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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4:20am

Tue January 20, 2015
Economy

Working 3 Jobs In A Time Of Recovery

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 1:58 pm

When Ed Neufeldt introduced President Obama in 2009, Elkhart, Ind. had the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in the country, close to 20 percent. The county's job numbers have recovered, but Neufeldt's now working three part-time jobs.
Tamara Keith NPR

If Elkhart County, Ind. was the symbol of the recession, then Ed Neufeldt became the face of the unemployed worker.

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9:15am

Sun January 18, 2015
Politics

Obama's Trouble Articulating The State Of The Economy

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:05 am

President Obama used the word "crisis" 11 times when he addressed a joint session of Congress in 2009. Since then, he's had a hard time hitting the right note when talking about the economy.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

When you're president of the United States, what you say about the economy matters, because it isn't just about numbers and widgets; It's about people's lives and hopes. The health of the economy is intertwined with the national psyche.

On Tuesday, when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, he will talk about the economy, something that in the past he's struggled to describe in a way that resonated with the American people.

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4:19pm

Fri January 2, 2015
Politics

Some Not-So-Conventional Wisdom About The Next Congress

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:23 pm

Former lawmaker Ben Franklin keeps his eye out for Congress' newest class, due to start work on Capitol Hill next week.
Alex Brandon AP

In politics, conventional wisdom can have a certain power. But, sometimes the obviously true thing isn't so true upon inspection.

The new Republican Congress hits Capitol Hill next week, but the latest round of that wisdom seems to have already been established — from how it's going to work to its relationship with President Obama. Here's a look at 2 1/2 pieces of that wisdom.

1. Republicans are going to have to show they can govern.

At this point, it's been said so many times it's become an established Washington truth.

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4:15am

Tue December 30, 2014
Politics

The Fleeting Obsessions Of The White House Press Corps

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 6:16 pm

White House press secretary Josh Earnest takes questions from the press during a daily briefing in December.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If you didn't like the news on any given week of 2014, you were mostly in luck. You could just wait a few days until the press moved on.

This was my first full year in the White House press briefing room, sitting in often on the daily briefings. In that time, I noticed a certain attention deficit disorder when it came to the issue of the day.

In 20 seconds, here is 2014 in the White House press briefing room:

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7:47am

Sat December 20, 2014
U.S.

Obama Wraps Up A 'Breakthrough' 2014

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:33 am

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

7:55am

Sat November 22, 2014
Around the Nation

In Las Vegas, Obama Sells His Immigration Plan

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:21 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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5:02am

Thu November 20, 2014
Politics

Obama Executive Action Could Foment Government Shutdown Drama

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 7:14 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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7:14am

Tue October 21, 2014
Politics

In Tight Races, Both Parties Bank On Early Votes

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 2:48 pm

President Obama casts an early ballot for the midterm elections at the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center in Chicago on Monday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

On the first day for in-person early voting in Illinois, President Obama went to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to cast his ballot.

"I'm so glad I can early vote here," he told the elections worker checking him in.

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3:34am

Thu October 16, 2014
Politics

Clay Aiken: An American Idol On The Campaign Trail In North Carolina

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

Clay Aiken hugs a supporter during an election night watch party May 6 in Holly Springs, N.C. Aiken went on to win the primary by fewer than 400 votes.
Gerry Broome AP

In just one night, in 2003, Clay Aiken got 12 million votes.

That wasn't quite enough to win American Idol's second season, but his soaring vocals won him a record contract and legions of fans known as "Claymates."

Now, he needs far fewer votes — maybe 200,000 — to win a congressional seat representing the rural center of North Carolina. The odds are against him. Aiken is a Democrat in a district where the Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers won by 15 percentage points two years ago.

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5:07pm

Tue October 14, 2014
Politics

Pizza Man Delivers Third-Party Option

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 6:15 pm

North Carolina Libertarian Senate candidate Sean Haugh (center), Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican candidate Thom Tillis attend a debate on Oct. 9. Haugh's tie features a cartoon cat. He says his mom gave it to him.
Gerry Broome AP

He delivers pizza by night and runs for U.S. Senate by day. Sean Haugh, the Libertarian running for Senate in North Carolina, is among a dozen independent and third-party candidates nationwide who could shake up tight races for Senate and governor.

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5:02am

Thu October 2, 2014
National Security

Amid Scandal, Secret Service Director Resigns

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:16 am

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

5:12pm

Wed October 1, 2014
Politics

Obama Sidesteps Midterm Campaigning As Approval Ratings Slump

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:13 pm

President Obama boards Air Force One after attending a Democratic fundraiser in Newport, R.I. in August. Ahead of this fall's midterm elections, he's not doing big public rallies for Democratic candidates, instead opting for private events.
Charles Krupa AP

There was once a day, not that long ago, that Democratic candidates for Congress and governor would love to have President Obama come help them campaign. The big rallies, the big airplane, the big entourage — it was a big deal.

Those days are gone now.

President Obama will hold a private fundraiser Thursday in Chicago for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. What he's not doing is a big public rally.

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5:10am

Wed October 1, 2014
Politics

In New York's North Country, The Republican Party's New Poster Candidate

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 1:11 pm

Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, 30, says her generation "can't just complain about the problems — we have to help solve them as well, because we're ultimately inheriting them."
Mike Groll AP

If the Republican Party were to hang up a wanted sign for the new face of the party, the kind of person they need to help them connect with voters they've had a hard time reaching, Elise Stefanik may just be the person they'd find. She describes herself as a "big tent Republican," and House Speaker John Boehner recently held a fundraiser for her.

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1:20pm

Tue September 23, 2014
U.S.

Obama Emphasizes Coalition In Comments On Syrian Strikes

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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6:29pm

Fri September 19, 2014
Politics

Anticipating Attacks, GOP Campaigns Focus On Courting Women Voters

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:57 pm

In this ad from Republican Stewart Mills, his wife Heather says he dons pink heels each year to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
YouTube

At the Democratic party's annual Women's Leadership Forum Friday, Hillary Clinton delivered a message that could have come straight from the script being used by Democratic candidates all over the country.

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