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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It's All Politics
2:02 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Sophomoric? Members Of Congress Talk Like 10th Graders, Analysis Shows

Congress, shown gathered for President Obama's State of the Union in January, is speaking at about a grade level lower now than in 2005, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 1:30 pm

Members of Congress are often criticized for what they do — or rather, what they don't do.

But what about what they say and, more specifically, how they say it? It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.

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It's All Politics
3:11 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Lugar's Last Race: Indiana Senator Doesn't Take Defeat Sitting Down

Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., crosses the finish line of the 3-mile Capital Challenge charity race with Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi. It was Lugar's 31st race, and his last as a senator after he lost a primary challenge this month.
Javaun Moradi NPR

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

The partisan divisions on Capitol Hill are numerous — but Wednesday morning, about two-dozen members of Congress did something entirely nonpartisan. They ran in a 3-mile race for charity, along with their staffs and teams from the executive and judicial branches and the media (including NPR).

The ACLI Capital Challenge is an annual tradition that dates back to 1981, and one senator has run the race every time: Dick Lugar, R-Ind. But Wednesday's race was also his last.

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Election 2012
2:09 am
Tue May 15, 2012

JPMorgan's Loss A Gain For Campaign Positioning

The U.S. and JPMorgan Chase flags wave outside its headquarters in New York on Friday.
Eduardo Munoz Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

The fallout from banking giant JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion — and counting — loss has made its way into the presidential campaign. The president and presumptive GOP challenger Mitt Romney have very different views about the regulation of Wall Street, in particular the Dodd-Frank financial systems overhaul law.

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Mitt Romney
4:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Romney Shifts Gears On Auto Industry Bailout

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives for a town hall-style meeting at Stamco Industries, a truck parts supplier, in Euclid, Ohio, on Monday.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 4:52 pm

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Politics
2:35 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Sen. Lugar's 36-Year Career Ends With Primary Loss

Republican Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana has lost his bid for re-election. In Tuesday's primary, he was defeated by Tea Party challenger Richard Mourdock.

Election 2012
3:26 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Uphill Climb For Veteran Lugar In Tuesday Primary

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (right) and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock participate in an April 11 debate in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 6:26 am

In Indiana, Republican primary voters Tuesday will decide whether to give GOP Sen. Richard Lugar the opportunity to seek a seventh term in November's general election. A recent independent poll shows him in trouble in his own party, with his Tea Party-backed opponent, Richard Mourdock, in the lead.

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House & Senate Races
4:37 am
Sat May 5, 2012

Lugar Struggles In Race Flooded By Outside Spending

U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., speaks to reporters on Monday in South Bend, Ind.
James Brosher AP

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 8:26 am

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NPR Story
2:41 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Florida Senator Promotes New Dream Act

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's one thing Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio did not address at that meeting today. It's an idea Rubio has floated recently: an alternative to the DREAM Act. That's the measure backed by the White House which would create a path to citizenship for young people brought to the country illegally so long as they go to college or serve in the military. The bill never made it out of Congress. NPR's Tamara Keith explains Rubio's version.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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It's All Politics
12:57 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Small Businesses Get Big Political Hype. What's The Reality?

Tourists walk near shops in the Maine seaside village of Northeast Harbor.
Dina Rudick Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:46 am

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a small-business tax cut bill offered up by Republicans. It's just the latest piece of legislation to focus on small businesses, which are widely praised in the political discourse as engines of job creation. The adoration is nearly universal — and it reflects something beyond economic reality.

"Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs in this economy, so our recovery depends on them," President Obama said in 2012 at a New Jersey sandwich shop where he met with small-business owners.

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Million-Dollar Donors
2:59 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

SuperDonor Backs Romney — And Gay Marriage

Hedge fund manager Paul Singer of Elliott Management has donated $1 million to Mitt Romney's superPAC.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

When it comes to campaign money, there's one industry GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can count on: finance.

Some of the single largest checks to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future come from hedge fund managers. People at securities and investment firms have contributed more than $16 million.

