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
10:35 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Rand Paul Bids To Loosen Democratic Hold On African-American Vote

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky testified last year in favor of revamping the nation's mandatory federal minimum sentencing laws.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:37 pm

For more than a year, GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been staking out positions on issues that resonate in the black community, including school choice and prison sentencing reform. And he's been showing up in some unexpected — for a Republican — venues, including historically black colleges.

It's stirred an unusual degree of curiosity about the freshman Kentucky senator — and 2016 GOP presidential prospect — among the Democratic Party's most reliable voting bloc.

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It's All Politics
10:20 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Obama Seeks Wider Authority To Release Drug Offenders

President Obama signs the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, as Attorney General Eric Holder and a bipartisan group of senators look on.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:17 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Obama administration is formulating new rules that would give it, and the president, far more latitude to pardon or reduce the sentences of thousands of drug offenders serving long federal prison sentences.

The move comes amid a broad national reconsideration of mandatory minimum sentences approved by Congress in 1986, when America's big cities were in the grip of a crack cocaine-fueled crime wave.

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It's All Politics
3:49 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Bloomberg Seeks To Alter Gun Debate With $50 Million, And Moms

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he plans to spend $50 million this year on field operations to support candidates in favor of gun safety laws.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:54 pm

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's plan to invest $50 million in what he describes as a mom-driven grass-roots effort to support pro-gun-safety candidates grabbed headlines Wednesday, and energized gun control activists.

The commitment, the former New York City mayor says, aims to beat back the profound political influence of the National Rifle Association in 15 targeted states — to "make them afraid of us," he told NBC's Today show.

"This is what the American public wants," Bloomberg said, referring to his group's intended focus on gun-purchase background checks.

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It's All Politics
8:06 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Backlash Over State Party's Progressive Agenda May Hobble Udall

Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner after he announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate in March. He's challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Chris Schneider AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:35 am

Colorado Democrat Mark Udall's bid for a second term has become the most unexpectedly competitive U.S. Senate race in the nation this year — and for unexpected reasons.

Yes, Udall, 63, like other vulnerable Democrats, is already being pummeled by big-money conservative groups for his support of President Obama's health care legislation.

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It's All Politics
2:27 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

'Kissing Congressman' Video Puts Scandal In Unusual Focus

Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., in happier days with his wife, Kelly, and House Speaker John Boehner, who swore in the new congressman last year.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:16 pm

Embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister has made at least one smart move: He concluded that finding out who may have leaked a security video that captures him in a torrid embrace and lip lock with a woman (not his wife) won't actually erase said video.

One day after the freshman congressman — who ran last year as Christian conservative — indicated he planned to ask GOP House Speaker John Boehner to request an FBI investigation into the leak, he reversed course.

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It's All Politics
1:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Congressman's Lament: $174,000 Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., joins other members of the House of Representatives at a closed-door intelligence briefing on Syria in September.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:00 pm

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation's capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the "largest economic entity in the world" — are underpaid.

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It's All Politics
2:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Who's Who In Senate-CIA Report Showdown

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks after a closed-door meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill. The panel voted to approve declassifying part of a report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects.
Molly Riley AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 3:27 pm

The world could soon get its first official look at the CIA's post-Sept. 11 interrogation and detention activities now that the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to make public a blockbuster report about the agency's secret program.

The Senate panel's move to declassify key parts of the 6,300-page document comes just weeks after a rancorous battle erupted between the committee's Democratic chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and the CIA over allegations the agency spied on members through their computers.

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It's All Politics
1:33 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Conservative Media Watchdog: Univision, Telemundo Favor Liberals

President Obama participates in a 2012 town hall hosted by Univision with news anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas. A conservative media watchdog group says the Spanish-speaking network is biased in favor of Obama and liberals.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 4:28 pm

The nation's increasingly powerful Spanish-language television networks show a distinct liberal bias in covering domestic news, a conservative media watchdog group asserted Tuesday.

The Media Research Center says that its four-month analysis of weekday evening newscasts aired on Univision and Telemundo showed that the networks' domestic coverage was "dominated by partisans" from the left.

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

No Break From Politics On Obamacare Deadline Day

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who led state opposition to the federal Affordable Care Act, met with reporters in Tallahassee after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the law. Scott, a Republican, has made his opposition central to his re-election campaign.
Steve Cannon AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:42 pm

The sign-up period for 2014 individual insurance coverage required under President Obama's Affordable Care Act expires Monday, much as it began.

There were HealthCare.gov website snafus, White House pleas for enrollees, and the need for "navigators" to help those enrollees work their way through the often-balky federal insurance exchange site. (Which was temporarily out of service twice by midafternoon Monday.)

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It's All Politics
2:27 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Senate Slugfest Highlights Hawaii's Changing Political Landscape

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii says the way her competitor's allies have made age an issue in her run for U.S. Senate is insulting to voters.
Oskar Garcia AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 4:28 pm

It says something about the changing politics of Hawaii that Democratic powerhouse Daniel Inouye's deathbed pick of a successor was ignored by his own party.

The question is what.

