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Barack Obama

The Takeaway

The Choice 2012: Incumbent or Challenger?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A new two-hour biography about the lives of the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama examines their childhoods and their early struggles to launch their political careers. The new FRONTLINE documentary is an extensive effort to better understand the men competing for the presidency in 2012.

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WNYC News

Romney Accuses Obama Of 'Passivity' On World Stage

Monday, October 08, 2012

Republican Mitt Romney said Monday the risk of conflict in the Middle East "is higher now" than it was when President Obama took office. He proposed that the U.S. take a more assertive role in Syria and claimed Obama's withdrawal of troops from Iraq has jeopardized U.S. interests.

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WNYC News

Debate, Jobs Report Shake Up Presidential Race

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The presidential race enters its final month enlivened by two events with the potential to reshape the contest or perhaps negate each other. Soon after Mitt Romney's strong debate performance came Friday's encouraging economic news, not a minute too soon for President Barack Obama.

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The Takeaway

Recapping Last Night's Debate

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Now that some of the smoke has cleared around last night's presidential debate, it is time to ask the questions that really matter, like what will this debate mean come November? It's a Free Country reporter Anna Sale was in Denver last night during the debates. Political reporter Jason Smith joins The Takeaway from Romney's home state of Michigan to give us a full recap of the debate.

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It's A Free Country ®

Obama's Debate Damage Control: Romney Was 'Artful Dodger'

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Following what is widely believed to be a lackluster performance by President Obama in his first debate with Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign has tried to undermine the accuracy of his opponent and explain glaring omissions from the president's arguments.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: So What? It Doesn't Matter that Obama Lost the First Debate

Thursday, October 04, 2012

in the average election year, you can accurately predict where the race will stand after the debates by knowing the state of the race before the debates.

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WNYC News

Obama and Romney Delve into the Details

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Americans demanded details and, boy, did they get them. In the first presidential debate, the candidates delved into dense discussions on taxes, health care, entitlement programs and more.

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It's A Free Country ®

In Colorado, Campaigns Talk Economy while Voters Talk Abortion

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Leading up to today’s first presidential debate, Colorado voters are getting barraged with campaign advertising. Most of it focuses on numbers – the size of the debt, unemployment figures, and 47 percent. But voters about talking about something else entirely: Abortion.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: 7 Things to Watch for in the First Presidential Debate

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

With polls closer than you think, Wednesday night's debate could be a game-changer. Here's what we're watching for.

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WNYC News

In Run-up to Debate, Mayors’ Group Launches Gun Control Ad

Monday, October 01, 2012

Just days before the first presidential debate in Denver, Colo., Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group is out with a new television advertisement focused on getting President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to address the topic of gun control.

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It's A Free Country ®

Why the NFL Ref Lockout Had the Public on Labor's Side

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NFL referees have managed to do what public sector employees in Wisconsin and teachers in Chicago couldn’t: Inspire near-unanimous public sympathy for the demands of organized labor.

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It's A Free Country ®

At Clinton Gathering, Obama and Romney Highlight Very Different Priorities

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The president advocated for a renewed focus on the elimination of human trafficking, while Romney called foreign aid to be redesigned and more closely linked with the expansion of free enterprise.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Amy Walter on Presidential Poll Watch

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amy Walter, ABC News political director, discusses the latest Presidential polling — which shows a widening Obama lead — and the release of Mitt Romney's most recent tax returns.

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Transportation Nation

How Infrastructure Politics Turned Partisan: Looking Back on Four Years

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Champlain Bridge in Vermont, Demolished in 2009, Over Safety Concerns (Photo: Collin Campbell)

Not too long ago, an ad for Audi cars sought to relate to the average driver with grimly shot footage of rutted roads, rotting bridges, and frayed guardrails. “Across the nation, over 100,000 miles of roads and bridges are in disrepair,” a female announcer intones.

That this rhetoric could turn up in an ad is a metaphor of the current acceptance of America’s rather sorry infrastructure. In its latest report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave American infrastructure a "D.”

