politicians

It's the handshake some have waited more than 50 years for. And the handshake some hoped would never happen.

President Obama greeted Cuban President Raul Castro at a summit meeting in Panama Friday night. Their handshake helped crystalize the diplomatic thaw that began in December, when Obama declared an end to decades of official hostility.

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The United States has a long and complex relationship with Puerto Rico that changes dramatically depending on who is telling the tale. 

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Joseph Ganim, the former Bridgeport mayor who served seven years in prison for bribery, is weighing another run for the top office in Connecticut's largest city.

 The Democrat said Thursday on the "Chaz & AJ in the Morning" radio show on WPLR-FM that he's setting up an exploratory committee for a comeback bid.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Following a resounding victory in Tuesday’s election, Benjamin Netanyahu will now serve a fourth term as Israel’s Prime Minister. The win came just a day after Netanyahu announced he would not support the establishment of a Palestinian state, a statement he later clarified in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

Barack Obama let down his graying presidential hair a little bit on Wednesday. He also joked about coloring it.

Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, Obama seemed to be in a reflective mood. During the question-and-answer period, he was asked by a seventh-grader what advice he would give to himself now, if he could go back to his first day in office.

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Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse is back and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Lawmakers are hedging their bets and hoping to bring more casinos to an increasingly saturated gambling market. This time, current tribal casino leaders are ready to team up for one facility to compete with a future Springfield casino.

Also, why does Connecticut keep electing politicians who voters don't really love? New polling numbers from Quinnipiac University shows declining support for the recently re-elected Gov. Dannel Malloy. But you know a governor who was really popular? John Rowland! He now faces sentencing in federal court for his illegal activity in a 2012 congressional race.

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Earlier this week, 47 GOP senators signed a letter to Iranian leaders warning against a nuclear agreement. The letter comes less than a month before the Obama administration is scheduled to complete a draft deal on Iran’s nuclear programs, and just a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before the U.S. Congress. 

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A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University and released on Thursday shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to dominate fellow Democrats in an early look at a possible 2016 run for the White House. 

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET.

It may have been politically rude, but was the open letter 47 Republican senators sent to Iran this week illegal?

The back-to-back Clinton controversies are making Democrats queasy.

At a time when more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls are jostling each other in New Hampshire and Iowa, this should be a great moment for the virtually unopposed Hillary Clinton. She could be staying above the fray, using the time to staff up and prepare her policy agenda. But that's not what's happening.

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From the Bridgeport ballot shortage of 2010 to fiasco in Hartford this past November, Connecticut’s had its fair share of Election Day mishaps. Now, Secretary of State Denise Merrill is saying enough is enough. She’s introduced a controversial proposal to change the way the state runs its elections. 

This hour, the Secretary of State joins us along with some local and national experts to review that proposal. And later, WNPR’s Jeff Cohen gives us the latest on the Hartford City Council’s efforts to remove its registrars of voters.

Responding to concerns over her use of a personal email account to conduct official business while in office, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants the public to have access to her emails. The State Department says it will review messages for possible release.

The issue rose to importance earlier this week, after it was revealed that during her entire tenure at the State Department, Clinton used a personal email account — a move that had kept the emails out of the government's control and circumvented archival practices.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who has served in the Senate and in Congress longer than any other woman, says she will not seek a sixth term in 2016.

Mikulski, 78, announced her decision Monday in Baltimore.

" 'Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?' " she said she asked herself, according to The Associated Press.

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Governor Dannel Malloy announced his two-year budget plan last week, and everything has been a mess ever since. The proposed budget would hurt social services and cause potential layoffs at UCONN, a situation that drew star basketball players to testify at the Capitol.  

On Tuesday, we learned that a SNAFU with accounting sets Malloy's proposed budget more than $50 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year. That might be more cuts. OPM Secretary Ben Barnes issued a formal (somewhat confusing) apology.  

