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
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Proposition 8 Case Has High Political Stakes For Both Parties

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll learn what the court decides to do about DOMA and California's Proposition 8 sometime this summer. Its options vary widely. But no matter what the result, there will be political implications.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us to walk through some of them.

And, Mara, first, let's talk briefly about this really sea change in public opinion now in favor of same-sex marriage. Could the court reverse that tide in any way?

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Politics
2:43 am
Fri March 22, 2013

GOP Encouraged To Shift Immigration, Gay Marriage Positions

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 8:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

With his journey, the president temporarily left behind a changing American political scene. The Republican Party is struggling with that change. Public opinion on immigration and gay marriage is changing quickly. That forces Republicans to try a balancing act, as NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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Politics
2:43 am
Tue March 19, 2013

RNC Election Report Calls For Minority Outreach, Primary Changes

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 8:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the Republican Party has issued a blistering assessment of why it lost the 2012 election. The Republican National Committee Growth and Opportunity Project told the party that if it wants to win national elections in the future, it needs to change the way it communicates with voters and runs its campaigns.

NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Politics
2:43 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

RNC Report A Postmortem On Failed 2012 Election

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 3:54 pm

After failing to take the presidency or U.S. Senate in 2012 and losing House seats, Republicans launched the "Growth and Opportunity Project" to understand what went wrong. Party Chairman Reince Priebus and others toured the country and released a report with recommendations on Monday.

Politics
4:31 am
Fri March 15, 2013

For GOP Hopefuls, CPAC Is The Place To Be This Week

The Conservative Political Action Conference is drawing a huge crowd of politicians, activists and Republican presidential hopefuls, all looking to break the Republican Party's recent string of presidential election losses. It kicked off Thursday with speeches by two young senators interested in the White House — Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

It's All Politics
1:56 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 7:34 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
1:06 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 3:36 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
3:45 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 4:20 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.

Politics
2:43 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Obama's Second Term Cabinet Nears Completion With New Nominations

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 3:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

Three new faces joined President Obama today at the White House.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, I'm announcing my plan to nominate three outstanding individuals to help us tackle some of our most important challenges.

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It's All Politics
3:03 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 6:01 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
3:18 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Obama Tries To Build Public Pressure On Congress Over Looming Budget Cuts

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Tick-tock goes the sequester clock. Three more days until automatic across-the-board spending cuts kick in. And today, President Obama was once again on the road trying to build public pressure on Congress to delay or replace the cuts. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson begins our coverage.

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Politics
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Automatic Budget Cuts Near As Democrats, GOP Stand Firm

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 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
2:44 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Obama Speech To Set Second Term's Tone

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 3:00 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
3:07 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Public Pressure, Background Checks Central To Obama Gun Control Strategy

President Obama speaks about his gun control agenda before law enforcement officials in Minneapolis on Monday. The president was doing what his aides say he didn't do often enough in his first term: getting outside of Washington to build public support for legislation.
Ben Garvin Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 10:11 am

Gun control historically has been one of the most divisive issues in Congress, between the parties and even inside the Democratic coalition. Yet some in President Obama's own party say he has put together a gun agenda that is sweeping without being too painful for most Democrats to support.

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It's All Politics
1:44 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 9:26 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
3:29 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Senators Unveil Plan To Fix Immigration System

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:36 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
2:57 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Obama's Second Inaugural Address Didn't Win Over Many Republicans

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 6:48 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.

Governing
3:19 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
4:41 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Does Obama's Second-Term Agenda Need Beefing Up?

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 7:11 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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U.S.
2:57 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama's Treasury Secretary Nomination Reflective Of His Second Term Priorities

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:26 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
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Wants Urgent Action To End Gun Violence

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 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.
2:36 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Obama Moves Forward On New Gun Legislation

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 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
11:54 am
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 1:16 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
3:25 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Gun Issues Return To Political Debate

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:42 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
3:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Susan Rice Withdraws Name For Secretary Of State

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 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
4:00 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Obama And House GOP Engage In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Only Briefly 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 4:30 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
6:58 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 10:37 am

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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Politics
5:48 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Post-Election, GOP's Immigration Message Evolves

Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona on Tuesday introduced a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country, but would not offer them a path to citizenship.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:30 am

After an election in which Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill are making overtures about immigration reform.

House Speaker John Boehner says he's sure he can make a deal next year with the White House on a comprehensive bill. A steady procession of prominent GOP leaders are warning that Republicans won't win the White House again without improving their outreach to Latino voters. On Monday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio explained the problem this way.

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Politics
2:25 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Obama Rallies Fiscal Cliff Support With Labor Leaders

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 4:43 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
3:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Republicans Review Election Results For Insight

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:46 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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