Politics & Government

Political news

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's a long-time ritual — American presidents going before the Washington journalists who cover them to recognize some of the best work of the prior year from the assembled crowd.

Of course, there are also jokes. Here are eight Obama jokes that stood out from the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new U.S. government official took an oath of office this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SESAME STREET")

RYAN DILLON: (As Elmo) Hi, Dr. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA.

Welcome to a special pop-up podcast from NPR's Washington Desk. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday on whether same-sex marriage bans are constitutional, our correspondents give their take on the legal questions before the court and seismic shift in the culture and politics on this issue.

Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states. And by the end of this Supreme Court term in June, same-sex couples will either be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be restored in many states where they've been struck down.

Hearing the words of a 24-year-old victim of human trafficking — and her struggle to wipe away her conviction on prostitution charges — inspired New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

That young victim, who was featured in an NPR story in February, endured years of rapes and brutal assaults by pimps who forced her into prostitution.

"I'm not ever going to forget what I've done or what I've gone through. But at the same time, I don't want it thrown in my face every time I'm trying to seek employment," she said. "I don't want to have to explain myself every time."

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Columnists E J Dionne and David Brooks are with us, as they are most Fridays, to talk about this week in political news. E J with The Washington Post; David with The New York Times. Welcome back to you both.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The House Select Committee on Benghazi announced plans to call Hillary Clinton to testify next month, right around the time her campaign was reportedly going to shift into high gear with a mid-May campaign kickoff speech.

At the same time, a new book about the Clinton foundation is generating the kind of headlines and news coverage no presidential candidate wants to see.

The list of official and likely candidates for president in 2016 includes some prominent Republicans who are currently governors. Three of them — Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal — all tout executive experience as qualification for the White House. They also share something else — slumping poll numbers back home.

They've been working to make themselves familiar and friendly faces to the party faithful in early voting states, including at a big event hosted last week by the New Hampshire GOP.

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