NPR: Mara Liasson

Mara Liasson is the national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Each election year, Liasson provides key coverage of the candidates and issues in both presidential and congressional races. During her tenure she has covered six presidential elections — in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR's White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents Association's Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989-1992 Liasson was NPR's congressional correspondent.

Liasson joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and newscaster. From September 1988 to June 1989 she took a leave of absence from NPR to attend Columbia University in New York as a recipient of a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism.

Prior to joining NPR, Liasson was a freelance radio and television reporter in San Francisco. She was also managing editor and anchor of California Edition, a California Public Radio nightly news program, and a print journalist for The Vineyard Gazette in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Liasson is a graduate of Brown University where she earned a bachelor's degree in American history.

Pages

2:46pm

Mon July 6, 2015
It's All Politics

Donald Trump, 'Wrestling A Pig,' And The GOP's Struggle To Reform

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 2:22 pm

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're bringing drugs; they're bringing crime, [bringing] their rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," Donald Trump said while announcing his campaign last month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Republicans have been talking about reforming their party since President Obama's re-election in 2012. The recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage and Obamacare and the reversal of several Southern Republican governors on the Confederate battle flag gave the GOP a new chance. But change can be hard.

In presidential years, the party has a math problem, according to GOP strategist Steve Schmidt. He points out that while Democrats are attracting growing segments of the population, like Latinos and Asians, Republicans are relying on their traditional base of white voters.

Read more

6:05pm

Tue June 30, 2015
Politics

Chris Christie Becomes 14th Republican Presidential Candidate

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 9:08 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Chris Christie is joining a crowded race.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BOBBY JINDAL: My name is Bobby Jindal.

CARLY FIORINA: I'm Carly Fiorina.

BEN CARSON: Now I've introduced my family you say, well, who are you?

Read more

11:19am

Thu June 25, 2015
Law

Breaking Down The Supreme Court Ruling On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 12:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more

5:18am

Mon June 15, 2015
It's All Politics

He Was Born Republican Royalty, But 'Jebcito' Is From Miami

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 10:42 am

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (left) serves helpings of paella to guests attending the Miami-Dade Day festivities in 2002, with former state Rep. Gary Siplin (center) and former U.S. Sen. Kendrick Meek.
Phil Coale AP

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

There are three Republican candidates who ran Spanish-language ads when they announced their presidential intentions — but only one was an Anglo.

Read more

2:43pm

Fri June 12, 2015
It's All Politics

How Would Hillary Clinton 'Reshuffle' Economic Inequality?

Hillary Clinton, seen here at Moo's Place in New Hampshire, has talked about the economy on the campaign trail but only in broad strokes.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's campaign for president is about to enter a new phase. At her first big rally this Saturday in New York City, she will make an unusually personal speech about how her upbringing forged her commitment to helping others.

Read more

5:08am

Mon June 1, 2015
Politics

Patriot Act Provisions Expire; More Candidates Announce Presidential Bid

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 7:36 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

8:32am

Thu May 14, 2015
It's All Politics

4 Questions For Republicans On Foreign Policy

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 4:51 pm

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks Wednesday before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where he laid out his "Rubio Doctrine."
Mary Altaffer AP

This post was updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

Foreign policy is becoming a big issue in the 2016 election. For the first time in years, some polls show as many voters concerned about foreign affairs as domestic issues.

And for Republican voters it's the No. 1 issue.

Read more

5:25pm

Thu April 30, 2015
It's All Politics

Why Hillary Clinton Is Just Fine With Bernie Sanders' Candidacy

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:19 pm

Bernie Sanders announced his presidential bid Thursday. Though he'll challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, his candidacy could actually help hers.
Getty Images

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders got into the presidential race Thursday, becoming Hillary Clinton's first official challenger for the Democratic nomination. His website has a disclaimer: "Paid for by Bernie not the billionaires."

Although he caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, he's not a registered Democrat — he's actually the longest-serving independent in congressional history. (There's no rule, by the way, barring candidates who are not registered Democrats from running in the Democratic primary.)

