Brian Naylor

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a new political ad out today from the Democratic National Committee. It highlights what Democrats consider Mitt Romney's greatest weakness: his inconsistency. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House of Representatives for four turbulent and productive years.

From 1995 through 1998, Congress forced a government shutdown, overhauled the welfare system, balanced the budget for the first time in decades and impeached a president for the second time in history.

Gingrich was in the middle of those debates, fiery in his rhetoric, yet willing to compromise and work with a Democratic president.

The 104th Congress

As the Republican presidential candidates prepare for another debate, this one Saturday night in South Carolina, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been campaigning in New Hampshire.

While the controversy surrounding Herman Cain has dominated the news, the presidential candidates continue to attack one another in videos and paid TV ads. The candidate most under attack from all sides: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The first presidential caucus and primary voting is a bit more than two months away, and GOP candidates are starting to put up ads on TV and the Internet. No ads have gotten more buzz than those of Herman Cain, who most polls say is the GOP front-runner. They've been the subject of a great deal of conjecture, parody and head-scratching, and are as unconventional as the campaign itself.

The most famous of Cain's ads is all over the Internet. It features the candidate's chief of staff, Mark Block, standing outside a building and talking directly to the camera.

The government is trying to modernize the nation's air traffic control system, but cost overruns, software problems and management concerns are making some wonder whether the so-called "Next Generation" system may take another generation to complete.

The radar screens in the nation's aircraft control towers are based on technology dating to World War II. Many of the routes airliners fly were laid out at a time pilots followed bonfires for navigation at night.

President Obama came into office with strong Latino support, having won two-thirds of the Latino vote, according to exit polls. But for some, that support has turned to disillusionment.

"There's a deep sense of betrayal and disappointment towards the Obama administration," said Sarahi Uribe, coordinator of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Indeed, the latest Gallup poll shows his support among Latino voters has fallen to 48 percent, a new low.

Congress is at odds over a measure needed to keep the government operating past the end of the month.

While lawmakers have a week to work out their differences before the government faces another partial shutdown, one agency faces a much earlier deadline.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will run out of money early next week, putting a halt to projects in communities around the country still struggling to recover from this year's spate of hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.

The corner of 15th and K streets in Washington, D.C., is busy. Buses, trucks, cars and taxis zip by. There are pedestrians and, increasingly, bikes.

Some 57 million adults ride bicycles in the U.S., whether for commuting or exercise or fun. Cities are adding bike lanes with the help of a federal program that gets its money from the highway bill. Some Senate Republicans tried — and ultimately failed — to block funding for that program, which also pays for sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements.

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