NPR: Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR’s White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress.  In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe.  He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, and for subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava.  He also covered Mr.Obama’s first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series “Lost & Found Sound.”

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.



Tue November 8, 2011
NPR Story

Tea Party Looks To Impact Presidential Election

Republican presidential candidates (from left) Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum prepare to debate during the event sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express at the Florida state fairgrounds on Sept. 12 in Tampa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

It was one year ago that the Tea Party movement helped Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. With the presidential election a year away, the movement finds itself searching for ways to have the same kind of impact this time around.

The Tea Party celebrated on election night last year with candidates like Rand Paul, who captured a Senate seat in Kentucky.

"Tonight there's a Tea Party tidal wave, and we're sending a message to them," Paul said in his victory speech.

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Fri November 4, 2011
Generational Politics: Silents to Millennials

Baby Boomers Remain Skeptical Of The Establishment

The baby boomers were born in the two decades after World War II and known for their anti-establishment liberalism in the 1960s. But their beginnings have not made them a predictable Democratic voting block. In 2008, boomers narrowly backed Barack Obama, but they swung over to Republicans in 2010.

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Wed October 26, 2011
Election 2012

From Romney, Perry, Mixed Campaign Messages

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:25 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to a group of supporters during a visit Tuesday to a GOP phone bank in Terrace Park, Ohio.

Al Behrman AP

It's been a week of mixed messaging from two of the campaigns on the presidential trail: that of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and current Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Romney revived accusations that he's a flip-flopper when he waded into a battle over a ballot proposal in Ohio. Perry created his own distraction by revisiting questions about President Obama's place of birth.

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Sun October 23, 2011
Election 2012

No 'Perfect Candidate' Yet For Iowa Conservatives

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 4:30 pm

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition forum on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. Six GOP presidential candidates attended the banquet, seeking an edge in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Four years ago in the Iowa caucuses, evangelical voters rallied behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won an upset victory and shook up the Republican field in the process.

With the 2012 Iowa caucuses just over 10 weeks away, conservative Christian Republican voters in Iowa are still searching for a presidential candidate. Saturday night they sized up six GOP hopefuls at a banquet in Des Moines, sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

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Thu October 20, 2011
Mitt Romney

In Iowa, Mitt Romney Makes His Presence Known

Mitt Romney, shown here at the Iowa State Fair in August, was back in the state on Thursday — his first visit since summer. At one point during his town hall on Thursday, he was asked why he's spent so little time in the state.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Mitt Romney's current run for the White House has not included a big presence in the first state that will actually vote: Iowa, which holds its caucuses on Jan. 3.

He failed to meet expectations at the Iowa caucuses in 2008. So for 2012, his campaign has focused instead on New Hampshire as the key to a series of primary victories that, they believe, will result in the former Massachusetts governor winning the GOP nomination.

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Sun October 9, 2011

Values Voters Lukewarm, But Romney Presses On

Originally published on Sun October 16, 2011 10:50 am

Social conservatives have wrapped up a two-day Values Voter Summit in Washington. Their goal is to keep the focus on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, even as the economy tops the list of concerns for most voters.

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Sat October 8, 2011

Values Voters Given Choice: Perry Or Romney's 'Cult'

Originally published on Sat October 8, 2011 12:55 pm

Five presidential candidates appeared at the opening day of the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, but the speech getting the most attention was one by a pastor from Dallas who introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Every year in Washington, social conservatives from across the country gather for the summit, an event sponsored by the Family Research Council. In presidential years, the summit is a must-stop for GOP candidates.

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Fri October 7, 2011
Rick Perry

For Rick Perry, A Restless Life On The Farm

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:21 am

Rick Perry's parents still live on Farm Market Road 618.

Don Gonyea NPR

Second in a series

Rick Perry first won public office in 1984, when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In that and in every campaign since, he has run as a man shaped by his time working a dryland farm.

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Tue October 4, 2011

Activists Press Obama To Renew Progressive Stand

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 9:52 am

Progressive activists played a big role in helping President Obama get elected. But in the years since, the big story of political activism has been the conservative Tea Party movement.

Hoping to reverse that trend, 2,000 people have registered for the annual "Take Back the American Dream Conference" this week in Washington, D.C. That's more than double the number at the 2010 event.

