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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Middle East
3:04 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Netanyahu Reveals Aversion To 2-State Solution, White House Says

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Bad Blood Gets Worse Between Barack, Bibi And Israel

President Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2013. The two have never had a warm and fuzzy relationship.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:22 pm

The U.S.-Israeli relationship was one of the issues in the Israeli elections — in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's poisonous personal relationship with President Obama.

Now, with Netanyahu's return to power, that relationship doesn't look like it will be improving anytime soon.

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Politics
3:02 am
Wed March 11, 2015

In Retrospect, Clinton Says She Should Have Used Separate Emails

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:46 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

3 Reasons Democrats Are Freaking Out About Hillary Clinton

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checking her phone in 2010. For many Democrats, the answer to the question: "If not Hillary, who?" is — disaster.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 6:16 pm

The back-to-back Clinton controversies are making Democrats queasy.

At a time when more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls are jostling each other in New Hampshire and Iowa, this should be a great moment for the virtually unopposed Hillary Clinton. She could be staying above the fray, using the time to staff up and prepare her policy agenda. But that's not what's happening.

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Politics
3:52 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Politics Roundup: From Iowa To Hillary Clinton's Email Account

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 6:20 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
3:20 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

4 Reasons Both Parties Should Be Sweating Bullets Over King V. Burwell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (from left), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have reasons to watch the Supreme Court case closely — and to worry about its outcome.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 11:54 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in another case that threatens the survival of Obamacare. This one doesn't challenge the constitutionality of the law itself, it merely challenges the legality of one of the most important parts of the system — subsidies so that everyone can afford health care. If the court strikes down the subsidies for people who live in states that chose not to set up their own exchanges, and who get their health coverage from the federal marketplace — healthcare.gov — it would begin to unravel the entire Obamacare project.

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Politics
3:09 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Political Necessity Forces GOP Into Middle-Class Income Debate

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 6:12 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It's All Politics
8:05 am
Thu February 5, 2015

5 Things The Vaccine Debacle Reveals About The 2016 Presidential Field

Sen. Rand Paul tweeted this photo, writing "Ironic: Today I am getting my booster vaccine. Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this?"
Twitter

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 5:19 pm

As the measles outbreak continues to spread, political leaders with an eye on the White House in 2016 spent much of the week jumping into, and then trying to bail themselves out of, the vaccine debate.

Some brushed the issue off as an unnecessary media circus, but it's worth taking a look at its deeper political meaning. Here are five things the vaccine politics kerfuffle of 2015 tells us about the emerging field of presidential candidates for 2016.

1. Vaccination politics are a problem for Republicans — not Democrats.

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It's All Politics
2:03 am
Fri January 30, 2015

4 Reasons Why It's Veto Season At The White House

President Obama has said he will veto the Keystone XL pipeline project, which passed in the Senate on Wednesday. Historically, political scientists say, 90 percent of veto threats are issued behind the scenes, but Obama has issued nine veto threats so far — in public.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:37 pm

President Obama is about to get his first veto opportunity of the new Congress. A bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project will be on his desk soon. He has promised to veto it, and that's unusual. In his first six years in office, Obama issued just two vetoes — the fewest of any president going all the way back to James Garfield, and Garfield only served 199 days in office!

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It's All Politics
5:06 am
Tue January 20, 2015

State Of The Union: 5 Things To Watch

President Obama listens as British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks Friday during their joint news conference at the White House.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 5:37 pm

Even in the era of declining television audiences, President Obama's State of the Union address is still the biggest audience he'll have all year. Historically, seventh-year State of the Union speeches have a short shelf life. Every one of the five lame-duck presidents (that is, presidents constitutionally barred from running again — Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama) has had opposition congresses, making the prospects for passing major parts of the president's agenda slim to none.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Obama And Mexican President Talk Cuba, Immigration

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:07 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
3:05 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Treasury Nomination Sparks Fight Among Democrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:37 am

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

U.S.
11:02 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Hagel Steps Down After Discord On Syria, Iraq

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down. President Obama made the announcement in an East Room appearance minutes ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Health Care
2:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Affordable Care Act Has Many Political And Legal Challenges Ahead

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 4:55 pm

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

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Politics
2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

People hold signs, including some reading "America is ready for marriage," at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on Oct. 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren't: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for the GOP.
George Frey Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:47 am

When social norms change, sometimes they change so fast it's hard to keep up.

Only 10 years ago, ballot initiatives opposing gay marriage were helping Republicans win elections. But two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for legal same-sex marriage, the response from Republican leaders was deafening silence.

