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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World
6:24 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

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?

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

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.

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It's All Politics
5:29 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Marco Rubio: Poster Boy For The GOP Identity Crisis

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

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

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."

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Politics
5:04 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Republicans Slow To 'Reset' Despite Election Autopsy Report

A few months ago, the Republican National Committee released several recommendations for broadening the party's voter appeal. The report told the GOP to reach out to women, younger voters and Hispanics. But so far, that has not been the direction party leaders have taken in Congress or in the media.

It's All Politics
4:44 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Will Texas Become A Presidential Battleground?

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

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

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.

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Politics
5:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Obama To Push Jobs, Education At N.C. Middle School

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:49 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama travels to Mooresville, North Carolina today. He'll highlight the town's middle school and its focus on technology and digital learning. It's part of what the White House is calling the president's Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. Jobs and education are big issues for younger voters, one of the most sought after demographics for both parties.

NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Around the Nation
5:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Obama And Chris Christie Tour Rebuilding On Jersey Shore

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, President Obama toured the Jersey shore, surveying the recovery work that's been done since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area seven months ago. The visit was also a reunion for the president and an unlikely political ally, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. NPR's Mara Liasson reports on their bipartisan relationship and the political benefits for both men.

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Politics
5:14 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama Moves Aggressively Into Damage Control Mode

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 6:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Renee's in Afghanistan. I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration has gone through entire seasons when it seemed the bottom was falling out. The administration's outward approach at times like this has been to seem unflappable and move on.

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It's All Politics
5:56 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 6:27 pm

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.

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Politics
4:41 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Political Battle Over Health Law Starts Next Chapter

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 12:14 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

It's one of the basic lessons in school - how a bill becomes a law - sounds so finite. Of course the part they don't always teach is how the political debate over a law can just keep going. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is now the law of the land. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.

But as NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, the fight of the law will likely just intensify ahead of the next elections.

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Politics
6:03 am
Wed April 24, 2013

What's Next In The Gun Control Debate?

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 7:20 am

Gun-control groups are regrouping after a bill to tighten background checks for gun sales failed to overcome a filibuster last week in the Senate. The failure was not only a stinging defeat for President Obama, it was also a setback for the new players in the debate.

It's All Politics
5:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

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

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

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

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.

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Politics
5:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Tries To Repair GOP's Image With Minorities

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 10:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In recent elections the Republican Party has struggled to find much support among African-American voters. That though did not dissuade Kentucky's Republican Senator Rand Paul from making a pitch yesterday at Howard University, the historically black college in the nation's capital.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson was listening.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Rand Paul spoke carefully from a teleprompter and posed this question to his audience of young African-American students.

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Politics
7:33 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

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?

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Politics
4:43 am
Fri March 22, 2013

GOP Encouraged To Shift Immigration, Gay Marriage Positions

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

With his journey, the president temporarily left behind a changing American political scene. The Republican Party is struggling with that change. Public opinion on immigration and gay marriage is changing quickly. That forces Republicans to try a balancing act, as NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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Politics
4:43 am
Tue March 19, 2013

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.

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It's All Politics
3:56 am
Thu March 14, 2013

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

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

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

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.

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It's All Politics
3:06 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Republicans Face Off Over Strategy For Picking Candidates

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

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

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.

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Politics
5:45 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Jeb Bush May Have Changed His Mind On Immigration With 2016 Bid In Sight

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 6:20 pm

When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got to work on his new book on immigration, he was expected to be out in front of his party urging a broader conversation with Hispanics and more open legislation. After all, he had previously supported a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. Instead, it's fellow Florida Republican Marco Rubio in the lead, and Bush who's explaining an apparent reversal on the issue of citizenship. Both are likely candidates for president in 2016.

It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

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

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

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

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.

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Politics
6:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

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.

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Politics
4:47 am
Tue February 12, 2013

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:

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It's All Politics
3:44 am
Fri February 1, 2013

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

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

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

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.

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Politics
5:29 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Senators Unveil Plan To Fix Immigration System

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

This week, talk of new immigration laws serves as a reminder that timing is everything. Wait until after a momentous election and it becomes possible to discuss an issue that previously seemed impossible.

INSKEEP: In this quiet week between the government's ongoing fiscal storms, President Obama today unveils an immigration plan.

MONTAGNE: A bipartisan group of senators has already made a proposal.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Obama's Second Inaugural Address Didn't Win Over Many Republicans

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Many Republicans were hoping for something akin to the president's 2004 convention speech where he talked about there being no red America or blue America but the United States of America.

NPR Story
4:44 am
Tue January 22, 2013

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.

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Governing
5:19 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Obama's Speech Acts Like Preamble To State Of The Union Address

Robert Siegel talks to national political correspondent Mara Liasson for analysis of the president's speech on Inauguration Day.

Politics
6:55 am
Fri January 18, 2013

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.

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Politics
5:37 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Obama Calls On Congress To Act To Reduce Gun Violence

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama says he's done what he could on his own. Yesterday he signed 23 executive orders related to gun control. They will allow federal agencies to strengthen the existing background check system and improve the tracking of stolen guns. The big ticket items, like universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips, will need congressional action.

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U.S.
4:57 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama's Treasury Secretary Nomination Reflective Of His Second Term Priorities

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm

President Obama announced his nomination of Jack Lew as the new secretary of Treasury. Lew has been the president's third and — by some accounts — most successful chief of staff.

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