Police say the combination of smoke from a brush fire and fog created a deadly environment with near-zero visibility early Saturday morning that caused a huge pileup that left at least 10 dead and 21 hospitalized on Florida's Interstate 75 near Gainesville.
Reporter's Notebook: NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger just got back from the Sunshine State. She and reporter Liz Halloran talked with Floridians about the issues of this election season — and, between conversations, soaked up the sun and scenes of that quirky state.
As we've been reporting on the program this morning, Mitt Romney went on the attack at the GOP presidential debate in Florida last night. His target was rival Newt Gingrich, who was forced to defend his record as House speaker and later as a consultant to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich denied charges of influence peddling that were leveled by Romney. And Gingrich said he was the type of bold, tough leader Washington needs.
Next, we'll explore the laws and customs that are supposed to govern the captain of a ship in distress. A cruise ship remains on its side in Italy. Captain Francesco Schettino is under house arrest. He was in charge when the ship ran aground. When it capsized, he made it to a life raft well before many passengers and did not follow demands to return to the ship.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Italian spoken)
INSKEEP: A Coast Guard official barked there, you go aboard. It is an order.
Florida is once again poised to play an important role in selecting the president in 2012. Its Republican primary on Jan. 31 is the nation's fourth nominating contest.
But Florida is a very different state than it was four years ago. It is reeling from the housing collapse — more than 200,000 homes are facing foreclosure — and suffering from an unemployment rate well above the national average.