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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Let's talk now about policy ramifications and political reactions to today's court ruling. For that, we're joined by NPR national correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey there, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi Audie.

CORNISH: So we have, in effect, a split decision. Two appeals courts ruling in different ways. What's the political spin so far?

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President Obama signed an executive order today giving new employment protections to gay and transgender people. And this is for people who work for the government. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports that the move comes after years of pressure from LGBT activists.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: At the White House today, President Obama signed the order saying we're on the right side of history. He said it was time to address this injustice for every American.

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The Obama administration's request for more funds on immigration could get a congressional vote soon. Meanwhile, the crisis at the border is complicating Obama's plan to take unilateral action to ease deportations. The politics of immigration are shifting quickly.

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Democrats in the Senate have unveiled legislation to override the recent Supreme Court decision on contraceptives.

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In that decision, the court sided with the owners of Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, ruling that many businesses do not have to pay for health insurance to cover contraceptives if they object on religious grounds.

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In the key battleground states that will decide control of the Senate this November, President Obama's approval numbers are lower than they are nationally — but not much lower.

That's the key finding in a new poll, conducted by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, that sampled likely voters for NPR.

The crisis in Iraq has become a political problem for President Obama. Analysts say the White House needs to stop Iraq and Syria from becoming safe havens for terrorists.

This week's stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor came after his internal polls showed him winning — instead he lost by double digits.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. This morning, Washington is trying to make sense of one of the most stunning upsets in congressional history. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, a man many expected to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, was defeated in his Republican primary by Tea Party activist David Brat. Cantor conceded this last night.

In a surprise result, voters in Virginia's 7th Congressional District have dealt a defeat to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, nominating Tea Party challenger David Brat instead in the GOP primary.

President Obama is signing an executive order Monday, which will expand a loan forgiveness program for college debt. NPR's Mara Liasson looks at the program and the political salience of the issue.

The most closely watched of Tuesday's primaries was the race in Mississippi, where incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran was fending off a challenge from Tea Party-backed Chris McDaniel.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration hopes his latest climate initiative will influence the United States long after he is gone.

GREENE: The president leaves office at the beginning of 2017, but the goal of the latest regulations is to sharply reduce emissions of gases linked to climate change by the year 2030. States would be given flexibility on how to meet the goals.

A preliminary report from the Veterans Affairs inspector general finding systemic issues in the delivery of health care to veterans has intensified political pressure on the White House to fix the problems.

But the allegations that VA bureaucrats falsified data to cover up long delays is a scandal that transcends the usual partisan food fight, says Duke University's Peter Feaver, a former Bush White House official.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. We've heard this cited many times. In 2012, Republicans lost the Hispanic vote by more than 2 to 1. Well, it turns out President Obama and the Democrats have problems of their own when it comes to Latino votes. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

In Tuesday's Senate primary in Nebraska, Ben Sasse, a university president and Tea Party favorite, beat former state treasurer Shane Osborn.

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People in Nebraska and West Virginia are going to the polls today. In Nebraska, the Republican Senate primary has a familiar dynamic: Tea Party candidates running against Republicans backed by the party establishment.

NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been following this year's installment of the battle between the two wings of the GOP.

NPR's Mara Liasson interviewed top Democratic ad man Jim Margolis recently as part of her research for a story about political advertising aimed at women.

Much of the interview didn't make the final radio piece, but the picture he painted of the not-too-distant political future was fascinating — and a little unsettling.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:

It's only April, but it looks and sounds like October. More than $80 million has been spent on political advertising in only about a dozen Senate battleground states.

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Congressional elections do not come for months, but in many districts the real action is now. Its primary season and yesterday voters went to the polls around the country. In North Carolina's Republican Senate primary, Thom Tillis, the State House speaker, won a big enough margin to avoid a runoff.

In a high-rise office in Rosslyn, Va., Adam Parkhomenko is selling campaign paraphernalia for a campaign that may or may not happen.

"Bumper stickers, magnets, and then we have everything from T-shirts, we have baby onesies that we're almost out of now," says Parkhomenko.

Parkhomenko runs a group called Ready for Hillary. It's more than a Clinton fan club: It's a superPAC, a list-building superPAC.

A new bipartisan NPR poll shows approval numbers rising for Obamacare — which is now slightly more popular than its namesake.

Our survey of likely voters, conducted for Morning Edition by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, shows the president's health care law is still unpopular, but it might not be as heavy a millstone for Democrats as expected.

Democrats have had great success in recent presidential elections registering, targeting and turning out their core voters. Now they're hoping to use that sophisticated field operation to to stave off defeat in this year's midterm elections.

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is visiting the White House Wednesday. The meeting comes days before a vote in Crimea over whether to secede from Ukraine.

Facing a deadline, the Obama administration is desperate to boost enrollment in health care exchanges. Still millions from their goal, they're stepping up outreach and forgetting politics — for now.

The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists, routinely attracts big names in the Republican party — and this year's no different. It starts Thursday.

With the House of Representatives expected to remain in Republican hands, the Senate will be the focus of midterm elections in 2014. The political landscape there appears unfavorable for Democrats.

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The immigration issue has become a political hot potato for Republicans. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, and the House decided not to take it up. But then House Republicans changed their minds briefly until they gave up again. NPR's Mara Liasson explains where things stand now.

Democrats and Republicans have exhausted themselves politically after failing to reach a grand bargain to reduce the debt. Now there's a new economic debate in Washington over economic growth, mobility and income inequality.

But without dealing with the debt, Republicans and Democrats might not be able to navigate even the issues they agree on.

Moving Away From The Deficit

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