Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at NPR.org.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR's White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress. In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe. He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, and subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava. He also covered Mr.Obama's first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

Forty years ago, America was getting to know a new president: Gerald Ford. He took office after scandal forced the resignation of Richard Nixon, famously declaring: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Taking on the presidency meant a transfer of power unlike any the country had ever seen. Ford often said he had never aspired to the White House. But there he was, in the summer of 1974.

President Warren G. Harding presided over Prohibition, died before completing his first term, and is consistently ranked by historians and the public as one of the worst U.S. presidents.

But suddenly he's getting a lot of attention, thanks to a cache of steamy love letters he wrote to a mistress over 15 years. Sealed for a half-century, today the Library of Congress made the entire collection available to the public.

James Hutson, chief archivist of the manuscript division at the library, pulled a box of the letters from the collection this morning.

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We report next on a woman who's become a focus of presidential speculation. Hillary Clinton, of course, is an overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but Elizabeth Warren has excited a lot of Democratic activists. The Massachusetts senator is spending her summer traveling the country.

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When a U.S. president gets deep into a second term, there are certain things that you can count on.

Political victories are tougher to come by.

The battle scars are deeper.

Public approval falls, and the opposing party looks for new ways to gain some advantage.

And in the modern presidency, there's another second-term development that's becoming just as predictable as the list above — calls for the president to be impeached.

It happens even when there's little — or no — chance of success.

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Call it the first official contest of the 2016 presidential campaign. Sure, the election's a couple of years away. Nevertheless, we have a pair of finalists. They are cities hoping to host the Republican National Convention two summers from now. In this corner, Dallas, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIG D")

FRANK LOESSER: (Singing)You're from Big D. My, oh, yes. I mean, big D, little A, double L, A, S.

GONYEA: And the other contender, hailing from the shores of Lake Erie...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BURN ON")

It's the summer of a campaign year and once again the airwaves, the Internet, and likely your own Facebook and other social media feeds are full of political ads.

In the primaries, we've already seen ads featuring cartoon turtles, gator wrestling, lots of dogs, horses and, of course, guns — propped against pickup trucks or resting over shoulders.

Iraq has long played a major role in President Obama's political life, going back to his earliest days as an Illinois state senator barely known outside of his Chicago district.

Obama's early anti-Iraq war stand would become a centerpiece of his first run for the White House, but it's since been a persistent crisis that's been his to manage, despite his every effort to put it behind him.

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MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Republicans are reeling from the

Republicans have been using the 2012 attack in Libya against her. Analysts say while Hillary Clinton is talking about Benghazi, she is defining the issue herself well ahead of any political campaign.

The Senate votes Thursday on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Health and Human Services Secretary, replacing Kathleen Sebelius. Burwell was running the Office of Management and Budget.

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You'll hear this all the time in news stories about politics. At a certain point a political analyst or pundit is quoted offering insight. Maybe they're university professors with expertise on an issue or on candidates in their region of the country. So what happens when one of those go-to experts removes their pundit hat and becomes a candidate? NPR's Don Gonyea has one such story and he gets some well-known pundits to comment.

The ex-presidential candidate is on the campaign trail, picking winners in a number of key primaries. He says his goal is to help the GOP have a great 2014, including seizing control of the Senate.

Could President Obama one day motivate future generations to run for office, the way that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have? It's too early to tell if a trend will take hold, but there is at least one key Obama campaign veteran now running for statewide office.

Brad Anderson was the spokesman for Obama's 2008 Iowa campaign. Four years later, he ran the president's entire Iowa operation. Now Anderson is running for Iowa secretary of state.

Sen. Mitch McConnell is seeking a sixth term, and he easily beat a Tea Party challenger in Tuesday's primary. In November, he faces Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state.

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A local elections official has ruled that Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, who's served in the House for nearly 50 years, has failed to collect enough valid signatures to appear on the Democratic primary ballot. He's appealing the decision; if he loses, it could be an ignominious end to a distinguished career.

This year, Iowa will elect a new U.S. senator, thanks to the retirement of five-term Democrat Tom Harkin.

For a time, this was a seat Democrats didn't think they needed to worry about; Rep. Bruce Braley was considered the favorite to win the seat in November.

Thanks to a serious gaffe, though, the seat looks to be in play. Now, five Republican hopefuls, none well-known statewide, are all racing toward the June primary.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush, two U.S. presidents with little in common in terms of policy, personal style and politics, each paid tribute to the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson.

President Obama is in Austin, Texas, honoring the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's one of four U.S. presidents to appear at a civil rights summit this week.

There's news today about the 2016 presidential campaign that has nothing to do with the growing list of would-be candidates with White House aspirations.

It's about the big nominating conventions the Democrats and Republicans hold every four years. Legislation the president signed Thursday afternoon means those huge political extravaganzas will no longer receive millions of dollars in taxpayer support. It's not the only change that's likely for conventions.

Let's start with a little time travel:

A Senate committee is expected to vote this week on whether to release a lengthy, years-in-the-making document based on a review of CIA practices regarding torture and enhanced interrogation of suspected al-Qaida terrorists.

The investigation and the report are part of a power struggle between two of the most powerful figures in the U.S. intelligence community — CIA Director John Brennan and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein — who are at odds over what Americans can and should know about torture carried out in their name.

General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday, speaking before a House panel that is investigating how the company handled problems with its vehicles' ignition switch.

Google Glass is looking to be the next must-have digital device. The small computer you wear like eyeglasses allows you to surf the Web, email, text, take photos, shoot and stream live video and more — hands-free.

For now Google Glass is in very limited release, but even so, political professionals are eagerly exploring how it could become a powerful campaign tool.

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

It is one of those primary tenets of the Republican party: a strong, robust, well-funded military and the willingness to deploy it are a critical part of national security.

But Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who speaks to activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, has long felt it's time to re-examine that approach.

In less than four years in the Senate, Paul has emerged as a prominent new face of the GOP and a contender for the 2016 presidential nomination. But his libertarian philosophy sets him apart from the rest of the field.

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87-year-old John Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of Congress, retires at the end of his current term. When he goes, another Dingell hopes to win his seat. Today, in the city of Dearborn, in the heart of Michigan's 12th district, Debbie Dingell, the congressman's wife, announced her candidacy. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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In northeast Texas, from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana, Republican Ralph Hall is seeking an 18th term in Congress. Hall is 90 years old and the oldest member of Congress. At a time of deep voter anger with Washington, Hall's long incumbency and his age have drawn a crowded field of primary challengers. He's assuring his constituents that it will be his last campaign, but if there's an anti-incumbent wave building, his east Texas district may be an early barometer.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

When workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers in a recent vote on whether to unionize, it was a stinging setback for a labor movement looking for a big organizing victory in a Southern state.

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The United Auto Workers Union suffered a major defeat when a drive to represent workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee failed last week. Right now, leaders of the AFL-CIO are holding their winter meetings in Houston and that VW vote is a major topic.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has more.

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