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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Iraq
4:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Political Solution Needed In Iraq, Obama Says

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:29 am

President Obama is sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to gather intelligence on the insurgency. He was adamant there will be no American combat operations on the ground in Iraq.

Iraq
2:12 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:12 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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Politics
7:26 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Upset Of Eric Cantor Deals A Shock To GOP Establishment

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:20 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.

Politics
2:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

What Happened To Unemployment Benefits?

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:46 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
3:13 am
Mon June 2, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:48 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.

The Impact of War
5:40 am
Sat May 31, 2014

New Acting VA Secretary Faces Cultural Challenges

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 9:38 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.

News
2:36 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

VA Secretary Shinseki Steps Down Amid Reports Of Systemic Problems

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 5:07 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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The Salt
2:44 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

First Lady Fights To Keep Healthful School Lunch Law Intact

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

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:53 am

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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Politics
8:41 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Conservatives Brainstorm To Win Voters In The Middle

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

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 12:09 pm

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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She Votes
1:32 am
Fri May 9, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm

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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It's All Politics
1:04 am
Thu May 8, 2014

At Times All A President Can Say After Disaster Is, 'We're Here'

President Obama surveys tornado damage with Vilonia, Ark., resident Daniel Smith on Wednesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 5:03 pm

Daniel Smith's house is barely standing after a tornado in Arkansas late last month killed 16 people. The EF4 tornado ripped a gash through the rural communities of Mayflower and Vilonia. Homes were wiped clean to their slabs, businesses shredded beyond recognition.

Wednesday, President Obama went to see the damage for himself, and to meet with residents like Smith. It's a task that he and many presidents before him have had to do far too often.

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She Votes
1:24 am
Tue May 6, 2014

GOP Softens Its Edge In An Attempt To Appeal To Women

"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

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:34 am

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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She Votes
3:58 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 3:34 pm

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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News
2:03 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

White House Report Lays Out Plans For Combating Campus Sexual Assault

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 5:40 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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Environment
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pipeline Put Off, As Keystone Review Is Indefinitely Extended

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

The Keystone XL pipeline remains a major point of contention within the Democratic Party, as green voters pull President Obama one direction and pro-energy senators and labor unions pull the other. It looks as though the "comment period" for the project will be extended, delaying a decision past the November elections.

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Politics
4:02 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Obama's Favorite County — At Least When It Comes To Giving Speeches

President Obama speaks during an April 7 visit to Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Md. It was his fourth visit to Prince George's County in as many months.
Aude Guerrucci-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 11:11 pm

Residents of Prince George's County, Md., might just get sick of hearing "Hail to the Chief." President Obama has visited this county to deliver policy addresses more than any other in his second term.

"Hello Maryland. It's good to see you," the president said enthusiastically in January at a Costco in Lanham, Md. "I love to get outside of the Beltway, even if it is just a few hundred feet away."

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Politics
2:40 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Budget Bomb-Throwing Resumes With Party Line Vote

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 6:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. For years, budget battles have ruled Washington politics: fiscal cliffs, debt ceiling fights and, of course, last fall's government shutdown. But then, in December, the House and Senate agreed on a two-year spending plan and the budget bomb-throwing stopped. Today, it resumed just long enough for the Republican-controlled House to pass a budget.

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Economy
2:17 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Life Without Jobless Benefits: Watching, Searching And Praying

Josie Maisano poses with her congressman, Democrat Sander Levin of Michigan. Levin says if Congress can't respond to people like Maisano, "we've failed."
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:11 pm

There's a small frame hanging on the wall near the computer Josie Maisano uses to search for work. Inside there's a picture of her at this year's State of the Union address and a blue ribbon that Democrats wore that night to highlight the plight of people like Maisano, whose unemployment benefits stopped at the end of December.

"Oh, my God. It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Maisano. "Listening to President Obama, it was just very, very heartwarming."

