Don Gonyea

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This week's Conservative Political Action Conference has drawn a huge crowd of activists and politicos, per usual — but it's also a prime spot for 2016 presidential hopefuls. The GOP's potential candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Bobby Jindal — are rolling on and off the main stage, hoping to fire up the conservative audience. And how well they do with this crowd — an important part of their base — may say a lot about 2016. Here are five things I'll be watching for at CPAC:

The road to the White House begins with voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and in a handful of other states that hold primaries and caucuses early that winnow the field of candidates.

But those aren't the only stops on a would-be president's itinerary these days. There are also, increasingly, early trips outside the U.S. — to a city that's become a major draw for potential candidates: London.

Londoners welcome a chance for a sneak peek at possible presidents who are eager to be seen on the world stage.

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For his first major speech since confirming that he's exploring a presidential run, Jeb Bush chose an interesting location: Detroit.

Speaking to the city's Economic Club, an establishment institution in the Motor City for more than eight decades, he praised the city's emergence from bankruptcy.

There is not a lot of love between the U.S. labor movement and those on the long list of potential 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls. But there is one name among the GOP prospects that labor truly despises — and fears. He is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who weakened unions in his own state and appears ready to make his battles with labor a centerpiece of a bid for the White House.

Take a nearly century-old theater in downtown Des Moines. Fill it to capacity — that's 1,200 audience members and another 200 credentialed media — bring in a lineup that includes almost 10 would-be, might-be, could-be Republican presidential hopefuls, and it's looking like the 2016 campaign is officially underway.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a conservative from the northwest corner of the state, is hosting the Iowa Freedom Summit Saturday along with Citizens United.

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The World War II era is about to officially draw to a close in the United States Congress. This comes after seven full decades during which there was always a veteran of that war in the legislative body.

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Republicans see a chance for a takeover of the Senate this November, and they are hoping the path to victory leads through Michigan. That's where six-term Democratic Sen. Carl Levin is retiring.

Even though Democrats dominate the state in the presidential elections, the GOP does much better in midterms when voter turnout is lower.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in New Hampshire on Wednesday, technically on 2014 election business. But he was also there to make an impression for 2016. It seems every time you turn around in the early primary states, you bump into another potential — let's say likely — candidate for president. Count Christie in the pack.

All of this as he's been dealing with fallout from the "Bridgegate" scandal involving massive traffic jams created by politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Hillary Clinton, who has a huge lead in many early presidential polls, returned to Iowa on Sunday. The woman who says she has not yet decided on a 2016 presidential run appeared along with former President Bill Clinton in a state she has not visited since she lost the 2008 Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama.

Her speech at the annual steak fry hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a must-attend event for state Democratic activists, revealed little about her intentions — but also did nothing to dampen the widespread belief that she will indeed run.

Forty years ago, America was getting to know a new president: Gerald Ford. He took office after scandal forced the resignation of Richard Nixon, famously declaring: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Taking on the presidency meant a transfer of power unlike any the country had ever seen. Ford often said he had never aspired to the White House. But there he was, in the summer of 1974.

It's the summer of a campaign year and once again the airwaves, the Internet, and likely your own Facebook and other social media feeds are full of political ads.

In the primaries, we've already seen ads featuring cartoon turtles, gator wrestling, lots of dogs, horses and, of course, guns — propped against pickup trucks or resting over shoulders.

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Republicans have been using the 2012 attack in Libya against her. Analysts say while Hillary Clinton is talking about Benghazi, she is defining the issue herself well ahead of any political campaign.

The Senate votes Thursday on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Health and Human Services Secretary, replacing Kathleen Sebelius. Burwell was running the Office of Management and Budget.

Could President Obama one day motivate future generations to run for office, the way that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have? It's too early to tell if a trend will take hold, but there is at least one key Obama campaign veteran now running for statewide office.

Brad Anderson was the spokesman for Obama's 2008 Iowa campaign. Four years later, he ran the president's entire Iowa operation. Now Anderson is running for Iowa secretary of state.

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A local elections official has ruled that Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, who's served in the House for nearly 50 years, has failed to collect enough valid signatures to appear on the Democratic primary ballot. He's appealing the decision; if he loses, it could be an ignominious end to a distinguished career.

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President Obama is in Austin, Texas, honoring the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's one of four U.S. presidents to appear at a civil rights summit this week.

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And I'm Melissa Block, this week in Dallas at member station KERA.

Google Glass is looking to be the next must-have digital device. The small computer you wear like eyeglasses allows you to surf the Web, email, text, take photos, shoot and stream live video and more — hands-free.

For now Google Glass is in very limited release, but even so, political professionals are eagerly exploring how it could become a powerful campaign tool.

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

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