Liz Halloran

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.

Halloran came to NPR from US News & World Report, where she followed politics and the 2008 presidential election. Before the political follies, Halloran covered the Supreme Court during its historic transition — from Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death, to the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation battles. She also tracked the media and wrote special reports on topics ranging from the death penalty and illegal immigration, to abortion rights and the aftermath of the Amish schoolgirl murders.

Before joining the magazine, Halloran was a senior reporter in the Hartford Courant's Washington bureau. She followed Sen. Joe Lieberman on his ground-breaking vice presidential run in 2000, as the first Jewish American on a national ticket, wrote about the media and the environment and covered post-9/11 Washington. Previously, Halloran, a Minnesota native, worked for The Courant in Hartford. There, she was a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning team for spot news in 1999, and was honored by the New England Associated Press for her stories on the Kosovo refugee crisis.

She also worked for the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn., and as a cub reporter and paper delivery girl for her hometown weekly, the Jackson County Pilot.

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It's All Politics
2:04 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

With Revised Tax Plan, Cain Faces Questions About Consistency

On the day he revised his tax plan to 9-0-9, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain signs a supporter's "999" sign after unveiling his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 2:29 pm

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's much discussed 9-9-9 tax plan just got a major facelift after intensifying criticism that it would shift the tax burden to the least fortunate Americans.

In a Detroit speech Friday, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO created another numbers scheme for those "at or below poverty level."

"Your plan isn't 9-9-9," Cain said, addressing low-income voters. "It is 9-0-9."

"Say amen y'all," said Cain, also a Baptist minister. "9-0-9."

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Mitt Romney
1:15 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

An Adviser To Both Plans Explains The Differences

As Mitt Romney's opponents continue to compare "Romneycare" unfavorably with "Obamacare," we decided to take another look at the plans' similarities and differences. For additional insight, we turned to John McDonough, director of Harvard's Center for Public Health Leadership.

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Mitt Romney
1:14 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

A Tale Of Two Health Plans: Romney Versus Obama

President Obama, surrounded by lawmakers and guests, signs health care insurance legislation during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 23, 2010.

Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be headed into the 2012 GOP presidential primary season as the consistent, if not overwhelming, favorite for his party's nomination.

But there remains great discomfort among a wide swath of party members over the striking similarity of the Massachusetts health care reform legislation Romney signed in 2006 as governor, and the federal health care overhaul President Obama put his signature on last year.

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Herman Cain Tells NPR's Scott Simon Surge In Polls Means He's Hiring

Herman Cain.

NICHOLAS KAMM AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 4:31 pm

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has surged to the top of some national presidential preference polls, told NPR's Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday, that his fundraising has increased 20-fold in the past few weeks, and he is hiring more, much-needed staff.

In fact, he told Scott in an interview Thursday that will air on NPR Saturday, that he just "brought on an entire team" of about 10 new people to help his campaign ramp up.

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It's All Politics
8:10 am
Wed October 12, 2011

Debate Does Nothing To Derail Romney's 'Kudzu Campaign'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney maintained his frontrunner status in the GOP presidential debate at Dartmouth College on Tuesday.

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:23 pm

Mitt Romney continued his dogged, incremental pursuit of the White House, dominating the GOP presidential debate on the economy Tuesday night. The man once touted as his most formidable opponent was barely a factor.

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It's All Politics
12:24 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

All Aboard Cain Train: Man With 9-9-9 Plan Is Latest GOP Darling

It's Herman Cain's moment.

The surprise winner of Florida's recent GOP presidential straw poll has been featured on Page 1 of the New York Times.

He's met with Donald Trump and sat down with The Wall Street Journal and the women of "The View."

He earned Gallup's highest candidate "positive intensity" score of this campaign season.

And is enthusiastically hawking a new memoir (Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House) that's zooming up the bestseller lists.

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Politics
8:49 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Affirmative-Action Case Could Be Campaign Issue

The Texas Longhorns band performs during a basketball game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on March 18. A challenge to the admissions policy at University of Texas, Austin, contends that the school does not need to consider race to achieve a diverse student body.

