Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith is a NPR White House Correspondent. She is especially focused on matters related to the economy and the Federal budget.

Prior to moving into her current role in January 2014, she was a Congressional Correspondent covering Congress with an emphasis on the budget, taxes and the ongoing fiscal fights. During the Republican presidential primaries she covered Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, and traveled with Mitt Romney leading into the primaries in Colorado and Ohio, among other states. She began covering congress in August 2011.

Keith joined NPR in 2009 as a Business Reporter. In that role, she reported on topics spanning the business world from covering the debt downgrade and debt ceiling crisis to the latest in policy debates, legal issues and technology trends. In early 2010, she was on the ground in Haiti covering the aftermath of the country's disastrous earthquake and later she covered the oil spill in the Gulf. In 2011, Keith conceived and reported the 2011 NPR series The Road Back To Work, a year-long series featuring the audio diaries of six people in St. Louis who began the year unemployed and searching for work.

Keith has deep roots in public radio and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. While in college, she launched her career at NPR Member Station KQED's California Report, covering topics including agriculture and the environment. In 2004, Keith began working at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, where she reported on politics and the 2004 presidential campaign.

Keith went back to California to open the state capital bureau for NPR Member Station KPCC/Southern California Public Radio. In 2006, Keith returned to KQED, serving as the Sacramento-region reporter for two years.

In 2001, Keith began working on B-Side Radio, an hour-long public radio show and podcast that she co-founded, produced, hosted, edited, and distributed for nine years.

Over the course of her career Keith has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including an award for best news writing from the APTRA California/Nevada and a first place trophy from the Society of Environmental Journalists for "Outstanding Story Radio." Keith was a 2010-2011 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.

Keith earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree at the UCB Graduate School of Journalism. Tamara is also a member of the Bad News Babes, a media softball team that once a year competes against female members of Congress in the Congressional Women's Softball game.

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Politics
4:03 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Anticipating Attacks, GOP Campaigns Focus On Courting Women Voters

In this ad from Republican Stewart Mills, his wife Heather says he dons pink heels each year to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:57 pm

At the Democratic party's annual Women's Leadership Forum Friday, Hillary Clinton delivered a message that could have come straight from the script being used by Democratic candidates all over the country.

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U.S.
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

House Approves Bill To Train, Arm Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
2:57 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Medals Of Honor Recognize Harrowing Battle And A Dying Act

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins receives the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House. He describes the battle that earned him the medal as the toughest he saw in three tours of duty in Vietnam.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 7:43 am

President Obama on Monday awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, to two soldiers who served in Vietnam: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, who survived a harrowing battle and 18 body wounds; and Army Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat, whose dying act saved his fellow soldiers.

In January 1970, President Obama said Monday, Sloat was on patrol with his squad in Vietnam.

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It's All Politics
7:34 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Obama's Hawkish Plan For Islamic State Puts Doves In A Quandary

President Obama's plan to degrade and destroy the Islamic state poses a challenge for members of his own party, who have traditionally provided the anti-war voices in Congress.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 1:47 pm

President Obama arguably won the Democratic primary in 2008 because of his strong opposition to the Iraq war. Now he's arguing he doesn't need congressional approval to ramp up a bombing campaign in Iraq and expand air strikes into Syria.

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Politics
2:39 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Congress Generally Supportive Of Action Against ISIS

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:54 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

First the president outlined his strategy for dealing with ISIS, now comes the vetting. On Capitol Hill today, members of Congress received classified briefings from military and intelligence personnel.

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National Security
3:07 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Obama Tells Nation Islamist Threat Could Reach U.S. Shores

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:07 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Obama Wants Congress' Support On ISIS, But He May Not Need It

President Obama will address the nation Wednesday to present his strategy against the Islamic State.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 12:57 pm

The top four congressional leaders will be at the White House today to talk to President Obama about U.S. military action against the group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS. This comes just one day before Obama will address the nation and lay out his strategy for dealing with the extremist group.

The president says he wants congressional buy in, but "buy in" can mean a lot of things.

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Iraq
4:42 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Obama Says U.S. Will Aid Iraqis Who Are Marooned On Mount Sinjar

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
1:27 am
Mon August 25, 2014

In New Hampshire, An Unexpected Tight Race For Senate

Paul Moccia of Atkinson, N.H., waits for New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown to be endorsed by Mitt Romney at an event in Stratham, N.H., on July 2.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:59 pm

When discussing competitive U.S. Senate races, New Hampshire isn't at the top of the list. Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana — they all have tight contests. But now it seems even New Hampshire may be in play.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a former longtime New Hampshire governor, finishing up her first term in the U.S. Senate. Polls consistently find she's still personally popular, even after millions of dollars in attack ads run against her. And yet a recent WMUR Granite State poll finds she has a race on her hands.

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Politics
2:24 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Would You Share The President's Fries?

President Obama dines with Victor Fugate (from left), Becky Forrest, Valerie McCaw and Mark Turner in Kansas City, Mo.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 4:35 pm

What happens when President Obama has supper with people he just met? Well, for one thing, he may have to share his fries.

The president invited four Kansas City, Mo., residents to dine with him at Arthur Bryant's barbecue last month. The four are among the thousands of people who have addressed personal letters to the White House.

President Obama sat down to talk with the letter writers, and moments later the pool of reporters on hand were ushered out (as is the norm). NPR reached all four by phone to get a download.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Two Ways President Obama Could Act On Immigration

Immigration advocates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida demonstrate outside the White House in April 2014.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 6:51 pm

Sometime before the end of summer, President Obama is expected to take executive action to address the nation's broken immigration system.

