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.

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5:35am

Thu September 6, 2012
Election 2012

Bill Clinton Captivates Delegates, Nominates Obama

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Renee Montagne is back at NPR West. Renee, welcome back.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Thank you very much. After a nice vacation, and so glad to be here, because big news: President Obama speaks to the Democratic Convention tonight. Just as with Mitt Romney last week, the president will have a huge audience to make his case.

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5:25am

Wed September 5, 2012
Election 2012

First Lady Stays Above The Fray In Convention Speech

First Lady Michelle Obama was one of the stars on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. She delivered a ringing, impassioned plea for the re-election of her husband, President Barack Obama.

4:44am

Fri August 31, 2012
Election 2012

Mitt Romney Makes His Case For Change

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 12:48 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. During his acceptance speech last night at the Republican convention, Mitt Romney told a story about his father. He said his father gave his mother a rose every day, and left it by the bed. She found out he had died on the day the rose did not appear.

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6:03am

Thu August 30, 2012
Election 2012

Ryan Tells GOP Delegates U.S. Needs A Turnaround

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 4:53 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

But now to Tampa, where this evening Mitt Romney will formally accept his party's nomination for president.

Last night, though, the stage belonged to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. In a campaign, it often falls to the running mate to be the attack dog and Ryan sounded up for the job. It was also a chance for the rising GOP star to defend his own ideas.

Here's NPR's national correspondent Mara Liasson.

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4:56am

Mon August 27, 2012
Election 2012

Watching Isaac, GOP Delays Opening Convention In Tampa

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 5:18 am

Republicans have decided to delay the official start of their presidential nominating convention until Tuesday. Tropical Storm Isaac is causing weather-related issues around Tampa, Florida. As the convention is about to begin, polls show GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is tied with President Obama.

4:38am

Thu August 16, 2012
Health Care

Ryan Pick Forces Medicare Discussion

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

When Mitt Romney put Paul Ryan on the ticket, it had the potential to reset the presidential race - that is, offer a choice between two radically different visions of government, in a campaign seemingly stuck in tit-for-tat attacks over the economy. So far, though, the campaigns have a somewhat different fight on their hands. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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5:45pm

Tue July 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Are Candidates Missing The Big Picture?

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 6:31 pm

President Obama speaks at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

If the stakes could not be bigger, why are the presidential candidates running such insubstantial campaigns?

On any given day, it seems like the debate is about whether President Obama thinks entrepreneurs built their own businesses or what year Mitt Romney gave up control of Bain Capital — instead of big solutions to fundamental problems like economic growth, energy or immigration.

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5:26am

Tue July 17, 2012
Election 2012

Romney, Obama Keep Up Campaign Sniping Attacks

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:17 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Here's what's happening in the presidential race. Republican Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for cronyism. Romney contends that Obama campaign donors got alternative energy grants.

MONTAGNE: Romney is trying to return to the offensive after being slammed over his own record. President Obama and his campaign have been questioning Romney's business background.

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4:43am

Tue July 10, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Outraises Obama By $35 Million In June

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:02 pm

The latest fundraising numbers are in for the two presidential campaigns, and the amounts are eye-popping. President Obama and the Democratic Party raised $71 million, which is an enormous haul. But it was dwarfed by Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, which together raised $106 million in the month of June.

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3:00am

Mon July 9, 2012
Politics

Campaigns Play The Numbers To Tip Election Favor

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 5:28 am

There are two big factors that will determine the outcome of the presidential election: the economy and demographics.

The economy is weak and doesn't look likely to improve by much, but the makeup of the electorate on the other hand is highly dynamic. It continues a trend underway for years: a rapid rise in the number of people who are not Anglos in both the population and at the polls.

That percentage actually doubled between 1992 and 2008, says Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University.

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5:26am

Fri June 29, 2012
Politics

Health Care Ruling To Fuel Presidential Campaigns

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 4:16 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Supreme Court surprised almost everyone yesterday when it upheld the heart of President Obama's health care law: a requirement that everyone either have insurance or pay a fine or tax. It's a big victory for president. It also gives his challenger, Mitt Romney, some important opportunities.

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

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4:17am

Thu June 21, 2012
Election 2012

Romney, Obama Fine-Tune Pitches To Latino Voters

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 9:13 am

Voter walk outside of a polling place at the First Baptist Church of Windermere, in Orlando, Fla., during the state's primary on Jan. 31.
Matt Rourke AP

President Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney are taking their stump speeches to a prominent group of elected Latino officials this week.

