Don Gonyea | WYPR

Don Gonyea

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.

Gonyea has been covering politics full-time for NPR since the 2000 presidential campaign. That's the year he chronicled a controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battle in Florida that awarded the White House to George W. Bush. Gonyea was named NPR White House Correspondent that year and subsequently covered the entirety of the Bush presidency, from 2001-2008. He was at the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the 2004 campaign, he traveled with both Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. He has served as co-anchor of NPR's election night coverage, and in 2008 Gonyea was the lead reporter covering Barack Obama's presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first-ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, as well as subsequent — and at times testy — meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Bratislava. He also covered Obama's first trip overseas as president. During the 2016 election, he traveled extensively with both GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. His coverage of union members and white working class voters in the Midwest also gave early insight into how candidate Trump would tap into economic anxiety to win the presidency.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Michigan on labor unions and the automobile industry. His first public radio job was at station WDET in Detroit. He has spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes at the major US auto companies, along with other labor disputes. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium.

He serves as a fill-in host on NPR news magazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Weekend All Things Considered.

Over the years, Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

The World War II era is about to officially draw to a close in the United States Congress. This comes after seven full decades during which there was always a veteran of that war in the legislative body.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in New Hampshire on Wednesday, technically on 2014 election business. But he was also there to make an impression for 2016. It seems every time you turn around in the early primary states, you bump into another potential — let's say likely — candidate for president. Count Christie in the pack.

All of this as he's been dealing with fallout from the "Bridgegate" scandal involving massive traffic jams created by politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Hillary Clinton, who has a huge lead in many early presidential polls, returned to Iowa on Sunday. The woman who says she has not yet decided on a 2016 presidential run appeared along with former President Bill Clinton in a state she has not visited since she lost the 2008 Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama.

Her speech at the annual steak fry hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a must-attend event for state Democratic activists, revealed little about her intentions — but also did nothing to dampen the widespread belief that she will indeed run.

Forty years ago, America was getting to know a new president: Gerald Ford. He took office after scandal forced the resignation of Richard Nixon, famously declaring: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Taking on the presidency meant a transfer of power unlike any the country had ever seen. Ford often said he had never aspired to the White House. But there he was, in the summer of 1974.

It's the summer of a campaign year and once again the airwaves, the Internet, and likely your own Facebook and other social media feeds are full of political ads.

In the primaries, we've already seen ads featuring cartoon turtles, gator wrestling, lots of dogs, horses and, of course, guns — propped against pickup trucks or resting over shoulders.

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Could President Obama one day motivate future generations to run for office, the way that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have? It's too early to tell if a trend will take hold, but there is at least one key Obama campaign veteran now running for statewide office.

Brad Anderson was the spokesman for Obama's 2008 Iowa campaign. Four years later, he ran the president's entire Iowa operation. Now Anderson is running for Iowa secretary of state.

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

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And I'm Melissa Block, this week in Dallas at member station KERA.

Google Glass is looking to be the next must-have digital device. The small computer you wear like eyeglasses allows you to surf the Web, email, text, take photos, shoot and stream live video and more — hands-free.

For now Google Glass is in very limited release, but even so, political professionals are eagerly exploring how it could become a powerful campaign tool.

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

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President Obama doesn't leave office until January of 2017, but already the competition has begun for the right to host his presidential library and museum.

A new foundation has been set up to raise money and to begin the site selection process, and there are already bids in the works from Chicago, Honolulu and elsewhere.

A Tradition Of Archives

Leaders of the Republican Party acknowledge they have a problem attracting minority voters — especially African-Americans, 93 percent of whom voted for President Obama in 2012, compared with just 6 percent for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

That chasm is at the heart of a new initiative by the Republican National Committee during February. In its first-ever Black History Month ad campaign, the RNC has launched radio spots aimed at African-American audiences in a handful of cities: Washington, D.C.; Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

Every four years a handful of cities battle to host the big nominating conventions for the major political parties. The competition for 2016 has already begun, with a surprising and aggressive player making a bid for the Republican National Convention: Las Vegas.

Certainly it's a place that knows how to host a big convention, but for the GOP to give Vegas the nod, the party will have to look past the city's well-earned reputation as "Sin City."

It's easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House.

It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn't mean it was a year of victories: The movement's campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren't as large as they once were.

Two decades ago, the strongest critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement were members of labor unions. They warned that the trade deal would mean the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and lower wages for U.S. workers.

Today, 20 years since NAFTA's passage, unions feel as strongly as ever that the deal was a bad idea.

When John F. Kennedy began his run for the White House more than 50 years ago, there was plenty of excitement and anticipation. He was energetic, handsome and from a famous Boston political family.

But his candidacy was far from a sure bet. At the time, few would have predicted the lasting impact his campaign would have on every election to follow.

Recognizing The Power Of TV

Kennedy made the most of his youth and novelty, says historian Robert Dallek, author of several books about JFK.

It's been a tough week for the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress. The Affordable Care Act survived the Capitol Hill standoff largely untouched. President Obama and the Democrats stared them down and won. And fights with establishment Republicans revealed the depth of division within the GOP.

The old line in Washington is that the "establishment" controls everything.

But the fights that have resulted in the government shutdown have turned that cliche upside down.

This time, it's the Tea Party and its allies in Congress calling the shots. The "establishment" — on Capitol Hill and in the business community — has so far been on the outs.

You can hear the frustration in the voice of 11-term Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., as he runs a gantlet of reporters at the Capitol.

"I'm just more concerned about there not being a clean CR," he says amid the hubbub.

Is the GOP still the "party of business"?

With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.

Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.

Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. There was a steady rain. Soldiers fired rifle volleys, a bugler played taps and mourners paid their final respects.

The New Jersey Democrat was 89 when he died this week — and his death marked a somber milestone.

For the first time since the end of World War II, there are no veterans of that war in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg had been the only one remaining.

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