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The Salt
7:36 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Making An All-American White House Dinner With Some African Flair

White House chefs chop a lot of vegetables to prepare for a dinner of 400 Tuesday night.
Gregory Barber/NPR

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 11:12 am

Think of it as a state dinner for an entire continent. Tuesday night, after the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit sessions wrap up, the president and the first lady will host 50 heads of state and the chairman of the African Union for dinner. The 400 guests will be treated to a traditional American meal with an African twist in a gigantic tent on the South Lawn and enjoy a performance by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lionel Richie.

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Politics
2:01 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

August Comes To The Hill, But House GOP Hasn't Started Recess Quite Yet

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

As Senate Leaves For Recess, House Keeps Working On A Border Bill

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:36 am
Thu July 31, 2014

In Kansas City, Obama Brushes Off House GOP's Vote To Sue Him

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

News
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Central American Leaders Stop By White House To Talk Border Crisis

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

The presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras met with President Obama at the White House Friday, discussing the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America. So far, Obama has not seen eye to eye with Congress on possible solutions to the crisis.

Education
2:08 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Glenn Beck Takes His Campaign Against Common Core To The Big Screen

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
2:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Congress And Biden Aim For Job Training That Actually Leads To Jobs

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, greets Enis Sullivan, 101, during a visit to XMA Corp. in Manchester, N.H., on March 25.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:05 am

Something pretty remarkable happened Tuesday afternoon in a small windowless auditorium next door to the White House. President Obama signed a new law: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

It streamlines and updates the nation's job training programs and was 11 years overdue. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

"Folks in Congress got past their differences; they got a bill to my desk," Obama said at the signing ceremony. "So this is not a win for Democrats or Republicans; it is a win for American workers."

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News
6:02 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Obama Unrolls New Sanctions Against Russia

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama had some announcements today on U.S. policy overseas. In the White House briefing room, the president ran through a long list of what he described as pressing foreign policy challenges - questions about the election results in Afghanistan, Iranian nuclear talks, the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel and finally, the situation in Ukraine. The U.S. government imposed new sanctions on Russia today over interference in that country. Here's how President Obama summed it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Opinion
8:56 am
Sat July 12, 2014

A Mother's Essay Challenges Assumptions About Poverty

Darlena Cunha says that she wrote her essay about her family's temporary poverty so her twin daughters would learn not to judge people on government assistance.
Courtesy of Darlena Cunha

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 10:09 am

The stereotype of the so-called welfare queen driving a luxury car while leaching off of society is an enduring one.

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Politics
5:38 am
Sat July 12, 2014

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Campaign spending in the Kentucky Senate race between GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes could reach $100 million.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 10:14 pm

For the amount of money that's expected to be spent in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate this year, you could buy a bottle of the state's own Maker's Mark whiskey for nearly every man, woman and child in the state.

Some observers say the election could end up as the most expensive Senate race in history, with spending topping $100 million. And why wouldn't it be? It's at the heart of the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

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Politics
2:30 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Obama Gets Real, Meeting The Authors Behind White House Letters

President Obama sits down to have lunch with Rebekah Erler at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis on Thursday. Obama spent a day with Erler, who wrote the White House about her struggles to make ends meet.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 2:26 pm

When President Obama delivered a speech about the economy in Minneapolis on Friday, a woman named Rebekah Erler sat in the audience with her family.

The White House billed the president's two-day trip to Minnesota as at least in part a "day in the life of Rebekah" — and it's a throwback, in a sense, to a time before Barack Obama was a household name.

In 2007, when his candidacy was still considered a long shot, then-Sen. Obama spent a day walking in the shoes of a home health aide.

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Politics
2:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Democrats Hope For Work-Life Balance To Act As Lever In Midterms

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:07 pm

The Obama administration held the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families on Monday. Keeping the focus on topics like paid leave, equal pay and workplace flexibility is seen by Democrats as a winning strategy in the midterm elections.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Politics
4:23 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Administration Focuses On Challenges Working Families Face

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Iraq
4:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Political Solution Needed In Iraq, Obama Says

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:29 am

President Obama is sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to gather intelligence on the insurgency. He was adamant there will be no American combat operations on the ground in Iraq.

Iraq
2:12 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Obama Plans To Send Advisers To Iraq, Leaving Air Strikes On Table

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama announced today that the U.S. will send up to 300 special forces advisers into Iraq. He says they'll gather intelligence and assist Iraqi security forces. This comes as radical Islamists continue to march toward Baghdad. And as NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports, the president also is not ruling out airstrikes.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: President Obama is clear about this...

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Politics
7:26 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Upset Of Eric Cantor Deals A Shock To GOP Establishment

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:20 pm

Eric Cantor became the first house majority leader ever to lose a primary, losing the GOP nomination to Tea Party challenger David Brat in the Republican primary.

Politics
2:13 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Despite Initial Doubts, Wisconsin's Second-In-Command Soars

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 6:31 pm

Few people expected it, but Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is now a rising GOP star. The mother of two is a former TV news anchor and a cancer survivor, who left the hospital just in time to vote in her own primary.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
2:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

What Happened To Unemployment Benefits?

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
3:13 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Release Of Sgt. Bergdahl May Have Come At A High Cost

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:48 am

Bowe Bergdahl's release and the prisoner swap that made it possible are raising thorny foreign policy questions, which are being voiced most loudly at this point by congressional Republicans.

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