Liz Halloran

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.

Halloran came to NPR from US News & World Report, where she followed politics and the 2008 presidential election. Before the political follies, Halloran covered the Supreme Court during its historic transition — from Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death, to the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation battles. She also tracked the media and wrote special reports on topics ranging from the death penalty and illegal immigration, to abortion rights and the aftermath of the Amish schoolgirl murders.

Before joining the magazine, Halloran was a senior reporter in the Hartford Courant's Washington bureau. She followed Sen. Joe Lieberman on his ground-breaking vice presidential run in 2000, as the first Jewish American on a national ticket, wrote about the media and the environment and covered post-9/11 Washington. Previously, Halloran, a Minnesota native, worked for The Courant in Hartford. There, she was a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning team for spot news in 1999, and was honored by the New England Associated Press for her stories on the Kosovo refugee crisis.

She also worked for the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn., and as a cub reporter and paper delivery girl for her hometown weekly, the Jackson County Pilot.



Wed September 28, 2011
It's All Politics

As Anita Perry Hits Campaign Trail, Five Things You Should Know

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 10:05 am

Anita Perry is increasingly stepping out from behind her husband, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Wednesday she'll campaign solo in Iowa. Here they greeted supporters together during a rally on Sept. 8 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to run for president, he made a point of noting that it was his wife, Anita, who urged him to go for it, to get out of his "comfort zone."

Step into the fray, she urged.

That fray in recent days has taken a toll on Perry, who had a roundly-panned performance at GOP presidential debate last week followed by a surprising drubbing in Saturday's Florida Republican presidential straw poll.

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Fri September 23, 2011
It's All Politics

Death Penalty Retains Support, Even With Pro-Life Catholics, Despite Flaws

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:01 pm

Public approval for death penalty over time.
Gallup Gallup

Debate over the constitutionality and morality of the death penalty has long been an under-the-radar skirmish that occasionally emerges as part of a larger national conversation.

These past few weeks it has emerged in a big way.

It was first roused at a GOP presidential debate during which the record number of state-sponsored executions overseen by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (234 at the time; 235 as of this writing) was a surprisingly enthusiastic applause line for the candidate.

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Thu September 22, 2011

The GOP Primary Race: Four Lessons From Florida

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 11:03 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a town hall meeting in Miami on Wednesday.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Florida will be the center of Republicans' political universe for the next three days, starting with a televised GOP presidential debate Thursday night and wrapping up Saturday with a presidential straw poll.

Get used to it.

The spotlight will remain on Florida long after the last vote is tallied this weekend.

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Tue September 20, 2011

With Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' An Era Ends

A gay member of the U.S. Air Force who wishes not to be identified reads a copy of the new magazine OutServe intended for actively serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender U.S. military members earlier this month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The law that for almost 18 years has banned openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces will be officially repealed Tuesday, nine months after Congress voted to end the Clinton-era edict.

President Obama signed the repeal into law last December, but its provisions required time for the Pentagon to prepare for the policy change, and for top military officials to "certify" the law's end.

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Thu September 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Still Flirting With A Run, Palin Confronts Deadlines And 'Smears'

Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses a Tea Partly Express Rally in Manchester, N.H., on Sept. 5.
Stephan Savoia AP

This week, Sarah Palin kept the guessing game about her White House intentions alive.

(Still thinking about it, she told her employer, Fox News, and, by the way, the media is not the boss of her timetable.)

She weighed in on the Republican presidential debate.

She took to task her old buddy and White House hopeful, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for his past support of a program to vaccinate girls against a sexually transmitted and potentially cancer-causing disease.

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Tue September 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Perry's Social Security Take: Boon For Opponents, Bane For Party

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he wants to be honest with the American people.

That now involves attempts to shelve the part of his presidential campaign playbook that had him just last week vigorously dismissing Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."

Good luck on changing that conversation, Republican presidential frontrunner Perry, what with seven opponents nipping at your heels.

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Fri September 9, 2011
It's All Politics

Did Obama's Jobs Speech Seize The 'Big Moment'?

