Incumbent presidents generally try to cast their re-election contest as a choice between the imperfect but well-meaning and effective occupant of the White House and the far worse alternative offered by the rival party.
Challengers, on the other hand, try to frame a presidential race as a referendum on the sitting president whose record nearly always contains missteps, or who can be blamed for trouble in the economy or elsewhere.
In short, whether it's the president or the challenger, the way the game is played requires each to define the opposition as well as himself.
On the plus side, the ADP National Employment Report issued this morning estimates there were 209,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in March. And ADP's data often are something of a predictor for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will have to say when it issues its monthly numbers. Those March figures are due on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Life is not back to normal for everybody in the town of Lancaster, Texas. A state of emergency has been declared there, and the city of Arlington, as well, following yesterday's storms in the Dallas area.
Nine national medical groups are launching a campaign called Choosing Wisely to get U.S. doctors to back off on 45 diagnostic tests, procedures and treatments that often may do patients no good.
Many involve imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. Stop doing them, the groups say, for most cases of back pain, or on patients who come into the emergency room with a headache or after a fainting spell, or just because somebody's about to undergo surgery.
Former Arapahoe County (Colo.) sheriff Patrick Sullivan, who back in December was charged with trying to trade methamphetamine for sex with a man, "pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of meth possession and soliciting prostitution," Denver's KUSA-TV reports.
After going 0-for-3 in Tuesday's presidential primaries, a defiant Rick Santorum dismissed calls to drop out and predicted he'll win the next contest in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24.
He'll have to — and not because it would put the former Pennsylvania senator on a path to defeat front-runner Mitt Romney, who has been racking up delegates and is increasingly seen as the inevitable nominee.
A loss in Pennsylvania, where recent polls show Santorum is weakening, would "destroy the rationale for him continuing," says Pennsylvania pollster G. Terry Madonna.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with an early Easter for the dogs of Edmond, Oklahoma. The city's parks and recreation department hosted an Easter egg hunt for dogs. The Daily Oklahoman reports that over 70 dogs took part in the first ever Hound Hunt, sniffing out more than 700 treat-filled plastic eggs, including two silver eggs as grand prizes. One canine contestant went all out, donning a pair of plush rabbit ears for the occasion. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Brittney Griner (#42) of the Baylor Lady Bears blocks a shot attempt by Kayla McBride (#23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during Tuesday night's NCAA Division I women's basketball championship game in Denver.
His wins Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Maryland and — most importantly — in Wisconsin has produced a subtle shift in the way Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is being referred to by the news media.
NPR's business news starts with a Silicon Valley lawsuit.
Facebook has fired back in its patent dispute with Yahoo. The social networking site says Yahoo products, including the photo-sharing site Flicker, are infringing on 10 of Facebook's patents. Facebook's legal action is a counter-claim to a suit filed by Yahoo last month, also claiming 10 patent infringements. The pending court battle is a distraction for Facebook as it prepares to go public - a move that could see the company valued at up to $100 billion.
On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
The Baylor Lady Bears have their title and a piece of history too. Last night in Denver, Baylor won a women's college basketball championship that many expected. The Lady Bears beat Notre Dame 80-61 to go undefeated and then became the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games in a season. NPR's Tom Goldman reports the player who led Baylor all year was the star once again.
DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: I'm David Welna in Mars, Pennsylvania. If there was bad news for Rick Santorum last night from the primary results, his supporters who flocked to a suburban hotel ballroom didn't want to know about it.
(SOUNDBITE OF RALLY)
WELNA: Santorum told them only half the game has been played so far, and that it was good to be back in this stronghold of conservative voters, just 20 miles from where he grew up.
After many months of bad new and devastation to its stock price, the British satellite TV giant BSkyB will try to move forward under new leadership.
NPR's Philip Reeves says this follows the resignation yesterday of its chairman, Rupert Murdoch's son, James.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: James Murdoch announced his departure, acknowledging he's worried his role in Britain's phone-hacking scandal was threatening to hurt BSkyB. He doesn't want to be a lightening rod in a storm. That storm shows no sign of passing any time soon.
American universities, like American companies, have been looking to expand into new markets. They open campuses overseas. And now many private colleges are looking for growth back home, building satellite campuses around the United States. Now, any given public college may spread campuses across a state, but private institutions reach across state lines. Here's Monica Brady-Myerov from member station WBUR.
Alaska is trying to limit the pain of divorce. A program called Early Resolution aims to help couples settle their cases quickly and amicably. Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt attended an Early Resolution session.
ANNIE FEIDT, BYLINE: This is a serious story about the legal system and divorce. And one thing you do not expect to hear during an afternoon in court is laughter.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: So I just started recording, if that's okay.
Herbert Burtis' spouse, John Ferris (left), died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.
Credit Courtesy of GLAD
Herbert Burtis is one of 17 gay men and lesbians who are part of a lawsuit on whether the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.
"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."
His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.