Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is a White House correspondent for NPR News. He reports on the policy and politics of the Obama Administration, with a special emphasis on economic issues.

The 2012 campaign is the third presidential contest Horsley has covered for NPR. He previously reported on Senator John McCain's White House bid in 2008 and Senator John Kerry's campaign in 2004. Thanks to this experience, Horsley has become an expert in the motel shampoo offerings of various battleground states.

Horsley took up the White House beat after serving as a San Diego-based business correspondent for NPR where he covered fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley was a reporter for member station KPBS-FM, where he received numerous honors, including a Public Radio News Directors' award for coverage of the California energy crisis.

Earlier in his career, Horsley worked as a reporter for WUSF-FM in Tampa, Florida, and as a news writer and reporter for commercial radio stations in Boston and Concord, New Hampshire. Horsley began his professional career as a production assistant for NPR's Morning Edition.

Horsley earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Many inaugural addresses play on themes that President Obama touched on yesterday.

GREENE: He cited the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, our tradition of self-government and earlier inaugural addresses.

INSKEEP: That's all pretty normal. What is different about each inauguration address is how the president molds those themes into the moment.

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President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.

The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.

While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Ben Franklin famously observed that nothing is certain but death and taxes.

So far, Congress hasn't repealed the former, but the future of estate taxes — a largely overlooked piece of the "fiscal cliff" — remains uncertain as this year draws to a close.

Until now, most of the year-end tax debate has focused on the income tax, but another battle could be brewing over estate taxes.

As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.

The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it's up to congressional Republicans to take the next step in budget talks to avoid the pending automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year.

Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Geithner said there's "no path to an agreement" until Republicans are willing to accept higher tax rates on the rich.

President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.

The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer in for Steve Inskeep.

After attending the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders, President Obama is winging his way home this morning. And tomorrow, he'll issue the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Then after the holiday it's back to budget talks with congressional leaders deciding what else might be spared, and what government programs or tax breaks might feel the knife.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama paid a historic visit to Myanmar today. The southeast Asian country, also known as Burma, is tiptoeing towards democracy after almost 50 years in military rule. Mr. Obama met with the former leader who is now the president of Burma and with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not a member of parliament after years of house arrest. The visit is the centerpiece of the president's three-day Asian tour, which is meant to underscore the United States' growing involvement in the region.

President Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to steer clear of the so-called fiscal cliff. It's the first of many meetings aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of the new year.

A week ago, the president proved again that he and his team are good at winning elections. The question now is whether he can translate victory at the ballot box to success in shaping policy.

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SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with the Obama campaign. Actually, the president's campaign travel is finished. Mr. Obama spent the night at his own home in Chicago. Today's plans call for some TV and radio interviews and maybe a game of basketball with some friends. Mr. Obama's last reelection rally came last night in Iowa, where 20,000 people gathered just outside the caucus headquarters where he launched his first presidential campaign more than five years ago.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the multi-billion dollar presidential campaign has come down to its final weekend. All that money, all these months are campaigning come down to just a few more frantic days for the candidates. The polls now show a close contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as they campaign in a handful of swing states. Mr. Obama begins campaigning today where he left off yesterday in - have we said this before? - Ohio. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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President Obama offered thoughts and prayers Tuesday for all those who have been affected by Sandy. He also offered something more tangible: the full resources of the federal government.

"The most important message I have for them is that America's with you," he said. "We are standing behind you, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet."

For Obama, the federal government is a critical vehicle for that kind of help. Republicans put more faith in local government, and even voluntary efforts.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama canceled his campaign events that were scheduled for today in Colorado and Wisconsin. He's staying in Washington to oversee the federal response to what is now described as a post-tropical storm, Sandy. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has also scaled back his events.

Now, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, this gigantic storm has introduced a new and unpredictable element into the presidential race just one week before Election Day.

Later this week we'll get another snapshot of the U.S. job market: the last unemployment report before next week's presidential election.