President Obama's jobs speech on Thursday had been characterized in the wide world of punditry as his "Moment of Truth." His "Last Chance." His "Big Speech." His ... well, you get the picture.

There was a lot riding on the president's address to a joint session of Congress, in which he laid out an expansive and expensive — nearly $450 billion — plan to "jolt" the nation's anemic employment market.

To gauge Obama's performance in a speech pivotal to his efforts to win re-election next year, we turned to a couple of political media consultants for their takes.

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Thu September 8, 2011
It's All Politics

Perry's Debate Debut Suggests Texas-Sized Hurdles Ahead

Originally published on Thu September 8, 2011 3:22 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (right) takes the stage with Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann before Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
David McNew AFP/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has always had a mantra of sorts that he would frequently resort to when taking heat from opponents during political debates back home.

It went something like this: Texas is great. People want to live here. Businesses want to move here. And, by the way, Texas is great.

Unfortunately for Perry, he couldn't play the card that served him so well in his three terms as governor during his first presidential debate Wednesday night.

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Wed September 7, 2011
Rick Perry

With Perry In Race, Sparks Could Fly at GOP Debate

The stage where Gov. Rick Perry gathered with supporters on election night in 2010.
Ben Sklar Getty Images

If the wildfires in his home state don't change his plans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to make his national debut Wednesday in his first debate with seven fellow candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

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Fri September 2, 2011
It's All Politics

House GOP: Approval Of Special Olympics Torch Run Trumps Obama Address

Originally published on Sun September 4, 2011 9:40 am

It became clearer today why John Boehner this week became the first U.S. House Speaker in the nation's history to turn down a president's request to address a joint session of Congress.

The House has pressing business Wednesday evening, when President Obama asked to speak to members of Congress about his plans to goose the stagnant jobs market.

Pressing, as in:

Considering the extension of the "Generalized System of Preferences."

Contemplating the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011.

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Wed August 31, 2011
It's All Politics

GOP Primary Scramble Could Mean 2012 Voting Starts Early. Maybe Even In 2011.

Campaign posters are seen in a snowbank outside a polling place in Jan. 2008 in Manchester, N.H.
Mario Tama Getty Images



And Keokuk, or Keene?

Yes, political junkies, we're talking about the completely-up-in-the-air 2012 Republican presidential contest calendar.

On paper, it's scheduled to kick off Feb. 6 with the Iowa caucuses, followed a week later by New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

But those of you keeping score at home would be well advised to use a pencil.

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Sat August 27, 2011
Mitt Romney

Can Romney Stay The Course As The CEO Candidate?

Mitt Romney's national front-runner status in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination took a hit this week, with national polls showing that he has been eclipsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

'Hearing Something We Can't Hear:' How Animals Foretold The Earthquake

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 2:16 pm

The National Zoo's 23-year-old male red-ruffed lemur, Joven.
Mehgan Murphy Smithsonian Institution

We know how humans first sensed Tuesday's earthquake. We felt the shake, then the rattle, and then the urge to flee.

But what about the region's animals?

Did they sense the rare 5.8-magnitude temblor before the shaking started?

We checked in with the folks at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, one of the most popular attractions in the nation's capital, to see what they could tell us.

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Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Why A Quake In Virginia Isn't As Rare As It Sounds

Nelson Hsu NPR

The earthquake that rattled the East Coast Tuesday afternoon, from its Virginia epicenter to Washington and the islands off Massachusetts, was, indeed, rare, geologists say.

But only because of its size; at a magnitude of 5.8, it was the largest temblor to hit Virginia since 1897, when the largest quake on record, a 5.9 quake, struck.

"Earthquakes in central Virginia are not very unusual," says David Spears, Virginia's state geologist. "We have them every few years, but they're usually in the two-to-four magnitude range."

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Mon August 22, 2011

Expert: Gadhafi May Pick Asylum

Protesters burn a portrait of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and copies of his Green Book outside the Libyan Embassy in Ankara. Turkey, on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. Libyan rebels taken many parts of the Libyan capital Tripoli as they try to oust Gadhafi.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Libyan rebels have claimed control of parts of the capital Tripoli, but big questions remain about the future of the country and the fate its longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The whereabouts of Gadhafi, as of Monday, remained unknown.

