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
5:55 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Where Are The Democratic Billionaires?

Democrats knew that they would be disadvantaged under the new campaign finance rules created by the Supreme Court. But the disparity between the amount of money Republicans can raise in unlimited anonymous donations and what the Democrats have been able to raise is huge.

Election 2012
5:26 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Bill Clinton Campaigns As Obama's No. 1 Surrogate

Bill Clinton speaks with President Obama in the White House Briefing Room after a private meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. The former president has become Obama's highest-profile advocate this campaign season.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 11:10 am

Former President Bill Clinton and President Obama used to have a famously rocky relationship. But the days when Clinton tried to help his wife, now secretary of state, defeat Obama in the 2008 primaries are ancient history.

Former Clinton strategist Carter Eskew says the ex-president is almost always an asset for Obama.

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Election 2012
3:36 am
Thu May 31, 2012

The Fine Political Art Of Jobs Forecasting

A sign outside a McDonald's restaurant in Chesterland, Ohio, advertises job openings earlier this month.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 8:17 am

Friday is jobs day, when the federal government releases its monthly unemployment report. It's also just about five months before the presidential election.

When the two presidential contenders talk about unemployment, they're trying to balance their rhetoric between optimism, pessimism and reality.

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Parallel Lives
4:28 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Obama, Romney On Health Care: So Close, Yet So Far

President Obama is applauded after signing the health care overhaul during a ceremony in the White House on March 23, 2010. Then-Gov. Mitt Romney signs a Massachusetts health care overhaul at Faneuil Hall in Boston on April 12, 2006.
Win McNamee/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 5:24 pm

From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at one of those similarities: They both signed health care overhaul laws based on an individual mandate.

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Election 2012
4:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Obama Ad Blasts Romney's Time At Bain Capital

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:51 am

The Obama re-election committee on Monday released a two-minute ad taking aim at Republican rival Mitt Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital. The ad challenges Romney's claim that his business experience qualifies him to turn the economy around.

Presidential Race
3:05 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Challenger's Challenge: Romney's Bid To Make News

The same day President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan, Mitt Romney picked up pizza for firefighters with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 9:57 am

Tuesday, President Obama scored a foreign policy success when he traveled to Afghanistan. Now he's being buffeted by the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. Meanwhile, Romney had been getting some attention for his critique that the president was politicizing the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. That is, until Obama went to Afghanistan, signed an international agreement and addressed the troops and the nation.

At this point in the presidential race, Romney faces the difficult task of outdoing an incumbent president.

Finding A News Hook

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Politics
7:02 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Obama Accused Of Politicizing Bin Laden's Death

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Republicans have repeatedly criticized President Obama for what they contend is a weak foreign policy. Their criticism now extends to how the president talks about his signature foreign policy success.

Here's NPR national political correspondent, Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama's visit to Afghanistan and his address to the nation were reminders of the responsibilities of the commander-in-chief and the attention he can muster at a moment's notice.

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Election 2012
3:30 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Romney Keeps Hand Hidden On Running Mate Pick

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, joined by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters during a news conference in Aston, Pa., on Monday. Rubio is frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:19 pm

Ahead of Pennsylvania's primary Tuesday, the likely Republican presidential nominee has been campaigning in the state with a man at the center of running-mate speculation — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But Mitt Romney hasn't said much about whom he might name as his vice presidential choice.

Romney has said he appointed a longtime aide to handle the process and that he hasn't yet discussed making a list of potential candidates. But just about everyone else in politics is discussing it. And the men at the top of that list are asked about it a lot.

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It's All Politics
7:57 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Ann Romney Takes Center Stage In Tug Of War For Female Voters

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaks at his Nevada caucus victory celebration in Las Vegas on Feb. 4.
Gerald Herbert AP

For the past two weeks, the campaigns of both President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney have accused each other of waging a war on women. But what's really going on is a war for women's votes.

The president, like Democrats before him, has an advantage with female voters — who make up 53 percent of the American electorate. Romney is trying to close the gender gap by using his most powerful and popular surrogate: his wife.

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Election 2012
5:20 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Romney And Ryan: A Budding Political Bromance

Mitt Romney jokes with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan during a pancake brunch on April 1 in Milwaukee.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 8:51 pm

One of the sharpest dividing lines emerging between President Obama and GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is the budget introduced in Congress by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with its sharp cuts in domestic spending and lower tax rates.

Both sides see it as a winning issue for the fall campaign. The Obama campaign likes to call it the "Romney-Ryan budget" — and Romney hasn't objected.

On the campaign trail in Wisconsin, Ryan was a constant presence with Romney before that state's April 3 Republican primary, which Romney won.

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Judging The Health Care Law
4:06 am
Wed March 21, 2012

White House Preps For Court's Health Care Ruling

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., center, joins other conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill to criticize President Obama's health care law on Oct. 5, 2011. They said the boxes were packed with petitions asking Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 10:23 am

Most of the president's speeches these days focus on jobs or gas prices. But the health care law is his signature achievement, and it always gets a mention at political events.

"Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying," President Obama said to cheers and applause from the audience at a recent fundraiser in New York.

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Campaign 2012
3:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Obama Takes New Approach To Black Voters For 2012

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama listen as a choir performs during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:00 am

At Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony, President Obama said the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., would be not just a record of tragedy, but a celebration of life.

"It is on this spot — alongside the monuments to those who gave birth to this nation, and those who worked so hard to perfect it — that generations will remember the sometimes difficult, often inspirational, but always central role that African-Americans have played in the life of our country," he said.

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Presidential Race
12:01 am
Thu February 16, 2012

How Does Mitt Romney Stop Rick Santorum's Rise?

Rick Santorum gestures toward Republican rival Mitt Romney during the South Carolina GOP presidential debate in Myrtle Beach on Jan. 16.
Charles Dharapak AFP/Getty Images

What's the best way for Mitt Romney to stop Rick Santorum?

For the answer, we went to someone who has done it before.

Democratic strategist Saul Shorr helped Bob Casey defeat then-Sen. Santorum, R-Pa., in a landslide in 2006. Santorum lost by 18 points.

But Shorr says that was a general election; in a Republican primary, Romney will have a much harder job.

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Mitt Romney
4:59 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Conservatives Worry Romney's Vision Is Cloudy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally in Denver on Tuesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 8:20 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's losses on Tuesday, while not very meaningful in the race to accumulate delegates, have raised questions once again about his ability to inspire passion from his party's base and about his viability in the general election.

Rival Rick Santorum's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota dealt a setback, if not exactly a body blow, to Romney — whom Santorum routinely dismisses as a candidate with a big machine but no core.

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Presidential Race
7:35 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Romney Again The Front-Runner, But At What Cost?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Brady Industries on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 12:01 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's decisive win over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Florida returned him to the front-runner's spot in the Republican presidential race. Romney emerged from that battle with his strengths, but also his weaknesses, on full display.

Sometimes hard-fought nominating contests produce a more formidable general-election candidate. That's what happened to Barack Obama in 2008. But Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist, thinks it's too soon to tell if this Republican primary battle will have the same effect.

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Election 2012
10:33 am
Wed October 26, 2011

The GOP Campaign Ad Wars, As Seen On YouTube

A new ad from Herman Cain features his campaign manager, Mark Block, taking a drag from a cigarette.

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 10:29 pm

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Campaign 2012
5:18 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Solid Start Puts Bachmann In Front-Runner Territory

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota continues her announcement tour in South Carolina on Wednesday. Bachmann's strong performance in debates and on the stump has vaulted her out of the second tier of candidates.

On Tuesday, Bachmann stopped at a backyard event in Raymond, N.H. Poised and polished, she slung the applause lines as she attacked President Obama:

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