The December 2012 death of the long-serving senator — and one of the state's founding fathers — has exposed cracks in Hawaii's solidly Democratic façade, leading to a contentious Senate primary that has placed age, gender and ethnicity at center stage.

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It's All Politics
11:43 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Top Democrat Insists Party Will Hold Senate — But Turnout Is Key

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks to party members during their meeting last summer in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 1:00 pm

As increasingly confident Republican leaders predict big midterm election gains, the head of Democratic National Committee put on her game face Tuesday and insisted the party will hold control of the Senate.

The Democrats' grass-roots organization, said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and what she characterized as the GOP's continuing alienation of women, minority, LGBT and middle-class voters, bodes well for her party this fall.

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It's All Politics
3:57 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

One Year After Party 'Autopsy,' GOP Touts Progress

Immigration supporters gather during a rally for citizenship on Capitol Hill last year.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

One year ago, a frank Republican Party assessment of why it came up short in the 2012 presidential election included a stark recommendation.

Embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform, the post-mortem authors urged, or get used to a party whose appeal "will continue to shrink to its core constituents only."

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It's All Politics
5:27 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Hispanic Activists Vow To Keep Pressing White House Over Deportations

Demonstrators protest the Obama administration's deportation policies in Phoenix last year.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 2:52 pm

Five months before his 2012 re-election, President Obama announced that his administration would stop deportations of more than a half-million young adults, often referred to as "Dreamers," brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Latinos subsequently turned out to vote in record numbers that fall. More than 70 percent marked their ballots for Obama — helping him win the popular vote and triumph in key battleground states.

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It's All Politics
1:32 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

New Climate For Drug Sentencing, Guidelines Expected To Change

In remarks last year to the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed what he characterized as harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:27 pm

The nation's highest law enforcement official Thursday endorsed the "All Drugs Minus Two" proposal — as it's known by prison sentencing reformers — to change the way drug crime sentences are handed down.

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It's All Politics
12:11 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Obama's Overtime Move Designed To Excite Base, Swing Voters

President Obama speaks about raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour during an event last week in New Britain, Conn. The effort to raise wages is seen as part of his State of the Union promise of a "year of action."
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 8:42 am

President Obama's planned move to expand the pool of the nation's employees covered by overtime pay laws was hailed Wednesday by Democrats as key to their midterm election strategy.

And it was just as predictably criticized by conservatives as an overreach by a president who recently characterized income inequality as the "defining challenge of our time."

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It's All Politics
5:37 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Florida Election Tests Midterm Messaging

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Alex Sink, shown working the phone in Clearwater on Nov. 23, supports the Affordable Care Act but has said she would like to see it improved.
Steve Nesius AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:50 am

There's a congressional election in Florida on Tuesday that's worth watching — even if you don't live in the Tampa Bay-area district where it's taking place.

It's not because the winner of the neck-and-neck special election between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly will affect the GOP's stranglehold on the U.S. House this cycle. It won't.

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It's All Politics
9:18 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Race To Stop 'Revenge Porn' Raises Free Speech Worries

Annmarie Chiarini, whose ex-boyfriend posted private nude photos of her online, has emerged as a leading voice in the movement to pass legislation that criminalizes "revenge porn."
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:42 am

It's called "revenge porn" — the posting of nude or sexually explicit photos or videos online to degrade or harass someone, usually a former spouse or lover.

And states from Arizona to New York are racing to make it a crime.

It's a development that has heartened privacy advocates but alarmed free speech watchdogs who see constitutional peril in many bills being considered.

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It's All Politics
8:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

The 'Blue-ing' Of Texas Is Unlikely To Start At The Top

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is expected to easily win his primary Tuesday, and likely keep the office in GOP hands come November.
Ron Jenkins MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:06 am

The process of electing a new governor in Texas begins in earnest Tuesday, when Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are expected to easily dispatch their primary opponents and move on to the Nov. 4 battle.

As if they hadn't already.

Both Abbott, 56, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court judge, and Davis, 50, a state senator and former Fort Worth City Council member, have been amassing money and press since at least last fall.

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It's All Politics
2:18 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Another Bush Takes Aim At Texas Office And Family Dynasty

George P. Bush passes a portrait of his grandfather George H.W. Bush at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin. Bush, the son of a governor and the nephew and grandson of two presidents, is running for Texas land commissioner.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:41 pm

George Prescott Bush.

Ring a bell?

It should, and if it doesn't, it soon will. George P. Bush, 37, is a great-grandson of a late U.S. senator from Connecticut; a grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents; and the eldest son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who just may run for president himself in 2016.

On Tuesday, George P., referred to by some as the "Hispanic George Bush" because of his mother's Mexican heritage, will take his generation's first crack at the family business when he runs in a statewide Republican primary for Texas land commissioner.

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It's All Politics
4:31 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Debbie Dingell Poised To Keep U.S. House Seat In The Family

Debbie Dingell with Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during a 2008 campaign event in Flint, Mich. Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run for her husband's House seat.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 6:22 pm

Debbie Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run to succeed her husband, John Jr., for the southeast Michigan congressional seat that's been in the family since John Sr. was elected in 1933.

