Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at NPR.org.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR's White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress. In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe. He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

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, and subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava. He also covered Mr.Obama's first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 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.

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Politics
3:53 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Ducking Social Issues, GOP Struggles To Keep Conservatives Close

Iowa's Westside Conservative Club holds breakfast meetings at a Machine Shed restaurant outside Des Moines. Longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley spoke at a recent breakfast.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 12:25 pm

The push to get out the vote is in full force. Midterm elections are just over three weeks away, and early voting has already started in some states.

Rallying voters is always a major undertaking. But this year is proving even tougher, with trust in government at rock bottom. That includes both the Democratic president and the Republican House.

The GOP still expects to do very well in November. But that doesn't mean the Republican base is all that excited.

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National Security
6:55 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Secret Service's Hollywood Allure Fueled By Its Secrecy

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 12:50 pm

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

All the security stumbles and the leadership shakeup have put the spotlight on the U.S. Secret Service this week. Late night comedians are doing what they do in such moments.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW")

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Politics
4:06 am
Tue September 30, 2014

In Michigan, A Low-Key Campaign For A High-Stakes Senate Seat

Terri Lynn Land walks in the Labor Day Parade in Romeo, Mich., on Sept. 1. Land has made some public appearances like this one but overall is running a low-key race in the state.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 1:33 pm

Republicans see a chance for a takeover of the Senate this November, and they are hoping the path to victory leads through Michigan. That's where six-term Democratic Sen. Carl Levin is retiring.

Even though Democrats dominate the state in the presidential elections, the GOP does much better in midterms when voter turnout is lower.

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Politics
8:09 am
Sat September 27, 2014

For Michigan Political Ads, The Tigers Are The Big Game In Town

Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez (left) and Torii Hunter celebrate Martinez's two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 1:20 pm

We're in the final weekend of the regular baseball season and there are still pennant races and wild-card matchups to be set.

Along with sports fans, political consultants are watching as well, and they are keeping an especially close eye on the Detroit Tigers. A fine team, sure, but also one uniquely suited to fill the needs of the people who buy TV time for political campaigns.

All over the country, advertisers love to buy sports spots for the big audiences that are enthusiastic and engaged. And with a live telecast, you can't fast-forward through the ads.

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It's All Politics
3:15 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Will Bridge Scandal Jam Gov. Christie's Road Show?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets supporters at a campaign event for Scott Brown (center left) in Salem, N.H.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:49 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
6:48 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Hillary Clinton Keeps Iowa Crowd Guessing About Her Presidential Plans

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin work the grill during Harkin's annual fundraising steak fry in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:10 pm

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.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

A Promise Fulfilled Upends Kansas Governor's Race

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback (left) listens while his Democratic challenger Paul Davis answers a question during their first debate at the Kansas State Fair.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 8:00 am

Kansas has become such a reliably red state in presidential elections that when other election years roll around, the results still seem a foregone conclusion. But the governor's mansion has switched parties often in the past 60 years, and Democrats may take it back this November.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is running for re-election, and for months now, polls have shown him consistently running well behind his Democratic challenger.

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Politics
5:07 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Once Low-Key, U.S. Senate Race In Kansas Suddenly Volatile

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts (left) and independent candidate Greg Orman shake hands after a debate at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday in Hutchinson, Kan.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 2:06 pm

There are a couple of things we've long known to be true of the state of Kansas: the stormy weather (just ask a little girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto), and the politics. In presidential elections, Kansas is deep red. And the state's entire congressional delegation is Republican.

But this year, there's sudden volatility in Kansas politics. As a result, some longtime Republican officeholders are fighting to keep their jobs, including U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Guns Boom In 2014 Campaign Ads

Image from Montana congressional hopeful Matt Rosendale's campaign ad, in which he shoots what he calls a government drone out of the sky.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 8:35 am

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It's All Politics
3:21 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

State Democrats Play Defense Ahead Of Midterm Elections

MHJ iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 6:29 pm

Democrats are bracing for the 2014 election, now fewer than 10 weeks away.

What has them worried this year?

There's the president's slumping approval scores, the public view that the country is on the wrong track, and frustration that the economic recovery hasn't eased the nation's economic anxiety.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Lawyers, Ready Your Pens: November Elections Could Mean Recounts

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 5:24 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
4:14 am
Mon August 18, 2014

An Unprecedented Transfer Of Power Marked Ford's Presidency

President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford, with Jack and Susan Ford at their Alexandra, Va. home on August 12, 1974. The Ford family lived there for ten days until the executive mansion was ready.
David Hume Kennerly Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:11 am

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.

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History
3:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Forget Tea Pot Dome: Harding's Love Letters Make For A New Steamy Scandal

A letter from Warren G. Harding to his lover, Carrie Fulton Phillips, dated Jan. 24, 1916.
Don Gonyea NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:50 pm

President Warren G. Harding presided over Prohibition, died before completing his first term, and is consistently ranked by historians and the public as one of the worst U.S. presidents.

But suddenly he's getting a lot of attention, thanks to a cache of steamy love letters he wrote to a mistress over 15 years. Sealed for a half-century, today the Library of Congress made the entire collection available to the public.

James Hutson, chief archivist of the manuscript division at the library, pulled a box of the letters from the collection this morning.

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Politics
4:35 am
Fri July 18, 2014

While Campaigning For Other Democrats, Sen. Warren Gains Fans

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We report next on a woman who's become a focus of presidential speculation. Hillary Clinton, of course, is an overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but Elizabeth Warren has excited a lot of Democratic activists. The Massachusetts senator is spending her summer traveling the country.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
3:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Like Clockwork, Impeachment Talk Surfaces — But Action's Unlikely

President Obama waves before boarding Air Force One prior to his departure from Andrews Air Force Base on June 26.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:00 pm

When a U.S. president gets deep into a second term, there are certain things that you can count on.

Political victories are tougher to come by.

The battle scars are deeper.

Public approval falls, and the opposing party looks for new ways to gain some advantage.

And in the modern presidency, there's another second-term development that's becoming just as predictable as the list above — calls for the president to be impeached.

It happens even when there's little — or no — chance of success.

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