Politics Day

Apr 3, 2012

Oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court over the Affordable Care Act don’t seem to have done anything to garner support for the law, or the court.  A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows an increasing number of people view the law more negatively, and view the court less favorably.  Host Jonathan Ahl talks with guests Dave Peterson and Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University about these shifting perceptions.  They also analyze results from the three latest primary contests including Wisconsin.

Not since Bush v Gore in 2000 has the Supreme Court considered such a politically charged issue. Join us as Ben talks about the constitutionality of the health care law with University of Iowa political scientist Tim Hagle and Coe College political scientist Bruce Nesmith.  They'll also look at the return visit to Iowa by Vice-President Joe Biden to talk manufacturing jobs.

Is this fact or fiction? On the surface the question seems to be easy enough to answer, but truth comes in a number of different shades. On this Talk of Iowa Charity speaks with author and essayist John D’Agata of the University of Iowa and fact checker Jim Fingal about their book, “The Lifespan of a Fact” (W.W. Norton) and the definition of truth.

The hunt for the GOP nomination continues with the Illinois primary. We'll analyze the latest election results and focus on the money race in the election, as President Obama's campaign raised 45-million dollars in February. We'll also look at politics closer to home, with the official review of the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Ben's guests are Grinnell College Political Science Professor Wayne Moyer and New Hampshire political analyst Arnie Arnesen.

Politics Day

Mar 13, 2012

Earlier this week a U.S. soldier allegedly shot and killed sixteen Afghan civilians. President Barack Obama has called the killings tragic while questions re-emerge about the U.S. strategy. Join guest host Jonathan Ahl as we talk about the way forward in Afghanistan.  Plus we’ll discuss the effect Alabama and Mississippi primaries will have on the race for the GOP Presidential nomination. Our guests are Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Jim McCormick of Iowa State University.

Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with A.J.

Who won and lost in the GOP race on Super Tuesday? Iowa State University Political Scientist Steffen Schmidt and University of Iowa Professor Emeritus Bruce Gronbeck break down the results of Tuesday's votes. They'll also look at the clash between President Obama and Republicans over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

On the eve of Super Tuesday, and eight months away from the general election, Ben hosts a political roundtable forum at the University of Northern Iowa. Taped Friday, March 2, panelists discuss the GOP race and examine candidate strategies leading up to November. Ben's guests are political scientists Donna Hoffman, Chris Larimer and Justin Holmes from the University of Northern Iowa and James Q. Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Politics Day

Feb 28, 2012

Join host Ben Kieffer as we look at the results of the GOP primaries in Michigan and Arizona.  How much closer does the outcome bring the GOP to a nominee as we march toward Super Tuesday next week?  Our analysts are Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa and Dave Peterson of Iowa State University.

Politics Day

Feb 21, 2012

The latest polls show Mitt Romney retaking the lead in Michigan, although the race for the republican presidential nomination is still extremely tight.  Join host Ben Kieffer as we talk about that race and the lead up to Super Tuesday.  We’ll also discuss the controversy over requiring insurance coverage for contraception and now, some prenatal testing, and how it’s impacting the discussion of faith in the campaign.

Politics Day

Feb 14, 2012

Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping, the man who is expected to become the next leader of China, is in the United States this week.  Included on his visit, is a trip to Muscatine, Iowa, a place he visited in 1985. Xi will also visit Des Moines for an official state dinner.  Join host Ben Kieffer as we take a look at what Xi’s visit means as the Obama administration seeks to shift the emphasis of U.S. strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region.

Politics Day

Feb 7, 2012

Join host Ben Kieffer as we talking about the U.S. closing its embassy in Syria this week amid growing violence there. What can or should the U.S. do?  Also, new U.S. sanctions are imposed on Iran as tensions rise between that country and Israel.  And, will GOP caucus results in Minnesota and Colorado show Mitt Romney remaining at the front of the pack?  Ben’s guests are political scientists Jim McCormick of Iowa State University and Bruce Gronbeck of the University of Iowa.

Politics Day

Jan 31, 2012

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn has announced he will step down. The move comes after a so-called “virtual tie” was announced as the official result of this year’s Iowa Caucuses. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Tim Hagle of University of Iowa about the continued fallout from an Iowa presidential contest that was too close to call.  They also analyze results of the Florida primary and prospects for a protracted fight over the Republican nomination.

Investments call to mind stocks, bonds and real estate, but what about investing in lawsuits and picking a winner in the courtroom? We examine the growing trend of litigation financing with University of Iowa Law Professor Maya Steinitz. She sees it as a way of leveling the playing field between the haves and the have not's on the legal landscape.   

President Obama is coming to Iowa right after he delivers his third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. It's part of a swing through the country to promote his agenda. Host Ben Kieffer talks about the speech, the President's stop in Cedar Rapids and what he needs to do to convince voters he deserves a second term.  Guests are Donna Hoffman, University of Northern Iowa and Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College. What message would you like to send the President about the State of the Union?

Last week, the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court addressed the legislature. He cited budget constraints and requested $10 million in new funding.  Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with Chief Justice Mark Cady.  Later in the hour, Ben talks with Iowa’s fifth district Congressman Steve King.

Certified results from the Iowa Caucus contest of January 3rd now show former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum leading former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by 34 votes.  We get analysis of what this means from University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle and Iowa State University political science professor David Petersen.  Later in the program, host Ben Kieffer talks with globe-trotting icon and U.N. Messenger of Peace Dr.

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.

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.

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.

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.

US Department of Interior

It was the biggest shovel-ready, public works project of its time. 75-years ago today, a mammoth dam, named after Herbert Hoover, was dedicated on the Colorado River. It remains, perhaps, the biggest accomplishment in the former Iowan's presidency. Historic audio dates back to 1928.