Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at NPR.org.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR's White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress. In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe. He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, and subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava. He also covered Mr.Obama's first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.

The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.

In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.

Some soul-searching is on the agenda as the Republican National Committee holds its winter meetings in Charlotte, N.C.

November's elections were a big disappointment for the GOP. The party has now lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.

Latino voters were a key to President Obama's victory in November, turning out in big numbers and supporting Obama by more than 2 to 1 over Republican Mitt Romney.

Now, many of those voters say it's time for Obama to do something he did not do in his first term: push hard for and sign a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

Let's start with a group of Latinos — young and old, some U.S. citizens, some not — heading from Florida to Washington, D.C., for Obama's inauguration and for meetings with members of Congress. As caravans go, it's a small one: 13 people in two vans.

When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.

The battle over how to avoid the looming cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff is a frustrating one for the Tea Party. The movement is still a force within the GOP, even as its popularity has fallen over the past two years.

But in the current debate, there have been no big rallies in Washington, and Tea Party members in Congress seem resigned to the fact that any eventual deal will be one they won't like — and one they'll have little influence over.

Freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been standing side by side with colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in questioning the Obama administration's version of events about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

It is just the latest in a series of high-profile moments for Ayotte, who is seen as a rising star in a party struggling to win female voters.

Ohio is possibly the most important state in this presidential race. A challenge over early voting there has turned into a dispute over provisional ballots.

The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).

But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.

The Long View

Former Sen. George McGovern died early Sunday in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90 years old, and had been in failing health. McGovern served two terms in the House and three in the Senate, but was best known as the Democratic Party's ill-fated nominee against President Nixon in the election of 1972.

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Never mind Election Day, we're in the middle of election season. That's definitely true in Iowa, one of the states that allows early voting and a state that is being fiercely contested. Supporters of both President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are urging people to beat the last-minute rush.

Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

From now until November, President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at Cranbrook, an all-boys prep school in Michigan.

Cranbrook has been coed since the mid-1980s, its overall diversity is quite evident and the dress code is casual. None of that was true when Mitt Romney, class of 1965, was a student there.

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Last night's vice presidential debate offered a reminder about American politics. It can be infuriating, misleading and irrelevant, but at its best politics becomes a spectacle - a highly informative show - which is what the vice presidential candidates delivered last night in a debate in Kentucky.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns yesterday after months of pressure, and this week President Obama and his opponent sparred over remarks secretly recorded at a recent Romney fundraiser. Mr. Romney was in Nevada again yesterday. Both candidates have spent a lot of time in that battleground state. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea talked to voters in Reno.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: The battle for Nevada will likely be settled in Washoe County, which is home to Reno.

In this election, Christian conservatives seem to be more against President Obama than they are for Mitt Romney. But they do like GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who used a speech Friday to vouch for Romney.

At the annual gathering of religious conservatives in Washington, D.C., there was also talk of this week's violence in the Middle East.

The Values Voter Summit got under way first thing Friday morning, with a speech from Tony Perkins, whose Family Research Council organizes this event.

Most of the election-year attention Ohio gets is focused on the heavily Democratic areas in the northeast around Cleveland, or in GOP strongholds in rural areas and in the south around Cincinnati.

But it's also worth keeping a close eye on the state's less-traveled southeastern border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — the Ohio River Valley. It's a place where there is a lot of doubt about how much either candidate can help.

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Over the weekend, two very different approaches to campaigning by President Obama and Mitt Romney.

INSKEEP: The Republican challenger was mostly out of sight, preparing for next month's presidential debates. Romney did, however, appear on Sunday morning TV shows and we'll have more on that in a moment.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan continues to introduce himself to voters. Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Ryan would be his running mate. So far, Ryan has campaigned exclusively in battleground states that were carried by Democrats in 2008.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's decision not to release more of his past tax returns has fueled countless attacks and counterattacks.

The former Massachusetts governor has released his 2010 tax return and promises that his 2011 return is forthcoming. He says that's enough.

But that's not enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The result is an increasingly ugly fight.

The 2010 elections were a coming of age for the Tea Party, with big gains in Congress and in statehouses. As 2012 approached, the movement was looking for similar success. Then came this year's GOP presidential primaries, with no surviving Tea Party favorite.

Polls showed public support for the movement falling off significantly after several nasty showdowns in Congress. But the Tea Party remains a force in many states. Its favored candidate for the U.S. Senate won big in Texas last week, sending the strongest signal yet that the movement will be a factor this fall.

Among the many contenders who could wind up becoming presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate, there are some potential surprises — like former presidential candidate-turned TV and radio host Mike Huckabee.

Putting Huckabee on the GOP ticket could certainly liven up the presidential race. In addition to being a respected former governor of Arkansas, he's well known for his good-natured public persona. At a Huckabee campaign event, you might find him playing an electric bass with the old-time rock 'n' roll band Capitol Offense.

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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Mitt Romney has wrapped up his most extensive campaign trip since becoming the all-but-official Republican nominee for president. Over the past five days, he visited six potential battleground states, touring each by bus. Along the way, he honed his attacks on President Obama, while also trying to show voters a more relaxed Mitt Romney than they've seen so far.

The tour, called Every Town Counts, stayed mostly in counties friendly to Republicans, ending with three stops in Michigan yesterday, the state where Romney was born.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a five-day, six-state tour in Michigan on Tuesday.

Each of the states he visited was won by President Obama in the 2008 election. Each is also shaping up as a potential battleground this year.

In Michigan, the state where Romney was born, he avoided big cities and stayed in places friendly to the GOP. As he traveled east to west across central Michigan by bus, there were some pockets of protesters, but mostly at a distance.

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Wisconsin's combative Governor Scott Walker has survived an attempt to remove him from office. Labor unions, angry over the Republican governor's successful push to strip them of most collective bargaining rights, had battled Scott Walker and hoped Wisconsin voters would oust him.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election Tuesday that has attracted a lot of outside money. The attempt to remove Walker came after he successfully pushed to limit collective bargaining rights for public sector unions.

Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.

Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.

General-election battle lines are taking shape between President Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney is sticking with his long-standing attack on the president as someone not up to the huge job of turning around the economy.

But the Obama campaign has recently changed its message: Instead of portraying Romney as a flip-flopping, say-anything politician, it is now arguing that the former Massachusetts governor is a man with extreme positions far outside the American mainstream.

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President Obama toured the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington today joined by Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. Mr. Obama said the U.S. must never again allow such atrocities to take place.

As NPR's Don Gonyea reports, the president also announced new tools to punish countries that use technology to track and target their citizens.

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