Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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10:56am

Mon June 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Why It's Good To Be The Incumbent

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry debates President George W. Bush on Oct. 13, 2004. Bush later won re-election.
Rick T. Wilking AP

Two political tried-and-truisms: Sitting presidents are hard to unseat, and history repeats itself.

To the first point: In the past 10 presidential elections with incumbent candidates, the incumbents have won seven times. The only incumbent losers were Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992.

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12:25pm

Tue June 5, 2012
It's All Politics

The Uniqueness Of The 2012 Election

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 3:11 pm

Protesters in Nice, France, hold banners depicting then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama before a November 2011 G-20 summit where global financial issues were discussed. Sarkozy has since lost re-election; some political scientists say economic problems in Europe also could play an unprecedented role in the upcoming U.S. election.
Frederic Nebinger Getty Images

All U.S. presidential elections "are unique in some fashion," says John G. Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.

Sure, but what about 2012? What exactly will make the 2012 election between President Obama and Mitt Romney truly unique?

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2:46pm

Wed May 30, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

With The American Dream Comes The Nightmare

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 11:34 am

Unemployed circus clown Tim Torkildson, aka Dusty the Clown, sits on a bench on the north side of the U.S. Capitol in May.
Bill Clark CQ Roll Call

One American's dream can be another American's nightmare.

Consider: Some people long to live in big cities; others think cities have ruined the landscape. Some Americans love to drive big old honking SUVs; others see huge cars as pollution-producing monsters. For some people, the American dream is a steady office job. For others, the office is a sinkhole and the real dream is freedom from the office.

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12:38pm

Tue May 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Hmmm. The 2012 Election Reminds Me Of Something

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:50 pm

President George W. Bush passes behind Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., after a debate in Tempe, Ariz., in October 2004.
Ron Edmonds AP

It's the sort of question you toss out to a table full of politics buffs — sharing a pitcher of cold beer. (We'll provide the aficionados; you imagine the table and the cold pitcher.)

Which presidential election in American history most resembles the coming election between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and why?

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2:15pm

Sun May 27, 2012
Pop Culture

Hey! You! The Unstoppable Rise Of Heckling

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 7:51 pm

An unidentified heckler lets loose as President Obama begins a speech at the Martin Luther King memorial dedication in Washington, D.C., in October 2011.
Mannie Garcia UPI/Landov

As summer nears, Great American Hecklers are being spotted all over the place.

You can see them — and hear their calls — at commencements, sporting events, political gatherings. Hecklers on the right and hecklers on the left.

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12:31pm

Wed May 23, 2012
Election 2012

Get Ready For The First Robot President

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:48 pm

While American politicians may be scripted, they're not this robotic. But whoever wins the presidency this year will preside over a U.S. economy where automation is becoming increasingly important.
iStockphoto

As many folks know, Bill Clinton was called the First Black President by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker.

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9:04am

Wed May 16, 2012
Remembrances

A Fleeting Memory Of Carlos Fuentes

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:43 pm

Mexican write Carlos Fuentes at the Hay Festival Cartagena in January.
Claudio Rubio AP

When I heard that the Mexican literary legend Carlos Fuentes died Tuesday at 83, I remembered a long, easygoing interview I did with him years ago. We talked about many things — including what epitaph he wanted carved on his tombstone.

It was the autumn of 1995 and I was a reporter at The Washington Post, assigned to write a profile of the elegant, eloquent Fuentes. I draw on that story now, for twice-told tales worth telling.

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4:04pm

Mon May 7, 2012
Politics

5 (Plus 1) Options For The Aging Politician

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:49 am

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., 80, faces a GOP primary battle Tuesday that could end his political career. Here, Lugar talks with Capitol Hill colleagues on March 6.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

At the ripening age of 80 years old — more than 35 of them spent in Congress — Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is scrapping for political survival. On Tuesday he faces state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his party's primary.

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6:29pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Pop Culture

Alcoholidays In America: ¡Viva El Tequila Julep!

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 10:20 pm

The infield at Churchill Downs can get pretty beer-soaked, as this scene from the 2011 Kentucky Derby proves. But this year, things could get even more crazy: The Derby falls on another of America's favorite "alcoholidays," Cinco de Mayo.
Matt Slocum AP

America is not a two-party country — it's a multiparty extravaganza.

We turn every possible pause from work into a party: New Year's Day, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

And on Saturday, many Americans will play overtime by reveling in a pair of nationwide celebrations — Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. Establishments everywhere will be mashing up Mexico and the Bluegrass State.

