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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3:36pm

Tue January 28, 2014
Politics

Hoping For Hope: Obama Seeks A Return To Optimism In Address

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, for more on the president's speech, we're joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hello, Audie.

CORNISH: So listening to Jay Carney just now, what do you think is the president's overriding goal tonight?

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4:12am

Fri January 24, 2014
Politics

Boehner Picks Cathy McMorris Rodgers For GOP Rebuttal

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 9:16 am

Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, R-Wash., walks to a Sept. 2013 classified, members-only briefing on Syria in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Tuesday night is the State of the Union Address — the biggest opportunity President Obama gets all year to speak to the American people about his priorities. There's also another speech that night — the GOP response. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner announced Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington State would deliver the official rebuttal.

6:23am

Sat December 14, 2013
Politics

White House Hires A Crisis Manager, Easing Democratic Worries

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:31 pm

John Podesta was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, helping the president survive impeachment.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.

Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.

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7:05am

Sat December 7, 2013
Politics

Social Security Fight Exposes Democratic Divide On Populism

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 12:51 pm

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading a push to increase Social Security benefits. But her whole party is not in agreement on the issue.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

American politics is having a populist moment, with voters angry and frustrated with all big institutions in American life.

The backlash against big government found its expression on the right with the Tea Party. The tensions between that movement and the Republican establishment have been on full display.

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3:00am

Mon November 18, 2013
It's All Politics

States Aim To Cure Hyperpartisanship With Primary Changes

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:42 pm

To fight hyperpartisanship and redistricting aimed at keeping politicians safe in their district, some states are experimenting with new primary voting systems.
Jae C. Hong AP

Several states are trying to do something about so-called hyperpartisanship by changing the way congressional districts are drawn and the way elections are held.

Their goal: force members of Congress to pay more attention to general election voters than to their base voters on the right or left.

John Fortier, the director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which is working on ways to make politics less dysfunctional, says U.S. political parties have become more polarized.

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9:45am

Fri November 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Top Pollster Sees Evidence Of Political 'Shock Wave'

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:41 am

Demonstrators march toward the U.S. Capitol on Saturday to demand that Congress investigate the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs.
Fang Zhe Xinhua/Landov

Here's an email that caught my eye Thursday. It's from Republican Bill McInturff, one of the best pollsters around and not someone known to hyperbolize. He was discussing the results of this month's NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, which he conducts with Democrat Peter Hart.

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7:45am

Wed October 30, 2013
Politics

Lawmakers To Grill Sebelius On Affordable Care Act

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:24 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. More hearings come today on the messy rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will face questions from the House, Energy and Commerce Committee. Now, yesterday, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid testified before a different committee. Marilyn Tavenner offered consumers an apology for the problems at the health care.gov website.

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7:33pm

Thu October 10, 2013
NPR Story

What's Behind The Partisan Thaw In Washington?

On Thursday, President Obama met with Senate Democrats. Then he met with House Republicans. And White House staff members continued talks with their counterparts from the House GOP leadership. All that talking just a day after there was radio silence between the two parties. One strong possibility for the change in attitudes is a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that shows that the majority of Americans blame Republicans for the ongoing government shutdown and just 20 percent of people approve of the Republican party.

3:08pm

Thu October 10, 2013
It's All Politics

How Political Miscalculations Led To The Shutdown Standoff

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:33 pm

The Capitol is seen under an overcast sky at dawn on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The standoff over the debt ceiling and the government shutdown showed signs of softening Thursday.

House Speaker John Boehner said he would bring a temporary hike in the debt ceiling to the House floor in exchange for negotiations on government spending and taxes. Democrats say if the House votes to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, they will negotiate.

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6:49pm

Wed October 2, 2013
NPR Story

Boehner, Obama Meet But Make No Progress On Deal To End Shutdown

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:56 pm

Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish, with no end in sight. And that's in spite of talks at the White House late today. President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner for over an hour Wednesday evening. The meeting failed to produce a deal that would end the federal government shutdown.

4:21pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Politics

Every Move She Makes, Pundits Are Watching Hillary Clinton

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 10:09 pm

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

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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4:29am

Sat September 21, 2013
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 10:34 am

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

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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5:24pm

Thu August 29, 2013
World

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

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:59 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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4:23am

Tue July 23, 2013
NPR Story

Republicans Pin Hopes On Senate Turnover In 2014

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:37 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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4:18pm

Wed July 10, 2013
It's All Politics

Marco Rubio: Poster Boy For The GOP Identity Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 5:13 pm

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

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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