Ronald Martinez Getty Images

A Texas affirmative action case that has the potential to rewrite law on how or whether public colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, and soon.

Though the court, which opened its fall term this week, has not yet agreed to hear Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, constitutional experts on both sides of the issue say they believe the case will be scheduled for a hearing this year or next spring, just as the presidential election season heats up.

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It's All Politics
3:34 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

What Chris Christie Can Learn From Rick Perry's Latest Travails

If he decides to enter the GOP presidential race, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could learn a few things from fellow Gov. Rick Perry's troubles on the campaign trail.

Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 1:47 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn't have to look far for a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of jumping into the presidential contest late, with great expectations, but little vetting beyond the relatively comfortable confines of one's home state.

As Christie continues to deliberate about entering the Republican presidential nomination fray, he has no doubt followed the supremely lousy weeks Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had since he got in, relatively late, with great fanfare, and largely untested on a national stage.

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It's All Politics
9:54 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Florida GOP To Move Up Presidential Primary, Defying National Party

Republicans in the Sunshine State have long been expected to throw the 2012 GOP presidential primary-and-caucus season into its usual chaos.

Reports Wednesday that legislators will schedule the state's primary on Jan. 31, a week earlier than the tentative date for the usual first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, would accomplish that.

Florida legislators are determined to have the state GOP primary go fifth in the contest order, behind only the national party-sanctioned early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

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It's All Politics
4:00 am
Wed September 28, 2011

As Anita Perry Hits Campaign Trail, Five Things You Should Know

Anita Perry is increasingly stepping out from behind her husband, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Wednesday she'll campaign solo in Iowa. Here they greeted supporters together during a rally on Sept. 8 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 8:05 am

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to run for president, he made a point of noting that it was his wife, Anita, who urged him to go for it, to get out of his "comfort zone."

Step into the fray, she urged.

That fray in recent days has taken a toll on Perry, who had a roundly-panned performance at GOP presidential debate last week followed by a surprising drubbing in Saturday's Florida Republican presidential straw poll.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Death Penalty Retains Support, Even With Pro-Life Catholics, Despite Flaws

Public approval for death penalty over time.
Gallup Gallup

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 5:01 pm

Debate over the constitutionality and morality of the death penalty has long been an under-the-radar skirmish that occasionally emerges as part of a larger national conversation.

These past few weeks it has emerged in a big way.

It was first roused at a GOP presidential debate during which the record number of state-sponsored executions overseen by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (234 at the time; 235 as of this writing) was a surprisingly enthusiastic applause line for the candidate.

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Politics
4:30 am
Thu September 22, 2011

The GOP Primary Race: Four Lessons From Florida

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a town hall meeting in Miami on Wednesday.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 9:03 am

Florida will be the center of Republicans' political universe for the next three days, starting with a televised GOP presidential debate Thursday night and wrapping up Saturday with a presidential straw poll.

Get used to it.

The spotlight will remain on Florida long after the last vote is tallied this weekend.

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News
5:09 am
Tue September 20, 2011

With Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' An Era Ends

A gay member of the U.S. Air Force who wishes not to be identified reads a copy of the new magazine OutServe intended for actively serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender U.S. military members earlier this month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The law that for almost 18 years has banned openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces will be officially repealed Tuesday, nine months after Congress voted to end the Clinton-era edict.

President Obama signed the repeal into law last December, but its provisions required time for the Pentagon to prepare for the policy change, and for top military officials to "certify" the law's end.

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It's All Politics
3:37 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Still Flirting With A Run, Palin Confronts Deadlines And 'Smears'

Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses a Tea Partly Express Rally in Manchester, N.H., on Sept. 5.
Stephan Savoia AP

This week, Sarah Palin kept the guessing game about her White House intentions alive.

(Still thinking about it, she told her employer, Fox News, and, by the way, the media is not the boss of her timetable.)

She weighed in on the Republican presidential debate.

She took to task her old buddy and White House hopeful, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for his past support of a program to vaccinate girls against a sexually transmitted and potentially cancer-causing disease.

