I think everyone can agree that the Republican Party's search for its presidential nominee has been a long, strange trip. For me, one of the strangest things about it is that, after all this time, I barely know who's running Mitt Romney's, Rick Santorum's and Newt Gingrich's campaigns. You see, over the past 30 years, political strategists have gone from being shadowy figures to being celebrities in their own right.
The cacophony of hoots being directed at Mitt Romney Wednesday for his poor performances in Alabama and Mississippi primaries is somewhat curious, especially since it was the conventional wisdom as recently as last week that the Deep South was likely to be very tough going for him.
The Afghan response to Sunday's shooting deaths of 16 Afghan civilians has been limited compared with the recent outrage over the burning of Qurans. In one of the few protests, demonstrators chanted anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday.
Credit Rahmat Gul / AP
After U.S. troops burned Qurans last month, Afghans staged protests throughout the country. Here a demonstrator holds a Quran in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Feb. 22.
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.
Credit Chris Ware / Keystone Features/Getty Images
Words such as "yes," "please" and no thanks" are vanishing from many of our conversations.
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.
For many fourth-year medical students, the future arrives, sealed in an envelope, during the third week of March. On what's known as Match Day, med students find out where they'll spend their residencies. It's a nerve-wracking wait for many that has played out on med school campuses since 1952.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last October, Terry Thompson released 50 exotic animals on his farm in Ohio and then shot himself in the head. Neighbors soon reported lions, tigers, bears, leopards, monkeys and wolves on the loose, and sheriff's deputies from the city of Zanesville nearby hunted them down in the gathering darkness.
President Bashar Assad and his opposition continue to crack down on rebels in Syria. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan met with Assad to try to broker a cease fire, but failed. The U.N. Security Council is drafting another resolution to support the Arab League request to have Assad step down from power.
Rick Santorum swept the Mississippi and Alabama primaries on Tuesday, leaving Mitt Romney a distant third. Newt Gingrich maintains he'll carry on, and third-place finisher Mitt Romney faces renewed doubts about his ability to win over conservative Republicans, though he's leading the delegate race.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, center, is greeted by Col. John Shafer, left, with RTC 6 Wednesday at Foward Operating Base Shukvani, Afghanistan. As Panetta was landing at another base, an Afghan drove a truck onto the airfield until it crashed and exploded.