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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5:45am

Thu June 28, 2012
Politics

Tentative Deal On Transportation Reached

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 12:34 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In Washington, House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal to fund highway and transportation projects for the next two years. This averts what could have been a dramatic shutdown after years of temporary extensions. The Senate could vote as soon as today, with the House likely to vote Friday.

NPR's Tamara Keith has details.

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6:23pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Energy

Senate Votes To Keep Mercury Limits On Power Plants

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The Senate has narrowly rejected an effort to scrap tough limits on mercury emitted from power plants. The Obama administration has trumpeted the rules affecting coal-burning power plants as an environmental triumph. But to industry groups, and many Republicans, these rules are the latest salvo in a war against coal. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

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3:51pm

Mon June 4, 2012
It's All Politics

California's Top-Two Primary System Faces First Statewide Test

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 5:45 pm

Abel Maldonado, a former California state senator and current congressional candidate, pushed for the change to the top-two primary system. He says he thinks the system will lead to "more open-minded and more reasonable" officials.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

When voters go to the polls in California's primary on Tuesday, instead of only being able to vote for candidates in their own party, they will be able to vote for anyone they please.

Tuesday will be the first statewide test of California's new open primary system, where the top two candidates move on to the general election, regardless of party. Backers hope this system will favor moderates.

In California, there aren't very many purple areas. The state has strongly Democratic regions and strongly Republican regions — and the Democrats dominate.

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4:02am

Mon May 21, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 3:30 pm

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

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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5:33pm

Wed May 16, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 7:34 pm

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

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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4:09am

Tue May 15, 2012
Election 2012

JPMorgan's Loss A Gain For Campaign Positioning

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:51 am

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

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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6:16pm

Fri May 11, 2012
Mitt Romney

Romney Shifts Gears On Auto Industry Bailout

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 6:52 pm

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

Mitt Romney is from Michigan, a state he has said he hopes to win in November. But the likely Republican presidential nominee has very publicly opposed the government bailout of the auto industry.

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5:14am

Fri May 11, 2012
Politics

Candidates Forced To Juggle Inconsistent Economic Data

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 7:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the presidential election is expected to turn on the economy, which means that every bit of economic news takes on political significance. Trouble is, we don't always know what to make of it when we hear that unemployment claims fell again. Sounds good. Or that the trade deficit jumped. Not so good. NPR's Tamara Keith and Scott Horsley will now help us sort that out.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Whatever story you want to tell about the U.S. economy, you can find some data points to make your case.

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4:22am

Wed May 9, 2012
NPR Story

Lugar's 36-Year Senate Career Ends With Primary Loss

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:35 am

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.

5:26pm

Mon May 7, 2012
Election 2012

Uphill Climb For Veteran Lugar In Tuesday Primary

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

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

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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6:37am

Sat May 5, 2012
House & Senate Races

Lugar Struggles In Race Flooded By Outside Spending

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 10:26 am

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

5:54pm

Wed April 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:28 pm

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

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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2:57am

Wed April 18, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 8:46 am

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

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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5:22pm

Tue April 17, 2012
Million-Dollar Donors

SuperDonor Backs Romney — And Gay Marriage

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 6:15 pm

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

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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3:32am

Thu April 5, 2012
Election 2012

Longtime GOP Sen. Lugar Faces Stiff Tea Party Fight

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:03 am

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

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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