Politics & Government

New Secretary Of State
5:03 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Governor Bentley Chooses Bennett For Sec. Of State

Governor Robert Bentley has selected former Secretary of State Jim Bennett to to replace Beth Chapman.
Credit governor.alabama.gov

Former Secretary of State Jim Bennett is returning to the office.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Tuesday that he's chosen Bennett to replace Beth Chapman. She's resigning at the end of the month to become a political consultant with the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Bennett served as secretary of state from 1993 to 2003. Then he served in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet as labor commissioner. He retired last year when the departments of Labor and Industrial Relations were merged.

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U.S.
4:32 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Congress Still Squabbling Over Student Loan Rate Increase

People walk on the Columbia University campus in New York City on July 1, the day the federal student loan interest rate hike kicked in.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 5:26 pm

The Senate is planning to vote Wednesday on a plan to bring interest rates on subsidized federal student loans back down to 3.4 percent for one more year. The rate doubled on July 1 when the chamber failed to agree on a plan.

While the Senate prepares to take the issue back up, college students are left staring at several competing proposals.

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Politics
3:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

FBI Confirmation Hearing Reopens Debate Over Surveillance

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 5:00 pm

James Comey, the president's choice for FBI director, had a relatively easy time fielding questions Tuesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers wanted to know about surveillance, waterboarding and other controversial issues, but they posed their questions gently.

Political Crisis In Egypt
3:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Sen. Levin: U.S. Aid To Egypt Should Be Suspended

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 5:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said last night that U.S. aide to Egypt should be suspended and Senator Levin joins us now. Welcome to the program once again.

SENATOR CARL LEVIN: Good to be with you.

SIEGEL: In a nutshell, why suspend aid to Egypt?

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Teresa Heinz Kerry's Condition Improves

Teresa Heinz Kerry and her husband John, the secretary of state, in February.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 4:10 pm

"Teresa Heinz Kerry continues to improve and remains in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital, while doctors seek the cause of seizure-like symptoms she experienced on Sunday," State Department spokesman Glen Johnson says in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

In the most extensive comments so far about her condition, Johnson also says that:

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Latin America
12:42 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

In his new book, Alfredo Corchado writes about the escalating violence in Mexico.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 1:11 pm

When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.

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It's All Politics
5:31 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

With An Eye Toward 2016, Rick Perry Reboots

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces he will not seek re-election as governor, Monday in San Antonio.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:37 pm

Picture the next 18 months of Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry's road to national relevance.

Appearances on the late-night comedy shows, where he'll banter with Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, maybe even Jimmy Fallon.

A rolling, cross-country road show during which he'll tout the Texas economy and charm grassroots voters and deep-pocketed donors.

Mixing it up back home in Austin with intensifying battles to limit legal abortion and push back against "Washington policies."

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Secretary Of State Resigning
4:44 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Ala. Secretary Of State Joining Farmers Federation

Secretary of State Beth Chapman is taking a political consulting job with the Alabama Farmers Federation when she resigns her public office at the end of the month.
Credit sos.state.al.us / Alabama Secretary of State

Secretary of State Beth Chapman is taking a political consulting job with the Alabama Farmers Federation when she resigns her public office at the end of the month.


Federation officials say Chapman will start her new job Aug. 1 and work through the 2014 election.


The federation's director of government relations, Brian Hardin, says the organization has a long-standing relationship with Chapman, including endorsing her for state auditor and then two races for secretary of state.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

What Makes A Sex Scandal Survivable?

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:36 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As we just heard, Eliot Spitzer is hardly the only politician to attempt a political comeback after a sex scandal. In addition to Anthony Wiener, there is also former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. He won a seat in Congress this year, after famously slipping off to Argentina for an extra-marital affair.

NPR's Ari Shapiro looks at what makes some political sex scandals survivable.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

After Scandal, Eliot Spitzer Dives Back Into Politics

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:36 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has become the latest politician to ask voters for a second chance. Five years after resigning amid a prostitution scandal, Spitzer is running for public office again, this time to be New York City comptroller.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, some voters seem willing to listen.

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It's All Politics
2:15 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Why Pols Like Eliot Spitzer Can't Quit Politics

Eliot Spitzer is surrounded by media Monday as he tries to collect signatures for his run for New York City comptroller. The former governor, who stepped down in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, says he is planning a political comeback.
Seth Wenig AP

It's a political ticket only Jon Stewart could dream up.

With Anthony Weiner leading the race for New York mayor in some polls, fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer now hopes to appear on the same ballot in the city comptroller slot.

This latest news comes in a season that has already seen the return of South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford to the House.

"Sanford's success led to Weiner's reassessment, and Weiner's positive polls have led to Spitzer's thinking, 'Why not me?' " says Lara Brown, a political scientist who wrote a dissertation on congressional scandals.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry Says He Won't Seek Re-Election In Texas

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 6:01 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he will not run for re-election in 2014, feeding speculation that he might again pursue the presidency as a Republican candidate in the 2016 race.

The governor made his announcement at a news conference Monday in San Antonio, which was carried live online by The Texas Tribune.

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It's All Politics
9:39 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Texas' Looming Hispanic Shift Explained In 2 Charts

A bilingual sign outside a polling center ahead of local elections in Austin, Texas, on April 28.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 3:12 pm

NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

Within a decade, Hispanics are projected to eclipse non-Hispanic whites as the largest race or ethnic group in Texas. It's a development that could someday shift the state's — or, given the size of Texas, even the nation's — politics.

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Politics & Government
8:13 am
Mon July 8, 2013

533 Citations in 1 Month From Opelika Cameras

A traffic camera is seen at the intersection of Highway 280 and Pepperell Parkway on Tuesday in Opelika.
Albert Cesare/Opelika-Auburn News

Red light cameras in Opelika generated more than 500 citations in the first full month.

   Mayor Gary Fuller says 794 warnings were issued in April when the cameras started being used and motorists were getting used to them. The grace period ended when May started, and 533 citations were issued that month. He said June figures aren't complete, but he expects about 300 for the month.

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Education
3:45 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Congress Called On To Reverse Student Loan Rate Increase

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 1:02 pm

Rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans, which help low and middle-income college students, doubled on July 1. There is now pressure for a deal to undo the increase. NPR's David Greene talks to Matthew Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.

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