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
10:08 am
Tue January 15, 2013

House Set For 'Marathon Debate' On Sandy Aid; Final Vote Likely Tonight

Shattered homes lined the beach front in Mantoloking, N.J., after Sandy tore through. The superstorm caused billions of dollars in damage to New Jersey, New York and surrounding states.
Tom Mihalek Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Update at 7:35 p.m. House Passes Measure

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to approve $50.7 billion in aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The vote was 241-80; the measure now goes to the Senate, which is expected to take it up next week.

Here's more from The Associated Press:

"Northeast lawmakers from both parties have been pressing for the aid for more than two months.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Pakistan's Latest Political Crisis: Court Orders Arrest Of Prime Minister

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
Waqar Hussein EPA /LANDOV

"The news that the [country's] Supreme Court had called for the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf ran through Pakistan like an electric current Tuesday afternoon," The Christian Science Monitor writes from Islamabad.

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Wal-Mart Offers Veterans Jobs, Expects To Hire 100,000 Over Five Years

The scene in a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Va.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 10:28 am

Saying that "hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon confirmed this morning that the retail giant is launching a plan to hire more than 100,000 recently discharged veterans over the next five years.

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The Two-Way
7:11 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Retail Sales Rose As 2012 Ended; Inflation Remained In Check

Shoppers in Manhattan on Christmas Eve last month.
Keith Bedford Reuters /Landov

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, the Census Bureau says. That may be a sign that as 2012 ended consumers were still in a shopping mood even as lawmakers in Washington struggled to keep the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Justice Clarence Thomas Speaks, Many Listen; But What Was He Saying?

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 9:33 am

"Well — he did not --"

Just four words.

No one's sure what he meant.

But just the fact that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was heard saying them Monday is news. After all, the famously silent justice has not asked a question from the High Court's bench since Feb. 22, 2006.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Reports: 'Lance Armstrong Admits Doping'

Lance Armstrong in 2010.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 7:34 am

Update at 8:10 a.m. ET. Confession Confirmed:

On CBS This Morning moments ago, Oprah Winfrey confirmed that Lance Armstrong admitted to her in an interview recorded Monday that he did use performance-enhancing drugs during a cycling career that included seven Tour de France victories (titles he has since been stripped of).

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

White House Plan On Guns To Include 19 Executive Actions, Lawmakers Say

At a gun shop in Phoenix, a customer holds a handgun. Among the executive actions President Obama is expected to propose is an expansion of background checks for gun buyers.
Ralph D. Freso Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 11:30 am

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET. Announcement on Wednesday:

The White House says President Obama and Vice President Biden will unveil the steps they intend to take and legislation they recommend to reduce gun violence at 11:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Reports: Lance Armstrong Has Told Livestrong Staff He's Sorry

Lance Armstrong in 2010.
Nathalie Magniez AFP/Getty Images

Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his many victories because anti-doping authorities say he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career, has reportedly told the staff at his Livestrong cancer charity that he's sorry. But it's not clear at this hour exactly what it is he's supposedly apologized for.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Elder President Bush Released From Hospital

Former President George H.W. Bush in June.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

After nearly two months in a Houston hospital, where he spent some of the time in intensive care for treatment of complications related to bronchitis, an infection and a stubborn fever, former President George H.W. Bush was sent home today.

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Grieving Families, Community Launch 'Sandy Hook Promise'

SandyHookPromise.org

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:05 pm

Pledging to do all they can "to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence," parents, family and friends of the 20 children and six educators killed in the Dec. 14 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., just launched Sandy Hook Promise.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Obama: I Will Not Let Deficit Talks Be Tied To Another Debt Ceiling Debate

President Obama speaks during his news conference in the East Room of the White House on Monday.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:03 pm

At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Top Stories: Fighting In Mali; Biden's Gun Report Coming

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. His team beat the Houston Texans on Sunday and will go up against the Baltimore Ravens in next week's AFC championship game.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 7:25 am

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Mon January 14, 2013

As French Claim Gains In Mali, Islamists Vow To Strike Back

This photo, released on Saturday by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD), shows French Mirage 2000 D jets flying over Mali.
ECPAD Xinhua /Landov

On this fourth day of French military operations aimed at routing Islamist militants in Mali, the al-Qaida-linked rebels are "vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war," Reuters reports.