Read more

6:19pm

Mon April 27, 2015
It's All Politics

3 Reasons Republicans Might Cheer A Pro-Gay-Marriage Ruling

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio spoke at the an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting last weekend.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The idea that the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage is a good thing for Republicans sounds counterintuitive — after all, the GOP is the party of traditional marriage.

But here's why it might actually be a good thing for the party:

1. Public opinion is changing — at lightning speed.

There's never been a social issue in America on which public attitudes reached a tipping point so quickly.

Read more

4:40am

Mon April 13, 2015
It's All Politics

Rubio's Path To The Nomination, And 3 Obstacles In His Way

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:09 am

Marco Rubio celebrates onstage with his family in 2010 after winning his U.S. Senate seat in Florida when he was just 39 years old. Now, he's expected to embark on a run for president.
Alan Diaz AP

Marco Rubio, the charismatic, Hispanic, young (and even younger-looking) freshman senator from Florida is launching his campaign for the White House Monday in Miami.

Rubio, 43, will be entering a growing field of candidates. Right now, he's considered a second-tier candidate, polling behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the man Rubio has called a mentor.

That could change once he gets in. Rubio's advisers believe he has a path to the nomination, with assets few other candidates can match.

Read more

7:03am

Tue April 7, 2015
It's All Politics

Can Libertarian Rand Paul Win A Republican Primary?

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 11:16 am

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. walks from the stage after speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Rand Paul is not like other potential presidential candidates.

The Kentucky senator, who announced his candidacy for the White House on Tuesday morning, doesn't fit neatly into the molds of either party.

Socially liberal on issues of crime and punishment — especially when it comes to drug sentencing — against a federal ban on same-sex marriage, and no foreign policy hawk, he's not your prototypical Republican.

As a fiscal conservative and an opponent of abortion rights, though, he's certainly no Democrat either.

Read more

6:03am

Fri April 3, 2015
It's All Politics

Fights Over 'Religious Freedom' And Gay Rights Are Costing Republicans

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 11:54 am

Opponents of an Arkansas religious objection measure chant outside the Arkansas state Capitol on Wednesday.
Danny Johnston AP

Following a firestorm of criticism, Republican governors in Indiana and Arkansas signed revised versions of their states' Religious Freedom Restoration bills Thursday night. In Indiana the language was adjusted, and in Arkansas it was significantly scaled back to more closely align with the federal law.

Read more

4:39pm

Wed April 1, 2015
Politics

Republicans Face Backlash Over Indiana, Arkansas 'Religious Freedom' Laws

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:10 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:04am

Tue March 24, 2015
Middle East

Netanyahu Reveals Aversion To 2-State Solution, White House Says

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

6:50pm

Wed March 18, 2015
It's All Politics

Bad Blood Gets Worse Between Barack, Bibi And Israel

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:22 pm

President Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2013. The two have never had a warm and fuzzy relationship.
Charles Dharapak AP

The U.S.-Israeli relationship was one of the issues in the Israeli elections — in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's poisonous personal relationship with President Obama.

Now, with Netanyahu's return to power, that relationship doesn't look like it will be improving anytime soon.

Read more

5:02am

Wed March 11, 2015
Politics

In Retrospect, Clinton Says She Should Have Used Separate Emails

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 4:46 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more

6:04pm

Mon March 9, 2015
It's All Politics

3 Reasons Democrats Are Freaking Out About Hillary Clinton

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:16 pm

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checking her phone in 2010. For many Democrats, the answer to the question: "If not Hillary, who?" is — disaster.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The back-to-back Clinton controversies are making Democrats queasy.

At a time when more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls are jostling each other in New Hampshire and Iowa, this should be a great moment for the virtually unopposed Hillary Clinton. She could be staying above the fray, using the time to staff up and prepare her policy agenda. But that's not what's happening.

