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Election 2012

The Takeaway

Republicans Face Off in Tea Party Debate

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The GOP presidential candidates faced off last night before an audience of 1,000 Tea Party activists in Tampa, Florida. Gov. Rick Perry, who has surged to the front of the race since entering last month, faced heavy scrutiny from his seven challengers over his record as governor of Texas, including a state order to vaccinate girls against HPV and college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Mitt Romney, the other front runner, criticized Perry over his past assertion that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme."

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It's A Free Country ®

Politics at the Polls: The Photo ID Requirement to Vote in South Carolina

Monday, September 12, 2011

South Carolina is one of five states that passed new photo ID requirements for voting since the start of 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (Governors vetoed similar bills in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Minnesota.). Advocates for the bill in South Carolina, including Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, say the law is to protect the integrity of state elections. Critics, however, say that there has not been a single documented case of voter impersonation at the polls, the kind of fraud photo identification requirements will address.

Now, the Obama administration's Justice Department has weighed in, questioning whether the new law creates undue burdens minority voters. That sets up a legal confrontation about voting access and states rights that will unfold in the shadow of the 2012 presidential campaign, and directly impact who can cast a vote in South Carolina's decisive early primary elections.

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The Takeaway

South Carolina's Anti-Voter Fraud Law Stirs Controversy

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, a fight is brewing on voter identification laws. At stake is the question of whether the problem is serious enough to threaten the results of the elections. South Carolina took an extra step to combat voter fraud in May, when Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill into law which requires voters to show government-issued photo identification. Supporters of the move say that this will curb the potential for voter impersonation. But critics say that this would disenfranchise the thousands of registered South Carolinian voters who do not have a driver’s license or other photo identification, and that voter fraud is not a major problem. Six other states have now adopted similar measures.

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The Takeaway

How Important Are Political Polls?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Republican candidates battled it out in a debate Wednesday night, no doubt hoping that scoring points against each other might edge them ahead in the polls. President Obama and his campaign team are hoping the polls start leaning in his favor after his key jobs speech on job creation tonight. Currently, the president’s approval ratings are at an all-time low.

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The Takeaway

Recapping the GOP Presidential Debate

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Last night, eight GOP presidential hopefuls gathered at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California for the fourth Republican debate this year. It was the first presidential debate for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was in the lead in a recent poll. Perry and Romney sparred over their job creation records and other issues, often overshadowing the six other candidates.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Obama Campaign Opposes Ohio Early Voting Changes

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama Campaign Joins Effort Against Ohio Election Changes: Obama's campaign staff is bolstering a petition effort in Ohio to block enforcement of a law that shortens Ohio's early voting period, moves Ohio's primary up from May to March, and eliminates "the so-called "golden week" during which people could register to vote and cast ballots on the same day," reports  and moved next year's presidential primary to May from March," reports Ohio political reporter Marc Kovac. Republicans backed the bill and Governor John Kasich signed it, arguing that it was needed to make rules more uniform across counties. 

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The Takeaway

The Changing Face of America's Independent Voters

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's an understood rule of presidential politics: win over independent voters in November, and the election is yours. But who are the independent voters? Many people think of them as white, educated, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That may be true of some independents, but the group as a whole is changing and diversifying, and now many Americans who are ethnic minorities are identifying as independents. In 2008, less than 60% of self-identified independent were white, according to American National Election Studies.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Libyan Rebels Overtake Tripoli, Obama Prepares Jobs Speech

Monday, August 22, 2011

Over the weekend, Libyan rebel forces took key positions near the capital of Tripoli, and last night they flooded into the capital and battled with loyalists to Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Rebels captured two of Gadhafi's sons, including Seif al-Islam, the assumed heir-apparent, while civilians celebrated in the streets over what may be the end of Gadhafi's 42 years in power of Libya. Meanwhile, in the United States, candidates who hope to capture the Republican presidential nomination continue to duke it out over who would lead the country best, and President Obama is preparing his jobs plan, which he'll unveil in a speech next month.