Shamako Noble, 31, of San Jose, Calif., comes every year and says he has learned that work can't stop, even after the election is over.

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Mon September 19, 2011
Presidential Race

Will Tough Talk On Immigration Repel Latino Voters?

Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 6:56 pm

Republican presidential candidates (from left) Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry cover their hearts during the playing of the national anthem before a Republican presidential debate on Sept. 12.
Chris O'Meara AP

Wherever he goes, GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry proudly waves the flag of conservatism, often introducing himself with, "I simply want to get America working again and make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."

But the Texas governor, a favorite of conservatives overall, is taking criticism for being too moderate when it comes to immigration. The reason: In 2001, his first full year in office, he signed legislation that grants in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges and universities to some illegal immigrants.

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Tue September 13, 2011
Election 2012

7 GOP Presidential Candidates Gang Up Against Perry

Eight Republican presidential candidates gathered Monday night in Tampa, Fla., for a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express. The event marked the first time The Tea Party Express has been an official sponsor of a presidential debate. Texas Governor Rick Perry was the center of attention.


Mon September 12, 2011

How Sept. 11 Attacks United And Then Divided U.S. Politics

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 9:08 am



It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. Renee Montagne is on assignment in Afghanistan. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

If there was ever a day to set aside politics, it might have been yesterday, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

GREENE: At a memorial service in New York yesterday morning, President Obama read aloud from the Bible. Former President Bush joined him to read a letter by Abraham Lincoln.

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Fri August 26, 2011

Perry's Presence Felt At Romney's N.H. Appearances

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney has been meeting with voters in New Hampshire. At this week's town hall sessions, he's faced tough questions about climate change and the future of Medicare and Social Security. Romney downplayed new polls showing he is no longer the GOP presidential frontrunner, thanks to a surge by new candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


Tue August 16, 2011

Mixed Feelings Abound As Obama Visits Iowa

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 12:38 pm

President Obama listens to questions during a Monday town hall meeting in Decorah, Iowa.
Carolyn Kaster AP

As President Obama travels on a three-day, three-state Midwestern bus tour to talk about the economy and jobs, one of the places he has visited is the city of Decorah in northeast Iowa.

The tiny college town — whose economy is doing considerably better than the nation as a whole — is friendly territory for the president. Obama carried the county by a wide margin in 2008.

Among voters now, you'll find plenty of loyalists — but also plenty of frustration.

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Sat August 13, 2011
Election 2012

Iowa Straw Poll Offers First Sip Of 2012

Later Saturday in Ames, Iowans will cast their ballots in the state's quadrennial straw poll, considered the first ballot-box test of the 2012 presidential field. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports on the tradition and this year's politics.


Thu August 4, 2011

Debt Deal May Erode Independent Support For Obama

During Washington's heated debate over the debt ceiling, President Obama and others in the administration canceled several campaign fundraisers as work on a compromise dragged on. But Wednesday night, Obama, who turns 50 Thursday, went out raising money at a pair of birthday-themed events in Chicago. The election is a long way off, but the country's long-term financial obligations seem certain to become a prime issue.

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Tue August 2, 2011

Debt Impasse Over, GOP Hopefuls Turn To Spending

For the Republicans vying to replace President Obama, the debate on the campaign trail has taken a back seat to the debate in Washington.

Among the GOP presidential hopefuls, the dominant position on the deal is thumbs-down, though some reluctantly supported the agreement.

But now, the issue of federal spending promises to become one of the leading topics of discussion as voters size up the Republican field.

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Wed July 13, 2011

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Weigh In On Debt Ceiling

The debt-ceiling battle between President Obama and the Republican leadership has dominated Washington this week and become a hot topic among GOP presidential hopefuls on the campaign trail. While they are unified in their criticism of the White House, there are differences among the candidates over what kind of deal – if any — should be struck.

Meeting with voters at a coffeehouse in Des Moines, Iowa, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said it's an easy call.

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Mon July 4, 2011
Campaign Vacations

In Iowa, Corn Is King And Candidates Are Everywhere

While campaigning for president in 2007, Barack Obama, then a senator from Illinois, drove a bumper car with his daughter Sasha at the Iowa State Fair.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Everybody knows that Iowa is the corn-growing capital of America. Agriculture is king.

