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
3:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Every Move She Makes, Pundits Are Watching Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City on Wednesday.
Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 9:09 pm

When she left the Obama administration, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she just wanted to sleep late and walk her dog. But that hasn't happened.

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It's All Politics
3:29 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Have Obama's Troubles Weakened Him For Fall's Fiscal Fights?

President Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 9:34 am

President Obama has had a tough year. He failed to pass gun legislation. Plans for an immigration overhaul have stalled in the House. He barely escaped what would have been a humiliating rejection by Congress on his plan to strike Syria.

Just this week, his own Democrats forced Larry Summers, the president's first choice to head the Federal Reserve, to withdraw.

Former Clinton White House aide Bill Galston says all these issues have weakened the unity of the president's coalition.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
4:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

White House Shifts Syria Proposal From Strike To Weapons Surrender

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Middle East
3:11 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Obama Prepares For Speech On Syria

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:08 am

On Tuesday night, President Obama will address the nation — asking for support of his plan to punish the Syrian regime for a chemical weapons attack near Damascus last month. The president must deal with widespread skepticism about his plan.

U.S.
2:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Obama Administration Makes Hard Push For Syria Strike

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House is pulling out all the stops today, trying to overcome public and congressional opposition to a military strike on Syria. To make the case, President Obama sat down for six network television interviews. But nearly all the attention was focused on a new proposal, from Russia, that would have Syria give up its chemical arsenal in order to avoid a U.S. military strike.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Obama Gets Some Support For Military Action In Syria

Sixteen party leaders and key committee figures from both the House and Senate met with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday. House Speaker John Boehner was among those who emerged to say they backed the idea of military intervention in Syria.

Politics
3:15 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Obama Meets With McCain, Graham About Syria Strikes

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

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.

This morning, we're looking at how Members of Congress are responding to President Obama's call for military action in Syria.

INSKEEP: In fact, we can expect to hear many voices in that debate in the coming days on MORNING EDITION.

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World
4:24 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

U.K. Vote Against Syria Strike A Major Setback For Obama

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So where does this leave the Obama administration? For more on that, I'm joined by NPR's Mara Liasson. And Mara, what's the White House reaction been to this vote in the British Parliament tonight?

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NPR Story
3:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Republicans Pin Hopes On Senate Turnover In 2014

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, D.C. the next election always seems just around the corner, even in the middle of summer when it seems a long way away to everyone else. Republicans are in the Senate minority today, but about now they're feeling confident about their prospects to pick up seats and maybe even regain the majority in 2014. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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Economy
2:07 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Obama To Lay Out Economic Vision This Week

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

On Wednesday, President Obama will return to Illinois and to the town of Galesburg. It was the site of a pivotal speech he gave about the economy in 2005, his first year as a senator. This week, the president will appear once again at Knox College in Galesburg, to lay out his economic vision as we approach the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis.

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Politics
3:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Obama Pushes Back Against Efforts To Undermine Health Law

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

President Obama gave a White House address Thursday, flanked by Americans now paying less for health insurance or receiving reimbursements from health insurers under Obamacare. It was a response to recent efforts by House Republicans to repeal or undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

It's All Politics
3:29 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Marco Rubio: Poster Boy For The GOP Identity Crisis

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., walks toward the stage as he is introduced at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in June.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 4:13 pm

The Republican Party seems like two parties these days. In the Senate, Republicans joined a two-thirds majority to pass an immigration bill. But in the House, Republicans are balking.

Strategist Alex Lundry says it's hard to figure out the way forward when your party's base of power is the House of Representatives.

"One problem we have in the wilderness is that there are a thousand chiefs," he says. "And it is hard to get a party moving when you don't have somebody at the top who is a core leader who can be directive."

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Politics
3:04 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Republicans Slow To 'Reset' Despite Election Autopsy Report

A few months ago, the Republican National Committee released several recommendations for broadening the party's voter appeal. The report told the GOP to reach out to women, younger voters and Hispanics. But so far, that has not been the direction party leaders have taken in Congress or in the media.

It's All Politics
2:32 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Will Texas Become A Presidential Battleground?