Paul Singer, the man behind the hedge fund Elliott Management, has contributed $1 million.

As of Dec. 31, Elliott Management had $19.2 billion in assets, making it one of the nation's largest hedge funds.

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Politics
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Congressional Panels Probe Lavish GSA Spending

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:56 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep, good morning.

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Election 2012
1:32 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Longtime GOP Sen. Lugar Faces Stiff Tea Party Fight

Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (right) speaks with potential voters on March 31 in Evansville, Ind.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:03 am

Six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is facing his first primary challenge since winning the job in the 1970s. The race is attracting big money from outside groups and superPACs, and is seen as a test of the strength of the Tea Party movement versus the power of incumbency.

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It's All Politics
3:26 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

As A Politician, Romney's Long Had Trouble Talking Cars

Mitt Romney has had issues in this campaign with cars.

You may remember his "two Cadillacs" comment in February, immediately characterized as a gaffe for a candidate who has often seemed to struggle with how to address his wealth on the trail.

"I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles," said Romney in Michigan. "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann [his wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually."

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Mitt Romney
2:04 am
Mon April 2, 2012

On Energy Policy, Romney's Emphasis Has Shifted

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Muskego, Wis., on Saturday.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 9:24 am

The GOP candidates for president have seized on high gas prices as a line of attack against President Obama, largely saying the answer is more domestic oil drilling.

But GOP front-runner Mitt Romney used to have a position seemingly at odds — at least in emphasis — with what he and the other Republicans are now advocating.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney said high gasoline prices "are probably here to stay," and he advocated policies to cut energy demand.

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It's All Politics
1:46 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Romney's Support For Ryan Budget Has Democrats Crying Foul

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in San Diego on Monday. Democrats have criticized his support for GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan.
Steven Senne AP

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on what's known as the Ryan budget, the spending plan from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that among other things changes the structure of Medicare and rewrites the tax code. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has endorsed the plan, but some are saying his rhetoric on the campaign trail may not match up with at least one reality of the Ryan budget.

Romney said he supported the Ryan budget the day it was unveiled.

"I applaud it," he said. "It's an excellent piece of work, and very much needed."

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It's All Politics
2:14 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Insider Trading Ban Passes Congress, But Some See Missed Opportunity

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, shown in August 2011, criticized the STOCK Act that passed Thursday, saying it didn't go far enough.
Brian Ray AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 5:59 pm

The Senate passed a bill Thursday to explicitly ban insider trading by members of Congress and the executive branch, and that means the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is headed to the president's desk.

But this STOCK Act is quite a bit weaker than earlier versions.

The STOCK Act has been on a glide path ever since an explosive 60 Minutes story last fall highlighted the issue of members of Congress apparently profiting on nonpublic information.

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U.S.
2:00 am
Tue March 20, 2012

House Republicans To Unveil Budget Plan

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 6:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning, House Republicans unveiled a new budget plan on Capitol Hill. And like President Obama's budget document last month, the GOP's version is as much a political statement as an actual road map. NPR's Tamara Keith has that story.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: In some ways, this budget is a sequel. This time last year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a controversial budget document that passed the House with strong GOP support.

(SOUNDBITE OF WEB VIDEO)

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Romney Wins Ohio, A Pivotal Battleground State

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 4:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Perhaps it's fitting that the state that kept everyone up late last night, waiting for results, was Ohio. It's a swing state, and it seems every four years, in the fall, Ohio becomes the center of attention in a presidential election.

This year, as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, it just happened a little earlier.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Talk to Ohio voters - Republicans and Democrats alike - and there's one issue that rises above all the others.

MARVIN HAYWOOD: Number one: our economy.

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Around the Nation
2:00 am
Mon March 5, 2012

GOP Candidates Brace For Super Tuesday Contests

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 8:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The Republican presidential hopefuls for were in full tasting mode over the weekend, from barbecue to breakfast, as they took their campaigns to voters ahead of Super Tuesday. Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich went on Sunday morning talk shows. Mitt Romney campaigned in the key states of Georgia and Tennessee.