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It's All Politics
8:12 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Perry's Social Security Take: Boon For Opponents, Bane For Party

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he wants to be honest with the American people.

That now involves attempts to shelve the part of his presidential campaign playbook that had him just last week vigorously dismissing Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."

Good luck on changing that conversation, Republican presidential frontrunner Perry, what with seven opponents nipping at your heels.

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It's All Politics
5:54 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Did Obama's Jobs Speech Seize The 'Big Moment'?

President Obama's jobs speech on Thursday had been characterized in the wide world of punditry as his "Moment of Truth." His "Last Chance." His "Big Speech." His ... well, you get the picture.

There was a lot riding on the president's address to a joint session of Congress, in which he laid out an expansive and expensive — nearly $450 billion — plan to "jolt" the nation's anemic employment market.

To gauge Obama's performance in a speech pivotal to his efforts to win re-election next year, we turned to a couple of political media consultants for their takes.

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It's All Politics
7:41 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Perry's Debate Debut Suggests Texas-Sized Hurdles Ahead

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (right) takes the stage with Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann before Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
David McNew AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 8, 2011 1:22 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has always had a mantra of sorts that he would frequently resort to when taking heat from opponents during political debates back home.

It went something like this: Texas is great. People want to live here. Businesses want to move here. And, by the way, Texas is great.

Unfortunately for Perry, he couldn't play the card that served him so well in his three terms as governor during his first presidential debate Wednesday night.

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Rick Perry
10:10 am
Wed September 7, 2011

With Perry In Race, Sparks Could Fly at GOP Debate

The stage where Gov. Rick Perry gathered with supporters on election night in 2010.
Ben Sklar Getty Images

If the wildfires in his home state don't change his plans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to make his national debut Wednesday in his first debate with seven fellow candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

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It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

House GOP: Approval Of Special Olympics Torch Run Trumps Obama Address

Originally published on Sun September 4, 2011 7:40 am

It became clearer today why John Boehner this week became the first U.S. House Speaker in the nation's history to turn down a president's request to address a joint session of Congress.

The House has pressing business Wednesday evening, when President Obama asked to speak to members of Congress about his plans to goose the stagnant jobs market.

Pressing, as in:

Considering the extension of the "Generalized System of Preferences."

Contemplating the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011.

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It's All Politics
12:54 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

GOP Primary Scramble Could Mean 2012 Voting Starts Early. Maybe Even In 2011.

Campaign posters are seen in a snowbank outside a polling place in Jan. 2008 in Manchester, N.H.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Chaos.

Crisis.

And Christmas....in Keokuk, or Keene?

Yes, political junkies, we're talking about the completely-up-in-the-air 2012 Republican presidential contest calendar.

On paper, it's scheduled to kick off Feb. 6 with the Iowa caucuses, followed a week later by New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

But those of you keeping score at home would be well advised to use a pencil.

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Mitt Romney
4:14 am
Sat August 27, 2011

Can Romney Stay The Course As The CEO Candidate?

Mitt Romney's national front-runner status in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination took a hit this week, with national polls showing that he has been eclipsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Wed August 24, 2011

'Hearing Something We Can't Hear:' How Animals Foretold The Earthquake

The National Zoo's 23-year-old male red-ruffed lemur, Joven.
Mehgan Murphy Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 12:16 pm

We know how humans first sensed Tuesday's earthquake. We felt the shake, then the rattle, and then the urge to flee.

But what about the region's animals?

Did they sense the rare 5.8-magnitude temblor before the shaking started?

We checked in with the folks at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, one of the most popular attractions in the nation's capital, to see what they could tell us.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Why A Quake In Virginia Isn't As Rare As It Sounds

Nelson Hsu NPR

The earthquake that rattled the East Coast Tuesday afternoon, from its Virginia epicenter to Washington and the islands off Massachusetts, was, indeed, rare, geologists say.

But only because of its size; at a magnitude of 5.8, it was the largest temblor to hit Virginia since 1897, when the largest quake on record, a 5.9 quake, struck.