Forecasters expect another sign of slow but steady job growth. Whoever is in the Oval Office next year will have to cope with a sluggish U.S. economy and confront some urgent policy decisions.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Here's a quick summary of President Obama's latest campaign trip: Six battleground states, 39 hours, quite a few cups of coffee and it's not over yet.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish, and we begin this hour with a sprint. The 2012 presidential debates are now history and today, President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney begin the two-week race to Election Day. Mr. Obama is widely considered the winner of last night's foreign policy debate, but he didn't spend much time crowing today.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Here's something President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on: America's tax system is too complicated. Both men have outlined changes that are broadly similar, but with some important differences.

The Problem:

Today's tax code is like a department store, where the price tags are high, but there are lots of coupons, sales and weekend specials. That creates some inequities. Just as shoppers can pay different prices depending on which day they buy, taxpayers with the same income can pay very different rates depending on which deductions they qualify for.

President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, seem to have switched places in recent days.

The incumbent president is promising to change Washington from the outside. Meanwhile, Romney, who made his fortune turning businesses around, says he wants to work within the existing political system.

The contrast was on display Saturday in Wisconsin, where Obama held one of the biggest rallies of his re-election campaign.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney admits he could've used more elegant language, but he's not backing down. Romney was secretly recorded speaking at a fundraiser in May and his comments were publicized yesterday by the liberal magazine, "Mother Jones." Here he is telling wealthy backers that President Obama has a built-in base of support.

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There's an old shorthand for likeability in politics: "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?"

Polls show President Obama has been winning that likeability contest. And he's been raising a lot of frosty mugs on the campaign trail, hoping to press his advantage over the teetotaling Mitt Romney.

The strategy could come to a head in the swing state of Colorado.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's proposal to overhaul the tax code continues to draw scrutiny.

Romney says it is possible to cut tax rates without driving the government deeper into the red, and that he can make up for the lost revenue by closing tax loopholes. But analysts have had a hard time testing Romney's claim because he hasn't offered many specifics.

When he was pressed by NBC's David Gregory this weekend to give an example of a loophole he would close, Romney didn't offer much detail.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The presidential candidates are back on the campaign trail, sprinting, now that the political conventions are behind them. President Obama and Mitt Romney were both in Iowa and New Hampshire yesterday. Both of their message were affected by some bad news on the job's front as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

President Obama holds a Labor Day campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday, and then flies to Louisiana to inspect the damage from Hurricane Isaac. The Toledo rally is part of a long weekend of campaigning, leading up to the Democratic National Convention, which starts Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

The president held a rally with thousands of students at the University of Colorado over the weekend. Just five days earlier, he'd been at Colorado State. Obama is hoping to harness the cross-state rivalry between the schools in the service of his re-election campaign.

On Friday, President Obama was at Fort Bliss, Texas, where he spoke to troops and met with military families, including some who lost loved ones in Afghanistan.

As that war winds down, the president is ordering additional help for those with invisible battle scars. A rash of suicides has shown mental injuries can be just as deadly as a roadside bomb.

Surrounded by soldiers in camouflage fatigues, Obama recalled his last visit to Fort Bliss, exactly two years earlier. That was the day he announced a formal end to combat operations in Iraq.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're getting a reminder here of how fiercely competitive this race is. Even as his party's convention is going on, Mitt Romney, campaigning in Indiana and President Obama, of course, not taking the week off - as rival candidates sometimes do during the opponent's convention. He's been making his case the last couple of days in college towns, trying to energize young voters.

And NPR's Scott Horsley is on the road with the president.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Battleground states are not always neighbors. And for President Obama, yesterday was one of those days when a candidate stops in one and flies across most of the entire country to another. Mr. Obama was in Ohio and then Nevada, visiting college campuses. This morning he'll keep with the education theme at a high school near Las Vegas. The president has been highlighting steps he's taken to make higher education more affordable.

Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: How many students do we have here?

After weeks of saying he would not release his tax returns, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters Thursday he had checked them and could report he had always paid at least 13 percent annual in federal income tax. But Romney still refuses to make public more of his tax returns, despite a new offer from the Obama campaign.

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