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Both presidential campaigns are focusing on just a few swing states, and the relatively few remaining undecided voters. One of those states is Virginia, where a key swing constituency is military veterans.

Troops and veterans have long been considered a natural part of the Republican base. But President Obama is pushing hard for the veterans' vote to help him in a state he captured in 2008.

Noncitizens aren't allowed to vote in federal and state elections, but efforts to remove them from the nation's voter registration rolls have produced more angst than results.

Opponents say the scope of the problem has been overblown; those behind the efforts say they've just begun to look at the problem.

'Early Stages'

Political Consulting And The 'Lie Factory'

Sep 19, 2012

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It can be lonely being a Democrat in the Deep South. Just ask Steve Wilson.

The young lawyer was a first-time delegate at the Democratic National Convention, but it's not something he brags about back home in Meridian, Miss.

"I don't talk about it," he says. "It's the elephant in the room, so to speak. Most of my friends are Republican, I think, but I just don't bring it up."

That climate can make it hard to recruit viable Democratic candidates in the Deep South — once a solidly Democratic region that is now reliably Republican.

Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian was born two blocks from where he now lives in what is called Deep East Texas.

"We were not wealthy people, [we were] common laborers, but that was typical in rural East Texas at that time," he says.

When he was growing up, Christian says, by first or second grade, an East Texas boy would accompany his father or grandfather on a hunting trip. But before a boy got a gun, he had to learn how to act — how to address the other men respectfully, to watch how it worked.

President Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 8 points nationally — 51 to 43 percent among likely voters — as the race heads into the final stretch, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

Obama's advantage, particularly among women, blacks and voters younger than 30, puts him "in a strong position compared with past victorious presidential candidates," Pew reported.

The Inner Workings Of The Romney Campaign

Sep 19, 2012

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Forty-seven percent, the Palestinians have no interest in peace, and it would be easier to get elected president as a Latino. It's Wednesday and time for a...

MITT ROMNEY: Not elegantly stated...

Republicans scrambling to turn Mitt Romney's videotaped aspersions cast on 47 percent of Americans into a campaign opportunity are hoping for a "Chick-fil-A moment."

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I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, fallout from Republican candidate Mitt Romney's remarks about government dependency continue to dominate headlines. We'll get reaction from the journalists and writers in the Beauty Shop.

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This being America, the Galactic Capital of Capitalism, it's no wonder folks try to cash in on just about everything — including the presidential election.

Give us a big event — the Olympics, the World Series, a blockbuster movie — and we will offer you all kinds of foodstuffs and folderol that are linked, however loosely, to the occasion.

The End Of WASP-Dominated Politics

Sep 19, 2012

Just looking at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, you might not think of them as cultural pioneers. But the Republicans make up the first presidential ticket in history not to feature a Protestant.

Romney is Mormon, Ryan, Catholic. That might not seem like such a big deal — especially when you consider they are running against the first African-American president.

But all of these individuals are emblematic of an enormous shift in both American demographics and political power.

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Spanish-language network Univision will broadcast the first part of its presidential forum Wednesday night. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be the first candidate to appear, and President Obama follows Thursday night.

The presidential interviews came after a dramatic clash that would rival any of the network's famous telenovelas. Univision confronted the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit group that organizes the candidate debates, after it announced an all-white lineup of moderators.

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took his effort to contain the damage from the video of his remarks about Americans who don't pay taxes to Fox News Channel Tuesday.

There, he acknowledged that some of those who don't pay federal income taxes are senior citizens and military service members.

Pennsylvania's highest court is returning the state's controversial voter ID law to a lower court judge who must decide whether it will disenfranchise some voters.

NPR's Jeff Brady reports that according to Tuesday's ruling, the lower court judge must block the law from taking effect if he finds voters cannot easily get photo ID cards that the law requires.

The state Supreme Court recognized difficulties in implementing the law under a "relatively short time frame," concluding:

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The fundraiser where the Romney video was recorded was held in Florida. And today, in that politically important state, reaction was mixed about Romney's unscripted remarks. NPR's Kathy Lohr gathered some views from people at a retirement community.

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The Mother Jones journalist behind the release of a surreptitiously shot fundraising video says the source "did not go there looking to catch Mitt Romney in the act."

David Corn, the magazine's Washington bureau chief, tells NPR's Michel Martin on Tell Me More:

The question of whether Mitt Romney's presidential campaign will be hurt by his characterization of 47 percent of Americans as people who believe they are victims, entitled to health care, food, housing, "you name it," is fairly settled.

Yes, it will — at least in the short run. Romney's problem? There's not much more campaign left than a short run.

Full Romney Video Puts Comments In Context

Sep 18, 2012

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Are SuperPACs Good For Democracy?

Sep 18, 2012

Money is flowing through this election season like never before. The proliferation is due in part to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and other recent rulings, which paved the way for superPACs, other outside groups and massive, secret donations from individuals, corporations and unions.

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