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Midterm Elections

The Takeaway

Exit Interview: Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.)

Friday, December 03, 2010

After 35 years representing Minnesota constituents in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar will empty his office on Capitol Hill at the end of this month. Oberstar currently serves as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a position he has held since 2007. He is one of dozens of incumbents voted out of office earlier this year during midterm elections. What are his thoughts on the eve of his departure?

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It's A Free Country ®

Does the Tea Party Mean the End of the Two-Party System?

Friday, November 12, 2010

I think it's easy to suggest these people aren't qualified, but nearly 8 out of 10 Americans trust their own judgment more than any member of Congress on economic issues…There is a question of whether some of these people are qualified or not, but most in the Tea Party—and a large majority of American voters—doubt that many of the existing elected politicians are qualified for the job.

- Scott Rasmussen, founder of the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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The Takeaway

Americans Throw Out Party in Power for Third Consecutive Election

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In the third election in a row where Americans threw out the party in power, Republicans won control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, in part due to large discontent among voters who didn't want to see incumbents return to Washington. Though some races are still in play, the Republicans, with the help of Tea Party candidates, successfully captured 56 seats. The GOP also made great strides in the Senate, though Democrats will continue to hold the upper house of Congress.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio will become the next speaker of the House. In an emotional speech last night, Boehner said that the election is a rebuke to President Obama, with Americans telling him to "change course."

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Midterms and Beyond

Friday, October 29, 2010

John Heilemann, national political columnist for New York Magazine and co-author of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, looks ahead to Tuesday's midterm elections and beyond to 2012.

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The Takeaway

Gazing into Mid-Term Election's Crystal Ball

Friday, October 29, 2010

Four days away from the mid-term elections, there remain a few unpredictable Senate and Congressional races that could shift the national balance of political power. As the hours tick by, what will bring out the critical voters in states like Washington, West Virginia or Illinois?  

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The Takeaway

Looking Ahead to the Morning After Midterm Madness

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hours of broadcast time, reams of paper, and terabytes upon terabytes of digital stream have been spent discussing what will happen next Tuesday, when voters across the country take to the polls. All of it, in essence, trying to answer the question: what's going to happen to the country on the morning after?

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The Takeaway

Outside Groups Spend Big as Elections Approach

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

These mid-term elections are seeing massive amounts of money being raised and spent both left and right, from party committees to outside independent groups — much, much more money than the last mid-term elections in 2006. Over $260 million has been spent by outside groups, who have been able to remain largely anonymous since the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, earlier this year. 

But what are contributors expecting in return for their millions of dollars? 

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The Takeaway

Separating PolitFacts from PolitiFictions

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Only one week away from the highly anticipated mid-term elections, states across the country are inundated by political messages that often pull at voters' heartstrings rather than deal with political and practical realities. But just how much do modern politicians get away with as they bend, fold, spindle and mutilate the truth in these ads?

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The Takeaway

Districts in Play: What is the Forecast for the Sunshine State?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voters in Florida have been party to two unusual races this election season. The Senate race has the incumbent Republican Governor Charlie Crist is in a three-way race as an independent against Tea Party-supported Marco Rubio and Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek.

Vying for the governor's office are Republican candidate Rick Scott, running head to head against the state's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, the only Democrat to come this close to the office in decades, in a race that has the candidates accusing one another of fraud.

This against a backdrop of a state in dire straits. Florida's unemployment is fourth highest in the country at 11.9 percent, the foreclosure rate is second highest in the country. More than 20 percent of the state's residents are uninsured.

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The Takeaway

2010: Year of Political Mean Girls?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the final days leading up to midterm elections, some of the most prominent candidates on the national stage are women. Between Meg Whitman firing her immigrant housekeeper, Carly Fiorina getting caught mocking her opponent's hair, Sharron Angle attacking Harry Reid, and Linda McMahon trumpeting her success in the brutal world of professional wrestling, conservative women politicians have earned a reputation as being mean girls with cutthroat personalities who play by their own rules. 

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The Takeaway

Is There A Single Tea Party Platform?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ever since April 15th, when Tea Party groups emerged around the country, the public has been hearing a lot about what—and at whom—Tea Party anger is directed. But as America heads into the midterms with dozens of candidates endorsed by local Tea Party groups on the ballot, it's time to take a look at what the Tea Party wants.

