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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7:14am

Tue October 21, 2014
Politics

In Tight Races, Both Parties Bank On Early Votes

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 2:48 pm

President Obama casts an early ballot for the midterm elections at the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center in Chicago on Monday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

On the first day for in-person early voting in Illinois, President Obama went to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to cast his ballot.

"I'm so glad I can early vote here," he told the elections worker checking him in.

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3:34am

Thu October 16, 2014
Politics

Clay Aiken: An American Idol On The Campaign Trail In North Carolina

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 1:47 pm

Clay Aiken hugs a supporter during an election night watch party May 6 in Holly Springs, N.C. Aiken went on to win the primary by fewer than 400 votes.
Gerry Broome AP

In just one night, in 2003, Clay Aiken got 12 million votes.

That wasn't quite enough to win American Idol's second season, but his soaring vocals won him a record contract and legions of fans known as "Claymates."

Now, he needs far fewer votes — maybe 200,000 — to win a congressional seat representing the rural center of North Carolina. The odds are against him. Aiken is a Democrat in a district where the Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers won by 15 percentage points two years ago.

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5:07pm

Tue October 14, 2014
Politics

Pizza Man Delivers Third-Party Option

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 6:15 pm

North Carolina Libertarian Senate candidate Sean Haugh (center), Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican candidate Thom Tillis attend a debate on Oct. 9. Haugh's tie features a cartoon cat. He says his mom gave it to him.
Gerry Broome AP

He delivers pizza by night and runs for U.S. Senate by day. Sean Haugh, the Libertarian running for Senate in North Carolina, is among a dozen independent and third-party candidates nationwide who could shake up tight races for Senate and governor.

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5:02am

Thu October 2, 2014
National Security

Amid Scandal, Secret Service Director Resigns

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:16 am

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

5:12pm

Wed October 1, 2014
Politics

Obama Sidesteps Midterm Campaigning As Approval Ratings Slump

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:13 pm

President Obama boards Air Force One after attending a Democratic fundraiser in Newport, R.I. in August. Ahead of this fall's midterm elections, he's not doing big public rallies for Democratic candidates, instead opting for private events.
Charles Krupa AP

There was once a day, not that long ago, that Democratic candidates for Congress and governor would love to have President Obama come help them campaign. The big rallies, the big airplane, the big entourage — it was a big deal.

Those days are gone now.

President Obama will hold a private fundraiser Thursday in Chicago for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. What he's not doing is a big public rally.

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5:10am

Wed October 1, 2014
Politics

In New York's North Country, The Republican Party's New Poster Candidate

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 1:11 pm

Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, 30, says her generation "can't just complain about the problems — we have to help solve them as well, because we're ultimately inheriting them."
Mike Groll AP

If the Republican Party were to hang up a wanted sign for the new face of the party, the kind of person they need to help them connect with voters they've had a hard time reaching, Elise Stefanik may just be the person they'd find. She describes herself as a "big tent Republican," and House Speaker John Boehner recently held a fundraiser for her.

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1:20pm

Tue September 23, 2014
U.S.

Obama Emphasizes Coalition In Comments On Syrian Strikes

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

Transcript

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6:29pm

Fri September 19, 2014
Politics

Anticipating Attacks, GOP Campaigns Focus On Courting Women Voters

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:57 pm

In this ad from Republican Stewart Mills, his wife Heather says he dons pink heels each year to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
YouTube

At the Democratic party's annual Women's Leadership Forum Friday, Hillary Clinton delivered a message that could have come straight from the script being used by Democratic candidates all over the country.

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5:20pm

Wed September 17, 2014
U.S.

House Approves Bill To Train, Arm Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:03 pm

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

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/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

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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

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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

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:00 pm

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

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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

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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

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