President Obama

Joyce Russell/IPR

President Barack Obama Monday spent more than an hour in conversation with students, teachers and parents at North High School in Des Moines, talking about how to make college more affordable.

The president urged students and their parents to do everything they can to win some of the 150 billion dollars in annual federal student aid each year to avoid big debt on graduation, and to use new federal tools to rank schools for quality and affordability. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

In the budget President Obama is sending to Congress he’s asking for more than a billion dollars to combat antibiotic resistance, and some of that money would focus on animal agriculture.

Antibiotic resistance can make common medications ineffective, meaning sick people don’t get better and doctors have fewer options to treat bacterial infections.  

Need for Speed

Jan 14, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

20 years ago, when the folks at Cedar Falls Utilities developed their own broadband internet system, they had no idea that the President of the United States would use it as a model for the rest of the country. Mr. Obama visited Cedar Falls Wednesday.  Here is his speech.

   The President is traveling around the country in advance of his State of the Union address next Tuesday to spotlight his priorities for his final two years in office.  Fast and affordable internet access is among those priorities. 

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

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.

Barack Obama / Flickr

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


The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA improperly accessed computers used by congressional staff.  What comes next?

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

John Pemble

Taped on Tuesday 12/17/13 as part of the IPR Insight Series, this is a special edition of River to River with NPR’s Don Gonyea, recorded before a live audience in Des Moines. Host Ben Kieffer asks Gonyea about the 2013 political year, his career, and his connection to Iowa. IPR also tests Gonyea’s Iowa knowledge with a bit of trivia.

Top five moments and quotes from the night:

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama spoke in Galesburg, Illinois Wednesday as part of a swing through the Midwest to talk about the economy.  Host Dean Borg gets an update from that appearance, and talks with Bruce Gronbeck, Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies at University of Iowa about the other speeches the President has been making in recent weeks.  Then, Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa explains why the political geography of Iowa heavily favors Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley in his bid to replace U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.

DonkeyHotey / flickr

President Obama laid out a vision for the country in his State of the Union address last night.  River to River analyzes that vision and the political obstacles in the president's way.  Donna Hoffman from the University of Northern Iowa and Steffen Schmidt from Iowa State University join the conversation.

Politics Day

Jan 23, 2013

President Obama gave his second inaugural address this week, in which he outlined several goals for his coming term. Ben Keiffer breaks down the speech and talks about which goals are politically possible with Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa.

Then, discussion over the remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Senate committee hearing on Benghazi and the recent House vote to extend the debt limit.


Politics Day

Jan 16, 2013
NASA HQ / Flickr

President Obama’s second inauguration is less than a week away.

On this Politics Day, Ben Kieffer gets a preview of the event and expectations for Obama’s second term from political scientists Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College, and Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa.  Rachel Caufield of Drake University is in D.C. with several students for the inauguration and are documenting their experiences.

Also, the debt limit stand-off and the unveiling of the White House’s gun violence proposals.

KP Tripathi / Flickr

Last minute deal making on Capitol Hill may have helped avert the fiscal cliff for now, but many law makers are still divided over the measure. Ben Kieffer talks with political experts Tim Hagle and Bruce Nesmith about the fiscal measure and other recent political events.

Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday

Jan 1, 2013

Though 2012 is gone, relive the most memorable political moments with comedy group Capitol Steps. In their one-hour year-in-review special, awards will be distributed to the great political gaffes and mishaps of the past year.

Barack Obama / Flickr

How is Barak Obama represented in popular culture? Ben Kieffer talks with two University of Iowa graduate students who’ve written a book about the 44th President as a lens through which we can see not only politics, but also art and music.Then, Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa with the latest political analysis of the Connecticut school shooting and fiscal cliff negotiations.

Politics Day

Nov 28, 2012
Iowa Politics / Flickr

The recent discussions on the fate of the Iowa Straw Poll among GOP leaders has sparked further questioning on the effectiveness of the annual event and other political gatherings. Ben Kieffer talks with political scientists Steffen Schmidt and Wayne Moyer about the week’s political events including the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations and GOP discussions with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.


CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley made history just before the election, when she became only the second woman to moderate a presidential debate.

Crowley visited Iowa State University Tuesday night to discuss the results of the 2012 election.

And she spoke with Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah McCammon by phone. Sarah began by asking Crowley what stands out to her from the 2012 campaign.

Bill Roehl / Flickr

After months of campaigning, it’s all over. Ben Kieffer talks with political experts Christ Larimer from the University of Northern Iowa, and Dennis Goldford of Drake University, to analyze the election results for Iowa’s Congressional, legislative, and judicial races.

Iowa's importance in the 2012 election was arguably more important than ever. IPR's news staff traveled the state and reported on the candidates' messages long before the Iowa caucuses. Here are some of the photos IPR reporters took along the campaign trail. 

Clay Masters / IPR

After a long and contentious presidential election season, the candidates made their closing arguments Monday. Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan made his last visit to Iowa on behalf of Mitt Romney. And President Barack Obama held the final campaign event  of his political career in Des Moines.

While both men were still trying to drum up every last vote in a close election, they were also here to thank the voters who by now, have grown used to their constant visits.

Clay Masters / IPR

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney descended on Dubuque Saturday in the final days of their campaigns. Both candidates were promoting their own brand of change.

GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney flew into the Dubuque airport and greeted a crowd of more than 2,000 people in a hangar behind a sign that read “REAL CHANGE ON DAY ONE”.

Appearing with Romney was his wife Ann and NASCAR legend Richard Petty… who offered a race car driver’s perspective on the economy.

Clay Masters / IPR

It’s the last full week of presidential campaigning and here in Iowa, we expected to see the presidential candidates a bit more. But Hurricane Sandy changed things. For the most part we got wives and vice-presidential candidates. Paul Ryan will be in Waterloo today and Vice President Joe Biden made stops in Muscatine and Fort Dodge Thursday. 

Clay Masters

Iowa has been in the center of the presidential campaign since mid-2011. In less than a week campaigning will end, and governing will begin. It’s the last politics day before the election. Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa asses where things stand.

Clay Masters / IPR

Both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will make campaign stops Wednesday in eastern Iowa. Recent polls show the race is still up in the air. Romney has a solid hold on rural counties here. But in a state that’s population is shifting from rural to urban, the candidates will have to take the suburbs to win. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters reports.

Clay Masters / IPR

Last week in our Friday Fact Check, we reviewed some of the statements Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made while he was campaigning in Iowa. This week, President Barack Obama was here on the heels of the second presidential debate. Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon caught up with IPR Reporter Clay Masters who covered the president's campaign stop at Cornell College in Mount Vernon on Wednesday. 

Clay Masters / IPR

President Barack Obama made his first campaign stop after Tuesday's presidential debate. It was here in Iowa on the campus of Cornell in Mount Vernon. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the president took the opportunity to continue his fiery critique of his opponent Mitt Romney.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Living in a swing state means never-ending TV ads, lots of attention from the candidates, and dozens of campaign offices spread all over your state. 

But all that spending isn’t exactly trickling down to small businesses in local communities.

Instead, most of the spending goes to TV ads.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

The first presidential debate kicks off this evening and many voters across the nation will tune in to hear what President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney will discuss. Our political experts talk about the expectations they have for the candidates and listeners say what they want to hear from each candidate.