And that means a top item on your campaign itinerary has to be the annual Iowa State Fair.

Some will check out the hog-calling contest. Then, they'll hit the midway and try out the fairgrounds delicacies — something deep-fried and served on a stick. And they'll drop by a booth run by the Des Moines Register, where they'll stand among the bales of hay and make a short, impromptu speech, as Hillary Clinton did four years ago:

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Mon June 20, 2011

Tea Party Revs Up Bus Tour, Rolls Through Iowa

The Iowa caucuses are the first big test of the nominating process, but the 2012 caucuses will also provide the first big test in a presidential contest for the Tea Party, which was formed during President Obama's first year in office.

The Iowa caucuses are now less than eight months away, and the field of Republican candidates is still taking shape, but the Iowa Tea Party has begun its own campaign, in the form of a three-week-long bus tour across the state.

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Fri June 10, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney To Skip Iowa's Straw Poll

Republicans in Iowa are disappointed that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will not participate in the Iowa straw poll in August. It is considered one of the marquee events of the Iowa campaign, and it's by far the most-watched straw poll in the presidential election campaign season.

John Stineman, a long-time Iowa GOP strategist, says the problem for Romney is that the expectations game is far tougher than it is for any other candidate.

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Fri May 27, 2011

Romney Back In Iowa, Shadowed by 2008 Loss

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has made his first 2011 campaign swing into Iowa, site of the first presidential caucuses next year.

He got off to a less than picture-perfect start, though, trying to focus on economic issues but facing questions about his commitment to competing in the state where he spent heavily but finished second to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008.

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Wed May 18, 2011
NPR Story

Early In Campaign, Gingrich Faces Controversy

Newt Gingrich's early days as a presidential candidate are reminding a lot of people of his time as Speaker of the House, angering conservatives with comments about Paul Ryan and then revealing his wife's enormous credit line at Tiffany's.


Tue May 17, 2011

Potential GOP Candidates Find Their Way To Iowa

The Republican Presidential field remains a work in progress. Major personalities such as Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump have announced they won't be candidates. New Hampshire, home of the first primary, is already jousting with rival Iowa, which has party caucuses a week earlier. NPR's Don Gonyea reports the primary buzz has already started in those states.


Fri May 13, 2011

Mitt Romney Takes On Healthcare In Mich. Speech

Mitt Romney, who is exploring another run for the White House, was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Thursday, talking about healthcare. It's an issue that's likely to be among the most difficult he'll face in his bid for the Republican nomination for 2012.


Fri May 6, 2011

Already? GOP Kicks Off Presidential Debates

The first presidential debate of the 2012 presidential campaign was held last night in Greenville, South Carolina. It featured five Republicans who hope to run against President Obama next year. But the group did not include some of the biggest names in the potential GOP presidential field.


Wed May 4, 2011

Ahead Of 2012, Bin Laden Death A Dilemma For GOP

For nearly a half a century, Republicans have generally held an advantage over Democrats on national security issues. But the killing of Osama bin Laden has given President Obama the biggest national security success a Democrat has had in a long time, and Republicans hoping to challenge him next year are wondering what it may mean to them.

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Tue April 26, 2011
The Spark

Mitt Romney: Like Father, Like Son?

There are at least a dozen Republicans considering a run for the White House in 2012. Over the next two weeks, NPR will be profiling some of them to find out what first sparked their interest in politics.

Before Mitt Romney went from the boardroom to the campaign trail, his father did the same thing.

George Romney was the head of American Motors — a gregarious, no-nonsense CEO who championed a line of innovative compact cars sold under the Nash and Rambler nameplates.

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Sun April 10, 2011

Congress Readies For More Budget Battles

As both sides sort out who won and who lost in the deal to keep the government running, the next phase of budget wrangling ensues.

The current-year budget deal struck Friday night still needs full congressional approval this week.

President Obama will deliver a speech Wednesday on the budget and the long-range deficits.

And sometime during the week, the House is expected to approve a new budget plan for next year that includes big changes in Medicare and Medicaid.

And none of that is to mention the looming battle about raising the federal debt ceiling.

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