Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Jobless Claims Hold At Five-Year Low

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance dipped by 5,000 last week from the week before, to 330,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That means claims remain at a low level not seen since January 2008.

Another measure, the "4-week moving average" that is supposed to give a broader look at the trend, declined by 8,250 — to 351,750.

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Combat? Reaction Of Many Women In Military Is 'Been There, Done That'

Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley, with a Marine Corps. Female Engagement Team, in Musa Qala, Afghanistan, in November 2010.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:44 pm

  • Tom Bowman reporting for the NPR Newscast
  • From 'Morning Edition': The news on women in combat

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Saying that American men and women are "fighting and dying together and the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Thursday afternoon that the Pentagon's rule banning women from combat positions is being rescinded.

Panetta said that as the Pentagon works through how to implement the change, the goal will be to "eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Wed January 23, 2013

A Tennis Tale: Once Famous, 'Gorgeous Gussie' Dies In Obscurity

Gertrude Moran, "Gorgeous Gussie," playing at Wimbledon in 1949. Her attire, which included a bit of lace, shocked some.
George W. Hales Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:10 am

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Wed January 23, 2013

House Passes GOP's Debt-Ceiling Plan; Senate Democrats Offer Their Support

The House of Representatives (Jan. 3 file photo).
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:01 pm

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET: By a vote of 285-144, the House just passed a Republican plan that postpones for three months the federal government's next bump up against the so-called debt ceiling.

As we said earlier, the measure would head off another big battle over raising the government's borrowing authority — such as the one in 2011 that almost led to a government shutdown.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Beyonce May Have Been Live And Pre-recorded

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:47 am

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Wed January 23, 2013

U.K.'s Cameron Floats Idea Of Vote ON E.U. Membership, Other Leaders Protest

British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier today in London as he spoke about a vote on E.U. membership.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

"Britain's prime minister said Wednesday he will offer citizens a vote on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election, prompting warnings from fellow member states about the soundness of such a move," The Associated Press writes.

The wire service adds that:

"Cameron proposed Wednesday that his Conservative Party renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union if it wins the next general election, expected in 2015.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Manti Te'o Says He Lied After Learning 'Girlfriend' Was A Hoax

Manti Te'o during his interview with Katie Couric.
ABCNews.go.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:19 am

ABC News is beginning to release bits of Katie Couric's conversation with Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o, and the first highlight the network is spotlighting is this:

"Manti Te'o briefly lied to the media and the public after discovering his online girlfriend did not exist ... he admitted in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Katie Couric."

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Wed January 23, 2013

How Cold Is It? It's So Cold ...

Julie Caruso of Akron, Ohio, was wrapped up Tuesday as she waited in line for a White House tour. It was well below freezing in the nation's capital. Temperatures were even lower in other parts of the nation.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:20 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Jean Cochran on the cold wave

As Mom would say, bundle up. If you go outside today just about anywhere from North Dakota east and south through the upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and up into New England, it's freezing.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

French Soldier's Skeleton Scarf Goes Viral, Military Launches Investigation

This isn't the sort of picture of a French soldier that his commanders want to see. Photographer Issouf Sanogo says troops were protecting their faces from dust kicked up by a helicopter landing in central Mali on Sunday.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:54 pm

The photo is quite striking, to be sure.

Agence France Press photographer Issouf Sanogo writes that when he was with French soldiers in central Mali on Sunday, "a helicopter was coming in to land and churning up tremendous dust clouds. Instinctively, all the soldiers grabbed their scarfs to avoid getting a mouthful of sand."

Sanogo started taking pictures.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Beyonce's National Anthem Was Pre-Recorded, Marine Band Says

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:02 pm

Update at 6:14 p.m. ET. Backing Off?

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue January 22, 2013

White House 'Welcomes' House Vote On Extending Debt Limit

White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Drew Angerer AFP/Getty Images

President Obama "welcomes" the plan by House Republicans to vote Wednesday on a three-month extension of the nation's borrowing limit, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today, and "would not stand in the way of the bill becoming law." (The Hill)

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Prince Harry On Killing Taliban: 'Take A Life To Save A Life'

Prince Harry, known when on duty as "Capt. Wales," in the cockpit of an Apache helicopter while he was in Afghanistan last month.
John Stillwell/PA wire/pool EPA /Landov
  • Larry Miller reports for the NPR Newscast

"We fire when we have to," and sometimes that means you "take a life to save a life."

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Five-Year High In 2012

A "sale pending" sign outside a home in San Francisco last August.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Though they dipped 1 percent in December from the month before, 2012 was the best year since 2007 for sales of existing homes, the National Association of Realtors reports.

It estimates that 4.65 million previously owned homes were sold last year, up 9.2 percent from 2011 and the most since 2007's 5.03 million.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Petraeus Affair: Jill Kelley Says She And Paula Broadwell Weren't 'Romantic Rivals'

Jill Kelley outside her home in Tampa last November.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:58 pm

We're hearing for the first time today from one of the people caught up in the story that led to retired Gen. David Petraeus' resignation from the post of CIA director last November.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Top Stories: Frigid Weather; Debt Ceiling Vote

Good morning

Monday's presidential inauguration continues to dominate the news. If you want to see how the day played out, check the live blogging we did. For all of NPR's coverage, click here.

Meanwhile, we've started our day with news about the big freeze:

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Brrr! 'Dead Of Winter' Sets In; Coldest Air In Nearly Two Years

Those deep blues and purples are where it's going to be really cold today.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 9:57 am

It felt like -51 degrees Fahrenheit in Langdon, N.D., on Monday and brutal wind chills like that are going to continue across northern states as winter really sets in.

