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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5:20pm

Tue March 3, 2015
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 1:54 pm

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

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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10:05am

Thu February 5, 2015
It's All Politics

5 Things The Vaccine Debacle Reveals About The 2016 Presidential Field

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 7:19 pm

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

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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4:03am

Fri January 30, 2015
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 7:37 pm

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

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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7:06am

Tue January 20, 2015
It's All Politics

State Of The Union: 5 Things To Watch

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:37 pm

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

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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5:05am

Mon December 22, 2014
Politics

Treasury Nomination Sparks Fight Among Democrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:37 am

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

4:22pm

Wed December 3, 2014
Politics

Potential Presidential Candidates Give Speeches On Foreign Policy

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:42 pm

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

Transcript

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1:02pm

Mon November 24, 2014
U.S.

Hagel Steps Down After Discord On Syria, Iraq

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

Transcript

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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12:19pm

Wed November 19, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama To Unveil Immigration Plan On Thursday

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 3:14 pm

Updated at 1:28 p.m. ET.

President Obama says he will announce the executive actions he's taking to "start fixing our broken immigration system" during a speech to the nation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

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5:14pm

Thu November 6, 2014
Politics

Democrats May Have Been Missing A Good Message

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:33 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After every decisive election, the losers have to answer the question what just happened to us? Democrats will be doing that for the next several months as they lick their wounds and get ready for 2016.

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9:03am

Wed November 5, 2014
Politics

Republicans Take Control Of U.S. Senate With N.C. Win

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 1:47 pm

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

4:23am

Mon October 20, 2014
Politics

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 1:47 pm

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

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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5:30pm

Thu October 9, 2014
New Boom

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

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 8:28 pm

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

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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5:05am

Fri October 3, 2014
Politics

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

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

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

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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5:11pm

Wed September 24, 2014
Politics

Shifting Stance, Some GOP Candidates Back State Minimum Wage Hikes

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 6:15 pm

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

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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3:30am

Fri September 12, 2014
Health

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

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:32 pm

iStockPhoto

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

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