Politics Day

United States Forces Iraq

In a prime time address on Wednesday, President Obama will announce how the U.S. plans to confront the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Pete Souza / Official White House photo

Western sanctions have wounded the Russian economy by causing billions of dollars in capital flight, but is that enough to stop what Ukrainian officials say is the strengthening of an "invasion" force?

In this episode of River to River, political analysts Jim McCormick of Iowa State University, and Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa, share analysis on the escalating crisis in between Russia and western powers over Ukraine. Also, a detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups paints a dismal picture for Republicans, especially among women.

assortedstuff / flickr

A new Washington Post forecast gives the GOP a 63 percent chance of taking the Senate in November.

White House photo office / Wikimedia Commons

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? Former Iowa State University Political Science Professor Jim Hutter and David Yepsen, political reporter for the Des Moines Register for a quarter of a century, join host Ben Kieffer to discuss how Watergate and Nixon's resignation changed our political scene, our media landscape and our nation. 

Barack Obama / Flickr

Several Republicans, including Iowa’s Congressman Steve King, have called for President Obama’s impeachment.

Nick Knupffer

Ten years ago, it was wildly controversial to talk about psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Today’s that’s changed.

assortedstuff / flickr

The Obama administration is asking for #3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to address the flood of unaccompanied children coming illegally into the U.S.

Today on River to River, we talk about the politics behind this latest chapter in the immigration debate. Also, our guests analyze the latest developments in the Middle East, Ukraine and the disputed presidential election in Afghanistan.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

From the idealistic public servants of "The West Wing" to the conniving anti-heroes of "House of Cards," the portrayal of Washington D.C. in popular culture has changed significantly over the last decade.

Today on River to River - what shows set in our nation's capital say about our political climate, and what we can and cannot learn from these programs.


State Senator Joni Ernst started out relatively unknown in a crowded field for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Is she now the front runner?

We look at the candidacy of Joni Ernst this week, as she gains the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the NRA. Also on the program, a tea party primary win in Nebraska, the likelihood of immigration reform before November’s election, and looking abroad, the latest crisis in Ukraine and Nigeria.

Happy Friday! It's a "news buzz" edition of River to River, bringing you several Iowa news stories of the week.

Charletta Sudduth was eight years old when her father was incarcerated for shooting and killing a man outside a Waterloo pool hall, a crime he has maintained was in self-defense. Now her father, Rasberry Williams, will be released on parole to an assisted living facility, after serving nearly 40 years of a life sentence. We hear from her:

401(K)2012 / flickr

Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

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Dean Borg guest hosts this politics day edition of 'River to River.'  Des Moines Register Political Columnist Kathie Obradovich, University of Northern Iowa's Chris Larimer, and Drake University's David Skidmore are political analysts for this program that includes Iowa, U.S., and international politics.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

Is winter almost over?  And how has the long, harsh season affect Iowa's waterways and aquatic life?  Also, the latest Quinnipiac poll, 2014's Cancer in Iowa report, Iowa's new tourism ad campaign and Pi Day at the Science Center of Iowa.

Amy Allcock

President Obama says that Russian incursion in Ukraine is against international law and a miscalculation that risks pushing former Soviet-bloc nations further from Moscow.  Russian President President Putin has defended his actions and criticized the U.S. response.  Listen to this political analysis of the situation.

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In about two weeks, the first of at least six Republican primaries will feature establishment Senate incumbents versus Tea Party challengers. Host Ben Kieffer and political analysts look at these primaries and the GOP’s bid to retake the U.S. Senate.  Also, A U.N. panel accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity, and Ukraine erupts again.  Guests are Dennis Goldford, Professor of Politics at Drake University and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University.

A new U.S. State Department report raises no major environmental objections to the possible construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the report is being treated differently by Democrats and Republicans.  That and other political news; analysts for this Politics Day include Steffen Schmidt from Iowa State University and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College.

