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.
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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.
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.
Reporter Adam Davidson is related to George W. Bush.
Host Ira Glass goes to jail in Bristol County, Massachussetts, where there's a large Portuguese community, and where even a law-and-order sheriff named Tom Hodgson opposes this particular immigration law. He also talks with inmate Jorge Aruda, who's being deported for a crime he already served his sentence for.
Producer Blue Chevigny tells more of the story from Bristol County, where the immigration law of 1996 has a community of non-political people reluctantly going to protests, attending meetings at night, talking to politicians, and doing all sorts of other things most of us would do anything to avoid.
Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman Bill Strassberger explains why INS opposes parts of the 1996 immigration law, even while it enforces it. Congressman Barney Frank—whose district includes Bristol County—argues that most of his colleagues in Congress had no idea what they were voting for when they voted for key portions of the law.
Host Ira Glass speaks with two people who believe they've uncovered behind-the-scenes conspiracies but can't be sure. Attorney Andy Hail has sued the two biggest supermarkets in Chicago (Dominick's and Jewel) because they charge a dollar more for milk than stores around the country, and because their prices seem to change simultaneously, as if orchestrated.
We hear the first part of our story about Archer Daniels Midland and FBI informant Mark Whitacre. In this half, Whitacre inadvertently ends up a cooperating witness—and turns himself into one of the best cooperating witnesses in the history of U.S. law enforcement, gathering evidence with an adeptness few have matched.
Sarah Vowell visits four Presidential libraries on a fact-finding tour for...President Clinton. Not that he asked her.
What if you're remembered in ways that you don't like? What if you're remembered for something someone else did? In this act, we consider the case of Marguerite Oswald, mother of Lee Harvey Oswald. In 1965 she spent three days with reporter Jean Stafford, who wrote about Mrs.
A small-town mayor tries to keep a developer from building in his town...and it results in the kind of snowballing fiasco by the end of which the town literally doesn't exist anymore. Alix Spiegel tells that story, which she produced with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Host Ira Glass talks with Jack E. Robinson, Republican candidate for Senate in Massachusetts.
Dirty political attacks go back to the very beginning of the American Republic. What's different today, says historian Richard Norton Smith, is that television and the other electronic media have made our contact with the candidates so intimate.
David Foster Wallace reports on a turning point in past Presidential primaries: The moment when John McCain failed to respond well to an attack by George Bush...which arguably ended up costing him the election.
Former political consultant Ron Susskind says that when he began in politics, he thought there was nothing lower than negative campaigning. But then in 1980 he learned that sometimes when your opponent attacks you, it can actually help you.
There is an entire class of consultant who does nothing but help people and companies that are under public attack. Eric Dezenhall is one of them.
What happens when seventh graders become an angry mob? Karen Bernstein reports on her own seventh grade class from small-town Connecticut. In 1973, a teacher turned them into an angry mob, an event they all remember decades later.
Bill Bradley press secretary Julia Rothwax explains how a political crush works. This is a crush that wants only for a candidate to get elected to office.
Three days into the beginning of the new millenium, Kahari Mosley and Garcia Suzinko left home to do something they'd never done before: They took a twelve-hour bus ride to New Hampshire to volunteer for a Presidential campaign. What they saw...and what moved them to volunteer in the first place.
Here in America, here's how we interact with our political candidates: We dispatch middlemen to the scene, they listen to what the candidates say, they research the candidates' backgrounds, and they tell us what they think is most important. Those middlemen, of course, are journalists.
Usually it's difficult to get to know the front-runner in a Presidential race. With the most to lose, front-runners are the least spontaneous candidates.
Alex Blumberg tells the story of citizens who feel perfectly connected to their candidate of choice. Citizens who feel inspired by him.