Ari Shapiro

The country has been debating gun regulations for months. Later this week, a Senate committee will start work on various proposals, including a background check on every gun sale and a ban on assault weapons.

But this debate over guns goes beyond disagreements about policy. Advocates on both sides quite literally disagree on the terms of the discussion — as in, the words they use to describe it.

Ask "gun control advocates" to describe what this debate is about, and they'll say "control" really isn't the word they prefer.

The White House hopes the Senate will confirm Chuck Hagel next week as defense secretary.

Republicans delayed the vote for the same reason they scuttled Susan Rice's bid to be secretary of state: Benghazi.

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September killed four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya. And Benghazi has since become a rallying cry for Republicans.

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Chuck Hagel, who spent more than a decade in the Senate asking witnesses questions at hearings, will be the one answering them Thursday as his confirmation hearing to be secretary of defense begins.

His hearing follows that of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was confirmed this week to be secretary of state.

Kerry and Hagel have a prominent biographical detail in common: service in Vietnam.

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From the throngs on the mall to NPR's Ari Shapiro now, who is up on the viewing stand, watching the inauguration at the Capitol.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Conventional wisdom holds that most inaugural addresses are dull. Few presidents manage that John F. Kennedy sort of eloquence.

A presidential inauguration is an event defined by huge, sweeping optics: the National Mall full of cheering Americans; a grandiose platform in front of the Capitol building; the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. And the centerpiece: a speech.

On Monday, President Obama will give his second inaugural address — and he faces a challenge in crafting a speech for this moment.

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Governor Romney went straight to Nevada this morning and is now in Henderson for a campaign event. NPR's Ari Shapiro is there and joins us now. Hi there, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

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For all the attention paid to women in this race, there's another gender gap — with white men.

The Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaigned in northeastern Florida on Friday, where thousands of men had descended on Daytona Beach for the annual motorcycle festival Biketoberfest.

A bunch of them were at Willie's Tropical Tattoo smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and listening to music.

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The Republican ticket met up in Lancaster, Ohio today. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan took the stage together as the sun set over the historic downtown. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from there now. And, Ari, what was the mood as Romney and Ryan took the stage together tonight?

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This week in Iowa, the Des Moines Register asked Mitt Romney about abortion. Romney replied: There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.

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One week ago today, Mitt Romney walked into the first presidential debate as a candidate on the ropes. Now he appears to be in his strongest position yet.

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