Texas was decidedly red on the electoral map in NBC News' "Election Plaza" in New York's Rockefeller Center in 2008. Do Democrats really have a chance to turn it blue in the future?
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:11 pm

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

With the two parties in Washington gridlocked on immigration, the budget and other issues, it's easy to forget that when it comes to winning presidential elections, one party has a distinct advantage.

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National Security
2:41 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Surveillance Revelations Spark Lackluster Public Discord

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:53 am

When a former IT contractor at the National Security Agency gave The Guardian U.S. government surveillance information, he told the paper that his only motivation was to spark a public debate about government surveillance.

"This is something that's not our place to decide," Edward Snowden said. "The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong."

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Politics
3:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Obama To Push Jobs, Education At N.C. Middle School

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:49 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama travels to Mooresville, North Carolina today. He'll highlight the town's middle school and its focus on technology and digital learning. It's part of what the White House is calling the president's Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. Jobs and education are big issues for younger voters, one of the most sought after demographics for both parties.

NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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Around the Nation
3:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Obama And Chris Christie Tour Rebuilding On Jersey Shore

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:43 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, President Obama toured the Jersey shore, surveying the recovery work that's been done since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area seven months ago. The visit was also a reunion for the president and an unlikely political ally, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. NPR's Mara Liasson reports on their bipartisan relationship and the political benefits for both men.

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Politics
3:41 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Political Takeaways: Headaches For The White House

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Politics
3:14 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama Moves Aggressively Into Damage Control Mode

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Renee's in Afghanistan. I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration has gone through entire seasons when it seemed the bottom was falling out. The administration's outward approach at times like this has been to seem unflappable and move on.

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It's All Politics
3:56 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

With Texas Trip, Obama Tries To Steer Focus Back To Economy

President Obama answers questions during a news conference on April 30.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 4:27 pm

President Obama turns his attention back to his economic agenda Thursday when he travels to Austin, Texas, where he will visit a technology high school and a company that makes the machines that make silicon chips.

The White House says the trip is part of Obama's Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. It also appears to be an effort by the president to get back to the issues Americans care most about.

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Politics
2:41 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Political Battle Over Health Law Starts Next Chapter

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 10:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

It's one of the basic lessons in school - how a bill becomes a law - sounds so finite. Of course the part they don't always teach is how the political debate over a law can just keep going. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is now the law of the land. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.

But as NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, the fight of the law will likely just intensify ahead of the next elections.

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Middle East
2:59 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Undecided On Action For Syria Crossing 'Red Line'

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Has the so-called red line been crossed in Syria? Today, the Obama administration said it believes the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and, as President Obama has said in the past, that is a red line that would trigger serious consequences. But as NPR's Mara Liasson reports, the administration says it still has to evaluate the evidence and decide what actions to take.

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Politics
4:03 am
Wed April 24, 2013

What's Next In The Gun Control Debate?

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 5:20 am

Gun-control groups are regrouping after a bill to tighten background checks for gun sales failed to overcome a filibuster last week in the Senate. The failure was not only a stinging defeat for President Obama, it was also a setback for the new players in the debate.

It's All Politics
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Immigration Proves A 'Rubik's Cube' For Many Republicans

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol on April 10.
Allison Shelley Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

While an immigration overhaul has drawn support from church groups, business, labor and even former opponents, there's still deep opposition — mostly centered in the Republican Party.

The last time a president tried to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul was in 2007, and George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress killed his bill. Republican strategist Kevin Madden says a lot has changed since then — including the way the Republican Party is dealing with its own internal divisions.

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Politics
3:14 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Tries To Repair GOP's Image With Minorities

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In recent elections the Republican Party has struggled to find much support among African-American voters. That though did not dissuade Kentucky's Republican Senator Rand Paul from making a pitch yesterday at Howard University, the historically black college in the nation's capital.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson was listening.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Rand Paul spoke carefully from a teleprompter and posed this question to his audience of young African-American students.

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Politics
4:26 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Is Caroline Kennedy Qualified To Be Ambassador To Japan?

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:19 am

President Obama is expected to name Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, ambassador to Japan. The job has been critical to U.S. trade and business interests with the world's third largest economy. But Kennedy has no prior experience in government or business.

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.

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