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Updated: 30 min 36 sec ago

John Kerry's Ambitious First Year

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 6:40am

The secretary of state set big goals this year, from restarting the Mideast peace process to ending the civil war in Syria and curbing Iran's nuclear program. NPR's Jennifer Ludden talks with David Ignatius of The Washington Post about how much progress Kerry has made this year.

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Family Leave Laws Enacted In 10 Cities And States In 2013

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 6:40am

NPR's Jennifer Ludden speaks with Vicki Shabo, director of work and family programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families, about efforts to make family leave mandatory.

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Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 8:23am

As Vice President Joe Biden enters his sixth year as President Obama's second-in-command, there comes the natural question: What's next? A long-time senator, Biden has run for president before, and is making some moves that suggest he may do so one last time.

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The Ups And Downs Of The GOP Year

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 6:54am

The last few days of 2013 have been some of the best of the year for the Republican Party, which came out on top in congressional races in a poll this week. NPR's political editor Ron Elving joins Linda Wertheimer for a look back at the GOP's rollercoaster political year, from the partial government shutdown to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

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Other Presidents Had Tough Second Terms, Too

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 6:54am

President Obama stopped short of admitting he's had a pretty tough year in his final press conference of 2013. Historian Robert Dallek joins NPR's Linda Wertheimer for a look back at the year, and to put Obama's trying times in context with other presidents who had difficult second terms.

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With Congress Gone, D.C. Takes On Effortless Beauty

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 6:54am

Washington, D.C., clears out in the last weeks of December, as members of Congress and their staffs head back to their home districts for the holidays. NPR's Linda Wertheimer enjoys walking the quiet streets, and uses that time to reflect on the past year in politics.

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Federal Jobless Benefits Set To End For More Than 1 Million

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 7:26pm

Congress goes home without approving an extension of benefits for 1.3 million Americans, but President Obama is pushing for a vote in January.

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5 Achievements Of The 113th Congress (So Far)

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 2:06pm

The 113th Congress has come to be defined more by what it failed to do than what it did. But the two warring parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill managed to accomplish a few things in 2013.

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New York City's Bloomberg Leaves Mixed Results On Health

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 1:16pm

Bloomberg reduced smoking in New York City but failed to match that much copied success with other campaigns, such as one to lower obesity rates by regulating the size of sodas sold in city fast-food . restaurants.

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Stories Merge As 'Duck Dynasty' Fans Plan 'Chick-Phil-A' Day

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 12:58pm

Last year, conservatives rallied around Chick-fil-A's president. Now, some are doing the same for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, who's been suspended from his show for things he said about homosexuals. And they're planning a similar show of support.

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How Michael Bloomberg Became The Most Influential Mayor Of The Century (So Far)

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 7:19am

By example and personal wealth, Bloomberg has changed not just city management in New York but the way mayors all over the country approach their jobs. He steps down on Jan. 1.

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Obama's Position On Free Trade Marks Subtle Evolution

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 3:16am

Two decades after NAFTA created a giant North American free trade zone, the U.S. is negotiating more big trade deals that would span the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Obama has embraced the potential agreements as a way to improve the U.S. economy.

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Looking Back On A Roller Coaster Year For The GOP

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 3:16am

It's been a long year since Republicans vowed to rebrand their party as friendlier to women, minorities and younger voters. Even if its longer term problems remain, the party finds itself in surprisingly good shape going into the 2014 midterms.

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President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 3:50pm

The bipartisan spending measure eases mandatory sequestration cuts over the next two years and the defense authorization gives the Pentagon $527 billion for fiscal 2014.

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How 2013 Became The 'Gayest Year Ever'

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 3:34pm

Utah's surprise decision to legalize same-sex marriage caps a landmark year for gay rights. The last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures, to Congress, to the Supreme Court.

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Iowa Opens The Doors To Medicaid Coverage, On Its Own Terms

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 3:19pm

Iowa initially chose not to expand Medicaid to thousands of beneficiaries under the Affordable Care Act. But it's come up with a plan that uses federal money to pay for expansion, while writing its own rules. Beneficiaries will have to pay a small premium, for instance.

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In 2013, Federal Workers Found New Reason To Be Unhappy

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 12:51pm

A recent survey shows that furloughs and hiring freezes conspired to dampen morale. But if federal workers are feeling undervalued, their job security remains high.

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Future Series: Examining Education

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 3:02am

Our series on the future continues with a discussion about education. Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Linda Darling-Hammond, a former adviser to President Obama, who is dismayed to see his administration build on the high-stakes testing requirements introduced by the Bush administration.

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Gun Control Lobby Takes Note Of Opposition's Success

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 2:17am

Momentum to pass tighter gun laws surged after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., a year ago. But a provision to expand background checks failed in the Senate. In that loss, gun control activists say they learned some important lessons from those who lobbied against them.

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