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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2:35pm

Fri July 25, 2014
Politics

As Political Disenchantment Soars, Lines At The Polls Grow Shorter

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

An official assists a voter at a polling station inside Fort Garrison Elementary School in Pikesville, Md., on primary day, June 24. As in many states this primary election season, turnout was low in Maryland.
Patrick Semansky AP

Several new surveys show voter interest is low, anti-incumbent sentiment is high, and voters from both parties are questioning whether their elected leaders should return to Congress next year.

In short, the electorate is disengaged and disgusted with politics.

Voter turnout in the 2010 primaries was only about 18 percent, and now it's even lower. Less than 15 percent of eligible citizens cast ballots in the 25 states that have held statewide primaries this year, according to a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.

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2:14pm

Tue July 22, 2014
Law

Obamacare's Split Decisions Spell Law's Possible Return To Supreme Court

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's talk now about policy ramifications and political reactions to today's court ruling. For that, we're joined by NPR national correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey there, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi Audie.

CORNISH: So we have, in effect, a split decision. Two appeals courts ruling in different ways. What's the political spin so far?

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2:28pm

Mon July 21, 2014
News

Obama Signs Order To Protect Against Anti-LGBT Bias

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama signed an executive order today giving new employment protections to gay and transgender people. And this is for people who work for the government. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports that the move comes after years of pressure from LGBT activists.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: At the White House today, President Obama signed the order saying we're on the right side of history. He said it was time to address this injustice for every American.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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2:53pm

Thu July 17, 2014
Politics

Amid Roiled Landscape Of Border Politics, Obama's Plans May Change

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:40 pm

The Obama administration's request for more funds on immigration could get a congressional vote soon. Meanwhile, the crisis at the border is complicating Obama's plan to take unilateral action to ease deportations. The politics of immigration are shifting quickly.

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2:13pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Politics

Obama Requests Nearly $4 Billion In Funds To Speed Deportations

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 4:13 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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2:10pm

Tue July 1, 2014
Politics

On The Waterfront, Obama Contends Bridge Repair Coffers Beg Refilling

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 5:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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3:14am

Thu June 19, 2014
It's All Politics

NPR Poll: In Senate Battleground States, Obama Ratings Lag

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:30 am

NPR

In the key battleground states that will decide control of the Senate this November, President Obama's approval numbers are lower than they are nationally — but not much lower.

That's the key finding in a new poll, conducted by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, that sampled likely voters for NPR.

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6:31pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Politics

Tea Party Challenger Upsets Eric Cantor In GOP Primary

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:25 pm

In a surprise result, voters in Virginia's 7th Congressional District have dealt a defeat to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, nominating Tea Party challenger David Brat instead in the GOP primary.

2:06pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Education

With New Order, Obama Aims To Combat Student Debt Pressures

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 4:42 pm

President Obama is signing an executive order Monday, which will expand a loan forgiveness program for college debt. NPR's Mara Liasson looks at the program and the political salience of the issue.

11:31am

Sat May 10, 2014
She Votes

Easy On The Ears: GOP Ads Adapt To Reach Women Voters

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 8:02 am

Dr. Monica Wehby, pediatric neurosurgeon, is among the Republican candidates turning up the emotions in campaign ads.
Dave Killen The Oregonian/Landov

It's only April, but it looks and sounds like October. More than $80 million has been spent on political advertising in only about a dozen Senate battleground states.

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2:49am

Mon May 5, 2014
She Votes

All The Single Ladies: 5 Takeaways About Unmarried Female Voters

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 2:11 pm

Democrats have an urgent problem this year: how to get their most reliable female supporters to become more reliable voters.
iStockphoto

In a midterm election that's expected to hinge on the demographic composition of the electorate, single women could be the key to Democratic chances to hold on to the Senate in November.

While Republicans have a longstanding problem with female voters, this year it's Democrats who have the more urgent problem: how to get their most reliable female supporters to become more reliable voters.

Here are five things to know about single female voters.

They're Not Up For Grabs

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1:28am

Tue April 22, 2014
Politics

'Ready For Hillary': Clinton's Campaign-In-Waiting

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 1:09 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a keynote address in San Francisco.
Ben Margot AP

In a high-rise office in Rosslyn, Va., Adam Parkhomenko is selling campaign paraphernalia for a campaign that may or may not happen.

"Bumper stickers, magnets, and then we have everything from T-shirts, we have baby onesies that we're almost out of now," says Parkhomenko.

Parkhomenko runs a group called Ready for Hillary. It's more than a Clinton fan club: It's a superPAC, a list-building superPAC.

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1:40am

Thu April 3, 2014
Politics

NPR Poll: Obamacare More Popular Than President

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:04 am

President Obama, with Vice President Biden, speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday in the Rose Garden.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

A new bipartisan NPR poll shows approval numbers rising for Obamacare — which is now slightly more popular than its namesake.

Our survey of likely voters, conducted for Morning Edition by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, shows the president's health care law is still unpopular, but it might not be as heavy a millstone for Democrats as expected.

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1:22am

Mon March 24, 2014
Politics

Democrats Count On The Fine Art Of Field Operations

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 10:25 am

Newly elected GOP Congressman David Jolly of Florida, right, poses for a ceremonial swearing-in with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, on March 13. Jolly edged out Democrat Alex Sink in a special election that Republicans cast as a referendum on President Obama and his unpopular health care law.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Democrats have had great success in recent presidential elections registering, targeting and turning out their core voters. Now they're hoping to use that sophisticated field operation to to stave off defeat in this year's midterm elections.

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2:21pm

Wed March 12, 2014
News

Obama Rolls Out White House Welcome Mat For Ukrainian Prime Minister

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is visiting the White House Wednesday. The meeting comes days before a vote in Crimea over whether to secede from Ukraine.

2:16pm

Thu March 6, 2014
Politics

As CPAC Opens, GOP Stars Take Turns At The Podium

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists, routinely attracts big names in the Republican party — and this year's no different. It starts Thursday.

3:27pm

Thu February 6, 2014
Politics

As Deficit Anxiety Fades, Debt Rears Its Ugly Head

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

President Obama tours a Costco location in Lanham, Md., on Jan. 29, before speaking about raising the federal minimum wage.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Democrats and Republicans have exhausted themselves politically after failing to reach a grand bargain to reduce the debt. Now there's a new economic debate in Washington over economic growth, mobility and income inequality.

But without dealing with the debt, Republicans and Democrats might not be able to navigate even the issues they agree on.

Moving Away From The Deficit

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2:37pm

Tue January 28, 2014
Politics

Hoping For Hope: Obama Seeks A Return To Optimism In Address

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 4:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, for more on the president's speech, we're joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hello, Audie.

CORNISH: So listening to Jay Carney just now, what do you think is the president's overriding goal tonight?

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3:12am

Fri January 24, 2014
Politics

Boehner Picks Cathy McMorris Rodgers For GOP Rebuttal

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:16 am

Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, R-Wash., walks to a Sept. 2013 classified, members-only briefing on Syria in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Tuesday night is the State of the Union Address — the biggest opportunity President Obama gets all year to speak to the American people about his priorities. There's also another speech that night — the GOP response. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner announced Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington State would deliver the official rebuttal.

5:23am

Sat December 14, 2013
Politics

White House Hires A Crisis Manager, Easing Democratic Worries

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

John Podesta was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, helping the president survive impeachment.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.

Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.

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