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
5:49 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 6:54 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
10:06 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 11:35 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
4:48 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 5:16 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
3:53 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 4:00 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
4:14 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 5:27 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
3:06 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 6:28 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
6:07 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 7:42 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
4:27 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 6:28 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
1:43 pm
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 3:00 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
5:57 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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Immigration
6:27 am
Sat March 15, 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 4:52 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
3:32 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 4:27 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
2:11 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 10:42 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
7:37 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 12:50 pm

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
11:18 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 1:42 pm

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
10:10 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 12:06 pm

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
4:18 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 7:41 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
10:52 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 5:57 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
4:17 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 5:48 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
4:24 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

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
12:37 pm
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

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:53 pm

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
3:57 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 1:00 pm

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
3:23 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 11:50 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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It's All Politics
6:11 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Report Creates Political Headache For Obama

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will run through this field near Bradshaw, Neb.
NH AP

Any expectation that a new State Department report would clarify the Keystone XL pipeline issue went up in smoke in recent days.

In the aftermath of a conclusion that downplayed the oil pipeline's potential effects on climate change, the issue has gotten even more politically complicated for the Obama White House. Environmentalists are ramping up their opposition to the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, while Republicans have intensified their push for approval. As for Democrats, well, that depends on their election prospects.

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It's All Politics
12:34 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Rep. Henry Waxman, Ferocious Liberal, Says He Will Retire

Rep. Henry Waxman of California speaks during a 2011 hearing in Washington, D.C. The 20-term Democrat was among the "Watergate babies" elected in 1974.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:00 pm

Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), a key architect of the Affordable Care Act and for four decades a ferocious liberal voice on matters of health and the environment, revealed Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Waxman's news comes on the heels of a similar announcement from another liberal California "Watergate baby" elected in 1974, Rep. George Miller. Both are top allies of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also of California.

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It's All Politics
12:55 am
Wed January 29, 2014

From Establishment To Tea Party, Republicans Rebut President

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., rehearses the GOP response to the State of the Union on Capitol Hill. She delivered it Tuesday following the president's speech.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 9:23 am

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking female Republican in the U.S. House, occupied a coveted spot Tuesday night: She delivered the televised rebuttal to the president's State of the Union.

Yet the Washington congresswoman and mother of three young children didn't have the spotlight to herself. She faced competition from within the ranks of her own party, a stark reflection of the divisions that have riven the GOP.

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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

State Of The Union Invitation List: Who Makes The Cut

First lady Michelle Obama and invited guests in her box applaud during President Obama's State of the Union address in Washington, Jan. 25, 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:58 pm

Just like the issues and themes that color the annual State of the Union speech, the list of White House invitees is intended to send a message about what an administration cares about and prioritizes.

The State of the Union guests, after all, are announced beforehand with biographies attached. And the typically staggered announcement of names allows the media to chew them over for several news cycles.

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It's All Politics
6:15 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Critics Seize On Blurry Details In Wendy Davis Story

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis takes part in an interview Monday in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 7:36 pm

Wendy Davis' meteoric rise, from Texas state senator who barely won re-election to Democratic candidate for governor and darling of the national party, has hinged on her powerful personal story and a famous filibuster.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Tom Coburn, GOP Budget Hawk And Obama Friend, To Leave Senate

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., outlines his annual "Wastebook," which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending, on Dec. 17 on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:12 pm

Tom Coburn will leave the Senate with a reputation as "Dr. No," but not necessarily as doctrinaire.

The Oklahoma Republican, who at age 65 is undergoing his fifth bout of cancer, announced that he will resign in December, two years before his second term expires.

"This decision isn't about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires," Coburn, a physician, said in a statement. "As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere."

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It's All Politics
1:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Doctors Say Reid's Request For Bowel Research Money Is No Joke

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada talks about unemployment benefits during a news conference Thursday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:47 am

In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.

But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.

It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.

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