"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French. She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," a spokesman for the MUJWA Islamist group told Europe 1 radio, the wire service writes.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Spike That Email About Welfare And Work; Fact-Checkers Say It's Not True

If this arrives in your inbox, fact checkers advise just hitting delete.
PolitiFact.com

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:58 pm

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Fri January 11, 2013

With End Of U.S. Forces' Role In Sight, Obama And Afghanistan's Karzai Meet

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama during Friday's news conference at the White House.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:18 pm

American and coalition forces will move into a "support" role in Afghanistan starting this spring, President Obama announced Friday afternoon at the White House during a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Obama said Afghan soldiers "are stepping up" and U.S. forces can now step back.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Fri January 11, 2013

'State Of The Union' Set For Feb. 12

President Obama, Vice President Biden (at left) and House speaker John Boehner at the 2012 State of the Union address.
Saul Loeb DPA /Landov

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has sent President Obama the invitation that precedes each year's State of the Union address:

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Ai Weiwei: In China, Lack Of Truth 'Is Suffocating'

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in June 2012.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 10:15 am

  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on the suffocation of truth.
  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on being known despite censorship.
  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on life in prison.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been outspoken about the lack of freedom in his homeland and was imprisoned in what he and his supporters say was an effort to keep him quiet, told our colleagues at Boston's WBUR this week that the lack of truth in China is "suffocating ... like bad air all the time."

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Feeling Miserable? You're Not Alone, And The Flu Epidemic Has Yet To Peak

Reaching for relief: A customer at a pharmacy in New York City was grabbing some medicine on Thursday.
Andrew Kelly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:50 am

If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person.

As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report "widespread" outbreaks. The flu's been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 children, the AP adds.

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The Two-Way
5:21 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Reports: FAA To Order Review Of Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The interior of a United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:05 am

Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:

Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.

The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Reports: Two Hurt, One Suspect In Custody After Shooting At Calif. School

An area is cordoned off outside Taft Union High School in Taft, Calif., Thursday. Authorities said a student was shot and wounded and another student was taken into custody.
Doug Keeler AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:33 pm

There was a shooting incident at a high school in Taft, Calif., this morning. Now that many reports have come in from the scene, it appears that two people were injured and a shooter has been taken into custody.

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Taps Top Aide Lew For Treasury

Jack Lew has been nominated to be the next Treasury secretary.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 12:57 pm

  • President Obama announces nomination of Jack Lew for Treasury

Saying he "cannot think of a better person" to take the job, President Obama this afternoon formally announced he is nominating Jacob "Jack" Lew, his chief of staff, to be the next Treasury secretary.

Word of Obama's decision to tap Lew, who previously served as budget director in the Obama and Clinton administration, broke Wednesday.

"Jack has my complete trust," Obama said.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

If Obama Took 'Executive Action' On Guns, What Might He Do?

Vice President Biden and President Obama at the White House on Dec. 19. Biden has been charged with drawing up "concrete proposals" on how to reduce gun violence.
Fang Zhe Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:29 am

After Vice President Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration might take some executive actions on the issues of guns and gun-related violence, questions naturally arose:

What kinds of things was he talking about? What might the administration do that doesn't require Congressional action?

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu January 10, 2013

'Lincoln' Leads With 12 Oscar Nominations

Daniel Day-Lewis, in the lead role of Lincoln.
David James DreamWorks

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 7:20 am

Update at 9:00 a.m. ET:

Lincoln, director Stephen Spielberg's acclaimed look at the 16th president's push for the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, has been nominated for Oscar awards in 12 categories, it was announced this morning in Hollywood. That's the most for any single film.

Life of Pi is up for 11 awards. Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook are up for eight.

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The Two-Way
6:16 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Crazy Or Canny? Talk Grows About $1 Trillion Platinum Coin

No, this isn't worth $1 trillion. It's a commemorative coin minted in the U.K. in 2008. But some have suggested the president's image should be on it if he orders up a $1 trillion coin.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:15 am

We're pretty sure this won't happen.

But ...

You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three Kurdish Activists Found Dead In Paris; 'Without Doubt An Execution'

An undated of Sakine Cansiz, one of three Kurdish activists found shot to death today in Paris.
AFP/Getty Images

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

Three Kurdish women, one of them a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that seeks autonomy for Kurds in Turkey, were found shot to death today in Paris.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Signature? Doodle? Check How A Treasury Secretary Lew Might Sign Your Dollars

Jacob "Jack" Lew's signature, on the 2012 "Mid-Session Review" of the federal budget. He was director of the Office of Management and Budget at the time.
WhiteHouse.gov

Treasury secretaries get to see their signatures on the nation's currency.

With word that President Obama wants to nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew," to that post, lots of sites are taking a look at his rather unique signature.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Colorado Shooting Hearing Ends With Chilling Photos, No Defense Witnesses

James Holmes in a photo from the Arapahoe County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:31 pm

In the weeks before the attack, James Holmes took photos of the Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed and dozens more wounded in last summer's mass shooting, prosecutors revealed Wednesday at a court hearing in Colorado.

They also introduced photos he took on the night of the midnight massacre, the Denver Post reports:

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Gun Show Will Go On In N.Y. Town Despite Post-Sandy Hook Opposition

The crowd was large at a March 2012 gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Ed Burke Courtesy of The Saratogian

"City Center officials announced Wednesday that this weekend's Saratoga Arms Fair will go on as scheduled, despite pleas from opponents who want the event canceled," the local Saratogian reports.

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