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Scott Neuman

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

He brings to NPR years of experience as a journalist at a variety of news organizations based all over the world. He came to NPR from The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an editor on the news agency's Asia Desk. Prior to that, Neuman worked in Hong Kong with The Wall Street Journal, where among other things he reported extensively from Pakistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also spent time with the AP in New York, and in India as a bureau chief for United Press International.

A native Hoosier, Neuman's roots in public radio (and the Midwest) run deep. He started his career at member station WBNI in Fort Wayne, and worked later in Illinois for WNIU/WNIJ in DeKalb/Rockford and WILL in Champaign-Urbana.

Neuman is a graduate of Purdue University. He lives with his wife, Noi, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Even if you didn't watch any of the three presidential debates, chances are you're familiar with Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

If the last presidential debate was any indication, you'll be hearing a lot about China in tonight's third and final face-off between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Last week's debate was ostensibly about domestic issues, but that didn't stop China from being mentioned numerous times. Tonight's debate, focused on foreign policy, is sure to see relations with Beijing get a lot of airplay.

It was Bill Clinton who made the town hall-style debate famous, and looking back to his performance in the first such fall faceoff in 1992, it's easy to see why.

Clinton commanded the stage and used the format — in which voters, not journalists, ask the questions — to "feel the pain" of the audience. Now, President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney get a shot at the same format.

However, it's the president who comes at it from a distinct disadvantage, says Chris Arterton, a professor of political management at George Washington University.

If you're searching for a Tea Party litmus test this year, look no further than Indiana's U.S. Senate race.

Tea Party-backed GOP state Treasurer Richard Mourdock is locked in a close race with House Democrat Joe Donnelly, who has represented Indiana's 2nd Congressional District since 2007.

Culture warriors on the left and right would be wise to carefully examine a new survey from the Pew Research Center showing that a growing number of Americans are moving away from religious labels.

The study, titled "Nones" on the Rise, indicates that 1 in 5 Americans now identifies as "religiously unaffiliated," a group that includes those who say they have no particular religion, as well as atheists and agnostics.

If you think substance trumps style, the analysis of last night's presidential debate might come as a shock. There seems to be a lot more talk today about things like temperament and facial expressions than the facts.

Here's a sampling of opinion:

Writing in Forbes, Frederick E. Allen says President Obama "looked defensive and uncertain," while GOP challenger Mitt Romney "may have said things that were clearly untrue ... but he said them convincingly."

Economic sanctions have a reputation for being the international equivalent of a slap on the wrist. But in Iran, there's evidence that they are working, and that the country's flamboyant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might pay the price.

In the past year, Iran's currency has shed 80 percent of its value against the dollar, dropping by 25 percent in just the past week. That's caused a scramble for the few U.S. dollars available in the black market as people seek a safe haven against the free-falling rial.

Less than a year ago, victorious militiamen swarmed the streets of Libya's major cities basking in their role as national liberators. Today, many of those same men present a challenge to the country's incoming rulers, who face the prospect of long-term instability if they fail to rein in armed irregulars.

John F. Kennedy once said there was no experience that could have adequately prepared him for the presidency.

That presumably included a hard-fought campaign for the job against sitting Vice President Richard Nixon — one of the closest-ever contests.

So, why should we assume that presiding over a well-oiled campaign has anything to do with running the White House?

Every election season, political signs sprout like dandelions from lawns across America. They also pop up at more than a few businesses. For some, expressing political preferences is a calculated move to attract customers. But it can just as easily turn clients away.

Jeff Reiter, who owns the Blue Plate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain in Portland, Ore., proudly displays a 2008 Obama campaign sign inside his restaurant and says he has "never tried to hide" his support for the president.

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