November 3, 2000


Stories for the eve of the Presidential election, in which we try to evade, sidestep or look beneath the candidates' soundbites.


Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad. It led to a wave of television ads for student office at the school, most of which misunderstood what made Futterman's ad so successful. (7 minutes)
Act One

Fools Rush In

A Michigan millionaire tries to swing his swing state, using only his voice, his millions, and major market radio ad time. A report on Jeffrey Fieger, who helped swing his state to McCain during the primaries with several irreverant attack ads against Bush. In this age when we all wish our politicians would shoot from the hip, Fieger delivers, for good and bad. Contributing editor Jack Hitt goes with Fieger to the studio, as Fieger records a new set of anti-Bush spots for the general election. (13 minutes)
Act Two

What We Talk About When We Talk About The Issues

The 2000 election season was strange in that many of the issues that the candidates debated most heatedly were ones that most of us have no handle on—prescription drug policy, social security solvency...and educational accountability. Producer Alex Blumberg travels to North Carolina, a state where many of the promises both candidates make regarding education are already in place. He finds, not surprisingly, that they work better as soundbite than as policy, and that if the two candidates get their way with education, it'll push it in a direction most North Carolina teachers find alarming. (23 minutes)

Act Three

Nepotism: A Beginner's Guide

Reporter Adam Davidson is related to George W. Bush. You might be too. By some freak of genealogy, half of all Americans are, if they just delve back far enough. But Adam has six 17th-century relatives in common with George Bush...and it perplexes him. How did the Bushes become a dynasty, while Adam has to borrow money from his girlfriend for the rent? He consults genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts about what the Bush family did right and where the Davidson family went wrong. Adam's family tree, linking him to George W.—is online here. (11 minutes)