"Earthquakes in central Virginia are not very unusual," says David Spears, Virginia's state geologist. "We have them every few years, but they're usually in the two-to-four magnitude range."

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Africa
11:13 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Expert: Gadhafi May Pick Asylum

Protesters burn a portrait of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and copies of his Green Book outside the Libyan Embassy in Ankara. Turkey, on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. Libyan rebels taken many parts of the Libyan capital Tripoli as they try to oust Gadhafi.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Libyan rebels have claimed control of parts of the capital Tripoli, but big questions remain about the future of the country and the fate its longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The whereabouts of Gadhafi, as of Monday, remained unknown.

David Mack is a former U.S. diplomat who served throughout the Middle East, including a posting in Libya. He says he believes Gadhafi could very well seek asylum for himself and his family in a country like Russia.

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Politics
2:47 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Obama's Jobs Problem: Government To The Rescue?

President Obama speaks Wednesday at a town hall-style meeting at Wyffels Hybrids Inc. in Atkinson, Ill. He is expected to unveil plans to stimulate the economy after Labor Day.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:40 am

As President Obama embarks on vacation, he leaves behind roiling domestic markets, dismal unemployment numbers and speculation about what he'll propose in a planned jobs-and-economy speech after Labor Day.

While he's expected to lay out some familiar strategies when he returns, from extending payroll tax cuts to new infrastructure spending, economists are looking for more — and for how Obama will balance election-year politics with the imperative to get something done and quickly in bitterly divided Washington.

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It's All Politics
4:56 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband, Marcus, wave to the crowd after she speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Bachmann won the poll with 4,823 votes.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 8:40 am

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, edging out Ron Paul, the Libertarian Texas congressman and quadrennial White House hopeful.

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third, capturing less than half of the totals brought in by the top two finishers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the ballot, ended up in sixth place with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

Romney and Huntsman were on the ballot, but did not actively compete.

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It's All Politics
12:29 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Straw Poll Voters Look For 'Breakout' In GOP Field

They love "the Huckster" in Iowa, and he loves them back.

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says that Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a "tactical error" by shunning Saturday's straw poll, instead opting to announce his candidacy for president today in South Carolina.

"He's raining on the parade in Iowa," said Huckabee, taking a break from signing books for the happy crowd mobbing him Saturday morning. "I'm not against Rick at all, but this is the biggest day of the year for Iowa Republicans."

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It's All Politics
5:05 am
Sat August 13, 2011

Are Michele Bachmann's Best Days On Campaign Trail Nearly Past?

Rep. Michele Bachmann greets a voter in Pella, Iowa.
Liz Halloran NPR

DES MOINES — These sunny August days in Iowa may prove to be Michele Bachmann's best as a GOP presidential candidate.

On the eve of the state's Republican straw poll in Ames, where she is expected to either win or place, the Minnesota congresswoman hop-scotched central Iowa.

She charmed about 100 supporters and the curious in the tidy, Dutch-and-proud town of Pella, and drew easily the largest crowd of any GOP candidates speaking at the Iowa State Fair.

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Politics
7:00 am
Fri August 12, 2011

Debate Over, Iowa Prepares To Winnow GOP Field

Voters put corn kernals into jars with their favorite Republican presidential candidates on the first day of the Iowa State Fair August 11 in Des Moines.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

They traded attacks and insults, argued about war funding, and disparaged the man in the White House whose job they want.

The two-hour, eight-candidate Republican presidential debate Thursday in Iowa, coming just days before the state party's presidential straw poll and in the midst of a national financial crisis, had the potential to matter — to elevate or, perhaps, eliminate a contender or two.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Why The Downgrade Won't End The D.C. Dysfunction

President Barack Obama talks about the downgrade of U.S. debt at the White House on August 8.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

The political blame game that has followed Standard & Poor's U.S. debt downgrade has been dismally predictable.

Democrats point fingers at the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Republicans condemn President Obama for an inability to lead. And S&P has been alternately hailed for calling out Washington's budgeting dysfunction and excoriated for overstepping in its ratings role.

One thing not in dispute?

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