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The Takeaway

Candidates Vie for New Hampshire Independent Votes

Thursday, August 18, 2011

With a state motto like "Live Free or Die," you might expect that New Hampshire has a fair number of independent voters. That’s what prompted Anna Sale reporter for It’s a Free Country, the politics website of our co-producer WNYC — to report from there. Sale has been on the road speaking to independent voters across the country, in an attempt to gauge which direction this large and crucial demographic is leaning as we approach the 2012 presidential election. She’s spent the last few days in New Hampshire, focusing on how Republicans and Democrats are attempting to capture the independent vote there.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

GOP Straw Poll, Perry Arrives, and More

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reihan Salam, columnist at The Daily and blogger for National Review Online's The Agenda, breaks down Saturday's Iowa Straw Poll and the other weekend news, from Rick Perry entering the fray to Tim Pawlenty dropping out.

→ Add Your Comments, Listen, and Read a Recap at It's A Free Country

The Takeaway

Republican Candidates Jockey for Position

Monday, August 15, 2011

Voters separated wheat from chaff this weekend, at the Iowa straw poll. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the poll, while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a poor showing and cut his campaign short, removing himself from the GOP roster. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy Saturday, and Sarah Palin attracted big crowds at the Iowa State Fair, further shaking up the GOP roster. This week, President Obama is also in the midwest, on a bus tour of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. He's planning to sharpen his messaging against Republicans on the handling of the economy and jobs creation.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Why Ames was a Win for Ron Paul (Not Bachmann) and Where the GOP Race Goes Now

Sunday, August 14, 2011

All Bachmann did was hold on to a tenuous first place in a rapidly changing and dangerous environment. Ron Paul may have actually “won” the straw poll because it’s an expectations game.

-Steffen Schmidt, It's A Free Country blogger.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Rick Perry - Here Comes our GOP Hero

Saturday, August 13, 2011

He's conservative enough, he's photogenic, well-spoken, has executive experience and he just might save the Republican Party, and the country, from another term of Barack Obama.

-Karol Markowicz, It's A Free Country blogger.

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The Takeaway

Recapping the GOP Debate in Iowa

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last night eight Republican presidential candidates gathered at the Iowa State University in Ames for a televised debate. The eight debaters were: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former pizza chain executive Herman Cain, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Who said what, and which candidate fared best?

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Iowa Straw Polls of Years Past Offer Few Predictions. Here's One Anyway

Friday, August 12, 2011

The straw poll allows minor and far-fetched individuals to run in a visible contest and have a good time, but doesn't mean much. The 2007 Poll was an especially good example of this where Mitt Romney won the Poll, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took home the caucus victory, and Sen. John McCain got the nomination.

-Steffen Schmidt, It's A Free Country blogger.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Scoring the Iowa Debate - Bachmann Makes Good, Palin Wins in Absentia

Friday, August 12, 2011

I blogged the Ames debate live for WNYC, New York and I came away with the following observations.

First, the debate was way too long. In Operas you have an intermission and then resume the show – my dad always fell asleep in the second half. In debates ...

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It's A Free Country ®

The GOP Debate in Iowa: Where They Disagreed

Friday, August 12, 2011

While the pointed sparring between Minnesotans Michele Bachmann and former Governor Tim Pawlenty drew the most headlines after the GOP debate, there's was just one of many disagreements among the eight Republican candidates on stage in Ames, Iowa. 

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The Takeaway

Republican Candidates Face Off in Iowa

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nearly two months after their last debate, the Republican presidential candidates gathered on stage at Iowa State University in Ames last night, for another national televised debate. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Governor Tim Pawlenty, both from Minnesota, sparred about their records. Who dominated? And who stumbled?

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It's A Free Country ®

Watch and Chat: First Iowa Republican Presidential Debate

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Iowa Republican Party, Fox News, and The Washington Examiner hosted the first Iowa presidential debate on Thursday, August 11th, at Iowa State University in Ames. The debate set the stage for the Ames Straw Poll to follow the next weekend, an important test for several would-be nominees in the 2012 Republican field.

The Takeaway

Capturing the Disgruntled Independent Vote

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Independent voters were a key part of the coalition that elected Barack Obama in 2008. But President Obama has lost the support of many of those independents, throughout his term. As potential candidates begin to prepare for the 2012 presidential election, the hunt is on to try to capture the independent vote.

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