Read more

5:52am

Mon March 9, 2015
Politics

Politics Roundup: From Iowa To Hillary Clinton's Email Account

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:20 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:20pm

Tue March 3, 2015
It's All Politics

4 Reasons Both Parties Should Be Sweating Bullets Over King V. Burwell

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 1:54 pm

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (from left), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have reasons to watch the Supreme Court case closely — and to worry about its outcome.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in another case that threatens the survival of Obamacare. This one doesn't challenge the constitutionality of the law itself, it merely challenges the legality of one of the most important parts of the system — subsidies so that everyone can afford health care. If the court strikes down the subsidies for people who live in states that chose not to set up their own exchanges, and who get their health coverage from the federal marketplace — healthcare.gov — it would begin to unravel the entire Obamacare project.

Read more

5:09am

Fri February 13, 2015
Politics

Political Necessity Forces GOP Into Middle-Class Income Debate

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 8:12 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more

10:05am

Thu February 5, 2015
It's All Politics

5 Things The Vaccine Debacle Reveals About The 2016 Presidential Field

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 7:19 pm

Sen. Rand Paul tweeted this photo, writing "Ironic: Today I am getting my booster vaccine. Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this?"
Twitter

As the measles outbreak continues to spread, political leaders with an eye on the White House in 2016 spent much of the week jumping into, and then trying to bail themselves out of, the vaccine debate.

Some brushed the issue off as an unnecessary media circus, but it's worth taking a look at its deeper political meaning. Here are five things the vaccine politics kerfuffle of 2015 tells us about the emerging field of presidential candidates for 2016.

1. Vaccination politics are a problem for Republicans — not Democrats.

Read more

4:03am

Fri January 30, 2015
It's All Politics

4 Reasons Why It's Veto Season At The White House

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 7:37 pm

President Obama has said he will veto the Keystone XL pipeline project, which passed in the Senate on Wednesday. Historically, political scientists say, 90 percent of veto threats are issued behind the scenes, but Obama has issued nine veto threats so far — in public.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is about to get his first veto opportunity of the new Congress. A bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project will be on his desk soon. He has promised to veto it, and that's unusual. In his first six years in office, Obama issued just two vetoes — the fewest of any president going all the way back to James Garfield, and Garfield only served 199 days in office!

Read more

4:48pm

Wed January 21, 2015
Politics

Obama Draws Battle Lines In State Of The Union Address

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more

7:06am

Tue January 20, 2015
It's All Politics

State Of The Union: 5 Things To Watch

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:37 pm

President Obama listens as British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks Friday during their joint news conference at the White House.
Evan Vucci AP

Even in the era of declining television audiences, President Obama's State of the Union address is still the biggest audience he'll have all year. Historically, seventh-year State of the Union speeches have a short shelf life. Every one of the five lame-duck presidents (that is, presidents constitutionally barred from running again — Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama) has had opposition congresses, making the prospects for passing major parts of the president's agenda slim to none.

Read more

5:05am

Mon December 22, 2014
Politics

Treasury Nomination Sparks Fight Among Democrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:37 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

1:02pm

Mon November 24, 2014
U.S.

Hagel Steps Down After Discord On Syria, Iraq

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down. President Obama made the announcement in an East Room appearance minutes ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

Read more

12:17pm

Wed November 19, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama To Unveil Immigration Plan On Thursday

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 3:14 pm

Updated at 1:28 p.m. ET.

President Obama says he will announce the executive actions he's taking to "start fixing our broken immigration system" during a speech to the nation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

Read more

4:17pm

Tue November 11, 2014
Health Care

Affordable Care Act Has Many Political And Legal Challenges Ahead

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:55 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more

4:33pm

Mon November 3, 2014
Politics

Disappointment With Both Parties A Major Factor In Midterm Elections

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 6:23 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:23am

Mon October 20, 2014
Politics

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 1:47 pm

People hold signs, including some reading "America is ready for marriage," at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on Oct. 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren't: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for the GOP.
George Frey Getty Images

When social norms change, sometimes they change so fast it's hard to keep up.

Only 10 years ago, ballot initiatives opposing gay marriage were helping Republicans win elections. But two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for legal same-sex marriage, the response from Republican leaders was deafening silence.

They were so quiet, some wondered whether the culture wars had finally ended with a Republican defeat.

Gary Bauer, a longtime social conservative activist, thinks that's nonsense.

Read more

Pages