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

7:56pm

Wed October 2, 2013
Politics

Boehner, Obama Meet But Make No Progress On Deal To End Shutdown

Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish, with no end in sight. And that's in spite of talks at the White House late today. President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner for over an hour Wednesday evening. The meeting failed to produce a deal that would end the federal government shutdown.

5:52pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Politics

Every Move She Makes, Pundits Are Watching Hillary Clinton

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 11:09 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City on Wednesday.
Ramin Talaie Getty Images

When she left the Obama administration, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she just wanted to sleep late and walk her dog. But that hasn't happened.

Read more

5:29am

Sat September 21, 2013
It's All Politics

Have Obama's Troubles Weakened Him For Fall's Fiscal Fights?

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

President Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

President Obama has had a tough year. He failed to pass gun legislation. Plans for an immigration overhaul have stalled in the House. He barely escaped what would have been a humiliating rejection by Congress on his plan to strike Syria.

Just this week, his own Democrats forced Larry Summers, the president's first choice to head the Federal Reserve, to withdraw.

Former Clinton White House aide Bill Galston says all these issues have weakened the unity of the president's coalition.

Read more

6:24pm

Thu August 29, 2013
World

U.K. Vote Against Syria Strike A Major Setback For Obama

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So where does this leave the Obama administration? For more on that, I'm joined by NPR's Mara Liasson. And Mara, what's the White House reaction been to this vote in the British Parliament tonight?

Read more

5:23am

Tue July 23, 2013
NPR Story

Republicans Pin Hopes On Senate Turnover In 2014

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, D.C. the next election always seems just around the corner, even in the middle of summer when it seems a long way away to everyone else. Republicans are in the Senate minority today, but about now they're feeling confident about their prospects to pick up seats and maybe even regain the majority in 2014. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

Read more

5:07pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Politics

Marco Rubio: Poster Boy For The GOP Identity Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 6:13 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., walks toward the stage as he is introduced at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in June.
Charles Dharapak AP

The Republican Party seems like two parties these days. In the Senate, Republicans joined a two-thirds majority to pass an immigration bill. But in the House, Republicans are balking.

Strategist Alex Lundry says it's hard to figure out the way forward when your party's base of power is the House of Representatives.

"One problem we have in the wilderness is that there are a thousand chiefs," he says. "And it is hard to get a party moving when you don't have somebody at the top who is a core leader who can be directive."

Read more

4:44pm

Mon July 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Will Texas Become A Presidential Battleground?

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 6:11 pm

Texas was decidedly red on the electoral map in NBC News' "Election Plaza" in New York's Rockefeller Center in 2008. Do Democrats really have a chance to turn it blue in the future?
Mary Altaffer AP

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

With the two parties in Washington gridlocked on immigration, the budget and other issues, it's easy to forget that when it comes to winning presidential elections, one party has a distinct advantage.

Read more

8:01am

Wed June 12, 2013
National Security

Surveillance Revelations Spark Lackluster Public Discord

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

When a former IT contractor at the National Security Agency gave The Guardian U.S. government surveillance information, he told the paper that his only motivation was to spark a public debate about government surveillance.

"This is something that's not our place to decide," Edward Snowden said. "The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong."

Read more

6:27pm

Wed May 8, 2013
It's All Politics

With Texas Trip, Obama Tries To Steer Focus Back To Economy

President Obama answers questions during a news conference on April 30.
Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama turns his attention back to his economic agenda Thursday when he travels to Austin, Texas, where he will visit a technology high school and a company that makes the machines that make silicon chips.

The White House says the trip is part of Obama's Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. It also appears to be an effort by the president to get back to the issues Americans care most about.

Read more

8:16pm

Thu April 25, 2013
Middle East

White House Undecided On Action For Syria Crossing 'Red Line'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Has the so-called red line been crossed in Syria? Today, the Obama administration said it believes the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and, as President Obama has said in the past, that is a red line that would trigger serious consequences. But as NPR's Mara Liasson reports, the administration says it still has to evaluate the evidence and decide what actions to take.

Read more

5:37pm

Wed April 17, 2013
It's All Politics

Immigration Proves A 'Rubik's Cube' For Many Republicans

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 8:37 pm

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol on April 10.
Allison Shelley Getty Images

While an immigration overhaul has drawn support from church groups, business, labor and even former opponents, there's still deep opposition — mostly centered in the Republican Party.

The last time a president tried to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul was in 2007, and George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress killed his bill. Republican strategist Kevin Madden says a lot has changed since then — including the way the Republican Party is dealing with its own internal divisions.

Read more

7:33pm

Tue March 26, 2013
Politics

Proposition 8 Case Has High Political Stakes For Both Parties

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll learn what the court decides to do about DOMA and California's Proposition 8 sometime this summer. Its options vary widely. But no matter what the result, there will be political implications.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us to walk through some of them.

And, Mara, first, let's talk briefly about this really sea change in public opinion now in favor of same-sex marriage. Could the court reverse that tide in any way?

Read more

4:43am

Tue March 19, 2013
Politics

RNC Election Report Calls For Minority Outreach, Primary Changes

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the Republican Party has issued a blistering assessment of why it lost the 2012 election. The Republican National Committee Growth and Opportunity Project told the party that if it wants to win national elections in the future, it needs to change the way it communicates with voters and runs its campaigns.

NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

Read more

3:56am

Thu March 14, 2013
It's All Politics

It's Still Early, But GOP Hopefuls Test The Waters For 2016

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 9:34 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, was not invited to speak at CPAC.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

During the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that begins Thursday, a slew of men who appear to want to try their hand at leading the GOP back to the White House in 2016 will be speaking, though not every potential presidential candidate was invited.

Yes, it's four years away, but that hasn't stopped Republican hopefuls from testing the waters. There are already polls — for whatever they're worth — of potential GOP candidates.

