More than 120 people are dead in Paris after a string of terrorist attacks late last week, including one American. The attackers have been identified as Muslim extremists, and one of the terrorists is said to have gotten into France by posing as a refugee.

John Pemble / IPR

Think for a moment about the person with whom you share the least in common, when it comes to your beliefs. Now, imagine having coffee with that person, not just once, but many times over a period of two years.

Principia School / Flickr

There's more than a century between the candidacies of William Jennings Bryan and Bernie Sanders, but history is still repeating itself when it comes to the elections of 1900 and 2016.

"The Industrial Revolution was creating that same gap that the technological revolution has expanded. There was a sense of dizzying inventions that were being made, that the pace of life was speeding up. People were moving from the farm to the city, so it was a disorienting age much like our own. So that was really the spur for the populist movement."

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

A top Iowa Republican has harsh words for his party’s representatives in the U.S. House, where the GOP has so far been unable to agree on a new House Speaker to replace the outgoing John Boehner.

Opposition from a cadre of conservatives known as the Freedom Caucus helped lead Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to withdraw from the race for the top post.

Former Iowa Republican party chair Matt Strawn says it looks like Republicans don’t know how to govern.


The battle over who will become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is "probably the most important thing happening in politics today." That's according to Dave Andersen, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University.

Don Graham / Flickr, Licensed Under Creative Commons

President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan this week. The plan sets the first-ever EPA standards on power plant emissions and requires a 32% reduction in those emissions over the next 15 years. It also seeks to boost renewable energy sources.

2016 Republican presidential hopefuls reacted negatively to the plan. Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it "catastrophic," while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush described it as "irresponsible and over-reaching." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called it an example of "overregulation" that would "kill American businesses and jobs."

Clay Masters/IPR

Seven candidates and one potential candidate for the Republican nomination for president were on hand at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone on Saturday for a fundraiser hosted by Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst.  

The expo grounds are also this year’s site for the Iowa GOP’s traditional cattle call for candidates, the Iowa Straw Poll.   

Ben Barringer, a software engineer, drove down to Boone from Lake Mills in far north Iowa with a couple of potential favorite candidates in mind

“I’m very excited for Ted Cruz and Scott Walker,” Barringer says.   

Dan Farber / flickr

Former Vice President Al Gore is in Cedar Rapids this week as part of his Climate Reality Project, a tour meant to teach people how to “take on the climate crisis." Participants in the three day session are encouraged to give press interviews, communicate with government officials, and organize others in the effort against pollution.

Gore says he believes this year is a turning point in government action on climate change, and he believes the environment will be a key issue in the 2016 presidential election.

Clay Masters / IPR

As spending on Congressional and Presidential campaigns continues to grow, politicians are starting to voice support for measures to try and get some of that money out of politics. 

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton voiced her support for a Constitutional amendment to limit campaign spending last week in a speech at Kirkwood Community College, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has also spoken in favor of taking a hard look at how much money is being spent on elections. 

Photo by John Pemble

McCoy, You’re Going Straight to Hell – that’s the title of State Senator Matt McCoy’s new book. In it, Iowa’s highest-ranking openly gay elected official shares personal stories and opinions sent to him on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

"Not only was I going straight to hell, but I was bringing the souls of innocent Iowans with me...all these souls that would be lost as a result of marriage equality," he says.

In this River to River interview, Ben Kieffer talks with Sen. McCoy about the book, as well as his future political ambitions.

Jonathon Colman

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans (71%) now say the war in Iraq “wasn’t worth it.” That’s similar to sentiments from the Vietnam era about that conflict.

Caleb Smith / Speaker John Boehner via Flickr

Netanyahu stressed Iran’s “radical” regime, saying there is no difference between the country and ISIS in terms of “imposing a militant Islamic empire.”

401(K)2012 / flickr

Political action committees (PACs) for presidential hopefuls are focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire - with some groups channeling up to 95% of their political donations to local politicians in the two states.

Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Frank, a cultural columnist for Salon, says that President Obama’s legacy might be more about what he didn’t do when he was in office.

SV Johnson / Flickr

In her State of the Union response, freshman Senator Joni Ernst repeated an anecdote from her victory speech evoking her "down-home" upbringing.

John Pemble/IPR

The annual State of the Union address last night offered a national spotlight for Iowa’s junior senator.

That Hartford Guy / Flickr

Nixon resigned the office of president 40 years ago this month. But the question remains: What were the lessons of Watergate? And has our country learned them?

Wikimedia Commons

Over the course of the next two years, political analyst Charlie Cook says we could see some infighting in Congress.

A historic deal regarding carbon emissions has been reached between China and the U.S.  Is it realistic?

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Senator-Elect Joni Ernst's 'Squeal' ad made waves this election cycle. NPR political correspondent Mara Liassion believes Ernst's gender was crucial to that appeal.

Ulises Jorge / flickr

The Republican and Democratic parties dominate politics in our state and our country.

John Pemble

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has spent many years in Iowa, covering political races and the Iowa caucuses; but can he reach the status of "honorary Iowan?"

This week, Great Britain joined the United States and France in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. 

U.S. House of Representatives

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack says the most recent military campaign ordered by President Obama in Syria requires congressional approval. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Republican Congressman Steve King says Jim Mowrer, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran who is running against him to represent Iowa’s Fourth District, owes him an apology.

Iowa Caucus

Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first significant hurdle for presidential hopefuls from both parties.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri is being viewed through a different lens overseas.  Much of the coverage reflects pre-existing views of the U.S. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

Seven potential GOP Presidential candidates are making their way to Iowa this week and next.  Host Ben Kieffer sizes up the hopefuls for the 2016 Iowa caucuses with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Donna Hoffman, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Northern Iowa.  We know, the caucuses are still far away, but likely contenders are already here.  And like the holiday shopping season, it seems the Presidential vetting season is coming earlier and earlier.

Jonathon Colman

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans (71%) now say the war in Iraq “wasn’t worth it.” That’s similar to sentiments from the Vietnam era about that conflict.

Politicians Weigh In On Immigrant Children

Jul 23, 2014
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

More than 52,000 have crossed the southern border since October and US politicians are having trouble finding solutions and the right rhetoric.