Ari Shapiro

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Monday, a day before Pennsylvania and four other states hold their primary contests.

Romney isn't concerned about the primary, but Pennsylvania will likely be an important swing state in the general election. And Monday also offered a chance to audition a potential running mate: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

At the end of the month, President Obama will deliver a string of punch lines at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. It's an annual tradition, a chance for the man at the top of the pyramid to poke fun at his political opponents and himself.

Humor is an essential tool in any politician's kit — all the more so in an age of instant, constant media. It can disarm an opponent, woo a skeptical voter or pierce an argument. This year, both Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are using it to try to win the upper hand in the presidential race.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Let's assess where the presidential race now stands. Mitt Romney made it through last night with three wins and no surprises, in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

MONTAGNE: Rick Santorum won nowhere but isn't giving up. In a moment we'll ask NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson how much longer this race can go on.

Until recently, "Obamacare" was a word mostly used by opponents of President Obama's health care law. Now, supporters of the law are attempting to claim it as their own.

During the three days of health care hearings, protesters outside of the Supreme Court in favor of the law returned to one chant more than any other: "We love Obamacare."

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

In the third and last day that the U.S. Supreme Court considered the Obama health care law, it turned its attention from the abstract legal issues to the very practical – what if it did overturn a key part of the law. In sessions in the morning and afternoon, the justices took on two separate questions related to the federal health care overhaul.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

An Army staff sergeant's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians has brought new calls for the United States to leave Afghanistan even before the timetable set by President Obama, who has announced that the U.S. combat mission will be over by the end of 2014.

Some Republican presidential candidates are among those publicly asking if now is the time for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan.

But not Mitt Romney.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

There was a big movie premier Thursday — big in the political world, anyway. This movie is actually an ad of sorts, designed in hopes that it will go viral and help President Obama's re-election prospects.

Every good political campaign has a motif, from President Obama's "hope" to John McCain's "maverick."

Mitt Romney's brand is still taking shape, yet one word finds its way into nearly every speech he gives.

"I want to restore America to our founding principles," the former Massachusetts governor said in Iowa.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

This weekend, Mitt Romney is doing something extraordinary; something he probably hasn't done in months. Nothing - nothing in public, at any rate. After weeks and weeks of nonstop campaigning, this is a rare weekend off.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Mitt Romney is on the road again, this time in the deep South. He's campaigning today in Mississippi and Alabama, both states that hold primaries next Tuesday. NPR's Ari Shapiro was at a Romney rally at a port on the Gulf of Mexico.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

It was the biggest day yet in the Republican presidential race. Mitt Romney hoped that Super Tuesday would reinforce his frontrunner status. And to some degree it did. He won six of the 10 states, including the most populous and hotly contested state, Ohio.

In a final burst of campaigning in Michigan on Tuesday, embattled GOP front-runner Mitt Romney complained that rival Rick Santorum was making automated phone calls to Democrats and urging them to vote against Romney in the Republican race. (Although only declared Republicans can vote in the party primary, voters can change their affiliation to cast a ballot.)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Along with Arizona, Michigan holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. If Rick Santorum beats native son Mitt Romney in Michigan, it could throw the race into turmoil.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The Republican race for president heads to Michigan and Arizona this week. Both states hold primaries on Tuesday. Former Governor Mitt Romney was in Michigan yesterday, his campaign bus logging more than 250 miles across the state. He's fighting the recent surge of former Senator Rick Santorum.

Romney held three events in three towns - Lansing, Troy and Flint - and NPR's Ari Shapiro was with him at all three stops.

Mitt Romney is on a bus tour across Michigan, hoping to win the votes of the state where he grew up. With primary day on Tuesday, Romney seems to have closed the gap in polls with Rick Santorum.

This trip has the feel of those early days campaigning back in New Hampshire, before any votes were actually cast: the long bus rides, the snowy landscape, even the impromptu restaurant drop-ins.

Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.

There was no 11th-hour surprise in the Nevada caucuses Saturday night. The first state in the West to vote in the Republican presidential race chose Mitt Romney, who won with support from a broad base and left his rivals trailing behind.

No Thanks To You, Mr. President

Nevada has been Romney country since at least 2008. That year, he took about half the vote in the caucuses but lost the Republican nomination to John McCain.

This year, he has his sights set higher.

Saturday is caucus day in Nevada, the first state in the West to vote as Republicans go about choosing their presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney is counting on another win here to keep him on the path to the nomination. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have also been campaigning across the state, while Rick Santorum is in the Midwest looking ahead to later contests next week.

Believe it or not, Nevada leads the country in unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcy.

There are not many things that President Obama, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney agree on, but when it comes to job training there is common ground.

"It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re-employment system that puts people to work," Obama said during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, Gingrich offered a similar solution for helping those facing long-term unemployment.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It wasn't too long ago Mitt Romney looked like he was on a winning streak; that maybe if things kept going his way, he could sweep all the early primary and caucus states. Now, his record is one for three.

The GOP presidential candidate forum held Saturday in Charleston, S.C., was not exactly a debate. In fact, it was sort of the opposite of a debate.

The event was moderated by Fox News host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. All the candidates except for Ron Paul attended, but they never actually shared the stage. They were explicitly prohibited from attacking — or even mentioning — each other.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And Mitt Romney spent the last week celebrating a major victory and then fending off some major attacks. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Aiken, South Carolina.

As New Hampshire voters headed to the polls Tuesday, we spoke with several as they left polling places in Manchester and Bedford.

Dan Yarrington, who owns a series of game stores in Manchester, told us he voted for Ron Paul for his foreign policy stance and his philosophy on government spending.

On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.

When Mitt Romney kicked off this past week with a blitzkrieg tour of Iowa, he had no way of knowing just how true this statement would be: "You guys in Dubuque, you're the best. Get out there and vote tomorrow. I need every vote!"

He wasn't kidding. When the final numbers were tallied in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor edged his closest rival, Rick Santorum, by the smallest margin in Iowa history — just eight votes.

Pages