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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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.

Politics
5:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Wants Urgent Action To End Gun Violence

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, Vice President Biden holds another meeting on gun policy and this time he's talking to gun owners and gun sellers. The meeting will include the National Rifle Association and representatives from Wal-Mart, which is the nation's largest gun retailer. It's part of a White House effort to come up with new gun policies by the end of the month, as NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
4:36 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Obama Moves Forward On New Gun Legislation

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 5:43 pm

President Barack Obama said that gun control would be a "central issue" in his second term on Wednesday. He also announced that Vice President Joe Biden will head up a panel that will offer proposals by mid-January to curb gun violence. The announcement, however, turned to an impromptu press conference, in which the president pivoted to questions about the fiscal cliff. He said the events in Newtown, Conn., should "give us some perspective" on the debate and urged quick action in Congress.

It's All Politics
2:02 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

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

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

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

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.

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Politics
5:31 am
Tue December 18, 2012

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.

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Around the Nation
5:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Susan Rice Withdraws Name For Secretary Of State

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:01 pm

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for the Secretary of State job on Thursday. President Obama accepted her withdrawal and says she will continue in her role as U.N. ambassador.

It's All Politics
5:31 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

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

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

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

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.

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It's All Politics
8:58 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Obama Changes Tack With Congressional Republicans

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

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

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.

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Around the Nation
4:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Obama Promises To Follow Through With Sandy Rebuilding

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 6:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama returned yesterday to the scene of Hurricane Sandy's devastation; this time, visiting hard-hit areas of New York. He promised to stick with residents until the rebuilding effort is complete. Here's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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Politics
4:31 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Facing Cliff, Obama Tries Again For 'Grand Bargain'

President Obama speaks during Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Sunday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 6:43 pm

Compromise is suddenly the watchword in Washington, as negotiations over taxes, spending and entitlements begin in advance of another self-imposed deadline, popularly known as the "fiscal cliff."

Automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts are slated for the first of the year, unless the president and Congress take action.

Leaders on both sides say they are willing to meet in the middle, but that makes their constituents worry about what any compromise will cost them.

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Election 2012
5:43 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Republicans Review Election Results For Insight

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The 2012 election was very close in the popular vote, but it was a real blowout in the electoral college. And that has Republicans sifting through the results, for lessons for the future. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Election 2012
4:54 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

GOP Must Regroup, Redefine Itself After Election

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Melissa Block talks to Mara Liasson for an overview of what Tuesday's election means.

Election 2012
7:02 pm
Tue November 6, 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.

Election 2012
5:04 am
Fri November 2, 2012

What Weird Things Could Happen On Election Day?

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a week that features Halloween is a good time to take a look at all the scary things that could happen when Election Day finally rolls around next Tuesday. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been asking what else we could witness in this unpredictable campaign.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The Romney campaign is predicting it will win. So is the Obama team. But what it both of them turn out to be wrong?

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Around the Nation
5:27 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Obama, Christie Unlikely Partners After Sandy

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The most populous city in the country is drying out and beginning a long and complicated recovery. One positive sign: Tomorrow, some New York City subway routes are scheduled to reopen. But today, gridlock ruled as people took to their cars. And that means it's car pool time.

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It's All Politics
4:54 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

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

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

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

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.

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It's All Politics
4:19 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Do Political Ads Actually Work?

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 11:31 am

Democrats and Republicans are on track to spend about $1 billion each on television advertising in the presidential race. Most of it is negative, and almost all of it is concentrated in nine battleground states.

If you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia or Wisconsin, you cannot get away from the ad blitz being waged by both sides. For the folks who track political advertising at Kantar Media CMAG, these commercials tell a story.

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