Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has been the hot story in the GOP presidential contest this month. Over the weekend, Santorum raised eyebrows with comments on public education, prenatal testing and what he called President Obama's "phony theology." Santorum was making waves just days ahead of the next Republican debate on Wednesday, and the next primaries in Michigan and Arizona six days later.
Let's talk more about where Rick Santorum stands and about his rivals, with NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Now, we just heard from Sonari that Rick Santorum has surged in Michigan, and that would be, of course, Mitt Romney's native state. And that is one that Romney really cannot afford to lose. So what is he doing to stop Santorum, as of today, and what's it looking like?
This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
Senegal, on the coast of West Africa, has been something of a model of stability for a region known for its volatility. But this past week has brought protests and violence to Senegal after demonstrations over a presidential election this coming weekend led to clashes with riot police. We've got NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the line from the capital Dakar to tell us what is going on there.
This piece was not my idea. It was Linda Holmes'. If you're reading this blog, you probably share my regard for her take on popular culture. So my ears pricked up when she suggested I look into doing a radio piece on Kyle Killen.
This President's Day, a group of historians in Washington, D.C., decided they wanted to do something different to recognize the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. But how do you memorialize someone who is already one of the most memorialized people in history?
Their solution: to physically illustrate Lincoln's importance by creating a tower of books written about him. The tower measures about eight feet around and 34 feet — that's three and a half stories tall.
Call it the resurrection of the time slot of death.
For years, Friday nights have carried a grisly reputation — where shows on broadcast networks are sent to die. But a certain kind of cable show has recently performed well — even really well — on Friday nights.
This President's Day weekend, a new exhibition opens at George Washington's Mt. Vernon. It's called Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington. It displays Mrs. Washington's hand-written recipes along with her pots and pans. It honors the labor-intensive role slaves had in the kitchen.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Despite its iconic place in film history, demolition has begun on the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois. It was the setting for a famous scene in the movie, "The Blues Brothers." The heroes escaped from police by driving their blues mobile through the mall, destroying stores, mannequins flying in the air. The high speed chase in the 1980 film was the most action the mall has seen in a long time. It's been closed since '79. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In a letter addressed to Congress, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe calls for slashing 150,000 jobs - mostly through retirements. The most significant savings Donahoe suggests would come from the Postal Service breaking away from the federal health benefits plan.
Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.
And at his stops in Michigan yesterday, Rick Santorum spoke of economic revival through low taxes, fewer regulations and his commitment to conservative family values.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Rick Santorum can't outspend Romney in Michigan, and he's facing a barrage of ads on radio and TV paid for by the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future. The ads attack Santorum's U.S. Senate record.
Fridays used to be infamous as the worst night for TV ratings. It was where shows went to die. Now, between DVRs and people not going out because of the lousy economy, Friday has become a perfectly respectful night to have a certain kind of show on TV and even become a hit.
Dave Mustaine, the lead singer of Megadeth, says he was "completely oblivious" to Rick Santorum, but now likes the guy in the sweater vest. According to Rolling Stone, Mustaine dislikes Mitt Romney, and calls Newt Gingrich an "angry little man."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with a story of a childhood dream. And when you grew up in the family of the famous Flying Wallendas, that would be walking a two-inch tightrope across Niagara Falls. Nic Wallenda yesterday got special permission to attempt the kind of breathtaking feat that's been banned since the 19th century when daredevils rolled over the falls in barrels. He says his dream is to, quote, "walk down through the mist and walk back out." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Thailand says three Iranians arrested this week were planning to assassinate Israeli diplomats in Bangkok. The bombs went off on Tuesday, wounding one Iranian and four Thai residents. Since then, Israel and Iran have been trading accusations of waging shadow warfare against each other through a series of recent attempted assassinations in several countries.
Jeremy Lin was an unknown benchwarmer for the New York Knicks until a few weeks ago. But after a series of breakout performances, the Taiwanese-American, who is a Harvard grad, is the toast of the NBA. NPR's Margot Adler caught up with some Knicks fans before Wednesday night's home game to get a taste of Linsanity.
China's Vice President Xi Jinping is hitting all the hotspots on his American tour. He's already been to Washington, D.C. and to the White House. Later today, he heads to Los Angeles. And, of course, yesterday he was in Iowa. He has a personal connection to that state, and Iowa farmers now have reason to be glad he does.
Today's last word in business is: snap, crackle and crunch.
Kellogg, the name behind many boxes in the cereal aisle, will now have its name on cans of Pringles. Kellogg bought the potato chip brand from Proctor and Gamble yesterday for $2.7 billion. The company put down the big bucks for Pringles to capitalize on yet another growing consumer demand in places like China and India - a new taste for snack.
And that's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.
The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
We're following several developments in Iran's confrontation with the west. President Obama's administration is talking of even stricter sanctions against Iran's financial system. That's part of an effort to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The Greece debt crisis has forced the country to look to the eurozone for a bailout. But Greece is looking less and less like part of Europe. In the capital Athens, they are still cleaning up from the weekend riots. Even in its tourist precincts, the area is shabby and covered with graffiti.