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There's a new anti-corruption task force in Connecticut replete with billboards asking the public to report the corrupt. This hour, we explore the history of corruption and our complicated attitudes toward it. 

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Why do we vote the way we do? The easy answer, of course, is that we pick the politician whose values, beliefs and opinions most closely resemble our own. But while that does play a part, there are other, less obvious influences as well.

It turns out that much of why we make the voting decisions we do comes from our subconscious: biases we hold towards things like a candidate's height, weight, looks, tone of voice, and even choice of clothes. Campaigns have known this for years and, with every vote being fiercely sought, have employed a variety of tactics to make their candidate appeal to parts of our psyche we're not even aware of.

There may not be any officially declared candidates for president yet, but prominent Republicans from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are making big speeches and jostling for consultants and donors. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton may not formally announce whether she is running for months. But any number of polls would indicate, without even declaring, she has a lock on the Democratic nomination.

Which got me thinking — who are the other potential Democratic candidates?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new legislative session means new dynamics at the state capital, especially with so many new leaders. Can parties from both sides of the aisle sit down together to hash out our budget problems?

Governor Dannel Malloy has shared some of his priorities, including a big push on the transportation front.

This hour, we sit down with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and new minority leader Themis Klarides to hear their priorities for the upcoming session and about how the legislature will handle the budget deficit.

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Roughly 534 Republicans are running for president in 2016, but is anyone other than Hillary Clinton running for the Democrats? Do some Democrats actually want another choice? Our political analyst and Salon columnist Bill Curry joins us in The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. We’ll also consider Governor Malloy’s new "second chance society" and a Quinnipiac panel on race and justice in America.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lashed out at anti-war demonstrators protesting the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a Senate hearing, calling them "low-life scum."

Kissinger, 91, and other former secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, were at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs, for a hearing on global security challenges.

The speaker of the New York state Assembly plans to temporarily cede power to a small group of top lawmakers as he fights federal corruption charges.

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

Four-term Sen. Barbara Boxer said she won't seek another term in the U.S. Senate in 2016, ending speculation about the California Democrat's political future.

"I will not be running for the Senate in 2016," she said in a taped interview with her grandson Zach Rodham.

Boxer, 74, said neither age nor partisanship in Congress were factors in her decision.

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There's a mostly forgotten story by the mostly forgotten sci-fi writer, R.A. Lafferty. It's called, "What's The Name of That Town." We meet a team of scientists and an amusing sentiant computer examining clues that suggested something existed once upon a time and has now been erased.

It turns out to be the city of Chicago which has been obliterated in an accident so traumatic that the city's existence has been wiped from all records and from peoples actual memories. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The success of a society depends - at least in part - on the civility of its members. Mutual respect, openness to different viewpoints...civil conversation is what we try to promote here on our show. 

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died on New Year’s Day, just hours after his son , Governor Andrew Cuomo, gave his inaugural address for his second term in office.

A snap general election in Greece next month has triggered uncertainty among investors and government across Europe.

The election came about when the Greek Parliament rejected the presidential candidate nominated by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The radical left Syriza party is leading in opinion polls, and its leader opposes the deep budget cuts and austerity measures that have been instituted in Greece as a condition of financial bailouts.

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Next month, the state legislature will convene with a lot of familiar names in new top jobs. We sit down with the two new Senate leaders, President Martin Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano. What are their priorities for the next session? You can join the conversation with your questions and suggestions for the new Senate leadership.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legend holds that years after the the Hartford Convention, a visitor from the South was touring the Old State House and asked to be shown the room where the Convention met. Ushered into the Senate chamber, the southerner looked at the crimson in the face of George Washington in the Gilbert Stuart portrait hanging here and said, "I'll be damned if he's got the blush off yet.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Simsbury's First Selectman, Democrat Mary Glassman, said she was blind-sided by the Republican-controlled Board of Selectmen's decision last week to cut her salary by 35 percent effective in July. 

On Monday, Glassman announced her resignation, effective January 2. 

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