Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at NPR.org.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR's White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress. In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe. He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, and subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava. He also covered Mr.Obama's first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

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4:27pm

Tue February 18, 2014
Business

Dealt A Recent Defeat, Union Organizers Plot A Future In The South

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The United Auto Workers Union suffered a major defeat when a drive to represent workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee failed last week. Right now, leaders of the AFL-CIO are holding their winter meetings in Houston and that VW vote is a major topic.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has more.

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6:04am

Sat February 8, 2014
Politics

Bidding Starts Early For Site Of Obama's Future Library

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 1:43 pm

Presidents past and present were on hand for the opening ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas in April 2013.
Kevork Djansezian AP

President Obama doesn't leave office until January of 2017, but already the competition has begun for the right to host his presidential library and museum.

A new foundation has been set up to raise money and to begin the site selection process, and there are already bids in the works from Chicago, Honolulu and elsewhere.

A Tradition Of Archives

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9:08am

Sat January 25, 2014
Politics

Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

Mike Huckabee, left, sits with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus before Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington on Thursday,
Susan Walsh AP

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

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6:41pm

Fri January 24, 2014
Politics

An Unconventional Contender Emerges As GOP Ponders 2016 Convention

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Visitors crowd the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the new year.
Glenn Pinkerton AP

Every four years a handful of cities battle to host the big nominating conventions for the major political parties. The competition for 2016 has already begun, with a surprising and aggressive player making a bid for the Republican National Convention: Las Vegas.

Certainly it's a place that knows how to host a big convention, but for the GOP to give Vegas the nod, the party will have to look past the city's well-earned reputation as "Sin City."

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4:35pm

Tue December 24, 2013
It's All Politics

Amid Declining Popularity, The Tea Party Prepares To Fight

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) greets supporters during a tea party rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in June. Paul was a rising star in the tea party movement this year, filibustering a CIA nomination in March.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

It's easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House.

It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn't mean it was a year of victories: The movement's campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren't as large as they once were.

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4:59pm

Tue December 17, 2013
20 Years Of NAFTA

What Has NAFTA Meant For Workers? That Debate's Still Raging

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

An auto worker tightens bolts on a Focus at a Ford plant in Michigan in October. Labor unions predicted in 1993 that NAFTA would send many U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and they continue to argue that the pact prompted a race to the bottom for workers.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Two decades ago, the strongest critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement were members of labor unions. They warned that the trade deal would mean the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and lower wages for U.S. workers.

Today, 20 years since NAFTA's passage, unions feel as strongly as ever that the deal was a bad idea.

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4:34pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Politics

Without Opponent, Sen. Kay Hagan Already Faces Re-Election Fight

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In North Carolina, the ads are starting early - the political ads, that is. Republicans are setting their sights on defeating first-term Democrat Kay Hagan. Senator Hagan's GOP opponent won't be known until the spring but her support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act has already hurt her with voters. She's also being targeted by outside groups, spending millions of dollars hoping to unseat her. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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8:03am

Sat November 16, 2013
History

How JFK Fathered The Modern Presidential Campaign

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 3:33 pm

John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, campaign in New York in 1960.
AP

When John F. Kennedy began his run for the White House more than 50 years ago, there was plenty of excitement and anticipation. He was energetic, handsome and from a famous Boston political family.

But his candidacy was far from a sure bet. At the time, few would have predicted the lasting impact his campaign would have on every election to follow.

Recognizing The Power Of TV

Kennedy made the most of his youth and novelty, says historian Robert Dallek, author of several books about JFK.

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5:23am

Sat November 9, 2013
Commentary

Many Rooting For Down-On-Its-Luck Detroit And Its New Mayor

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 6:55 pm

Mayor-elect Mike Duggan speaks at his election night celebration in Detroit on Tuesday.
Paul Sancya AP

Detroit is a place where I worked for many years as a journalist, where I absorbed the town's rich automotive, labor and civil rights history, where I sat in blues clubs and watched baseball from the upper deck of old Tiger Stadium.

It's a place that I really think of as home.

Detroit elected a new mayor this week.

He is 55-year-old Mike Duggan, a longtime county official, and later a successful CEO of the region's leading medical center.

But one might reasonably ask why someone — anyone — would want the job of mayor of Detroit.

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12:07pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Politics

Veteran Pennsylvania Congressman Can't Escape GOP Civil War

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 5:26 pm

From left, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walk to the floor of the House for the final series of votes on a bill to fund the government, in Washington on Sept. 28.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

At 7 a.m. on a recent weekday morning, the Bedford Diner, in Bedford, Pa., is jumping.

Way in the back, some tables have been pushed together for a weekly prayer breakfast that's really a gathering of old friends — all military veterans, some of whom are retired. Art Halvorson, a 58-year-old regular here, is a real estate developer, a former career coast guard pilot and now a Tea Party-backed candidate going after seven-term Rep. Bill Shuster in next year's Republican primary.

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4:11am

Mon November 4, 2013
Politics

Rep. Shuster To Face Tea Party Challenger Next Year

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 12:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, during the government shutdown, many House Republicans said the policy was unwise, but persisted for weeks in voting with their speaker, John Boehner. One reason was party loyalty. Another reason, according to analysts, was fear. Lawmakers did not want to run the risk of a challenge in a Republican primary from candidates saying they weren't trying hard enough.

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4:43pm

Fri October 18, 2013
Politics

Tea Party Activist: It Was Worth 'Getting In The Ring'

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:09 pm

Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express speaks at the National Press Club in 2011. Russo predicts the Tea Party will be re-energized for the 2014 midterm elections.
Alex Brandon AP

It's been a tough week for the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress. The Affordable Care Act survived the Capitol Hill standoff largely untouched. President Obama and the Democrats stared them down and won. And fights with establishment Republicans revealed the depth of division within the GOP.

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4:03am

Fri October 18, 2013
Politics

Obamacare Fight Leads Sen. Roberts To Turn Against Old Friend Sebelius

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Kathleen Sebelius stands with Sen. Pat Roberts (right), R-Kan., and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 2009.
Susan Walsh AP

This month's government shutdown grew out of Republicans' insistence on a budget that defunded the Affordable Care Act.

That didn't happen, but Republicans still detest the law — and now there's a movement underway to oust Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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6:05pm

Wed October 2, 2013
It's All Politics

GOP Establishment Grapples With A Tea Party That Won't Budge

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is among the Republicans who want to pass a spending bill not tied to defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The old line in Washington is that the "establishment" controls everything.

But the fights that have resulted in the government shutdown have turned that cliche upside down.

This time, it's the Tea Party and its allies in Congress calling the shots. The "establishment" — on Capitol Hill and in the business community — has so far been on the outs.

You can hear the frustration in the voice of 11-term Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., as he runs a gantlet of reporters at the Capitol.

"I'm just more concerned about there not being a clean CR," he says amid the hubbub.

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5:04pm

Thu September 26, 2013
It's All Politics

Tea Party Strains GOP's Ties To Big Business

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:10 pm

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks at a Sept. 10 Capitol Hill rally against Obamacare.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Is the GOP still the "party of business"?

With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.

Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.

Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.

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