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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5:11pm

Mon September 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Medals Of Honor Recognize Harrowing Battle And A Dying Act

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 9:43 am

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins receives the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House. He describes the battle that earned him the medal as the toughest he saw in three tours of duty in Vietnam.
Alex Wong Getty Images

President Obama on Monday awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, to two soldiers who served in Vietnam: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, who survived a harrowing battle and 18 body wounds; and Army Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat, whose dying act saved his fellow soldiers.

In January 1970, President Obama said Monday, Sloat was on patrol with his squad in Vietnam.

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9:34am

Sat September 13, 2014
It's All Politics

Obama's Hawkish Plan For Islamic State Puts Doves In A Quandary

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 3:47 pm

President Obama's plan to degrade and destroy the Islamic state poses a challenge for members of his own party, who have traditionally provided the anti-war voices in Congress.
Saul Loeb AP

President Obama arguably won the Democratic primary in 2008 because of his strong opposition to the Iraq war. Now he's arguing he doesn't need congressional approval to ramp up a bombing campaign in Iraq and expand air strikes into Syria.

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4:55am

Thu September 11, 2014
National Security

Obama Tells Nation Islamist Threat Could Reach U.S. Shores

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:24 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

6:42pm

Thu August 28, 2014
Iraq

Obama Says U.S. Will Aid Iraqis Who Are Marooned On Mount Sinjar

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:27am

Mon August 25, 2014
It's All Politics

In New Hampshire, An Unexpected Tight Race For Senate

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:59 pm

Paul Moccia of Atkinson, N.H., waits for New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown to be endorsed by Mitt Romney at an event in Stratham, N.H., on July 2.
Charles Krupa AP

When discussing competitive U.S. Senate races, New Hampshire isn't at the top of the list. Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana — they all have tight contests. But now it seems even New Hampshire may be in play.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a former longtime New Hampshire governor, finishing up her first term in the U.S. Senate. Polls consistently find she's still personally popular, even after millions of dollars in attack ads run against her. And yet a recent WMUR Granite State poll finds she has a race on her hands.

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4:16pm

Mon August 11, 2014
Politics

Two Ways President Obama Could Act On Immigration

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 8:51 pm

Immigration advocates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida demonstrate outside the White House in April 2014.
AP

Sometime before the end of summer, President Obama is expected to take executive action to address the nation's broken immigration system.

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9:36am

Tue August 5, 2014
The Salt

Making An All-American White House Dinner With Some African Flair

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 1:12 pm

White House chefs chop a lot of vegetables to prepare for a dinner of 400 Tuesday night.
Gregory Barber/NPR

Think of it as a state dinner for an entire continent. Tuesday night, after the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit sessions wrap up, the president and the first lady will host 50 heads of state and the chairman of the African Union for dinner. The 400 guests will be treated to a traditional American meal with an African twist in a gigantic tent on the South Lawn and enjoy a performance by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lionel Richie.

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4:01pm

Fri August 1, 2014
Politics

August Comes To The Hill, But House GOP Hasn't Started Recess Quite Yet

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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5:00am

Fri August 1, 2014
NPR Story

As Senate Leaves For Recess, House Keeps Working On A Border Bill

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:36am

Thu July 31, 2014
Politics

In Kansas City, Obama Brushes Off House GOP's Vote To Sue Him

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 10:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:15pm

Fri July 25, 2014
News

Central American Leaders Stop By White House To Talk Border Crisis

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 7:40 pm

The presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras met with President Obama at the White House Friday, discussing the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America. So far, Obama has not seen eye to eye with Congress on possible solutions to the crisis.

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4:08pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Education

Glenn Beck Takes His Campaign Against Common Core To The Big Screen

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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4:45am

Wed July 23, 2014
Politics

Congress And Biden Aim For Job Training That Actually Leads To Jobs

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 12:05 pm

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, greets Enis Sullivan, 101, during a visit to XMA Corp. in Manchester, N.H., on March 25.
Jim Cole AP

Something pretty remarkable happened Tuesday afternoon in a small windowless auditorium next door to the White House. President Obama signed a new law: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

It streamlines and updates the nation's job training programs and was 11 years overdue. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

"Folks in Congress got past their differences; they got a bill to my desk," Obama said at the signing ceremony. "So this is not a win for Democrats or Republicans; it is a win for American workers."

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11:49am

Sun July 20, 2014
Politics

Kicking The Can Down The Road: A Habit That's Hard To Kick

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 1:55 pm

President Obama speaks in front of the Interstate 495 bridge near Wilmington, Del., on Thursday. Obama said he supports the temporary highway bill passed by the House last week — but he doesn't like it.
Patrick Semansky AP

The Senate is expected to vote on a temporary transportation spending bill later this week — with an emphasis on the word temporary.

The bill would keep highway funding flowing through May of next year, and avert a looming infrastructure crisis. Without congressional action, the highway trust fund would run out of cash in August.

The short-term fix follows a familiar pattern. It goes something like this:

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8:02pm

Wed July 16, 2014
News

Obama Unrolls New Sanctions Against Russia

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama had some announcements today on U.S. policy overseas. In the White House briefing room, the president ran through a long list of what he described as pressing foreign policy challenges - questions about the election results in Afghanistan, Iranian nuclear talks, the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel and finally, the situation in Ukraine. The U.S. government imposed new sanctions on Russia today over interference in that country. Here's how President Obama summed it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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10:33am

Sat July 12, 2014
Opinion

A Mother's Essay Challenges Assumptions About Poverty

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 12:09 pm

Darlena Cunha says that she wrote her essay about her family's temporary poverty so her twin daughters would learn not to judge people on government assistance.
Courtesy of Darlena Cunha

The stereotype of the so-called welfare queen driving a luxury car while leaching off of society is an enduring one.

