Senator Rand Paul first discussed his higher aspirations at the beginning of this year. He said he wouldn’t close the door on being a Vice Presidential candidate. After a speech in Louisville today, Paul held that door firmly open, saying he wants to be part of the national debate.
1:06pm: General Motors has announced its largest profit ever and is giving record $7000 profit-sharing checks to blue-collar workers. Still, there’s a poll from the Detroit News that shows half of conservative voters in Michigan say the anti-bailout positions that Republican presidential rivals Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have taken won’t affect their vote in the Feb. 28 primary.
1:12pm: Today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that US and Afghan officials are in negotiations with the Taliban. President Hamid Karzai says he’ll ask for Pakistan’s help in any peace settlement. We’ll get an update.
1:35pm: The fourth annual Derby City Film Festival begins tomorrow at the Clifton Center. It’s an event that has quickly grown during a relatively short existence. When Louisvillians Kristopher and Ashley Rommel launched the festival in 2008, they received about 150 submissions from independent filmmakers. This year, that number grew to more than 400. WFPL’s Rick Howlett speaks with festival co-founder Kristofer Rommel.
1:12pm: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has called Massachusetts’ health care law—which requires that every resident have health insurance or pay a fine—an “abject failure.” Santorum claims that health care costs have “blown a hole” in the Massachusetts budget. But in a poll conducted by Here and Now’s home station WBUR-Boston, 62 percent of residents surveyed support the measure that Mitt Romney signed into law five years ago. Why the disconnect? And what are the facts on the costs of health care reform? We’ll try to find out.
1:40pm: You’ve heard of flash mobs where people appear to randomly gather and break into elaborate song and dance routines. But now, a new phenomenon, called “cash mobs,” is spreading across the country. Instead of breaking into song, members of cash mobs break open their wallets to spend their money at locally-owned businesses. The idea is the brainchild of Buffalo blogger and engineer, Chris Smith. He says the idea is sort of a reverse Groupon. But instead of offering people bargain basement deals, the incentive is to infuse the local community with cash. We’ll find out how they work and what effect they have on the stores they visit.
Calling America’s wealth disparity the defining issue of our time, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., praised President Obama’s annual State of the Union as a strong and decisive speech.
The nationally televised address was framed with a call that every American deserves a fair shake and should pay their fair share. Before Mr. Obama’s address, White House aides defined the speech as a defense of the middle-class.
Yarmuth says the president outlined an impressive direction for the country, adding Mr. Obama has improved the economy from the recession he inherited.
“The last two and a half years have seen a dramatic improvement in our economic prospects. When you talk about going from losing 8 million jobs over a period of a year and then subsequently creating 3 million private sector jobs, there’s no question that things have gotten better. The ditch was incredibly deep and we’re slowly crawling out of it,” he says.
1:06pm: Under pressure to show voters his tax returns, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and Republican presidential hopeful, today posted returns from several years on his website. Last year, he paid $3 million in federal income taxes last year on nearly $21 million in income from investments and carried interest from the private equity firm, Bain Capital. This income is taxed at 15%, rather than as ordinary income, which can be taxed by as much as 35%. We’ll find out how it could play with voters.
1:12pm: In 2010, eight young people died in a warehouse fire in New Orleans. They were squatters—kids who had left their homes and families to hop on trains like modern day hobos, called travelers. Journalist Danelle Morton explores this lifestyle—one her daughter was attracted to—in The Boston Review. We’ll talk with Morton and her daughter, Marissa Spoer, a musician who dropped out of college to play music as a traveler.
1:35pm: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to update nutrition standards for school lunches tomorrow. The regulations are supposed to reflect the department’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is updated every five years. But the USDA has not made any changes to school nutrition in over 15 years. As WFPL’s Devin Katayama reports, many school districts have not waited to improve school menus.
Kentucky’s presidential primary is months away and tends to serve little purpose in selecting a major party nominee. But that doesn’t mean the event is being ignored.
At least one presidential hopeful is in front of the pack in Kentucky: Mitt Romney. The Republican frontrunner is the only candidate to have filed to run in the state’s primary so far.
Romney qualified for the ballot by showing he qualified in more than twenty other states, which is one of four ways Kentucky allows presidential ballot access.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says other big names have called about the primary as well.
“We have been contacted by President Obama’s campaign regarding the procedure to obtain ballot access,” she says. “We provided them with the necessary paperwork just as we have any other calls that we received. We received calls from Newt Gingrich’s campaign as well. But as I said we field tons of calls daily and some calls identify themselves, others don’t.”
Romney’s records show he also filed in neighboring Ohio, Tennessee andVirginia. But he hasnt yet filed in any other states with May primaries, making Kentucky the first for presidential politics in at least one category. ’
Grimes isn’t sure if Ron Paul, father of Kentucky’s junior senator Rand Paul, had told his campaign to call. She said no one from the Paul campaign identified themselves when calling, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t.
