Politics

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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.

University of Iowa photo

The Iowa Board of Regents has hired Bruce Harreld as its 21st president.  The Board has unanimously approved him to replace Sally Mason, who retired last month.  Harreld is a former IBM executive and Harvard Business School Faculty member.

Harreld was the only one among the four finalists for the UI presidency who was not already leading a college or university.  At his public forum in Iowa City Tuesday, many people challenged his qualifications to head a major university.  Many others on campus have questioned the quality of the search firm that vetted candidates for the job.

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."

The committee evaluating candidates for the University of Iowa’s next President is moving into the process final stages.

In a telephone conference this afternoon, the Search Committee heard from a representative of the Parker Executive Search, President Laurie Wilder.  She told the committee forty-four individuals had submitted material for consideration.

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.

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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?

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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.

National Park Service

He was an engineer, a Quaker, and president of the United States. Fifty years ago today the only native Iowan to occupy in the White House was buried at his birthplace in West Branch. We reflect back on Herbert Hoover with historical recordings

The state’s most famous public servant died at the age of 90, and thousands of Iowans watched his final return home on this date in 1964.

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.

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

Clay Masters / IPR

  Most of the attention during this mid-term election season in Iowa has been on the races for U.S. Senate and Governor. However, further down the ballot, Iowa voters will determine who controls the Iowa Senate. Right now, Democrats hold a 26 to 24 majority. Democrats must hold all of their current seats, or pick up others to maintain control and are defending six seats in this mid-term election.

Democratic Senate majority leader Mike Gronstal said he’s cautiously optimistic and sees a handful of seats Democrats can pick up.

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.

Photo by John Pemble

A new play about one the country’s most influential Presidents will take place in a space only used by politicians.  “Lincoln’s Last Interview” only engagement is on the floor of the Iowa House in the State Capitol.  It’s being used as a stand in for the US House of Representatives.  The play is set on April 14th, 1865 where President Lincoln and his wife Mary give an interview to a reporter before leaving to see a play at Ford’s Theater.  

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. 

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. 

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