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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It's All Politics
2:56 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Is Ready To 'Stand Out' As A Female Candidate

A cropped version of the original photo of Hillary Clinton on this page.
Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 3:30 pm

At the end of the grueling 2008 primary fight, Hillary Clinton gathered supporters in Washington, D.C., and delivered perhaps the most memorable line of her whole campaign.

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," Clinton said to roaring applause.

It's a line, one could say, that began paving the way for her seemingly inevitable 2016 campaign.

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It's All Politics
2:42 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Privacy Problem

In April 1994, Hillary Clinton took questions from reporters for more than an hour as first lady. By that point, she had a reputation for not being particularly transparent and for not spending enough time addressing the national media.
Doug Mills AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 2:21 pm

Controversy swirled. The press had questions, a lot of them. And so, finally, Hillary Clinton decided to address reporters.

"Well let me thank all of you for coming," she said, sitting on a low platform in the State Dining Room.

It was April 1994. The first lady wore pale pink and took questions for more than an hour about the Whitewater investigation, cattle futures, the suicide of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster and which documents may have been removed from his office. Finally, there was the question of why she had let the scandals fester so long.

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It's All Politics
1:58 am
Mon March 9, 2015

In Iowa, 2016 Has Begun — At Least For The Republican Party

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to members of the media during a two-day swing through Iowa that had all the trappings of a presidential campaign.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 2:07 pm

After five days spent driving around Iowa, meeting with political activists, consultants and regular voters, one thing is clear: the 2016 presidential campaign is on — at least on one side.

Nine GOP Men, One Stage, Six Hours

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Politics
6:10 am
Sun March 8, 2015

GOP Hopefuls Do A Balancing Act At Ag Summit

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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The Two-Way
4:03 am
Tue February 24, 2015

#NPRreads: If You've Got 2016 Winners Penciled In, Think Again

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 5:28 am

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

With that, here's one from NPR White House Correspondent Tamara Keith:

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue February 10, 2015

White House Seeking Support Of Congress In Fight Against ISIS

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 11:39 pm

The White House is expected to send Congress language this week which if passed would authorize military action against the militant group ISIS, action that has been underway since last summer.

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Politics
2:21 am
Tue February 10, 2015

In Likely Democratic Primary, Who's Joining Hillary Clinton?

Democratic Party possibilities for 2016 (clockwise from top left): former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden; former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb.
Ethan Miller, Mandel Ngan, Patrick Smith, Mark Wilson, Chip Somodevilla (2) Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:22 pm

There may not be any officially declared candidates for president yet, but prominent Republicans from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are making big speeches and jostling for consultants and donors. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton may not formally announce whether she is running for months. But any number of polls would indicate, without even declaring, she has a lock on the Democratic nomination.

Which got me thinking — who are the other potential Democratic candidates?

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World
2:48 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Obama, Merkel Downplay Disagreement Over Ukraine Aid

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 4:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Politics
2:29 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Like Groundhog Day, There's A Routine To White House Budget Debut

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 9:42 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Politics
2:36 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

U.S. Careful Amid Turmoil And Transition In Yemen, Saudi Arabia

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:00 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Politics
2:24 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Obama Takes His State Of The Union Messages To YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:28 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Economy
2:23 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Working 3 Jobs In A Time Of Recovery

When Ed Neufeldt introduced President Obama in 2009, Elkhart, Ind. had the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in the country, close to 20 percent. The county's job numbers have recovered, but Neufeldt's now working three part-time jobs.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:58 am

If Elkhart County, Ind. was the symbol of the recession, then Ed Neufeldt became the face of the unemployed worker.

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Politics
7:15 am
Sun January 18, 2015

Obama's Trouble Articulating The State Of The Economy

President Obama used the word "crisis" 11 times when he addressed a joint session of Congress in 2009. Since then, he's had a hard time hitting the right note when talking about the economy.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 5:05 am

When you're president of the United States, what you say about the economy matters, because it isn't just about numbers and widgets; It's about people's lives and hopes. The health of the economy is intertwined with the national psyche.

On Tuesday, when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, he will talk about the economy, something that in the past he's struggled to describe in a way that resonated with the American people.

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Politics
1:54 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Some Not-So-Conventional Wisdom About The Next Congress

Former lawmaker Ben Franklin keeps his eye out for Congress' newest class, due to start work on Capitol Hill next week.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 4:23 pm

In politics, conventional wisdom can have a certain power. But, sometimes the obviously true thing isn't so true upon inspection.

The new Republican Congress hits Capitol Hill next week, but the latest round of that wisdom seems to have already been established — from how it's going to work to its relationship with President Obama. Here's a look at 2 1/2 pieces of that wisdom.

1. Republicans are going to have to show they can govern.

At this point, it's been said so many times it's become an established Washington truth.

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Politics
2:15 am
Tue December 30, 2014

The Fleeting Obsessions Of The White House Press Corps

White House press secretary Josh Earnest takes questions from the press during a daily briefing in December.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 4:16 pm

If you didn't like the news on any given week of 2014, you were mostly in luck. You could just wait a few days until the press moved on.

This was my first full year in the White House press briefing room, sitting in often on the daily briefings. In that time, I noticed a certain attention deficit disorder when it came to the issue of the day.

In 20 seconds, here is 2014 in the White House press briefing room:

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U.S.
5:42 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Obama Wraps Up A 'Breakthrough' 2014

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:33 am

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

Around the Nation
5:55 am
Sat November 22, 2014

In Las Vegas, Obama Sells His Immigration Plan

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 9:21 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Politics
4:45 am
Tue October 21, 2014

In Tight Races, Both Parties Bank On Early Votes

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

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:48 pm

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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Politics
1:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:47 am

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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Politics
2:27 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Pizza Man Delivers Third-Party Option

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

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 4:15 pm

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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Politics
3:29 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Democrats, Republicans Pitch Old Ideas In New Packaging

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 4:15 pm

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

National Security
3:02 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Amid Scandal, Secret Service Director Resigns

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 6:16 am

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

Politics
2:58 am
Wed October 1, 2014

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

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

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

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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U.S.
11:20 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Obama Emphasizes Coalition In Comments On Syrian Strikes

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

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Politics
4:29 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Anticipating Attacks, GOP Campaigns Focus On Courting Women Voters

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

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:57 pm

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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U.S.
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

House Approves Bill To Train, Arm Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

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

Around the Nation
3:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Medals Of Honor Recognize Harrowing Battle And A Dying Act

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

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 7:43 am

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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It's All Politics
7:34 am
Sat September 13, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 1:47 pm

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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Iraq
4:42 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

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

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

It's All Politics
1:27 am
Mon August 25, 2014

In New Hampshire, An Unexpected Tight Race For Senate

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

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:59 pm

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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