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1:12pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Election 2012

Are Obama And Romney The Same Guy?

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 6:34 pm

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama will spend the next six months highlighting their differences. But they also share some striking similarities.
Chip Somodevilla/Olivier Douliery Getty Images

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney just may be the same person. Think about it. Have you ever seen the two of them in the same limo?

All right. Of course, the pair of politicians who will in all likelihood be the major party nominees for the 2012 presidential election have their differences. Republican Romney, for instance, has been a governor and chairman of the Olympics; Democrat Obama has not. Obama, on the other hand, has been a senator and a president. Romney has not.

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5:30pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Digital Life

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:45 am

Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Nelson Ching Bloomberg via Getty Images

It is the weirdest thing. There are more ways than ever to communicate with people, yet it sometimes seems like it is more difficult to connect — and stay connected — with anyone.

Should you shoot off an email? Tap out a text? Post a private message on Facebook? Write on their Facebook wall? Skype, poke, ping or conjure them up on a digital tin can phone?

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6:06am

Sun April 15, 2012
Around the Nation

The 2080 Census: The World As We (Don't) Know It

Vallarie Enriquez iStockphoto.com

7:31am

Fri April 6, 2012
Barack Obama

Obama Is The Best And The Worst President. Discuss

President Obama inspires strong feelings, some positive, some negative. This composite image shows Obama at two separate events.
AP and Getty Images NPR

Close your books, America. It's time for a pop quiz.

Do you believe Barack Obama is:

a) The best of presidents? A blogger who goes by the name Troubadour on Daily Kos, Brian Altmeyer, pretty much makes the claim in a recent post: "Barack Obama is either the best President we've ever had, or more humbly, equal to the best Presidents we've ever had (and thereby one of their number)."

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7:49am

Mon April 2, 2012
Around the Nation

The 1940 Census: 72-Year-Old Secrets Revealed

An enumerator interviews a woman for the 1940 census. Veiled in secrecy for 72 years because of privacy protections, the 1940 U.S. census is the first historical federal decennial survey to be made available on the Internet initially rather than on microfilm.
National Archives at College Park

Nylon stockings became all the rage. Black fedoras were the "pure quill" — meaning the real deal. Bing Crosby crooned Only Forever on the console. And Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actor ever to take home an Oscar.

Ah, 1940. Three score and 12 years ago, America was in a very different place — economically and culturally.

But on April 2, 2012, when the National Archives releases detailed data from the 1940 census, we will get an even keener idea of how much — or how little — this nation has really changed in the past 72 years.

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5:44am

Sat March 24, 2012
News

Tragedy Gives The Hoodie A Whole New Meaning

James Gilchrist of Orlando, Fla., attends a rally for slain teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Thursday. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie when he was shot.
Roberto Gonzalez AP

From the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, a symbol emerges: the hoodie.

A simple hooded sweatshirt has become emblematic of certain assumptions in America. And of a desire by many to overturn those assumptions.

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10:17am

Thu March 22, 2012
U.S.

An Open Letter ... About Open Letters

Anneke Schram iStockphoto.com

Dear Open Letter Writers,

Are you open to the idea that the open letter has become the victim of its own success?

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1:08pm

Wed March 14, 2012
U.S.

Please Read This Story, Thank You

Politeness seems to be falling by the wayside these days, with phrases like "you're welcome" replaced by the more casual "you bet" or "no problem." Good manners were more the norm in 1960, when these kids at a junior theatrical school learned how to curtsy and bow.
Chris Ware Keystone Features/Getty Images

Listen to the conversations around you — colleagues at the office, customers in the coffeehouse line, those who serve you, those you serve, the people you meet each day. "Give me a tall latte." "Hand me that hammer." "Have a good one."

Notice anything missing? The traditional magic words "please" and "thank you" that many people learn as children appear to be disappearing.

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10:00am

Tue March 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Like Grits? You Just Might Be A Republican Candidate

You know you're campaigning in the South if you've got comedian Jeff Foxworthy by your side. Foxworthy introduces Mitt Romney at a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Monday, in Mobile, Ala.
John David Mercer AP

"Strange things are happenin' to me" a bewitched Mitt Romney said recently to a crowd of Mississippi supporters. The former Massachusetts governor is right: Strange things do happen to folks, especially national political candidates, when they talk to us Southerners. They start drawling and twanging, trying to sound like us. Sometimes, they're mocking us; sometimes they're just trying to be friendly. We know the difference.

