politics

Poet Claudia Rankine (center) speaks with moderator Eric Liu (left) and playwright, Robert Schenkkan at the Citizen University National Confernence at the Seattle Center in March.
Alabastro Photography

What do you do in moments when race enters the room? That's just one of the topics that poet Claudia Rankine delved into during the annual Citizen University National Conference. 

The conference brings together community leaders, artists and activists to discuss the art and practice of citizenship. The organization's motto is “Let’s Do Democracy!”

Editor's Note: This is a reporter's notebook from NPR's Tamara Keith, who is covering the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The e-mail from the Clinton campaign came late on Monday. Meet at the Panera Bread in Davenport, Iowa, at 9:45 in the morning. I was to be one of about a dozen reporters in a press pool given access to an unpublicized stop. What we quickly learned was that the restaurant was a decoy. The unannounced meet-and-greet was happening at a small coffee shop 20 minutes away in Le Claire.

The first presidential candidates have declared, and that means Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all have shiny new logos to go with their new campaigns.

This early in the campaign, with little actual substance to pick apart so far, the logos are prime bait on the Internet, attracting supporters, haters, wanna-be graphic designers and more.

Navigating cultural issues like same-sex marriage and immigration has proved tricky for Republicans.

The country has grown rapidly more accepting of gay and lesbian marriage and relationships. And despite a shrinking base of white support and a fast-growing Latino population, Republicans have struggled to adjust.

Marco Rubio, the charismatic, Hispanic, young (and even younger-looking) freshman senator from Florida is launching his campaign for the White House Monday in Miami.

Rubio, 43, will be entering a growing field of candidates. Right now, he's considered a second-tier candidate, polling behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the man Rubio has called a mentor.

That could change once he gets in. Rubio's advisers believe he has a path to the nomination, with assets few other candidates can match.

Many Americans have a pre-formed opinion of Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce her candidacy for president this weekend. Call it a blessing — or, simply, an inevitable effect — of being in the public eye for so long. But Clinton has long implied that the public perception of her is all wrong.

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.

Pages