Though millions of Americans watched the televised speech, the president's ostensible audience was right in front of him - Congress. His relations with many Republican lawmakers are icy at best. And even his alliances with Democrats had been put under stress at times in the past year.
The lawmakers' responses to the speech ranged from predictable to somewhat surprised. NPR's Andrea Seabrook listened to lawmakers after the speech.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. At Disneyland and Disney World, everyone working there has a clean-cut image. It goes back to the 1950s, when Disneyland first opened and facial hair was banned. Even though Uncle Walt Disney had one, moustaches weren't even allowed until 2000. But starting next month, employees will finally be allowed to have beards, as long as they're kept short and trim, unless maybe you're one of the seven dwarves. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi is best known for eating hot dogs. He once ate 69 in 10 minutes. Now he's on to a different food. TV host Wendy Williams invited Kobayashi on her show to set the Guiness record for most Twinkies consumed in a minute. There was no previous record for Twinkie eating.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
GREENE: The latest Republican debate - last night in Florida - was more subdued than when the candidates last took the stage, in South Carolina. But still, it contained plenty of sharp jabs. After it was over, another dramatic turn in the race, with new revelations about Mitt Romney's taxes. We'll explore those numbers in depth, in a few minutes.
The two dominant candidates for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts say they want to keep superPAC ads out of the state. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren have signed a pledge requiring that each candidate donate half the cost of any outside ad to charity, if that ad either supports their candidacy or attacks their opponent.
As we've been reporting on the program this morning, Mitt Romney went on the attack at the GOP presidential debate in Florida last night. His target was rival Newt Gingrich, who was forced to defend his record as House speaker and later as a consultant to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich denied charges of influence peddling that were leveled by Romney. And Gingrich said he was the type of bold, tough leader Washington needs.
The hotly-contested Republican primary has gotten a lot of attention lately. Tuesday night, President Obama has a chance to reclaim the spotlight. He's delivering his annual State of the Union address. It's a high-profile platform for the president as he tries to frame the choice facing voters in November.
You might remember, last summer, the U.S. women's soccer team caught the attention of the nation with its dramatic run to the final of the women's world cup in Germany. Well, this week, the team is playing in an all-important, Olympic-qualifying tournament in Vancouver. And Christine Brennan is there covering the event for USA Today.
NPR's business news starts with another powerful woman in Brazil.
The Brazilian state oil company has a new chief executive. Her name is Maria das Gracas Foster. Petrobras is the world's fifth-largest oil producer, and Foster becomes the first woman to run a top-five oil company. This comes as the firm looks to double its production by 2020.
The company's stocks surged on news of the appointment. Foster will be the second-most powerful woman in Brazil, after the president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And our last word in business today is a pat-down throwdown. The Transportation Safety Administration says it did not detain Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. But officials at the agency did stop one of their most outspoken critics while he was going through the airport security line in Nashville yesterday.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Republican senator was going through a body scanner when the alarm went off. Apparently, it was an anomaly. Then, he refused to submit to a pat-down, so he was escorted out of the screening area.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
A string of debates and primaries has kept the Republican presidential candidates in the spotlight this election season. Tonight, it's the president's turn to take center stage. President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union Address, and in many ways kick off his own campaign for re-election. It's a reminder that Mr. Obama is running for president.
Seventy five years ago, before Theodor Geisel rocked the culinary world with green eggs and ham or put a red-and-white striped top hat on a talking cat, Geisel (who you probably know better as Dr. Seuss) was stuck on a boat, returning from a trip to Europe.
For eight days, he listened to the ship's engine chug away. The sound got stuck in his head and he started writing to the rhythm. Eventually, those rhythmic lines in his head turned into his first children's book: It was called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
To spend a day in the life of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, there are a few things you have to get used to. Really long drives, for one. Tigers charging at you. And, of course ... well ... messes.
"I'm the only studio portrait photographer I know whose subjects routinely poop and pee on the background right in front of me," he says from behind the lens.
The New York Giants made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over San Francisco. The New England Patriots made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over Baltimore. Now Las Vegas oddsmakers are taking bets on the big game. The Patriots are favored to win by three.
Court opinions are usually not that exciting but a judge in Chicago is trying to liven up his rulings with illustrations. In one, he used an iconic photo of Bob Marley. The case was about a prisoner's right to keep his dreadlocks on religious grounds.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida following a big loss over the weekend to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Romney told a crowd that Gingrich resigned in disgrace after four years as speaker of the House.
Announcers also remembered Joe Paterno during yesterday's pro football games. Those two conference championships on Sunday determined the lineup for the Super Bowl. The New York Giants will play the New England Patriots in a rematch of a Super Bowl from four years ago. Neither team made it to the big game easily. Both have great quarterbacks, but on Sunday, both had to rely on defense. Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.
Here's a name back in the news: R. Allen Stanford. In the midst of the financial crisis he was charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme against thousands of investors in the United States and Latin America. Now his trial is set to begin today in Houston.
From member station KUHF, Andrew Schneider has more.
And now, let's bring in NPR's Cokie Roberts, as we do most Mondays. Cokie, good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: Well, yesterday, Newt Gingrich was all over the airwaves saying this is now a two-man race, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney - no Rick Santorum in there, as far as he's concerned, or Ron Paul, for that matter.
Over the past half-century more than 20 million acres of U.S. farmland were transformed into housing developments. With new home construction all but stopped, farmers in many areas are buying or leasing land once slated for development and planting crops on it.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
Having sent observers to examine protests in Syria, Arab leaders have offered a plan to end the violence there. The proposal comes from the Arab League, a group of Arab nations. And NPR's Kelly McEvers has been following this story. She's in Beirut.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: Hello.
INSKEEP: OK. So what do the Arab leaders want to do?
The two men who helped turn the BlackBerry into a device many people can't live without have stepped aside. Research in Motion is the company behind the BlackBerry and Sunday its co-CEOs resigned. They were under a lot of pressure as investors wonder whether the Canadian firm can turn itself around and compete better with flashier phones like the iPhone.
Tens of thousands of people are attending the Jaipur Literature Festival in India — including many international literary stars and Oprah Winfrey. Author Salman Rushdie was invited but decided not to attend after a warning that hit men would be after him. Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses which has been banned in India for more than 20 years.
David Greene checks in with Jennifer Gibbons, editor of "The Cordova Times" in Cordova, Alaska. We last heard from her two weeks ago when her community had declared an emergency during its efforts to dig out of record amounts of snow.
A burly beast of a man bursts into a presidential press conference and is shot in the leg by secret police. Two days later, the White House reveals that the befuddled intruder with a handlebar mustache is really former President William Howard Taft.
So begins Taft 2012, a novel that gives a satirical take on contemporary politics through the eyes of a president who served a century ago. Author Jason Heller places Taft in a 21st-century election campaign, where he is forced to sit in bars on New Year's Eve and master Twitter along the way.
Booksellers and publishers are worried that Amazon is going to devour their industry. The giant online retailer seems to have its hands in all aspects of the business, from publishing books to selling them — and that has some in the book world wondering if there is any end to Amazon's influence.