politics

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House Tuesday on his website. The 52-year-old former ophthalmologist's libertarian roots sets him apart from the expansive field of Republican hopefuls, most notably in foreign policy and issues like defense spending.

His father Ron Paul, also a physician, gained notoriety in the late-1980s as a presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, but there are signs the younger Paul is moving more mainstream Republican.

It's not hard to reach presidential candidate Ryan Shepard; he doesn't have a media relations office or a slick-tongued press secretary.

Shepard, 40, is a bartender at Roc Brewing Co. in Rochester, N.Y., while also working toward a bachelor's degree in creative writing at nearby SUNY Brockport. He plans to enroll in an master of fine arts writing program after he graduates.

He is also just as much a candidate for U.S. president as Ted Cruz, who was billed by many as the first and only candidate to file so far.

Following a firestorm of criticism, Republican governors in Indiana and Arkansas signed revised versions of their states' Religious Freedom Restoration bills Thursday night. In Indiana the language was adjusted, and in Arkansas it was significantly scaled back to more closely align with the federal law.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — not just a rank-and-file House member — alleged Tuesday that Hillary Clinton likely broke the law with her use of private emails as secretary of state.

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy's Select Committee on Benghazi announced Friday in a statement that Hillary Clinton had wiped her private email server clean; that the committee is getting no additional emails from her; that it's leaving open the possibility of a third-party investigation; and that Republicans are promising to bring Clinton in for more questioning.

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he won't seek re-election next year.

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday.

A governor will take the oath of office for the second time in as many months in Oregon on Wednesday. Secretary of State Kate Brown will become the second woman to serve as the state's chief executive. She replaces fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber who is resigning amid a criminal ethics investigation.

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, "repeal and replace" has been the rallying cry for Republicans who opposed it. But now that most of the law's provisions have taken effect, some health experts are pitching ways to tweak it, rather than eliminate it.

An ideologically diverse panel at the National Health Policy Conference on Monday presented different ideas to make the law work better. But the panelists agreed on one thing: The Affordable Care Act is too complicated.

Marcie Sillman talks to Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation, about her book "Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights" and the argument for the pro-choice movement. 

In the first minute of his hourlong State of the Union address, President Barack Obama summed up his theme in single sentence: "Tonight, we turn the page."

The president then detailed a page of history filled with the financial crisis of 2008, the recession and unemployment and deficits that followed and the two distant and difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was a reminder of the ills that helped elevate young Sen. Obama to the Oval Office six years ago. And now, after many battles, he was ready to declare he had turned that page.

Incoming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott created a stir last week during a speech to the conservative and influential think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he accused Texas cities of contributing to the "California-ization" of Texas.

"The truth is, Texas is being California-ized with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans," Abbott said. "We're forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model."

U.S. Capital congress
Flickr Photo/Stephen Melkisethian (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Cathy Allen, political consultant and president of The Connections Group, about Washington state's political clout in Congress now that the majority party is Republican.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Ross Reynolds talks to Andrea Seabrook, founder of DecodeDC, about how local initiatives create laws in spite of the stalemate in Congress.

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