Even in the "warmer" places, it's not going to feel like it's much above zero for the next few days. And "lake effect" snows are expected to pile up around the Great Lakes.

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The Two-Way
12:36 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

'Not Going To See This Again': Obama's Poignant Pause To Look Back At Crowd

President Obama, as he paused to look back at the crowd before going into the Capitol.
C-SPAN.org

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Mon January 21, 2013

As It Happened: Obama Asks Americans To Carry 'Light Of Freedom'

President Obama taking the oath of office today on the steps of the Capitol. First Lady Michelle Obama held the two Bibles on which he placed his hand.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 5:25 pm

  • NPR Special Coverage: 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
  • NPR Special Coverage: 11 a.m.-12:40 p.m.
  • NPR Special Coverage: 12:40 p.m.-2 p.m.

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The Two-Way
5:48 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Katie Couric Lands Manti Te'o 'Exclusive'

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o before the BCS National Championship game against Alabama on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Marc Serota UPI /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 7:09 am

The big "get" goes to Katie Couric.

While Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o has spoken to ESPN — and said he did not participate in the hoax about a "dead" girlfriend who turned out to be neither real nor dead — that wasn't on camera or recorded.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Top Stories: Inauguration Day; 'MLK' Day; And The Super Bowl Is Set

Good morning.

It's Inauguration Day in the U.S., and that's going to require much of our attention today. But as always, there is other news.

Our early headlines:

-- Join Us For Coverage Of Inauguration Day; Here's The Schedule

-- Reports: Death Toll In Algeria At 80

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The Two-Way
5:07 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Reports: Death Toll In Algeria At 80

Smoke rose Sunday during demining operations at the gas plant in eastern Algeria that Islamist militants attacked last week.
Louafi Larbi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:54 am

Update at 1:50 p.m. ET: Three Americans Were Killed, State Department Says (See Statement Below).

Our original post:

As feared, the reports from Algeria about the number of people killed during last week's hostage crisis at a gas plant are getting grimmer.

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The Two-Way
4:37 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Super Bowl Will Be A Family Affair: Harbaugh Brothers' Ravens, 49ers To Clash

Head coach Jim Harbaugh (left) of the San Francisco 49ers and his brother, head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens, before a game on Thanksgiving Day 2011. Their teams will meet again in the Super Bowl.
Rob Carr Getty Images
  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Mike Pesca on the Ravens' win

Super Bowl XLVII will be a never-before matchup of teams coached by two brothers.

The Baltimore Ravens, led by John Harbaugh, will play his younger brother Jim's San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

Maybe it should be called the Harbowl, as they're saying on NFL.com.

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The Two-Way
3:53 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Join Us For Coverage Of Inauguration Day; Here's The Schedule

Souvenirs are available in Washington, D.C., as the city celebrates the inauguration.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:32 am

Good morning.

Though he and the vice president have already taken their oaths of office, President Obama is due this noon to stand outside the Capitol for his ceremonial swearing in and then to deliver his second inaugural address.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Listen Carefully Or You'll Miss It: We've Got Justice Thomas On Tape

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /Landov
  • Justice Thomas' voice comes in around the 13-second mark

As it does each Friday, the Supreme Court has released audio recordings of the week's oral arguments.

Which means we can now hear what it was like when Justice Clarence Thomas broke his seven-year silence.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Republicans Offer Three-Month Increase In Debt Ceiling

As workers prepare the Capitol for Monday's inaugural ceremony, there's word that Congress might not get into another battle over the debt ceiling.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

In a move that could head off another bruising battle over increasing the nation's debt ceiling, GOP leaders in the House plan to approve a three-month increase in the nation's borrowing authority next week, NPR's S.V. Date reports.

But, he tells our Newscast Desk, Republicans want to tie a longer-term increase to the passage of a budget that cuts spending.

His report continues:

"The plan comes from Majority Leader Eric Cantor as House Republicans wrap up a retreat in Southern Virginia.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

More Tears For Notre Dame's 'Fake Tragedy' Than A Real Girl's Death?

Lizzy Seeberg, in a family photo broadcast by ABC News.
ABCNews.go.com

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 4:03 pm

The bizarre story of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o and the girlfriend he now says never existed has exploded on to news sites and TV channels this week.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Body Exhumed Of Lottery Winner Who Suffered Cyanide-Related Death

Urooj Khan, with his winning lottery ticket. Not long after this photo was taken, he was dead.
AP

The remains of Urooj Khan, the Chicago man who last July died one day after his $425,000 check from the Illinois lottery was cut, were exhumed today, the Chicago Tribune reports.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Acid Thrown In Face Of Bolshoi Ballet's Artistic Director; He May Lose Sight

Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet, in 2011.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

A masked assailant threw acid into the face of the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director on Thursday in Moscow in what may have been a "reprisal for his selection of dancers in starring roles at the famed Russian company," The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Te'o Spoke Of 'Girlfriend' As If She Existed After He Supposedly Learned Of Hoax

Manti Te'o, pointing skyward during Notre Dame's game against Michigan on Sept. 22. That was the day, he said then, of his girlfriend's funeral service. Now, he says he never met her and they had only an online and telephone relationship.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 8:53 am

Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o "perpetuated the heartbreaking story" of a girlfriend's death after he supposedly had learned he was the victim of a hoax and that she never existed, The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Livestrong 'Disappointed' By Lance Armstrong, But Still Grateful To Him

Lance Armstrong, during the interview with Oprah Winfrey that was recorded Monday and began airing Thursday night.
George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 3:09 pm

After Part 1 of cyclist Lance Armstrong's confession about doping aired Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the Livestrong cancer charity he helped found released a statement that says, in part:

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