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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Presidential Race
8:00 am
Sun April 8, 2012

Romney Rolls On As Santorum Sticks It Out

There's a question whether Rick Santorum will prolong his presidential campaign to finish in Pennsylvania later this month. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is moving in for the kill, buying $1.8 million of airtime in the state. NPR's Mara Liasson reports on the state of the GOP nominating campaign.

Judging The Health Care Law
5:05 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

How Health Care Ruling Could Shift The GOP Debate

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs into law a new health care reform bill during an April 12, 2006, ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The bill made Massachusetts the first state in the country to require that all residents have health insurance and has become a centerpiece of criticisms leveled by Romney's opponents in the 2012 presidential race.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments about President Obama's health care law, supporters and opponents are planning a flurry of rallies, press conferences and phone banks to remind people why the law is so great — or so terrible. Republicans have been energized by their desire to see the law repealed, but the issue could be more complicated for the GOP than it seems.

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Judging The Health Care Law
4:06 am
Wed March 21, 2012

White House Preps For Court's Health Care Ruling

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., center, joins other conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill to criticize President Obama's health care law on Oct. 5, 2011. They said the boxes were packed with petitions asking Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 10:23 am

Most of the president's speeches these days focus on jobs or gas prices. But the health care law is his signature achievement, and it always gets a mention at political events.

"Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying," President Obama said to cheers and applause from the audience at a recent fundraiser in New York.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Wed March 7, 2012

3 Candidates Split Super Tuesday Wins

Mitt Romney won six of the 10 Super Tuesday contests. Rick Santorum won three while Newt Gingrich won one. Ron Paul was the only candidate who did not win at least one contest.

Presidential Race
12:01 am
Thu March 1, 2012

State Of GOP Race: No Momentum For Candidates

In the Michigan Republican primary Tuesday, Mitt Romney had a near-death experience, but he squeaked out a narrow victory over Rick Santorum. That, says veteran Republican strategist Ed Rogers, has calmed some of the anxiety in Republican circles about Romney's strength as a general election candidate.

"Mitt Romney did what he needed to do to give more certainty and more clarity to the race. He dodged a bullet; it was an ugly win," Rogers says. "It's not over. Santorum is still very competitive."

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Election 2012
12:01 am
Thu February 16, 2012

How Does Mitt Romney Stop Rick Santorum's Rise?

Rick Santorum gestures toward Republican rival Mitt Romney during the South Carolina GOP presidential debate in Myrtle Beach on Jan. 16.
Charles Dharapak AFP/Getty Images

What's the best way for Mitt Romney to stop Rick Santorum?

For the answer, we went to someone who has done it before.

Democratic strategist Saul Shorr helped Bob Casey defeat then-Sen. Santorum, R-Pa., in a landslide in 2006. Santorum lost by 18 points.

But Shorr says that was a general election; in a Republican primary, Romney will have a much harder job.

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Mitt Romney
4:59 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Conservatives Worry Romney's Vision Is Cloudy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally in Denver on Tuesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 8:20 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's losses on Tuesday, while not very meaningful in the race to accumulate delegates, have raised questions once again about his ability to inspire passion from his party's base and about his viability in the general election.

Rival Rick Santorum's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota dealt a setback, if not exactly a body blow, to Romney — whom Santorum routinely dismisses as a candidate with a big machine but no core.

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Presidential Race
12:01 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Romney Again A Front-Runner, But At What Cost?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Brady Industries on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's decisive win over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Florida returned him to the front-runner's spot in the Republican presidential race. Romney emerged from that battle with his strengths, but also his weaknesses, on full display.

Sometimes hard-fought nominating contests produce a more formidable general-election candidate. That's what happened to Barack Obama in 2008. But Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist, thinks it's too soon to tell if this Republican primary battle will have the same effect.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Romney, Gingrich Clash During GOP Debate In Tampa

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 10:00 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

GREENE: The latest Republican debate - last night in Florida - was more subdued than when the candidates last took the stage, in South Carolina. But still, it contained plenty of sharp jabs. After it was over, another dramatic turn in the race, with new revelations about Mitt Romney's taxes. We'll explore those numbers in depth, in a few minutes.