Romney will address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, or NALEO, Thursday. Obama takes his turn Friday.

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8:02pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Election 2012

As GOP Cashes In, Democrats Search For Billionaires

President Obama at a Democratic Party election fundraiser in Chicago on June 1.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

The big story of this year's election campaign is big money. Since the Supreme Court, through its Citizens United ruling, has made it easier for corporations, unions and rich individuals to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, Republicans have seized the advantage.

Right now, an analysis by NPR finds that Republican allied groups are outspending their Democratic counterparts by 8 to 1.

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5:55pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Politics

Where Are The Democratic Billionaires?

Democrats knew that they would be disadvantaged under the new campaign finance rules created by the Supreme Court. But the disparity between the amount of money Republicans can raise in unlimited anonymous donations and what the Democrats have been able to raise is huge.

5:26am

Mon June 4, 2012
Election 2012

Bill Clinton Campaigns As Obama's No. 1 Surrogate

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 11:10 am

Bill Clinton speaks with President Obama in the White House Briefing Room after a private meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. The former president has become Obama's highest-profile advocate this campaign season.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton and President Obama used to have a famously rocky relationship. But the days when Clinton tried to help his wife, now secretary of state, defeat Obama in the 2008 primaries are ancient history.

Former Clinton strategist Carter Eskew says the ex-president is almost always an asset for Obama.

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3:36am

Thu May 31, 2012
Election 2012

The Fine Political Art Of Jobs Forecasting

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 8:17 am

A sign outside a McDonald's restaurant in Chesterland, Ohio, advertises job openings earlier this month.
Amy Sancetta AP

Friday is jobs day, when the federal government releases its monthly unemployment report. It's also just about five months before the presidential election.

When the two presidential contenders talk about unemployment, they're trying to balance their rhetoric between optimism, pessimism and reality.

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4:28pm

Fri May 25, 2012
Parallel Lives

Obama, Romney On Health Care: So Close, Yet So Far

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 5:24 pm

President Obama is applauded after signing the health care overhaul during a ceremony in the White House on March 23, 2010. Then-Gov. Mitt Romney signs a Massachusetts health care overhaul at Faneuil Hall in Boston on April 12, 2006.
Win McNamee/Boston Globe via Getty Images

From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at one of those similarities: They both signed health care overhaul laws based on an individual mandate.

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3:05am

Fri May 4, 2012
Presidential Race

Challenger's Challenge: Romney's Bid To Make News

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 9:57 am

The same day President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan, Mitt Romney picked up pizza for firefighters with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Jae C. Hong AP

Tuesday, President Obama scored a foreign policy success when he traveled to Afghanistan. Now he's being buffeted by the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. Meanwhile, Romney had been getting some attention for his critique that the president was politicizing the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. That is, until Obama went to Afghanistan, signed an international agreement and addressed the troops and the nation.

At this point in the presidential race, Romney faces the difficult task of outdoing an incumbent president.

Finding A News Hook

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7:02am

Wed May 2, 2012
Politics

Obama Accused Of Politicizing Bin Laden's Death

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Republicans have repeatedly criticized President Obama for what they contend is a weak foreign policy. Their criticism now extends to how the president talks about his signature foreign policy success.

Here's NPR national political correspondent, Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama's visit to Afghanistan and his address to the nation were reminders of the responsibilities of the commander-in-chief and the attention he can muster at a moment's notice.

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3:30am

Tue April 24, 2012
Election 2012

Romney Keeps Hand Hidden On Running Mate Pick

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:19 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, joined by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters during a news conference in Aston, Pa., on Monday. Rubio is frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney.
Jae C. Hong AP

Ahead of Pennsylvania's primary Tuesday, the likely Republican presidential nominee has been campaigning in the state with a man at the center of running-mate speculation — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But Mitt Romney hasn't said much about whom he might name as his vice presidential choice.

Romney has said he appointed a longtime aide to handle the process and that he hasn't yet discussed making a list of potential candidates. But just about everyone else in politics is discussing it. And the men at the top of that list are asked about it a lot.

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3:22am

Fri April 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Ann Romney Takes Center Stage In Tug-Of-War For Female Voters

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 7:57 am

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaks at his Nevada caucus victory celebration in Las Vegas on Feb. 4.
Gerald Herbert AP

For the past two weeks, the campaigns of both President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney have accused each other of waging a war on women. But what's really going on is a war for women's votes.

The president, like Democrats before him, has an advantage with female voters — who make up 53 percent of the American electorate. Romney is trying to close the gender gap by using his most powerful and popular surrogate: his wife.