Kentucky hasn’t had an effect on presidential politics since 1988, when it had an earlier primary. The General Assembly moved the primary to May—when legislative offices are on the ballot—as a cost-cutting move.
Grimes says it would be up to lawmakers to move the primaries around again.
The filing deadline is January 31.
1:06pm: Mitt Romney’s commanding lead in New Hampshire has shrunk and some polls show Jon Huntsman closing in on second place. Could Huntsman have a breakout moment? We’ll talk about it.
1:12pm: At a conference in Berlin today, the leaders of France and Germany said boosting growth in the European economy is a priority. How can Europe jumpstart its economy?
1:35pm: More than 70% of the Italy’s economic output comes from small enterprises. The big problem is that small businesses aren’t growing. Economists worry that that could derail Italy’s efforts to dig out from under its two-and-a-half trillion dollar debt load. We’ll look at one small industry, at least, that’s been going strong for 150 years: the accordion industry.
1:40pm: ow do you explain New Hampshire to an outsider? It’s the only state in the nation without a mandatory seat belt law; motorcycle riders don’t have to wear helmets; and liquor stores are the first thing you see you as you drive into the state. New Hampshire comedian, Juston McKinney joins us with the lowdown on the ‘Live Free and Die’ state.
Joining his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., on the Republican presidential campaign trail, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ripped Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney as too liberal to defeat President Barack Obama in a general election.
The father and son duo are on the trail in Iowa, where Congressman Paul has surged and is considered a “rock star” for his libertarian views. According to the final poll released by the Des Moines Register, Congressman Paul is statistically tied with Romney and could pull of an upset.
Campaigning in Iowa, Sen. Paul pulled no punches about his father’s opponents.
On CBS’s “The Early Show,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said of Santorum, “On economic issues, like foreign aid — he’s voted for foreign aid repeatedly, he’s voted to double the size of the Department of Education. Old-school Reagan Republicans don’t believe in the Department of Education — Rick Santorum voted to double the size of the Department of Education.”
Moving on to Mitt Romney, the Kentucky senator said the former Massachusetts governor, too, would not be strong enough to beat the president.
“He supported the linchpin of ‘Obamacare’ — the individual mandate — and he supported the bank bailout,” he said. “All of these things wrapped together don’t make Romney a good opponent for Obama, either.”
1:06pm: Mitt Romney is trying to downplay the $10,000 bet he offered to Rick Perry in Saturday night’s GOP presidential candidates debate to try to disprove Perry’s claim that he deleted parts of his book that supported a health care mandate. Romney laughed off suggestions that his pricey bet sent the wrong message. We’ll find out how it’s playing with voters.
1:12pm: There’s been more dramatic testimony in the UK phone hacking inquiry. More reporters for News of the World have come forward to talk about their methods of reporting, and to defend phone hacking. The question on many minds remains, what did James Murdoch know, when did he know it? We’ll talk about it and what the answer could mean for the Murdoch empire.
1:35pm: Politicians and economic development officials like to speak in terms of “magic bullets.” Build this attraction, lure this industry, and our state will prosper. Do those big projects ever pay off? We’ll begin a four part series today.
1:40pm: From QR codes infected with malware to gift cards whose balances mysteriously disappear—the scam artists are out in full force for the holidays. We’ll have some advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Some highlights from today’s show.
1:06pm Because of his long career in politics, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he’s ready for the scrutiny that comes with being at the top in the polls. The GOP candidates head into another debate tonight where Gingrich is expected to come under attack because of his newfound frontrunner status. Mitt Romney unveils his first TV ad in New Hampshire, where President Obama pushes for an extension of his payroll tax cut.
1:11pm Newt Gingrich is the 6th candidate to rise to the top of the polls, as the GOP continues to search for an alternative to Mitt Romney, who’s still considered by analysts the most likely to win the nomination. Mark Meckler, co-founder of one of the largest Tea Party groups, Tea Party Patriots, told the LA Times that if Romney becomes the GOP nominee, “it would cause a drop-off of enthusiasm.” So how likely are Tea Party activists to turn to a 3rd party candidate in the general election? And what does the Tea Party want to hear in tonight’s debate?
1:20pm Forty-eight years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. We revisit a conversation Robin Young had with her neighbor, Priscilla McMillan. A community activist and scholar, McMillan was a speech writer for Kennedy in the 1950s. Then in 1959 as a reporter in Moscow, she spoke to a young defector, Lee Harvey Oswald. After Kennedy’s assassination, McMillan’s desire to find out more about why he was killed led her to befriend Oswald’s widow Marina, and write the book “Marina and Lee.”
1:34pm As part of the month-long series, “Hard Times: A Journey Across America,” NPR’s Debbie Elliott covered John Timmons and the closing of Ear X-Tacy. We’ll hear the feature.
WFPL News coverage of Ear X-Tacy
1:40pm 50 Years From Now, What Will Be ‘The Classics’? We remember the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, I Love Lucy, the Wonder Years and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger from decades past. What – if anything – will go down in history from our era?