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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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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Presidential Race
5:53 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Candidates Inject Economy Into Foreign Policy Debate

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The third and final presidential debate was less dramatic than the ones before.

GREENE: Less dramatic but not without some drama. President Obama and Mitt Romney discussed foreign policy under the questioning of moderator Bob Schieffer.

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It's All Politics
2:54 am
Fri October 19, 2012

The Third-Party Factor: Will 2012 Look Like 2000?

Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson addresses students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., in September.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:03 pm

As the presidential race enters its final weeks, there are many factors that could affect the outcome: a great — or terrible — debate performance by one of the candidates on Monday in Florida; the next jobs report; or the presence of third-party candidates who are on the ballot in almost every state.

Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who's running on the Libertarian ticket, is on the ballot in 48 states.

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Election 2012
5:53 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Obama, Romney To Meet In Town Hall-Style Debate

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne, good morning.

Presidential candidates play a game before debates, each lowers expectations that he'll do well, then tries to beat expectations. The last part didn't work out for President Obama this last time, so he tries again tonight.

INSKEEP: The president meets Mitt Romney with their contest effectively tied. They hold a town hall meeting with about 80 uncommitted voters.

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NPR Story
4:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Biden, Ryan To Meet In Kentucky For Only V.P. Debate

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 5:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEPI, HOST: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Tonight, it is the vice presidential candidates who face the audience for their first and only debate. Joe Biden will be under pressure to shift the momentum back to the Democratic ticket. Republican challenger, Paul Ryan, will be trying to keep that momentum going in Mitt Romney's direction. ABC's Martha Raddatz will be moderating the debate, which will be held in Danville, Kentucky.

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Election 2012
4:46 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Clash Repeatedly Over Taxes

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, shared a stage last night for the first time in his presidential campaign. The debate in Denver, moderated by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, focused on domestic policy, which meant there was lots to debate, from health care to energy, though much of the time was devoted to taxes.

NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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It's All Politics
6:00 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Ahead Of First Debate, NPR Poll Shows Romney Within Striking Distance

Early voting has begun in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. Voting booths were set up for early voting Thursday at the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa. Ahead of Wednesday's first presidential debate, an NPR poll finds President Obama with a 7-point lead nationally, but his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, is within striking distance.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:38 pm

The latest poll by NPR and its bipartisan polling team [pdf] shows President Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters nationally and a nearly identical lead of 6 points in the dozen battleground states where both campaigns are spending most of their time and money.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Obama Holds Slim Advantage In Swing State Virginia

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 5:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Politics
4:50 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Romney, Obama Leave Attacks Behind At Clinton Talk

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 7:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

The presidential campaigns converged on New York City today. Mitt Romney and President Obama were both in town to talk foreign policy. The president addressed the annual meeting of the United Nations, and both candidates spoke at a gathering for the Clinton Global Initiative. As NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, the Clinton event brought a welcome reprieve from the usual partisan wrangling.

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Election 2012
6:04 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Romney Argues For The Proper Role Of Government

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been busy after a tape emerged of him telling wealthy donors that nearly half of Americans see themselves as victims dependent on the federal government. Now he's trying to make those remarks part of a broader argument: What is the proper role of government and who should pay for it?

Presidential Race
5:11 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Romney Still Doing Damage Control For '47 Percent'

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Anytime a candidate calls an unexpected press conference in the evening, you know it's not good news. We look at the latest news and political fall out from the release of Mitt Romney's remarks at a private fundraiser. The comments were made in May and the recording was released by Mother Jones magazine.

Presidential Race
5:10 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Romney Criticizes Obama's Response To Libya Attack

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 5:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It didn't take long for the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo to become part of the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney jumped in first. In a statement last night before Ambassador Stevens' death had been announced, Romney accused President Obama of sympathizing with those who waged the assault. The Obama campaign responded, saying it was shocked that Romney would launch a, quote, "political attack" at this moment. And the politics have continued today as NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Presidential Race
4:45 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Obama, Romney Pull Campaign Ads On Sept. 11

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Blue skies, a late summer day with hints of fall: The weather in New York and Washington today felt eerily similar to September 11, 2001.

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Election 2012
4:46 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Obama Wants 4 More Years To Fix Nation's Problems

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 10:15 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

As he accepted his party's nomination for a second term last night, President Obama said that building a better future will take him more time.

MONTAGNE: The president told his supporters at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte that the progress he'd made so far would be reversed if Mitt Romney won the White House.

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Election 2012
5:35 am
Thu September 6, 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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