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Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is adding his name to the list of Republicans running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Republican Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday that he is running for president.

"Working families don't need another president tied to big government or big money," he said in Cabot, Pa.. "And today is the day we're going to begin to fight back."

With Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains behind him, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign Tuesday afternoon at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

Updated to reflect that Santorum is now officially in the race.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is praying for political lightning to strike twice.

Even after pulling an upset win in the Iowa caucuses four years ago and going on to survive the longest against eventual nominee Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential hopeful is again the underdog in a much more crowded 2016 field.

The Senate voted 62-37 late Friday to grant President Obama additional trade powers, which the president plans to use in pushing through an extensive new agreement with a group of Asian countries.

The administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership has been opposed by labor groups and some Senate Democrats because of concerns that the deal could cost some U.S. workers their jobs.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Obama may have had an unusually tough message on climate change for graduates at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but commencement was still a day for celebration and reflection for the cadets themselves.

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President Barack Obama visited New London on Wednesday to give the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 134th commencement. He told the new ensigns the Coast Guard is on the front line to help combat and adapt to climate change.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Intelligence officials on Wednesday released a trove of newly declassified documents, books and magazines found during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They're calling it "Bin Laden's Bookshelf."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama comes to New London to address graduating cadets at the Coast Guard. The big theme of his speech? Climate change. It's a little different from Vice President Joe Biden's message to Yale grads this weekend. He encouraged them to find their "sweet spot."

This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse where we’ll talk about the president’s trip and about the use of the word "racist" in political speech. Governor Dannel Malloy used the word and Republicans are criticizing him for it.

Also, the a bill banning powdered alcohol is going to the governor's desk. Wait, what? Powdered alcohol?

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Barack Obama will be in New London Wednesday to give the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the second time he's been the keynote speaker for graduation at the Academy. He was last here in 2011. 

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

Commencements were held at colleges and universities across the state this weekend. 

The Senate could begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would give President Obama fast-track authority to complete a Pacific Rim trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the president's signature trade initiative, but it is also very unpopular with Democrats.

Leading the charge from the left against the deal in Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. She says the TPP could result in the watering down of Wall Street regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, after the 2008 financial crisis.

When it comes to energizing Latino voters, a group of young people who can't even vote plays an outsized role.

They are known as DREAMers — undocumented immigrants, brought to the country by their parents when they were kids.They were so named for meeting the requirements under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposal that would have created a pathway to citizenship for them. Now they're a political force.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

"It seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America," he told a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Hope, Ark., which is also Bill Clinton's hometown.

Huckabee, who previously ran for the presidency in 2008, hosted a television program on Fox News until January, when he ended the eponymous show to consider his political future.

(Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET.)

President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the country's next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Speaking at the White House, Obama praised Dunford as one of the most admired officers in the military.

Dunford, 59, is currently the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Previously, he served as the commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan and he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.

Meet Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor. Forget about Mike Huckabee, Fox News host.

That's the message the GOP presidential hopeful is already conveying as he makes another bid for the presidency.

Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, says she will seek the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential contest.

Fiorina made the announcement on ABC's Good Morning America and later via a simple tweet.

"I am running for president," Fiorina tweeted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official Thursday. He will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Sanders made his announcement with an early morning email and then spoke to reporters just outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. He plans a formal campaign kickoff in Vermont at the end of the month.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running for president, he said Wednesday night. He will be challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and the self-described "Democratic Socialist" will keep the pressure on Clinton to move to the left.

Sanders has lamented for a long time what he thinks has been woefully missing from the national conversation.

VPR News has learned from several sources that Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

Loretta Lynch is the new U.S. attorney general.

Lynch was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden, who said the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., will now be "leading the march to a more perfect union."

Lynch, 55, is the nation's 83rd attorney general and the first black woman to hold the position. She said during a ceremony at the Justice Department that she would work to "imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness" to protect the rights of all.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

President Obama offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the American and Italian aid workers killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in January. Both men were held hostage by al-Qaida.

"I take full responsibility for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qaida," Obama said.

The Senate voted Thursday, 56-43, to approve the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. attorney general, ending a more than five month-long political impasse that had stalled her bid to become the first black woman to lead the Justice Department.

Lynch, 55, grew up in the shadow of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, where her family had preached for generations. Most recently, she prosecuted terrorists, mobsters and white collar criminals as the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, a district that covers 8 million people.

A full-fledged Democratic trade war has broken out.

"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues, but she's wrong on this," President Obama said Tuesday night in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, referring to liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who recently declared his candidacy for president, is headlining the Connecticut Republican Party's annual fundraising dinner.

State GOP chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. announced Monday that Rubio will keynote the 37th Annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. The event is June 4 in Stamford.

Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, says he'll decide by late May whether he's running for president. Running would put him — even he seems to acknowledge — in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, currently the only Democrat who has declared.

O'Malley is positioning himself to Clinton's left, and even President Obama's left.

"The exhibition of profound grief was such as I have never seen equalled. Several overcome by their emotion, sat down upon the very ground and wept."

That was how Thomas Nelson, a U.S. minister to Chile, described the reaction of ordinary citizens in Spain to the news of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865.

Currier & Ives / Public Domain

To mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, we look back the event and how it changed America with two local historians who are experts on the 16th President of the United States. As part of this look back, we hear from actors who will commemorate the anniversary with a staged reading to recreate the final days of the Civil War, the assassination, and the search for and death of John Wilkes Booth.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. EDT.

Florida senator Marco Rubio officially announced that he is running for president during a speech in Miami on Monday. He told prospective donors he was launching his candidacy earlier today.

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