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Cokie Roberts

Stories by Cokie

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Women have a civilizing influence on Congress

‘Is it possible that Congress would get more done if there were more women in Congress?” President Obama asked recently. Then he answered: “I think it’s fair to say. That is almost guaranteed.”

Obama's secret weapon emerges

Team Obama trotted out its secret weapon for the fall campaign the other day. To quote an email message sent to supporters by deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, that weapon is "you." Put another way, Obama is depending again -- as he did in 2008 -- on a vast army of volunteers bound by online social networks.

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Women are still waiting

Here’s a tale of two photographs distributed recently by news agencies. In one, two sailors embrace on a pier in Virginia and exchange the traditional “first kiss” as one of them completes an 80-day sea voyage. In the other, two Marines in full battle gear walk patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. All four of the soldiers are women.

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No one ever returns the gift of turkey

Here’s a last-minute holiday gift idea: food.

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Romney needs more compassion

But an election is not a business school seminar, and in politics, a balance sheet is not the only measure of success. Voters want a candidate who has a heart as well as a brain; they are looking for compassion, not just calculation. And that’s why Romney has to fear the workers of Marion.

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Where’s the prince charming?

We were talking to a group of senior Republicans recently about the election, and here’s the essence of what they said: Damn it. We should have gotten Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels or Paul Ryan to run.

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Frank proof that neatness isn’t everything

In 1964, two years after graduating from Harvard, Barney Frank went to Mississippi as a civil rights worker. That August, at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., a group of blacks calling themselves the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party asked to be seated as the state’s official delegation.

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Candidates need to speak up for kids

Here’s something you don’t hear the presidential candidates talking about: the increase in poverty in America. On President Obama’s weekly trips to swing states and in what seems like daily debates among Republican candidates, it never comes up that the numbers of poor and hungry people in this country are growing and that too many of them are children. And if no one is talking about that fact, you can be sure no one is acting on it, either.

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Posturing obstructs era of smart government

Whenever natural disaster strikes, the nation’s governors always have the same response. Where are the Feds? When will help from Washington arrive?

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Reforms offer economic boost

The economic news remains dreadful: Stock markets, credit ratings and consumer confidence are all plunging. Worse yet, the administration has few tools available to reverse the trend. New stimulus spending is politically impossible, and interest rates are already at rock bottom.

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Washington needs more grown-ups

Finally, the Responsibility Caucus has spoken. A total of 343 lawmakers, from both chambers and both parties, supported a bill to raise the debt ceiling and avoid financial calamity. For now.- Steve & Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists

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A commission to the rescue?

Rancor and recrimination are suffocating Washington like a summer heat wave, but the nasty tone of the debate obscures an important point of agreement. Leaders in both parties now agree that Congress is a failure. It cannot, they concede, make the painful decisions necessary to defuse the country's exploding budget deficits.

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Politicians should keep away from pledges

USA Today was right in saying, "Candidates who sign pledges outsource their brains," but it's actually worse than that. By giving up their capacity for judgment, they are outsourcing their hearts, as well.

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Ford was a good political wife

Since her death at 93, Betty Ford has been justly praised for publicizing her battles with breast cancer and alcoholism. As President Obama put it, her candor and courage gave "countless Americans a new lease on life."- Steve & Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists

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Learning from from the Strauss-Kahn case

We don't know exactly what happened in that hotel room last May. But we do know that DSK has a long record of abusing women. And we know that such a record should disqualify a man from holding public office, in Paris or Washington or anywhere else.

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This has gotten personal now

State Sen. Carl Kruger provided a key vote when the New York legislature recently legalized gay marriage. According to the New York Times, his girlfriend's gay nephew had lobbied him heavily and cut off relations after Kruger opposed the measure two years ago. "I don't need this," the lawmaker said, explaining his change of mind. "It has gotten personal now."- Steve and Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists