Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is a White House correspondent for NPR News. He reports on the policy and politics of the Obama Administration, with a special emphasis on economic issues.

The 2012 campaign is the third presidential contest Horsley has covered for NPR. He previously reported on Senator John McCain's White House bid in 2008 and Senator John Kerry's campaign in 2004. Thanks to this experience, Horsley has become an expert in the motel shampoo offerings of various battleground states.

Horsley took up the White House beat after serving as a San Diego-based business correspondent for NPR where he covered fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley was a reporter for member station KPBS-FM, where he received numerous honors, including a Public Radio News Directors' award for coverage of the California energy crisis.

Earlier in his career, Horsley worked as a reporter for WUSF-FM in Tampa, Florida, and as a news writer and reporter for commercial radio stations in Boston and Concord, New Hampshire. Horsley began his professional career as a production assistant for NPR's Morning Edition.

Horsley earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University.

President Obama's campaign acknowledges that GOP challenger Mitt Romney had the stronger performance in this week's debate. One of Obama's closest advisers acknowledges the president will "have to adjust" his approach to future debates.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

President Obama and Mitt Romney had no public events on their campaign schedules today. They're both busy preparing for tomorrow's big event: a prime-time debate that could be one of their last opportunities to sway undecided voters. Yesterday, we heard from NPR's Ari Shapiro about Mitt Romney's preparations. And today, we get a scouting report on President Obama from NPR's Scott Horsley.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Both the presidential candidates are preparing for debates while staying in swing states. For a few days, each becomes a kind of candidate-in-residence.

INSKEEP: And so it was that President Obama abruptly appeared at a campaign office in Henderson, Nevada yesterday and delivered pizzas to the staff. Who knows? Maybe these candidates will be delivering pizzas to swing voters before we're all done.

Here's something President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on: America's tax system is too complicated. Both men have outlined changes that are broadly similar, but with some important differences.

The Problem:

Today's tax code is like a department store, where the price tags are high, but there are lots of coupons, sales and weekend specials. That creates some inequities. Just as shoppers can pay different prices depending on which day they buy, taxpayers with the same income can pay very different rates depending on which deductions they qualify for.

President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney are busy cramming for their first debate. The face-off Wednesday night in Denver could be their best opportunity to sway undecided voters. The two men are squeezing in a bit of campaigning between practice sessions. Romney holds a campaign rally in Denver Monday, while Obama rallied with supporters in Las Vegas Sunday.

President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, seem to have switched places in recent days.

The incumbent president is promising to change Washington from the outside. Meanwhile, Romney, who made his fortune turning businesses around, says he wants to work within the existing political system.

The contrast was on display Saturday in Wisconsin, where Obama held one of the biggest rallies of his re-election campaign.

President Obama says he hasn't given up on overhauling immigration law despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Obama faced some tough questions during a forum on Univision including what would be different if he won four more years in the White House.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney promised to pursue a permanent fix for the country's "broken" immigration system during a Univision forum. Despite pointed questioning, Romney offered few details about how he would deal with millions of immigrants who are already in this country illegally.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney admits he could've used more elegant language, but he's not backing down. Romney was secretly recorded speaking at a fundraiser in May and his comments were publicized yesterday by the liberal magazine, "Mother Jones." Here he is telling wealthy backers that President Obama has a built-in base of support.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama for not taking a harder line against China. On Monday, the White House announced a new trade complaint over what the administration calls China's unfair subsidies for auto parts. The news came as Obama campaigned in Ohio, where auto parts are big business.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Well, as Cokie suggested, a lot is riding on how well each candidate gets out the vote. President Obama is campaigning this week in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, three key states where an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows him leading his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, at this point in time. Of course, talking to a pollster is one thing and again, yeah, casting a ballot is something else.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

There's an old shorthand for likeability in politics: "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?"

Polls show President Obama has been winning that likeability contest. And he's been raising a lot of frosty mugs on the campaign trail, hoping to press his advantage over the teetotaling Mitt Romney.

The strategy could come to a head in the swing state of Colorado.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Renee Montagne is in St. Louis today visiting our member station KWMU.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns outside Cleveland, Ohio today. He's in a state that's widely considered essential for him to win - a state where recent surveys show him trailing President Obama by single digits.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's proposal to overhaul the tax code continues to draw scrutiny.

Romney says it is possible to cut tax rates without driving the government deeper into the red, and that he can make up for the lost revenue by closing tax loopholes. But analysts have had a hard time testing Romney's claim because he hasn't offered many specifics.

When he was pressed by NBC's David Gregory this weekend to give an example of a loophole he would close, Romney didn't offer much detail.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A recurring debate in the American presidential contest is who is responsible when a business succeeds. Campaigning in Virginia this weekend, Mitt Romney repeated his assertion that it's individual entrepreneurs.

MITT ROMNEY: I've been impressed by the American spirit of people who are can-do and take-charge, want to start and build things. And by the way, they do build it themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The presidential candidates are back on the campaign trail, sprinting, now that the political conventions are behind them. President Obama and Mitt Romney were both in Iowa and New Hampshire yesterday. Both of their message were affected by some bad news on the job's front as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama took the stage in Denver to accept his party's presidential nomination. He spoke of overcoming partisanship and economic turmoil. Well, tonight, President Obama will do it again with four years of experience under his belt. Since taking office, he has struggled to overcome a crushing recession, a weak recovery and a deeply divided electorate.

NPR's Scott Horsley has this story on the path the president has traveled.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Having spent much of the summer hammering Mitt Romney, President Obama is working to sell his record this week. Yesterday, administration spokesmen insisted that Americans are better off than they were four years ago.

INSKEEP: That's a change from the previous day's message, when key Obama backers would not make that claim. Yesterday, the president himself pointed to a success story.

President Obama holds a Labor Day campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday, and then flies to Louisiana to inspect the damage from Hurricane Isaac. The Toledo rally is part of a long weekend of campaigning, leading up to the Democratic National Convention, which starts Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

The president held a rally with thousands of students at the University of Colorado over the weekend. Just five days earlier, he'd been at Colorado State. Obama is hoping to harness the cross-state rivalry between the schools in the service of his re-election campaign.

On Friday, President Obama was at Fort Bliss, Texas, where he spoke to troops and met with military families, including some who lost loved ones in Afghanistan.

As that war winds down, the president is ordering additional help for those with invisible battle scars. A rash of suicides has shown mental injuries can be just as deadly as a roadside bomb.

Surrounded by soldiers in camouflage fatigues, Obama recalled his last visit to Fort Bliss, exactly two years earlier. That was the day he announced a formal end to combat operations in Iraq.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

College students have been heading back to school, and so has President Obama. For the last two weeks, the president has been visiting campuses in swing states around the country. He's been urging students to register and vote. His campaign says it is also working to win the votes of young people who are not in school. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're getting a reminder here of how fiercely competitive this race is. Even as his party's convention is going on, Mitt Romney, campaigning in Indiana and President Obama, of course, not taking the week off - as rival candidates sometimes do during the opponent's convention. He's been making his case the last couple of days in college towns, trying to energize young voters.

And NPR's Scott Horsley is on the road with the president.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.

When it comes to fundraising, Republicans have been running circles around President Obama l— out-raising his campaign in each of the last three months. The president and his allies don't expect to even the score, but they are trying to up their game. Obama even had a basketball fundraiser on Wednesday.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

At his White House briefing this week, President Obama himself took issue with Mitt Romney's welfare claim.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You can't just make stuff up. That's one thing you learn as president of the United States. You get called into account. And I feel very comfortable with the fact that when you look at the campaign we're running, we are focused on the issues and the differences that matter to working families all across America.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Battleground states are not always neighbors. And for President Obama, yesterday was one of those days when a candidate stops in one and flies across most of the entire country to another. Mr. Obama was in Ohio and then Nevada, visiting college campuses. This morning he'll keep with the education theme at a high school near Las Vegas. The president has been highlighting steps he's taken to make higher education more affordable.

Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: How many students do we have here?

For a week now, charges and counter charges have flown on the campaign trail about who would do what to Medicare. Did President Obama really cut $700 billion from the program? Does Republican challenger Mitt Romney really support a voucher system to replace the current program?

President Obama wraps up a four-day bus tour of Iowa this evening. The president seemed to enjoy the barnstorming — delivering speeches before enthusiastic throngs, high-fiving kids along the way, and knocking back beers with their folks. A look at the trip, and the messaging woven through the speeches and seemingly spontaneous exchanges.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

You could say that the presidential campaign got a jolt of energy this week. President Obama was in Iowa yesterday, touting the electric potential of wind power. Republican rival Mitt Romney was in Ohio, talking up that old standby, coal. Each man accused the other of standing in the way of a rival energy source.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

Pages