NPR's Tamara Keith was along for the ride.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Pancakes.

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Presidential Race
6:00 am
Sat March 3, 2012

In Ohio, A Battle To Prove Electability

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 8:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now, to Super Tuesday. Ohio may not offer the most delegates of the ten states who will vote on Super Tuesday, but it has become the most coveted state for all the candidates of the Republican nomination for president, a microcosm of the countrywide fight for supremacy. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney will all campaign there today. NPR's Tamara Keith has this campaign update from Cleveland.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Romney Touts Less Debt, Smaller Government In Ohio Stop

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 10:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The battle over social issues in the Republican presidential primaries has extended through most of another week. This time the flashpoint was a remark by Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor said he opposed, and then clarified that he actually favors, legislation involving contraception.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports it was not what Romney intended to discuss in Ohio.

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It's All Politics
2:38 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Casting Himself As Outsider, Santorum Benefited From D.C. 'Revolving Door'

On the campaign trail, Rick Santorum portrays himself as a Washington outsider. But the former senator has made money from inside-the-Beltway pursuits.
Jeff Kowalsky EPA/Landov

Rick Santorum is trying to shake up the Republican primary by winning the primary Tuesday in Michigan — and many polls show him neck and neck with Mitt Romney. He's a former senator from Pennsylvania best known as a culture warrior. What's less well known is what he did after losing his re-election bid in 2006.

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The Road Back To Work
2:01 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Even When Employed, Health Care A Challenge

Casaundra Bronner, of Hazelwood, Mo., worked in marketing before being laid off in March 2010. She found a job again in March 2011 but is still uninsured and having trouble getting the health care she needs.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 4:24 pm

Part of an ongoing series

Zumba is a fitness craze; a high-energy dance and exercise program. You can find it in high-end gyms and even the community center in Hazelwood, Mo., where Casaundra Bronner, 40, lives.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Payroll Tax Cut Brings Other Benefits

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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It's All Politics
4:16 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

What Would The GOP Candidates Do With The Federal Budget? A Look At Their Plans

A sign on a car window at a Feb. 2 rally for Ron Paul in Elko, Nev.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 5:06 pm

It goes without saying that the men who are vying for the Republican presidential nomination found serious flaws with the budget plan President Obama released Monday. But it got us thinking that this might also be a good time to dig into the budget plans offered by the GOP candidates.

All of the candidates want to cut government spending and balance the federal budget. They also want to cut taxes.

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Politics
4:14 am
Sun February 12, 2012

Obama's Budget First Salvo In Expected Political Fight

Copies of of President Barack Obama's fiscal 2013 federal budget are readied for shipment, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, at the Government Printing Office in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

When President Obama unveils his budget Monday, it will project a $1.3 trillion deficit this year, and just under $1 trillion in 2013. It would increase spending on education, research and development and transportation. It would also increase taxes on the wealthy and cut spending, including on defense.

Presidential budgets are almost always aspirational documents. They lay out a vision, not what the president actually thinks will happen.

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It's All Politics
9:55 am
Thu February 9, 2012

House Passes Bill That Would Ban Insider Trading By Lawmakers

The House on Thursday passed a bill that would ban congressional insider trading. The STOCK Act passed overwhelmingly, 417-2, despite some partisan disagreements over its scope.

With congressional approval at all-time lows, the bill was widely seen by lawmakers as a small step in restoring public confidence. But differences remain to be worked out with a Senate measure, passed last week, before a bill could be sent to President Obama.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Tuesday's GOP Contests Set Romney's Campaign Back

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had expected to win at least one nominating contest Tuesday. Instead, rival Rick Santorum swept the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses plus the non-binding primary in in Missouri.

It's All Politics
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Romney Brings Up Religion To Attract Social Conservatives

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:52 am

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is reaching out to social conservatives in a new way. At a rally in the gym at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., Monday night, Romney rolled out some new material: the rights given to people by God.

"I am just distressed as I watch, as I watch our president try and infringe upon those rights," Romney said to the capacity crowd. "The first amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice."

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