David Mack is a former U.S. diplomat who served throughout the Middle East, including a posting in Libya. He says he believes Gadhafi could very well seek asylum for himself and his family in a country like Russia.

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Thu August 18, 2011

Obama's Jobs Problem: Government To The Rescue?

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 12:40 pm

President Obama speaks Wednesday at a town hall-style meeting at Wyffels Hybrids Inc. in Atkinson, Ill. He is expected to unveil plans to stimulate the economy after Labor Day.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

As President Obama embarks on vacation, he leaves behind roiling domestic markets, dismal unemployment numbers and speculation about what he'll propose in a planned jobs-and-economy speech after Labor Day.

While he's expected to lay out some familiar strategies when he returns, from extending payroll tax cuts to new infrastructure spending, economists are looking for more — and for how Obama will balance election-year politics with the imperative to get something done and quickly in bitterly divided Washington.

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Sat August 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:40 am

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband, Marcus, wave to the crowd after she speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Bachmann won the poll with 4,823 votes.
Charles Dharapak AP

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, edging out Ron Paul, the Libertarian Texas congressman and quadrennial White House hopeful.

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third, capturing less than half of the totals brought in by the top two finishers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the ballot, ended up in sixth place with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

Romney and Huntsman were on the ballot, but did not actively compete.

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Sat August 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Straw Poll Voters Look For 'Breakout' In GOP Field

They love "the Huckster" in Iowa, and he loves them back.

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says that Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a "tactical error" by shunning Saturday's straw poll, instead opting to announce his candidacy for president today in South Carolina.

"He's raining on the parade in Iowa," said Huckabee, taking a break from signing books for the happy crowd mobbing him Saturday morning. "I'm not against Rick at all, but this is the biggest day of the year for Iowa Republicans."

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Sat August 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Are Michele Bachmann's Best Days On Campaign Trail Nearly Past?

Rep. Michele Bachmann greets a voter in Pella, Iowa.
Liz Halloran NPR

DES MOINES — These sunny August days in Iowa may prove to be Michele Bachmann's best as a GOP presidential candidate.

On the eve of the state's Republican straw poll in Ames, where she is expected to either win or place, the Minnesota congresswoman hop-scotched central Iowa.

She charmed about 100 supporters and the curious in the tidy, Dutch-and-proud town of Pella, and drew easily the largest crowd of any GOP candidates speaking at the Iowa State Fair.

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Fri August 12, 2011

Debate Over, Iowa Prepares To Winnow GOP Field

Voters put corn kernals into jars with their favorite Republican presidential candidates on the first day of the Iowa State Fair August 11 in Des Moines.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

They traded attacks and insults, argued about war funding, and disparaged the man in the White House whose job they want.

The two-hour, eight-candidate Republican presidential debate Thursday in Iowa, coming just days before the state party's presidential straw poll and in the midst of a national financial crisis, had the potential to matter — to elevate or, perhaps, eliminate a contender or two.

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Mon August 8, 2011

Why The Downgrade Won't End The D.C. Dysfunction

President Barack Obama talks about the downgrade of U.S. debt at the White House on August 8.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

The political blame game that has followed Standard & Poor's U.S. debt downgrade has been dismally predictable.

Democrats point fingers at the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Republicans condemn President Obama for an inability to lead. And S&P has been alternately hailed for calling out Washington's budgeting dysfunction and excoriated for overstepping in its ratings role.

One thing not in dispute?

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Fri August 5, 2011

The Next D.C. Guessing Game: Who's On Debt Panel?

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) could land a seat on the debt panel.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Congress avoided a federal default this week by raising the debt ceiling in exchange for promised spending reductions, but it ceded the difficult details to a new 12-member "super committee."

If reaction to the bipartisan panel of Senate and House members, yet to be appointed, is any measure, its chances of agreeing on ways to reduce the nation's deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade are slim — no matter who gets picked to serve.

