Politics Day

Jan 17, 2012

Voters in South Carolina go to the polls Saturday, January 21st and there will be one less candidate in the Republican field. Host Ben Kieffer, looks ahead to the voting and back on the latest GOP Presidential debate with Iowa State University's Steffen Schmidt and Coe College's Bruce Nesmith. They also talk about Jon Huntsman's departure and whether Mitt Romney takes on a sense of inevitability if he does well in a third nominating contest.

The 112th Congress convenes next week.  We'll check in with Iowa 1st District Congressman Bruce Braley on his priorities, including working with the Postal Service to streamline costs in an effort to keep a number of small town post offices open. Later, Iowa State University Associate Professor of Psychology Doug Gentile sheds light on new research understanding the positive and negative ways in which video games can affect cognition and behavior. 

Voters in New Hampshire are weighing in on the Republican Presidential race.  We analyze the results of the first-in-the-nation primary with Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio, Granite State political analyst Arnie Arnesen and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa.  Join host, Ben Kieffer, as we discuss the outcome and implications.  Who moves on to South Carolina?  Who bows out?

Governor Terry Branstad's 17th Condition of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the State Capital is followed by analysis with Iowa Public Radio’s Statehouse Reporter Joyce Russell and Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa. To hear full audio of the address, click here.

Iowa lawmakers are getting ready to convene for the 2012 legislative session.  Statehouse Reporter Joyce Russell looks ahead to priorities of Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Kauffmann.  Then we talk with Senator Herman Quirmbach and Representative Greg Forristall who Chair the Education committees of their chambers, and will oversee the Governor's education reform plans.  It's part of our weekly series from the Law Library at the Iowa Statehouse.

Iowa’s 85th General Assembly convenes in Des Moines at the state capitol Monday. We take this hour to check in with a few of the state’s representatives and senators and ask what is on their agendas for the 2012 session. In the first half, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Representatives Josh Byrnes from Osage and Tom Sands from Columbus Junction. Then in the second half, we'll hear from Senators Matt McCoy from Des Moines, Randy Feenstra from Hull and Rob Hogg from Cedar Rapids.

Who won? Who lost? And what were the biggest surprises of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses? Ben is joined by Drake University Political Scientist Dennis Goldford for complete analysis of Tuesday's first-in-the-nation votes. New Hampshire political analyst Arnie Arnesen joins the conversation to preview the New Hampshire Primaries.

Caucus 2012 Special

Jan 2, 2012

On caucus day, we listen to a special event recorded Monday night at the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines co-hosted by Iowa Public Radio's Jonathan Ahl and Minnesota Public Radio's Kerri Miller. The discussion will feature complete caucus analysis from political scientists Tim Hagle from the University of Iowa and Donna Hoffman from the University of Northern Iowa.

Do inspirational words of the past fit into the politics of today? We attempt to answer that question by examining some of the most influential presidential campaign speeches of the 20th century. Ben's guest is Michael Cohen, whose book Live from the Campaign Trail brings to life the words that have shaped American politics over the last century.  Consultant Jim Anderson joins the conversation to reveal the science of successful speech writing.

In the final hours before the caucuses, we touch base with Iowa Public Radio reporters across the state covering the candidates. Political Science professors Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Bruce Nesmith of Coe College join the discussion to examine last-minute polling prior to Tuesday's first-in-the-nation votes.

Jaime Vargas / The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism

As candidates for President continue to criss-cross Iowa, they are often delivering stump speeches that are very carefully crafted to use just the right words. But how those words are delivered can be just as important as the words they include.

Emily Woodbury, a talk show producer for Iowa Public Radio, worked with communication experts and political operatives to analyze the speech patterns of some of the candidates for the G-O-P nomination for president.

One of the drawbacks to living in the first-voting state is those automated phone messages known as “robocalls", and it’s not just pollsters and presidential contenders on the other line. Robocalls are now a staple of local elections too – and they’re not always civil.  Iowa’s Attorney General is investigating one particularly nasty example from this month’s special election. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Wells reports, robocall regulations are all too easy to subvert.