Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead editor for politics and digital audience. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and has taught high-school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college-basketball junkie.

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It's something we hear in every election season. Don't obsess over polls. Go tell it to Donald Trump.

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DONALD TRUMP: So CNN came out 33 for Trump; 20 for Cruz. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah.

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Thursday's main Republican debate airs on Fox Business Network beginning at 9 p.m. EST.

The Kentucky county clerk who went to jail over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples will attend President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, a group supporting her announced.

With voting in the first presidential nominating contests just weeks away, Bernie Sanders is trying to make a push before the end of the year.

His campaign announced that he has surpassed 2 million donations. The only other person to do that at this point in a presidential campaign was Barack Obama in 2011. (Clinton had 600,000 donations from 400,000 donors through the end of the third quarter — end of September.)

President Obama's rhetoric is a familiar punching bag for Republicans running to replace him. In particular, they focus on his reluctance to say the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism."

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After a Sunday night meeting, in which the Republican campaigns largely agreed on a framework to negotiate as a group with TV networks for upcoming debates, the Trump campaign has decided it will negotiate independently.

"Just like the CNBC debate, we will negotiate with the media," Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told NPR. "We're going to make sure we're going to work with the networks to make sure the candidate's interest is at the forefront to negotiate the best deal."

West Virginia isn't exactly Obama Country.

And that was made quite obvious hours before the president was set to speak there on efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and heroin use. Protesters lined up with signs.

Here are a couple, courtesy of NPR's Don Gonyea.

Sign 1, which is a little hard to read because of a shadow, reads:

"OBAMA YOU'RE NO Martin Luther King get your AL SHARPTON BEHIND OUT OF West Virginia."

Sign 2 reads:

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Howard Dean didn't just go away in 2004. And it wasn't "The Scream" that did him in. Remember, that came in his speech after losing the Iowa caucuses.

It took Democratic candidates attacking him on the campaign trail and in debates to bring concerns about his record — and whether he could win — to the forefront for Democratic voters.

Hillary Clinton has "directed her team" to give the private email server that she used while Secretary of State to the Justice Department, a campaign aide confirmed to NPR's Tamara Keith.

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#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four reads.

From Edith Chapin, NPR's acting executive editor:

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. That's exactly the argument Ohio Gov. John Kasich is making for why Republicans should choose him as their nominee in 2016.

"I will tell you that you can't be president if you don't win Ohio. That's not even a question," Kasich said Friday at a lunch with reporters in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. Kasich is thinking about running for president and is trying to determine whether he has a viable path.

It's been a tough week for a couple of candidates looking to break through on the presidential stage, namely Chris Christie and Martin O'Malley.

First, in New Jersey, David Wildstein, a former Christie ally and former Port Authority official, pleaded guity Friday to charges related to the "Bridgegate" scandal that closed several lanes of traffic to the George Washington Bridge over four days in 2013, ensnaring cars in massive backups.

Hillary Clinton is inauthentic, not transparent and will have trouble connecting with younger voters. And Republican economic theory is "bull- - - -."

That was essentially the argument Martin O'Malley made in an interview with NPR for why voters should choose him to be president over Clinton — the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination — as well as whichever candidate survives the Republican primaries.

Politics, power and more money than ever can create an environment ripe for corruption.

But which states are the most corrupt, and how is that even defined?

A poll out from Monmouth University asked Americans what they think are the most corrupt states. Overall, there was not much of a consensus, but New York rose to the top (with just 12 percent), followed by California, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.

This story was updated April 9 at 4 p.m. ET.

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For more on Rand Paul's candidacy, joining us now is NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro. Welcome to the studio.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Thank you very much for having me.

The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics — until something or someone pushes them to the surface.

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