Read more

3:06am

Wed March 13, 2013
It's All Politics

Republicans Face Off Over Strategy For Picking Candidates

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 5:36 pm

Karl Rove and the big donors behind his Crossroads superPAC have formed a new group, the Conservative Victory Project, to vet and recruit Republican Senate candidates.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Republicans have a steep hill to climb if they want to take control of the Senate next year. The GOP would need to pick up six seats in 2014.

There are plenty of open seats and vulnerable Democrats up for re-election, but Republicans are debating the best way to win.

Last year's Senate results were disappointing for the GOP: The party ended up losing a number of seats it thought were winnable — and now it's trying to figure out what to do differently next year.

Read more

5:19pm

Fri March 1, 2013
It's All Politics

One Strategy For A GOP Overhaul? Follow The Democrats' Example

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:01 pm

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, shown here in August at the Republican National Convention, has named a five-member task force to conduct a review of what went wrong for his party in the November elections.
Charles Dharapak AP

These are difficult times for the Republican Party. In the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, Democrats led Republicans — in some cases by double digits — on issues like Medicare, taxes and the economy.

Read more

6:12am

Fri February 15, 2013
Politics

Automatic Budget Cuts Near As Democrats, GOP Stand Firm

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.

NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.

Read more

4:47am

Tue February 12, 2013
Politics

Obama Speech To Set Second Term's Tone

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 5:00 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more

5:07am

Sat February 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Public Pressure, Background Checks Central To Obama Gun Control Strategy

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

President Obama speaks about his gun control agenda before law enforcement officials in Minneapolis on Monday. The president was doing what his aides say he didn't do often enough in his first term: getting outside of Washington to build public support for legislation.
Ben Garvin Getty Images

Gun control historically has been one of the most divisive issues in Congress, between the parties and even inside the Democratic coalition. Yet some in President Obama's own party say he has put together a gun agenda that is sweeping without being too painful for most Democrats to support.

Read more

3:44am

Fri February 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Hillary Clinton Leaving The Stage — At Least For Now — And On A High Note

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 11:26 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. She officially leaves her post on Friday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton leaves her job Friday as secretary of state with sky-high approval ratings, and there's already a superPAC established urging her to run for president in 2016.

Read more

4:44am

Tue January 22, 2013
Race

Civil Rights Highlighted On Inauguration Day

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 10:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Four years ago, President Obama delivered an inaugural speech that many viewed as somber. He took office facing two wars and a global economic crisis.

INSKEEP: Yesterday, the president declared a decade of war is now ending. And he took a position in the economic battles that remain.

Read more

6:55am

Fri January 18, 2013
Politics

Does Obama's Second-Term Agenda Need Beefing Up?

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama is set to take the oath of office for a second time. He has promised an ambitious agenda for the next four years. NPR's Mara Liasson tackles the question of whether it's ambitious enough.

Read more

1:34pm

Tue December 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Low-Profile Power Player Jack Lew May Be In Line For Treasury Post

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

President Obama walks with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on March 2 on the South Lawn of the White House.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Ask the average person — even in Washington — who serves as President Obama's chief of staff and you'll probably get a blank stare.

Jack Lew hasn't been heard or seen in the "fiscal cliff" drama unfolding between the White House and Congress. But the former budget director, who took over the top White House job last January, has become a key player behind the scenes.

Read more

5:31am

Tue December 18, 2012
Politics

Gun Issues Return To Political Debate

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the wake of those mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut, there is a new conversation in Washington about gun laws. And there are signs that the outcome could be different than in the past.

Here's NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

Read more

5:33pm

Wed December 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama And House GOP Engage In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Just Not With Each Other

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:30 pm

President Obama is introduced to the Business Roundtable by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in Washington on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. They traded accusations and blame during another day with plenty of talk, but — until late in the day, at least — no negotiations.

Read more

8:58am

Tue December 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Changes Tack With Congressional Republicans

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 12:37 pm

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington on Monday. Since his re-election four weeks ago, Obama is showing signs of a new, more aggressive leadership style.
Charles Dharapak AP

Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.

Read more

7:48am

Wed November 28, 2012
Politics

Post-Election, GOP's Immigration Message Evolves

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 12:30 pm

Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona on Tuesday introduced a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country, but would not offer them a path to citizenship.
Alex Wong Getty Images

After an election in which Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill are making overtures about immigration reform.

House Speaker John Boehner says he's sure he can make a deal next year with the White House on a comprehensive bill. A steady procession of prominent GOP leaders are warning that Republicans won't win the White House again without improving their outreach to Latino voters. On Monday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio explained the problem this way.

Read more

7:17pm

Tue November 6, 2012
Election 2012

Polls Start To Close In Big Battleground States

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Lynn Neary talks to Mara Liasson for an election update as polls start to close.

5:07pm

Tue October 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Re-Election Campaign Reveals A President Looking For The Right Balance

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 5:26 pm

President Obama's performance in the first presidential debate cost him a lot.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

As this long election comes to end, Superstorm Sandy is offering a chance for President Obama to showcase his leadership skills one last time.

For Obama, this campaign has truly been a fight against the elements: a painfully slow economic recovery and a political landscape in which the Republicans swept the table just two years ago. The Obama campaign, with its trademark discipline and meticulous organization, set out to overcome these obstacles.

But the long campaign has also put the spotlight on features of Obama's own personality and performance.

Read more

5:53am

Tue October 23, 2012
Presidential Race

Candidates Inject Economy Into Foreign Policy Debate

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The third and final presidential debate was less dramatic than the ones before.

GREENE: Less dramatic but not without some drama. President Obama and Mitt Romney discussed foreign policy under the questioning of moderator Bob Schieffer.

Read more

Pages