They were so quiet, some wondered whether the culture wars had finally ended with a Republican defeat.

Gary Bauer, a longtime social conservative activist, thinks that's nonsense.

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New Boom
3:30 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Millennials Are Blue Now, But Party Allegiance Could Be Up For Grabs

Millennial focus group: Arturo Chang (from left), Shaza Loutfi, Alexa Graziolli, Stephen Crouch, Jessica Ramser. Not pictured: Ginger Gibson.
Rachel Lushinsky NPR

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 6:28 pm

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

President Obama is holding a town hall meeting Thursday in California with a group he wants to mobilize for the midterm elections: millennial entrepreneurs. Millennials — young people ages 18-34 — are a key part of the Democratic coalition.

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Politics
3:03 am
Fri October 3, 2014

NPR Poll: Senate Battleground Tilts Republican, But Still Anybody's Game

Political signs separate Sen. Mitch McConnell's and Alison Lundergan Grimes' camps at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in Kentucky in August.
Stephen Lance Dennee AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 1:17 pm

With fewer than five weeks until election day, the political landscape continues to be tilted against President Obama and his party. The battle for control of the Senate — the biggest prize this year — remains close and could tip either way.

Those are the findings of NPR's latest bipartisan poll of likely voters, conducted by Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic and Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps.

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Politics
3:11 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Shifting Stance, Some GOP Candidates Back State Minimum Wage Hikes

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner says under certain conditions, he would support a higher minimum wage in his state.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 4:15 pm

Here's another entry in the strange bedfellows political show, 2014 edition: As Election Day gets closer, some Republicans in battleground races seem to be moving to the center on a number of issues. Their latest sea change is the minimum wage.

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Health
1:30 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Changing Tack, GOP Candidates Support Over-The-Counter Birth Control

iStockPhoto

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:32 pm

A string of Republican candidates for Senate are supporting an issue usually associated with Democrats: easier access to contraception.

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NPR Story
3:17 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

In An Era Of Gridlock, Does Controlling The Senate Really Matter?

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell has reportedly been talking privately about what he'd do as majority leader.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 5:41 pm

Republicans are increasingly confident that when this year's midterm elections are over, they will control both houses of Congress. But in this period of polarization and gridlock, what difference would it make?

This midterm election doesn't seem to be about anything in particular other than whether you like President Obama or not. There's no overarching issue, no clashing national agendas. Instead, it's just a series of very expensive, brutally negative races for Congress.

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National Security
3:37 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Obama Considers Widening Strikes Against Islamic State Militants

During a speech at the American Legion's National Convention on Tuesday, President Obama again called the extremist group the Islamic State a "cancer."
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 6:12 pm

President Obama is considering widening military strikes against the extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley. The U.S. has been bombing the Islamic State's positions in Iraq, and may decide to extend those strikes to Syria.

Three years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, and a year after President Obama tried to turn the page on the open-ended war on terror, the U.S. is facing a threat from a group even more extreme than al-Qaida.

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Politics
2:47 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

As Political Disenchantment Soars, Lines At The Polls Grow Shorter

An official assists a voter at a polling station inside Fort Garrison Elementary School in Pikesville, Md., on primary day, June 24. As in many states this primary election season, turnout was low in Maryland.
Patrick Semansky AP

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

Several new surveys show voter interest is low, anti-incumbent sentiment is high, and voters from both parties are questioning whether their elected leaders should return to Congress next year.

In short, the electorate is disengaged and disgusted with politics.

Voter turnout in the 2010 primaries was only about 18 percent, and now it's even lower. Less than 15 percent of eligible citizens cast ballots in the 25 states that have held statewide primaries this year, according to a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.

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Law
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Obamacare's Split Decisions Spell Law's Possible Return To Supreme Court

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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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News
2:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Obama Signs Order To Protect Against Anti-LGBT Bias

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Politics
2:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Amid Roiled Landscape Of Border Politics, Obama's Plans May Change

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:40 pm

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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Politics
2:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Obama Requests Nearly $4 Billion In Funds To Speed Deportations

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 4:13 pm

Transcript

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It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
2:25 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

On The Waterfront, Obama Contends Bridge Repair Coffers Beg Refilling

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 5:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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It's All Politics
3:01 am
Thu June 19, 2014

NPR Poll: In Senate Battleground States, Obama Ratings Lag

NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:30 am

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.

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Politics
6:31 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Tea Party Challenger Upsets Eric Cantor In GOP Primary

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:25 pm

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.

Education
2:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

With New Order, Obama Aims To Combat Student Debt Pressures

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 4:42 pm

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.

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