In other words, without a national party structure or official spokespeople, what is the best way to identify common planks of a Tea Party platform?

Matt Kibbe joins the show to discuss that question. He’s the president of conservative political group FreedomWorks, and the author of a book called "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto."

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The Takeaway

Origins of Campaign Contributions Harder to Trace

Monday, October 04, 2010

With just weeks until midterm elections, millions of dollars are being poured into political campaigns. But with fewer disclosure requirements since Citizens United v. FEC, few groups have disclosed the names of donors who pay for their political ads. New York Times reporter Mike McIntire talks about the difficulty he faced trying to trace the source of money an ad by the vaguely-named "Coalition to Protect Seniors."

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Gender Politics: Women and the Midterm Elections

Monday, October 04, 2010

Betsy Reed, executive editor of The Nation and co-editor of Going Rouge: Sarah Palin – An American Nightmare, and Rebecca Traister, senior writer for Salon and author of the new book Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, talk about women and the midterm elections.

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The Takeaway

In Conn. Senate Battle, Mixed Emotions Among Party Faithful

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton traveled to New Haven to campaign for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal, a Democrat, is running against Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, in a tight race for Christopher Dodd's U.S. Senate seat. Anna Sale, editor of WNYC's new political site, It's a Free Country, traveled to the rally in New Haven to speak with the voters and protestors in attendance.

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The Takeaway

Party, Politicians Sliding Along Political Spectrum

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It has been a successful primary season thus far for The Tea Party, especially with a surprising victory for Christine O'Donnell over former two-term governor and nine-term Congressman, Mike Castle, to win the Republican nomination for the Senate race in Delaware, Tuesday night.

What do these Tea Party wins mean for the Republican Party, and is the GOP shifting on the political spectrum?

Kate Zernike is a reporter for The New York Times, and the author of Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America.

We also want to know from you: Are you moving along the political spectrum this election season? Are you finding yourself moving further left or further right this year? Let us know in the comments or text it to 69866 with the word TAKE.

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It's A Free Country ®

"Upset" and "Anti" Are The Words of the Day

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whether it's an anti-Democratic year or an anti-incumbent year, or an anti-establishment year, those things all kind of overlap. And it's probably some combination of all three, it's the less satisfying but probably the right answer I would think.

-Nate Silver, blogger for the New York Times' Five Thirty Eight blog

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It's A Free Country ®

Rangel Wins Democratic Nomination, Defying Detractors

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Incumbent Congressman Charlie Rangel has won the Democratic nomination for his seat in New York's 15th district.  Despite recent controversy, he'll get a chance to be reelected to the post he's held since 1993, and he says that's not just a good thing for his constituents -- it's good for the president, too.

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It's A Free Country ®

Challenging an "Unelected Junior Senator"

Friday, September 10, 2010

We know that our junior unelected Senator was appointed by an accidental Governor and that New Yorkers should have a choice, they should have a choice of a real Democrat, and I believe that I am that real Democrat.

--Democratic challenger Gail Goode on The Brian Lehrer Show

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It's A Free Country ®

Gail Collins on Jan Brewer, Tea Party

Thursday, September 09, 2010

We’re seeing a lot of that this year--of people who went through their lives happily just sort of talking away and nobody paid any attention to them and suddenly the world is watching everything they say.

- New York Times columnist Gail Collins on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and other new stars of this political season, on the Leonard Lopate Show

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The Takeaway

Obama's Ohio Speech: Strong New Proposals, Or Too Little Too Late?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

President Obama gave a sweeping economic address to a handpicked crowd of 800 people near Cleveland, Ohio yesterday… partly to announce several new economic proposals, partly to try to set a new tone for the midterm election campaigns. 

It was his second speech on the economy this week; in it, he proposed $180 billion dollars in new business tax breaks and infrastructure spending, to get businesses spending and hiring again. 

But even if Congress passes the proposals, would they be enough to turn the economy around in a substantial way? And will it do anything to improve fortunes for the Democrats heading into the November 2nd elections?

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