Though several news outlets reported her intentions, former Michigan state legislator Bill Ballenger of InsideMichiganPolitics.com retained a kernel of skepticism.

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It's All Politics
8:52 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lobbyists Amp Up Efforts To Sell Washington On E-Cigarettes

Blair Roberts, a 22-year-old sales associate at Colorado E-Smokes, "vapes" with an electronic cigarette in the Aurora, Colo., store. In the absence of federal rules, Colorado is among states that considered its own age requirements for the nicotine-delivery devices.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 3:57 pm

In a scene from the new season of the popular Netflix political drama House of Cards, the elegant Claire Underwood catches her soon-to-be vice president husband puffing an e-cigarette.

"You're cheating," she says, referring to their efforts to quit smoking.

"No, I'm not," Congressman Francis Underwood replies. "It's vapor ... addiction without the consequences."

A Washington-based drama with an implicit endorsement of "vaping" — the practice of partaking in nicotine without burning tobacco?

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It's All Politics
2:43 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Edwin Edwards: Governor, Convict, Reality TV Star — Congressman?

Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and his new wife, Trina Grimes Scott, after getting married in the French Quarter in New Orleans, La., in July 2011.
CHERYL GERBER AP

Rascally former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards was once so confident about re-election that he declared "the only way I can lose is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

That was 30 years ago, when Edwards, 86, was a much younger man. It was long before the Democrat served eight years in prison for racketeering, conspiracy and extortion.

And it was a lifetime – or two — before a recent cringe-inducing reality television show about life with his young wife, her teenage sons and his own grandmother-aged daughters from a previous marriage.

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

House Candidates Outpace Senate Contenders In Money Haul

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington in October 2013, as the court heard arguments on campaign finance.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:48 pm

With 435 seats up for grabs every two years, House candidates typically raise more money overall than those running for the Senate, where only about one-third of the chamber's 100 seats are contested every two years.

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

As Takeover Hopes Fade, House Democrats Remain Upbeat

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., right, pick up box lunches on Feb. 12 before boarding a bus for a trip to a retreat in Cambridge, Md., where House Democrats will hold strategy meetings for two and a half days.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

House Democrats face a decidedly grim election season.

Their hopes of wresting control from the GOP look increasingly remote. Their legislative agenda is stymied. And some of their biggest liberal standard-bearers – Californians Henry Waxman and George Miller — are retiring.

So, as they hunker down on Maryland's Eastern Shore for their annual "issues conference" Thursday and Friday, why do they seem to be in such good spirits?

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Democrats Clash In Military Sexual Assault Debate

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (center) and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (right) are at odds over the best way to respond to military sexual assaults.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:45 pm

The Capitol Hill crackdown on sexual assaults in the U.S. military has been a rare mission on which Republicans and Democrats have found common ground over the past year.

The effort, spearheaded by Senate women — including an unprecedented seven on the Armed Services Committee — has already resulted in scores of tough new provisions designed to root out sexual predators, improve victims' services, and end commanders' ability to overturn jury convictions.

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Interest Groups Gear Up For Next Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his 2011 State of the Union address.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:24 pm

It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.

Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.

At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.

That could change by year's end.

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It's All Politics
10:53 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh To Replace Sen. Max Baucus

Lt. Gov. John Walsh defending himself in Helena, Mont., on Jan. 26 against reports that he was reprimanded by the U.S. Army in 2010 for using his position as Montana adjutant general to solicit National Guard memberships to a private organization.
Matt Volz AP

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, a Democrat, was appointed Friday to fill the unexpired term of longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

Walsh, 53, was already an announced candidate for the seat Baucus had planned to vacate at the end of this year. His appointment by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock gives the former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard a leg up in the November contest to replace the six-term senator.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Black Openly Gay Judge Would Be Federal Bench's First

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has indicated he won't block the nomination of Judge Darrin Gayles, who would be the first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:33 pm

Darrin P. Gayles, a Florida state circuit judge, appears to be on track to become the nation's first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gayles, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

White House Creates 'Climate Hubs' To Help Rural Towns, Farmers

Farmers in Iowa are among those around the country who will get help coping with climate change through a new federal program.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:00 am

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a high-profile plan to help farmers and ranchers adjust to climate changes that have already begun to upend growing seasons and threaten livestock.

The "climate hub" initiative was praised by environmentalists, though they were quick to warn President Obama that it would not provide him cover on another environmental issue in the headlines: the Keystone XL pipeline.

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It's All Politics
1:45 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Surgeon General Pick's Tweets Annoy GOP, But Not Enough To Block Him

Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Obama's nominee to be the next U.S. surgeon general, testifies Tuesday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:50 am

Boston physician Vivek Murthy was expected to run into political headwinds Tuesday during his Senate confirmation hearing for the post of the nation's top doc — surgeon general.

Murthy, 36, the founder of a national physicians group that worked to pass the Affordable Care Act, was seen by some as vulnerable to GOP attacks because of his political work, his youth and his less-than-a-lifetime of public health experience — not to mention a few impolitic tweets guaranteed to rile conservatives.

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