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5:20pm

Wed April 11, 2012
Election 2012

Romney And Ryan: A Budding Political Bromance

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 8:51 pm

Mitt Romney jokes with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan during a pancake brunch on April 1 in Milwaukee.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

One of the sharpest dividing lines emerging between President Obama and GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is the budget introduced in Congress by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with its sharp cuts in domestic spending and lower tax rates.

Both sides see it as a winning issue for the fall campaign. The Obama campaign likes to call it the "Romney-Ryan budget" — and Romney hasn't objected.

On the campaign trail in Wisconsin, Ryan was a constant presence with Romney before that state's April 3 Republican primary, which Romney won.

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8:00am

Sun April 8, 2012
Presidential Race

Romney Rolls On As Santorum Sticks It Out

There's a question whether Rick Santorum will prolong his presidential campaign to finish in Pennsylvania later this month. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is moving in for the kill, buying $1.8 million of airtime in the state. NPR's Mara Liasson reports on the state of the GOP nominating campaign.

5:05pm

Thu March 22, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

How Health Care Ruling Could Shift The GOP Debate

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs into law a new health care reform bill during an April 12, 2006, ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The bill made Massachusetts the first state in the country to require that all residents have health insurance and has become a centerpiece of criticisms leveled by Romney's opponents in the 2012 presidential race.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments about President Obama's health care law, supporters and opponents are planning a flurry of rallies, press conferences and phone banks to remind people why the law is so great — or so terrible. Republicans have been energized by their desire to see the law repealed, but the issue could be more complicated for the GOP than it seems.

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4:06am

Wed March 21, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

White House Preps For Court's Health Care Ruling

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 10:23 am

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., center, joins other conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill to criticize President Obama's health care law on Oct. 5, 2011. They said the boxes were packed with petitions asking Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Most of the president's speeches these days focus on jobs or gas prices. But the health care law is his signature achievement, and it always gets a mention at political events.

"Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying," President Obama said to cheers and applause from the audience at a recent fundraiser in New York.

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4:00am

Wed March 7, 2012
Election 2012

3 Candidates Split Super Tuesday Wins

Mitt Romney won six of the 10 Super Tuesday contests. Rick Santorum won three while Newt Gingrich won one. Ron Paul was the only candidate who did not win at least one contest.

12:01am

Thu March 1, 2012
Presidential Race

State Of GOP Race: No Momentum For Candidates

In the Michigan Republican primary Tuesday, Mitt Romney had a near-death experience, but he squeaked out a narrow victory over Rick Santorum. That, says veteran Republican strategist Ed Rogers, has calmed some of the anxiety in Republican circles about Romney's strength as a general election candidate.

"Mitt Romney did what he needed to do to give more certainty and more clarity to the race. He dodged a bullet; it was an ugly win," Rogers says. "It's not over. Santorum is still very competitive."

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12:01am

Thu February 16, 2012
Election 2012

How Does Mitt Romney Stop Rick Santorum's Rise?

Rick Santorum gestures toward Republican rival Mitt Romney during the South Carolina GOP presidential debate in Myrtle Beach on Jan. 16.
Charles Dharapak AFP/Getty Images

What's the best way for Mitt Romney to stop Rick Santorum?

For the answer, we went to someone who has done it before.

Democratic strategist Saul Shorr helped Bob Casey defeat then-Sen. Santorum, R-Pa., in a landslide in 2006. Santorum lost by 18 points.

But Shorr says that was a general election; in a Republican primary, Romney will have a much harder job.

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4:59pm

Wed February 8, 2012
Mitt Romney

Conservatives Worry Romney's Vision Is Cloudy

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 8:20 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally in Denver on Tuesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's losses on Tuesday, while not very meaningful in the race to accumulate delegates, have raised questions once again about his ability to inspire passion from his party's base and about his viability in the general election.

Rival Rick Santorum's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota dealt a setback, if not exactly a body blow, to Romney — whom Santorum routinely dismisses as a candidate with a big machine but no core.

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12:01am

Fri February 3, 2012
Presidential Race

Romney Again A Front-Runner, But At What Cost?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Brady Industries on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's decisive win over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Florida returned him to the front-runner's spot in the Republican presidential race. Romney emerged from that battle with his strengths, but also his weaknesses, on full display.

Sometimes hard-fought nominating contests produce a more formidable general-election candidate. That's what happened to Barack Obama in 2008. But Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist, thinks it's too soon to tell if this Republican primary battle will have the same effect.

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