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Politics
1:35 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Obamacare Rolls Into N.H. Like A Political Campaign — And Wins

In New Hampshire, where the Affordable Care Act remains unpopular, the state has exceeded expectations for insurance enrollments. Credit goes, in part, to a grass-roots campaign to sign people up.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:34 am

Monday is the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or at least to begin the process. We already know that nationwide more than 6 million people have enrolled.

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It's All Politics
2:50 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Biden Visits N.H. To Talk About Jobs ... But Not His Own

Vice President Biden and N.H. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan meet with employees March 25 at the New Hampshire Works center in Manchester.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:12 pm

If you didn't know any better (or you got confused about what year it was), you might think Vice President Biden was back on the campaign trail, kissing grandmothers, slapping guys on the back and borrowing a woman's phone to razz her son about a basketball game.

Biden returned Tuesday to the familiar campaign grounds of New Hampshire for the first time since October 2012. And he swears he made the trip not to stake out ground for a presidential run, but rather to check out how the statewith the nation's first presidential primary helps match the unemployed with jobs.

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Politics
2:31 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Obama's Surgeon General Nominee Stuck In Limbo

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:37 am

President Obama's nominee for surgeon general has a medical degree and an MBA, but his confirmation is being held up in the Senate because of special-interest politics and Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

Health Care
7:52 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Under 30? The President Would Like You To Know Health Care Is Hip

The president joined host Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die mock talk show, Between Two Ferns this week. Obama was there to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Funny or Die

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 9:32 am

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Politics
3:05 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Obama To Push Expanded Overtime Pay

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Today, President Obama will tell the Department of Labor to rethink the rules for how employers pay overtime. The president wants millions more people to get paid overtime, particularly those who are exempt. And by signing a presidential memo to the department, he doesn't have to ask Congress to make that happen.

NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

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News
2:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

President Obama Moves To Expand Overtime Pay

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama is taking another step to raise the wages of workers and he plans to do it without getting Congress involved. The White House says tomorrow Obama will direct the Labor Department to change the rules for businesses on overtime pay. The change could mean that millions of private sector workers currently classified as management could eventually qualify for overtime.

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Politics
4:35 am
Wed March 12, 2014

White House Meeting To Examine Women's Pay

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:32 am

President Obama is expected to meet on Wednesday with female members of Congress. There are reasons for the president's focus on women that involve both policy and politics.

Health Care
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Pitches Health Care Law To Latinos In Bid To Boost Enrollment

President Obama talks with television hosts Jose Diaz-Balart, center, and Enrique Acevedo, left, about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Latinos.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Getting Latinos to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is seen as critical to the law's success. The Latino population is disproportionately uninsured and relatively young, but enrollment hasn't been going well. This, in part, explains President Obama's appearance Thursday at a town-hall-style event hosted by the nation's two largest Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo. The tough questions he got only scratch the surface.

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Politics
3:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

New England Governors Back Obama's Minimum Wage Hike Plan

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Obama is hoping lawmakers will raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Many Republicans call that a potential job killer, and they're blocking the president's efforts in Congress. So as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, the president took his pitch to a place with a more receptive audience.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is good to be back in Connecticut.

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Politics
2:37 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama Budget: A Blueprint With Little Chance Of Passage

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 4:31 pm

President Obama is announcing his 2015 budget Tuesday. It calls for increased tax credits for the poor and boosted infrastructure spending, but it's unlikely to be enacted by Congress.

Politics
3:02 am
Tue March 4, 2014

At The White House, It's Budget Day

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:04 am

President Obama unveils his nearly $4 trillion budget at an elementary school. But before the bound copy of the budget is even delivered to Congress, the fate of this spending plan is already sealed.

Middle East
2:23 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Two Talks On The Docket For Netanyahu's White House Visit

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

President Obama met today in the Oval Office with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the top of the president's agenda: Getting Israel to accept a framework for peace talks with the Palestinians.

NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

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