SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with the Obama campaign. Actually, the president's campaign travel is finished. Mr. Obama spent the night at his own home in Chicago. Today's plans call for some TV and radio interviews and maybe a game of basketball with some friends. Mr. Obama's last reelection rally came last night in Iowa, where 20,000 people gathered just outside the caucus headquarters where he launched his first presidential campaign more than five years ago.
Many Americans will spend extra time at the polls today, not just choosing candidates but also making law. They will vote on a variety of state ballot initiatives, which Josh Goodman of the Pew Center on the States is tracking.
I've printed out here a list of ballot initiatives in various states. And it's more than a page long. It's a ridiculous number. The Oregon Gillnet Fishing Initiative, the Utah Military Property Tax Exemption Amendment, Constitutional Amendment B 2012. We could go on for quite some time. This is quite a list.
In Florida, Supreme Court justices are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. Every six years, they're up for retention. Voters decide whether to keep them on the bench or let them go.
Since the system was put in place in the 1970s, retention votes have been pro forma affairs, with justices doing little fundraising or campaigning.
Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.
But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. — and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.
Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas.
Now many who will cast presidential ballots in New York have been facing a complicated post-storm challenge - where they should vote. Superstorm Sandy has displaced many residents from their homes and some polling places are out of commission because of storm damage. Late today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order, telling voters they can cast ballots wherever they want.
I asked NPR's Quil Lawrence in New York about just what Governor Cuomo said today.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:12 pm
With all the really big numbers flying around this campaign season, here's one more: $165,062,250.
That's how much Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS has spent attacking Democrats and helping Republicans this election. Perhaps this number doesn't seem so special, compared with the $1 billion spent by President Obama's campaign and at least $900 million by Gov. Romney's team.
A plea to the Long Island Power Authority for electricity to be restored is posted on a barrier last Wednesday in Mastic Beach, N.Y. The south shore Long Island community was among the hardest hit by the storm that pounded the Northeast.
Credit Steve Henn / NPR
Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi looks over a map of the flooding in his community from Hurricane Sandy. More than 1,000 homes here were inundated with seawater.
A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the region, roughly 1 million people are still without power in the New York area, and more than one-third of those live on Long Island.
In the hierarchy of hurricanes that have hit Mastic Beach, N.Y., over the years, this one ranks near the top, says Mayor Bill Biondi.
"This is the worse we've had in a long time," Biondi says. "I guess the only thing that was worse than this ... was the hurricane of 1938. I haven't seen or heard anything in between those years that was worse than this one."
Syrians gather at the site of a car bombing Monday that killed 11 people and wounded dozens in Damascus, according to the SANA news agency, which provided the photo. The violence in the city was described as some of the worst in recent months.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 6:40 pm
The fighting in Syria was both nasty and widespread on Monday. Here's a summary of some of the worst fighting:
-- Two deadly car bombings took place, one in a residential neighborhood in Damascus that killed 11 people, according to Syria's state-run SANA news agency. The other one, near the central city of Hama, generated wildly conflicting claims. An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the suicide attack killed 50 government soldiers and allied gunmen. But the government put the death toll at two civilians.
Early voting ended in Florida on Saturday. But on Sunday, some county elections officials opened their offices to allow people to vote using absentee ballots.
In Miami-Dade County, elections officials opened the office for over-the-counter absentee voting, but then inexplicably shut down. A couple of hundred waiting voters began chanting and pounding on the doors. An hour later, the office reopened.
If you bought a Hyundai or Kia over the past three years, you could soon be getting some money back from the two automakers.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the South Korean carmakers, owned by the same parent company, overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles over the past three years. The EPA discovered the bloated figures during an audit of gas mileage tests undertaken by the companies. The agency said last week it was investigating how the carmakers arrived at the numbers.
Noah Hope, 10, shows off his I Voted sticker during the children's mock Election Day at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Noah Hope, 10, votes for the next president of the United States during the children's mock presidential election at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C., as the wax figure of John Quincy Adams looks on.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Olyvia Berry, 7, decorates a sugar cookie at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Encouraging kids to vote through age appropriate activities is a fun way to share Election Day.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:14 pm
Election Day is Tuesday, and it's easy to forget about those who don't have a vote — children. But it can be a fun experience if parents take the time to include the kids, and maybe bribe them with a little sugar.