Chuck Kennedy (Executive Office of the President of the United States) / White House image, public domain

President Obama stepped to the podium to deliver his 2014 State of the Union address against a backdrop of low approval ratings, a stagnant Congress and the term “lame duck” increasingly being used to describe his presidency.  The State of the Union is often seen as an opportunity to press the reset button.  But, an analysis of the list of priorities requiring Congressional action unveiled in 2013 shows only two measures winning approval.  This may have been what prompted the President to say h

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"When we talk about leadership, we often think that it's entirely under control of the individual," says Hans Hassell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Cornell College.  But in reality, "It's not necessarily Boehner's leadership style that's causing the problems, it's the political environment."  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Hassell, David Andersen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University.  Recent stories about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as well as revelations


Host Ben Kieffer is joined by Drake University's Dennis Goldford for a look at the political topics that held the attention of the country this year: immigration reform, gun laws, Edward Snowden and the NSA, a government shutdown, the Obamacare rollout, and big changes develop for the future of the Iowa political landscape.

Bipartisan congressional negotiators have unveiled a long-awaited budget framework to fund the government past mid-January and stabilize the government's finances into the near future. But does it have enough support to pass?

Host Ben Kieffer asks our analysts, Bruce Nesmith of Coe College and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa, what they think of it. Also, the world salutes the passing of Nelson Mandela, and takes note of a handshake between President Obama and the Cuban President.

Al Jazeera English

The US and Japan have refused to recognize an air defense zone above tiny islands that China and Japan both claim. Today on River to River, we find out what is behind the dispute and what escalation would mean. Also, a look at how politics abroad are affecting politics at home, and whether our country's deeply divided political system could drive some areas of the U.S. to seek more independence. Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa State University political scientists, Jim McCormick and Steffen Schmidt.

After western powers reached a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, what’s next? Today on River to River, guest host Ben Stanton sits down with political science experts Tim Hagle, of the University of Iowa, and Wayne Moyer, of Grinnell College. They talk about the deal and why it’s being met with skepticism by Israel, and some in Congress. They also discuss what happens after one party in the U.S. Senate uses a so-called nuclear option.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Every presidency ebbs and flows.  President Obama seems to be going through an ebb, as his job approval rating drops to the lowest of his presidency.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch, former Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and Donna Hoffman, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, about the ebb and flow of presidencies through history, and what they can tell us about presidential popularity today.

David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Getting “primaried” has become a dreaded verb in politics. Host Ben Kieffer talks  about intraparty rivalry and the partisan rancor in Washington with former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach. Also, analyst Jim McCormick of Iowa State University joins the conversation with a wide array of policy discussion and political philosophy.


Amid allegations that the U.S.

Politics Day

Oct 23, 2013
Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

President Obama has vowed to fix the Affordable Care Act's online insurance exchanges after an embarrassing launch, but what of the pending political fallout?

Also, will U.S. Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) have a challenger within the Republican Party for his seat next November and what are U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) prospects for a 2016 presidential run?

Politics Day

Oct 16, 2013

More than two weeks after the start of the government shutdown, a deal finally comes out of the Senate. Today on River To River, it's politics day. IPR reporter Dean Borg guests hosts, joined by political scientists: Drake University's Dennis Goldford and the University of Iowa's Tim Hagle. They discuss the negotiations taking place in Washington, public opinion of Congress, and take your questions and comments.

Early Tuesday morning, without a Congressional agreement on spending, part of the federal government shut down. Today on River to River, we talk about the political implications. Who do you blame? How does a partial government shutdown impact the faith you have in the U.S. government's ability to do its work?

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with political analysts Tim Hagle (University of Iowa) and Wayne Moyer (Grinnell College), and they answer your questions and concerns.

Wojtek Ogrodowczyk

How will Iowa’s congressional delegation vote on the question of possible military action in Syria? This show features discussion about the factors that congress will consider, why President Obama chose this path, and how his decision might affect the power of the presidency at home and abroad.

President Obama is expected to highlight the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior’s economic agenda as he marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on how the President can successfully talk about race and class.

And, action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons seems more and more likely. We talk about the options with listeners and guests, Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.