In 2008, Republicans and Democrats pretty much agreed that investing in infrastructure is a national priority. Here's an excerpt from the 2008 GOP platform:

We support a level of investment in the nation's transportation system that will promote a healthy economy, sustain jobs, and keep America globally competitive. We need to improve the system's performance and capacity to deal with congestion, move a massive amount of freight, reduce traffic fatalities, and ensure mobility across both rural and urban areas.

We urgently need to preserve the highway, transit, and air facilities built over the last century so they can serve generations to come. At the same time, we are committed to minimizing transportation's impact on climate change, our local environments, and the nation's energy use. Careful reforms of environmental reviews and the permitting process should speed projects to completion.

It's hard to remember that that was just four years ago -- when Senator Barack Obama was running against Senator John McCain.

In 2012, supporting infrastructure couldn't be more partisan.

In one of the most-quoted pieces of video />

made this campaign, President Barack Obama argues that success relies on collective action, including big infrastructure projects. Obama: "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help...  Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

But to Republicans, that sounded like an argument against individual ingenuity. "We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones," former Governor Mitt Romney said in his acceptance speech, describing all the reasons our parents and grandparents came to this county, including "freedom to build a life. And yes, freedom to build a business with their own hands."

It was huge applause line. The theme even became a country  song Lane Turner performed at the convention, with the refrain, "I built it, with no help from Uncle Sam."

That Uncle Sam has a big role in building infrastructure has been a pretty consistent theme for President Obama. His $800 stimulus bill had big sums for highways, transit, and high speed rail. He's proposed big transportation budgets every year.

But republicans see it differently. Arguing the country can't afford more debt, Republican Governors sent stimulus money back to the federal government.   In Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, they stopped high speed rail projects in their tracks.  But they weren't  the first republicans to send big bucks back to D.C.

But before Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida had even won office, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie started a modern trend: sending billions back to the federal government for a local transit project rather than risk incurring extra debt for New Jersey taxpayers. In October, 2010, Christie pulled the plug on an already-started transit tunnel under the Hudson River -- the so-called ARC tunnel. " In the end the taxpayers of New Jersey would be on the hook for every nickel of the cost overruns," Christie said, explaining the decision.

"When you become governor, and you start to become presented with the information I was presented with you're presented with now a choice of a project that I do think is a worthwhile project but that we simply can't afford," Christie added.

Christie's Democratic counterpart in New York, Andrew Cuomo, took a different approach. Without the financing in hand, Cuomo greenlighted his own massive infrastructure project -- a new $5 billion Tappan Zee bridge.

"As a society, as a government, as a state, we have to be able to get to yes," Cuomo told reporters after he'd applied for the funds. "We have to be able to build a bridge that needs to be replaced.  If we want this state to be what we want this state to be you have to be able to tackle a project like this."

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WNYC News

Israelis fear PM is Meddling in US Politics

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It is a taboo for Israeli leaders to give even the slightest hint of favoritism in politics in the United States, Israel's closest ally. So some Israelis are squirming over a perception that their prime minister is siding with Republican Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential race, in the belief he will take a harder line on archenemy Iran if elected.

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It's A Free Country ®

In Northern Virginia, Class and Race Dominate Election Talk

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For skeptical voters in the battleground state of Virginia, Mitt Romney’s recorded remarks at a Florida fundraiser last week were just the latest in a line of revelations that are stoking doubts about the Republican nominee.

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It's A Free Blog

Review | Power Play: Toobin’s Take on the Rocky Relationship of the Obama Administration and the Roberts Court

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jeffrey Toobin's latest book The Oath is not just a title.  It is the beginning.  He starts his new book with the oath.  The president's oath, that is.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: Why the RNC Has More Money than Mitt Romney

Friday, September 21, 2012

Campaign filings released Thursday show Mitt Romney and Republicans have more money socked away than Barack Obama and the Democrats – but the majority of that money is in the Republican National Committee’s account, not the candidate’s.

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WNYC News

Obama Talks ’47 Percent,’ as He Raises Cash in NYC

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The driving rain and tornado watch didn’t put a damper on President Barack Obama’s New York City trip. He was in town Tuesday to raise some campaign cash and tape an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Both Parties Prefer Fairy Tales to Truth on Economy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ideology is a dangerous thing. Both parties would rather tell fictions about the economy than deal with real, imminent problems.

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