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12:24pm

Wed March 7, 2012
News

Public Apology: The 'Mea Culpa' Matching Game

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 1:29 pm

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh talks with guests at the White House in 2009. Limbaugh apologized March 3 to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke after he branded her a "slut" and "prostitute."
Ron Edmonds AP

March 7, 2012

"Sorry" may seem to be the hardest word, but a lot of famous folks seem to always be saying it. Rush Limbaugh and President Obama both apologized recently. When a public figure makes a mistake, the public wants an apology. A public apology. In this quiz, match the apology with the famous apologist.

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2:08pm

Wed February 29, 2012
Digital Life

Google Wins. He's Giving Up On Privacy

Google new privacy rules, which are set to take effect Thursday, have drawn scrutiny from privacy advocates and state officials.
Jens Meyer AP

That's it. They win. He's giving up his privacy.

Trying to maintain privacy in contemporary America is just too time consuming, too complicated, too exhausting. He can't tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore. He doesn't know whom to trust.

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6:05pm

Tue February 28, 2012
Politics

Found Time: How To Spend The 24 Hours Of Leap Day

Leap day is the perfect moment to contemplate time. Here a man looks at the Seine river through the giant clock of the Orsay Museum in Paris.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Found time! An extra day. How will you use it? Here are 24 ideas. None of them takes longer than an hour. Because time is tight, time is of the essence, time is money. And if you don't have time to get to everything on the list, don't worry. Maybe in 2016.

Feb. 29, 2012 Hour By Hour:

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10:11am

Tue February 28, 2012
Around the Nation

A Nation Divided: Can We Agree On Anything?

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 6:09 pm

Chris McDonough, a Republican (left), and Robert O'Brien, a Democrat, argue about political issues outside a caucus in Portland, Maine, in February.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Like baseballs in a batting cage, the controversies that divide us just keep on coming. Fast and unpredictable.

Last month it was the flap over the Susan G. Komen foundation and its move to cut financial support of Planned Parenthood. The resulting imbroglio dredged up deeply held convictions among Americans about women's health issues and "cause marketing" that, in this case, has resulted in profits for companies promoting breast cancer awareness and research through pink and omnipresent product tie-ins.

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7:59am

Wed February 22, 2012
Presidential Race

6 Reasons We're Feeling Debate Fatigue

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 8:03 am

Depending on how you tally them up, there have been 26 debates so far this GOP primary season. How many is too many?
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Oh no. Not another debate among those guys who are running for the Republican presidential nomination. By at least one count, Wednesday night's Dustup in the Desert — sponsored by CNN and Arizona's Republican Party — is the 26th such face-off — if you count forums and head-to-head encounters.

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11:39am

Sun February 19, 2012
Pop Culture

The Deep-Seated Meaning Of The American Sofa

The sofa can be the epicenter of our lives. It is home base, North Star, study carrel, dining booth and royal throne rolled into one.
Dierk Schaefer Flickr

A tale of two couches: The first, pictured recently in the New York Daily News, is where NBA supernova Jeremy Lin reportedly spent nights — perhaps battling Linsomnia — before erupting into a game-changing beast and leading the New York Knicks to a euphoric win streak.

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11:38am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

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12:21pm

Mon February 13, 2012
Politics

America Is Angry, Very Angry. Why That's Not All Bad

For so many reasons, Americans are seething. Here, a protestor shouts as he holds an American flag after storming the Wisconsin State Capitol on in Madison, Wis., March 9, 2011 after Republicans in the state Senate voted to curb collective bargaining rights for public union workers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Through the smog and the smeariness of the seemingly ceaseless process of selecting a president, one thing is clear: Americans are seething.

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3:46pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

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1:53pm

Fri February 3, 2012
Pop Culture

3 Hidden Themes Of This Year's Super Bowl Ads

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 10:01 am

Many of this year's Super Bowl ads, like this one from CareerBuilders.com, play off our affection for animals.
CareerBuilders.com AP

9:40am

Tue January 31, 2012
Presidential Race

The Slimary Process: Is This The Nastiest Race Ever?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 am

Republican presidential hopefuls former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney debate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Matt Rourke AP

9:40am

Tue January 31, 2012
Presidential Race

The Slimary Process: Is This The Nastiest Race Ever?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 am

Republican presidential hopefuls former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney debate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Matt Rourke AP

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