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Election 2012
5:03 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

How Does South Carolina Work Its GOP Crystal Ball?

Republican presidential candidates, left to right: former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at a debate Thursday in Charleston, S.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary may be the last good chance for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's challengers to stop his march to the nomination. Every election year since 1980, the winner of South Carolina's Republican primary has gone on to win the nomination.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri January 20, 2012

At Debate, Gingrich Denies He Sought Open Marriage

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 7:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The four Republicans still running for president met last night for their last debate before the South Carolina primary. They sparred over health care, abortion and tax returns. The race in South Carolina is now a dead heat, with Mitt Romney's earlier lead wiped out by a late surge by Newt Gingrich.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu January 19, 2012

S.C. Voters Have 2 Days To Make Up Their Minds

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 10:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Romney Is 2 For 2 In GOP Nominating Contests

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:50 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Mitt Romney will head into the rest of the Republican presidential contest with powerful momentum. After barely winning Iowa, he won New Hampshire convincingly last night.

GREENE: Romney took 39 percent of the vote. That put him far ahead of Ron Paul. Jon Huntsman finished third in the state, where he had campaigned almost exclusively.

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Election 2012
6:20 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Iowa Spotlight Shines On Romney, Santorum And Paul

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were the big winners Tuesday night in the Iowa caucuses. They finished first, second and third respectively. Romney won by the narrowest of margins — eight votes.

It's All Politics
12:01 am
Thu December 15, 2011

State Of The GOP Race: Are We In For A Protracted Primary Season?

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich face off at the ABC News GOP Presidential Debate on Dec. 10.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:53 am

The mitts are off, so to speak, in the Republican presidential primary. Mitt Romney, the former front-runner, and his current and most serious rival, Newt Gingrich, are now engaged in an all-out war.

With only a few short weeks until voters in Iowa go to the caucuses, Romney is doing everything he can to stop Gingrich's sudden and surprising rise.

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Presidential Race
5:02 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Gingrich, Romney Offer Stark Immigration Choice

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney (left) and Newt Gingrich shake hands after a Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla.
Mike Carlson AP

There are many flashpoints between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as they battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Most of them are about character or leadership: Who can beat President Obama? Who's the real conservative?

But Gingrich and Romney do have one big policy difference — and that's on immigration.

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U.S.
6:49 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Obama's Hope: A Younger, More Diverse Electorate

The American electorate is getting more diverse, more educated and younger. These demographic trends seem to suggest that voters could, in theory at least, be more Obama-friendly in 2012, especially in some key states. But it's not clear whether these shifts can outweigh the dragging economy and the president's dismal approval ratings.

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Election 2012
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Political Climate Ripe For A Third-Party Prospect

Ross Perot, shown on a video screen, addresses the Reform Party's national convention in July 1999 in Dearborn, Mich. The billionaire founder of the Reform Party, Perot ran for president as a third-party candidate in both 1992 and 1996.
Jeff Kowalsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Voter dissatisfaction with both parties is at an all-time high — and voters' trust in Washington is at an all-time low.

This is the kind of political climate that is welcoming for an alternative to the Democrats and the Republicans.

Pollster Stan Greenberg worked for Bill Clinton in 1992, when third-party candidate Ross Perot roiled the race. If it happened back then, Greenberg says, it can happen again next year.

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Election 2012
4:47 pm
Tue November 8, 2011

Can Obama Make History Again?

President Obama greets diners in Los Angeles last month. He faces long odds in his quest for re-election. Among them: unemployment, eroding support among independent voters and approval ratings that are well below those of previous presidents who won a second term.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 9, 2011 11:23 am

Three years ago, the state of Virginia flipped. It had voted for George W. Bush in 2004, but in 2008, it went for Barack Obama, with the help of independent voters like Emily Perri. But as Perri cast her ballot in local elections in Fairfax on Tuesday morning, she wasn't so sure she would vote for the president again.

"I'm not entirely positive, you know, another four years will help improve things or not under Obama," Perri said.

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