Over the weekend, the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Washington D.C, did just that. Kids got to make patriotic sugar cookies, personally meet all the American presidents' wax figures and vote for the next president of the United States.
A rebel fighter raises his weapon after firing a missile Sunday toward Syrian government troops in the northern city of Aleppo. Syria's largest city has been the scene of heavy fighting for the past three months. Both sides control part of the city, and the fight has been a stalemate recently.
Credit Narciso Contreras / AP
Rebel fighters watch as smoke rises after Syrian government forces fired an artillery round at a rebel position during heavy clashes in the Jedida district of Aleppo, Syria, on Sun., Nov. 4.
Credit David Holley / NPR
In one Aleppo neighborhood, government forces and rebel fighters are separated by an abandoned building that forms the front line. Most civilians have fled, and rebels live in the abandoned apartments. Government snipers are posted on rooftops.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:01 pm
If you've got the sniffles or need a shot, do you go to the doctor or stop in at a clinic in a nearby drugstore?
Lots of people are opting for the clinics, which are springing up inside grocery stores, big-box retailers and chain drugstores across the country. There are already 1,388 clinics like these in the U.S., according to data from Merchant Medicine, a consulting firm.
Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Credit Terry Chambers / Getty Images
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more omnipresent president than Abraham Lincoln. With his face on the penny, Mount Rushmore and a larger-than-life memorial, he's a fascinating and familiar figure for moviemakers to tell stories about.
Credit David James / DreamWorks Pictures
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the 16th president in Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated Lincoln.
Credit Alexander Gardner/Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
The historical Lincoln, circa 1863, and Day-Lewis at the Academy Awards in 2008.
He's a statue in many a monument, a profile on the penny, a face on the $5 bill, and an animatronic robot at Disneyland. He's even carved into a mountain in South Dakota. So, of course, Abe Lincoln has been a character in the movies — more than 300 of them, in fact.
Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.
But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.
A Syrian rebel fighter takes aim at government forces from an apartment in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday. While the fighting rages, the Syrian opposition is holding talks in Qatar in an attempt to create a new, more unified front. The U.S. announced last week that it favors an overhaul of the opposition leadership.
Credit Philippe Desmazes / AFP/Getty Images
Syrian rebel fighters prepare to launch a rocket in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday. The rebels say they have launched a major assault on a government air base in northern Syria.
The Italian-built Lamborghini Aventador costs nearly $400,000. The money spent on election 2012 — for TV ads and other things — could theoretically get you more than 15,000 of these V12 cars. But that's a lot more than have been built.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 3:39 pm
The cost of the 2012 election will top a record $6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. If you find it difficult to visualize that figure, here are a few other ways to think about what $6 billion could buy:
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:13 pm
NPR librarians continue to help us keep track of the recovery from Superstorm Sandy and the deadly toll from the storm that blasted New Jersey, New York City and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England one week ago.
-- Number of deaths: At least 115 in the U.S., by NPR's count. The Associated Press reports there were at least 106 fatalities. There were 69 Sandy-related deaths in the Caribbean and two in Canada.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:29 pm
This morning a shadowy Arizona group decided to disclose where $11 million in political contributions came from. The money was used to fight for an anti-union ballot measure and against a proposition from Gov. Jerry Brown to raise sales and income taxes.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:44 pm
(Revised at 5:46 pm ET)
On the final day of the 2012 campaign for the White House, President Obama and Mitt Romney are making the last push for votes in states each believes critical to achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.
Obama was scheduled to campaign in three swing states, while Romney had events planned in four. The only overlap was in Ohio, considered the linchpin of the election.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 2:11 pm
Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter drew criticism after she called President Obama "the retard" on Twitter. In an open letter to Coulter on the Special Olympics blog, John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympian living with Down syndrome, asked her to reconsider using that word.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the past few years, the definition of work has changed in parts of the American economy. More and more restaurants and retailers have half as many full-time workers as they used to and twice as many part-time. They save money on pay and benefits, and they use new technology to schedule part-timers based on the season, the time of day or even on the temperature.