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Wed August 3, 2011

After Debt Deal, The Tea Party Has Staying Power

Members of Congress have begun fleeing the nation's steamy capital for their summer break, leaving behind a funk of noxious politics and a debt-ceiling deal that averts a government default but inspires almost universal hatred.

They're also dragging along dueling narratives about what the acrimonious past few weeks have meant for the prospects of the Tea Party movement.

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Fri July 29, 2011

Where The GOP Candidates Stand On The Debt Plan

John Moore Getty Images

With Republicans so divided on the debt-ceiling plan, the issue could be a major fault line in the 2012 presidential race. Only two contenders currently serve in Congress, but NPR took a look at how they all might vote on House Speaker John Boehner's bill:

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Wed July 27, 2011

How Boehner Got A Fractured GOP To Back His Plan

Speaker of the House John Boehner as he arrived for a House GOP caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2011.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

What a difference a day makes.

Less than 24 hours ago, Republican House Speaker John Boehner was forced to postpone a vote on his debt ceiling plan after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that it cut spending by about $350 billion less than promised.

The Tea Party wing of the leader's ornery caucus was continuing to slam his proposal as not going far enough or fast enough in cutting spending as a prerequisite to raising the nation's debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

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Wed July 20, 2011

How Rick Perry Could Shake Up The GOP Race

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 18, 2011 in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest Republican to tantalize the restive party base with the prospect of a 2012 presidential run.

The three-term governor, a favorite of evangelicals and the Tea Party faithful, has been meeting with potential donors and ramping up his public profile. He has also scheduled an attention-getting prayer event at a Houston stadium in August.

Earlier this month, Perry told the Des Moines Register that he's getting "more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do."

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Tue July 19, 2011

Now An Iowa Underdog, Pawlenty Aims For Survival

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 11:48 am

Former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty greets supporters before a July 7 town hall meeting at his Iowa campaign headquarters in Urbandale.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign for the GOP presidential nomination was always expected to be launched, or extinguished, in next-door Iowa.

But with his once-promising prospects seemingly atrophied, and his first big test at the Iowa GOP presidential straw poll less than a month away, Pawlenty has embarked on an 18-city tour of the state this week to pump up his stuck-in-single-digit support.

He's also plowing about $200,000 into television advertising that will run through the Aug. 13 straw poll — the heftiest candidate buy in Iowa so far.

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Mon July 18, 2011
It's All Politics

White House Threatens Veto Of 'Cap, Cut Balance' Bill; GOP Plows Ahead

Conservatives coined a catchy name for the legislation House Republicans have scheduled for a Tuesday vote — Cap, Cut and Balance.

Democrats in the White House have what they think is just as creative a name for the bill — Duck, Dodge and Dismantle.

And those same Obama officials vow that President Obama will veto the legislation if it were to reach his desk.

That's a major if; it's unlikely the Republican bill will get through the Senate.

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Thu July 14, 2011

Eric Cantor: The 'Young Gun' In The Debt Standoff

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on July 12.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

As the debt-ceiling talks descended into yet another day of deadlock, Democrats tried to pin blame on a new target: House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor.

That Cantor is at the center of the acrimonious debt-ceiling discussions should surprise no one who has followed his efforts to mobilize small-government conservatives.

"Young Guns," the No. 2 Republican in the House calls them — and himself — in a book he co-wrote last year with two like-minded House colleagues.

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Mon July 11, 2011

A Conservative Spins Out The GOP's Debt Endgame

Longtime GOP aide Steve Bell believes a fear of primary challenges is driving politicians to hew to the party line.
Bipartisan Policy Center

As stop-and-start debt ceiling negotiations between President Obama and Republican leaders continue, longtime Capitol Hill conservative Steve Bell predicts that the two sides will strike a "mediocre," no-new-taxes-now deal before Aug. 2.

But he also suggests that his party may pay the price at the ballot box next year for its insistence on protecting tax cuts for the nation's highest earners.

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