In Utah, the state's lone Democratic congressman is in a tough battle for a seventh term. Jim Matheson's opponent, Mia Love, has the support of national GOP superstars and, if elected, would become the first black Republican woman in Congress.
In a state where only about 25 percent of residents vote as Democrats, Matheson has successfully gotten enough Republicans to vote for him and keep him in office for the past 12 years. He can trace his political roots back to his father, Scott Matheson, the state's last Democratic governor.
Los Angeles County's sheriff is under fire. A blue-ribbon commission issued a scathing report Friday accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of failing to address long-standing allegations of inmate abuse in his jails. The accusations include deputies beating inmates, cover-ups and a persistent culture of violence.
The sheriff has been able to weather many storms during his 14-year tenure, but this may be the toughest fight of his political career.
The emoticon, punctuation to depict a facial expression, began 30 years ago this week. Using three keystrokes, the colon, dash and parenthesis, to suggest a smile may not be a great scientific advance, like the coronary stent or computer chip. But the emoticon has been simple, useful and enduring.
There had been previous hints of emoticons. A newspaper transcript of Abraham Lincoln drawing a laugh in 1862 follows it with a semi-colon and parentheses, but that may have simply been a printer's typo.
Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.
Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.
President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney have made multiple trips to the battleground state of Nevada this year. Romney was there again Friday. Nevada has the worst jobless rate in the nation, and it's a place where recent distractions from Romney's economic message could hurt his chances of winning. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.
President Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke Friday at the annual AARP convention in New Orleans, Medicare and Social Security topped the agenda for both. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports the organization represents millions of older Americans, who are among the most reliable voters.
NPR's Ari Shapiro joins host Scott Simon to preview a pair of pieces he's reported for next week on the political ad wars. He talks about the unprecedented number of ads, the money and how it feels in one community: Colorado Springs.