and radio host Mike Huckabee.

Putting Huckabee on the GOP ticket could certainly liven up the presidential race. In addition to being a respected former governor of Arkansas, he's well known for his good-natured public persona. At a Huckabee campaign event, you might find him playing an electric bass with the old-time rock 'n' roll band Capitol Offense.

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a five-day, six-state tour in Michigan on Tuesday.

Each of the states he visited was won by President Obama in the 2008 election. Each is also shaping up as a potential battleground this year.

In Michigan, the state where Romney was born, he avoided big cities and stayed in places friendly to the GOP. As he traveled east to west across central Michigan by bus, there were some pockets of protesters, but mostly at a distance.

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Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.

Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.

General-election battle lines are taking shape between President Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney is sticking with his long-standing attack on the president as someone not up to the huge job of turning around the economy.

But the Obama campaign has recently changed its message: Instead of portraying Romney as a flip-flopping, say-anything politician, it is now arguing that the former Massachusetts governor is a man with extreme positions far outside the American mainstream.

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At a Republican candidates' forum in Wisconsin before the state's primary earlier this month, a speaker who wasn't on the ballot had strong words for the GOP regarding its low standing among Hispanic voters.

"The way the party ... talks about immigration is going to impact the future course of this party and the future course of this nation," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement post.

Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to a segment of the Republican base that has given him trouble in this year's primary season: the Tea Party. On Monday night in Philadelphia, he spoke to activists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and what might have been a tough crowd turned out to be just the opposite.

Rick Santorum had been expected to win Louisiana's Republican presidential primary Saturday, but the size of the victory was a surprise. The former Pennsylvania senator captured 49 percent of the GOP vote. Mitt Romney, who is the front-runner nationally, finished a distant second with nearly 27 percent. Santorum sees his win as evidence that the party still has big doubts about Romney.

Among those who voted for Santorum was 54-year-old Curt Thurmon in Shreveport.

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Mississippi and Alabama were big wins for Rick Santorum in the fight for the GOP presidential nomination.

While never considered strong for Mitt Romney, those states further revealed the vulnerabilities of his campaign, specifically, problems identifying with many elements of the Republican base.

The next big contest is Tuesday in Illinois.

It's a state rich in delegates (69) and in something else that should be good news for Romney: more moderate Republicans. But he still needs to connect with even those voters.

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Michigan and Arizona hold presidential primaries Tuesday, and in Michigan, where Mitt Romney was born, the race has been as hard-fought as anywhere in the country.

For Romney, the campaign there has been personal. He often evokes the Michigan of his youth, when his father, George, ran American Motors and went on to become a very popular three-term governor.

But does that family legacy mean anything today?

If you were to go to a Romney event in Detroit or Kalamazoo or Traverse City, you'd be almost guaranteed to hear some Romney family history.

Campaigning in Michigan on Thursday night, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reached out to Tea Party voters — a segment of the party that he has had a hard time winning over in previous states this primary season.

The conflict between the Catholic Bishops and the White House over contraceptive coverage has American Catholics choosing sides.

Catholics narrowly support the White House position in polls. There are potential political consequences: In presidential elections, Catholics are swing voters. They supported Al Gore in 2000, President George W. Bush in '04 and President Obama in '08.

The GOP presidential hopefuls are certainly using this issue. Framing it as a question of religious freedom is a guaranteed way to fire up the conservative base.

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