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7:39am

Sat July 12, 2014
Politics

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 12:14 am

Campaign spending in the Kentucky Senate race between GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes could reach $100 million.
LM Otero AP

For the amount of money that's expected to be spent in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate this year, you could buy a bottle of the state's own Maker's Mark whiskey for nearly every man, woman and child in the state.

Some observers say the election could end up as the most expensive Senate race in history, with spending topping $100 million. And why wouldn't it be? It's at the heart of the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

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6:23am

Mon June 23, 2014
Politics

Administration Focuses On Challenges Working Families Face

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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4:12pm

Thu June 19, 2014
Iraq

Obama Plans To Send Advisers To Iraq, Leaving Air Strikes On Table

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama announced today that the U.S. will send up to 300 special forces advisers into Iraq. He says they'll gather intelligence and assist Iraqi security forces. This comes as radical Islamists continue to march toward Baghdad. And as NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports, the president also is not ruling out airstrikes.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: President Obama is clear about this...

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9:26pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Politics

Upset Of Eric Cantor Deals A Shock To GOP Establishment

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 10:20 pm

Eric Cantor became the first house majority leader ever to lose a primary, losing the GOP nomination to Tea Party challenger David Brat in the Republican primary.

4:13pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Politics

What Happened To Unemployment Benefits?

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 9:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:13am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics

Release Of Sgt. Bergdahl May Have Come At A High Cost

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:48 am

Bowe Bergdahl's release and the prisoner swap that made it possible are raising thorny foreign policy questions, which are being voiced most loudly at this point by congressional Republicans.

7:46am

Sat May 31, 2014
The Impact of War

New Acting VA Secretary Faces Cultural Challenges

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 11:38 am

Eric Shinseki, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has resigned over the growing health care scandal. He said remaining in office would only distract from carrying out needed reforms.

4:16pm

Fri May 30, 2014
News

VA Secretary Shinseki Steps Down Amid Reports Of Systemic Problems

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Gen. Eric Shinseki is out as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. That comes after bipartisan calls for his resignation and growing outrage over scheduling from the VA health system. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

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4:44pm

Tue May 27, 2014
The Salt

First Lady Fights To Keep Healthful School Lunch Law Intact

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:53 am

First lady Michelle Obama has been doing a lot of high-fiving with schoolchildren like these in Dallas to promote healthful lifestyles. Now she's diving more deeply into the politics of school lunch.
LM Otero AP

First lady Michelle Obama is by far one of the most popular political figures in America, because she's largely avoided appearing too political — instead devoting much of her attention to encouraging good nutrition and healthful lifestyles for America's children.

But that cause has run head-on into a congressional fight over stalling some of the nutritional gains of the school lunch program, which she helped put in place.

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10:11am

Sat May 24, 2014
Politics

Conservatives Brainstorm To Win Voters In The Middle

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., says that Great Society social programs aren't helping working people.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Election watchers say Republicans could take control of the Senate this fall. At the same time, many of these same analysts see problems for the Grand Old Party in the longer term.

Republican voters tend to be white, older and more affluent, and their share of the overall population is shrinking. That's why at least some conservatives think it's time for the party to broaden its appeal to the middle class.

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3:32am

Fri May 9, 2014
She Votes

For Moms In Congress, Votes Mix With Diapers And School Pickup

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Rep. Linda Sanchez, seen with her son, Joaquin, says balancing her duties as a mother and a member of Congress can be a struggle, but she's lucky to have the flexibility of being a boss.
Courtesy of Linda Sanchez

Just nine women have given birth while serving in the U.S. Congress.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has the distinction of having done it three times.

Her son Cole was born in 2007 with a condition called trisomy 21. Grace came in 2010, followed by Brynn this past November.

"Thankfully, she's a good sleeper and she's a good eater," says McMorris Rodgers. "That makes a big difference for a mom."

Even though she has a high-profile job as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, McMorris Rodgers insists she's just like the rest of us.

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3:24am

Tue May 6, 2014
She Votes

GOP Softens Its Edge In An Attempt To Appeal To Women

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 10:34 am

"We have allowed ourselves to be branded [in] a way I do not feel is representative of who we are as Republicans," says Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., of her party's negative reputation on women's issues.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Republicans have a problem with women.

Since the 1980s, women have been much more likely than men to vote Democratic.

Increasingly, however, Republican operatives see getting more women to vote for their candidates as key to the party's future.

Take Equal Pay Day, for instance, a political holiday that Democrats have used to push a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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5:58pm

Mon May 5, 2014
She Votes

Best Way To Get Women To Run For Office? Ask Repeatedly

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 5:34 pm

Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., plays in the annual Congressional Women's Softball game in 2011. She says it's hard to get more women to run for office.
Tom Williams Roll Call/Getty Images

Women make up less than 20 percent of those serving in Congress, but more than half the population. There are many reasons for this, but one simple answer comes back again and again. It's about recruiting.

When Monica Youngblood got the call, she thought it was a joke. The call came from a man she had worked to help get elected.

"It's your time," she says he told her. "We need people like you in Santa Fe. We need a voice like yours who's lived here, who's been through what you've been through. I think you need to really consider it."

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4:24pm

Tue April 29, 2014
News

White House Report Lays Out Plans For Combating Campus Sexual Assault

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:40 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. The White House is taking on the issue of campus sexual assault. Today, it released a series of recommendations aimed at prevention and enforcement. As part of the campaign, the administration cited a stark statistic. They say one-in-five women is sexually assaulted in college. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

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