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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The Salt
4:57 am
Sun August 30, 2015

The Bloody Mary Meat Straw: An All-American Story

This Bloody Mary served at the Nationals Park in D.C. came with a meat straw, which infuses each sip with an umami flavor. Ben Hirko first came up with the concept while tending bar one snowy night in 2009. The straws have become a hit.
Tamara Keith/NPR

Originally published on Wed September 2, 2015 5:11 pm

This is a story of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It is the story of the meat straw. Yes, you read that right.

"It is a straw made out of pork," explains Ben Hirko of Coralville, Iowa, the man behind Benny's Original Meat Straws.

It's a half-inch in diameter, the same length as a standard plastic straw. And it has a hole running down the middle of it, through which you're meant to slurp up Bloody Marys.

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It's All Politics
3:54 pm
Mon August 24, 2015

Obama Could Make An Endorsement In Primary Between Clinton, Biden

President Obama has stayed neutral in the race to replace him, but as rumors swirl that Vice President Biden could jump in, a White House spokesman said Monday it's possible Obama will endorse.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 24, 2015 6:53 pm

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET with more quotes from the White House briefing.

The White House did nothing to tamp down speculation Monday that Vice President Biden might mount a presidential bid in 2016. Press Secretary Josh Earnest heaped praise on the vice president and said President Obama could endorse — even in a race between Biden and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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It's All Politics
5:02 am
Fri August 21, 2015

Fact Check: Is Refinancing Student Debt Really Good Policy?

Students protest the rising costs of college loans in Los Angeles in 2012. Citing bank bailouts, the protesters called for student debt cancellations.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 21, 2015 10:06 pm

Student loans have become an issue in the presidential campaign, especially on the Democratic side. And it's no wonder. There are more than 40 million Americans with some $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

But people who study education finance say one widely popular proposal to help lessen the debt load may not be as good as it seems.

The first problem: the debt load

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It's All Politics
5:10 am
Fri August 14, 2015

At Clinton Event, An Emotional Conversation On Substance Use

At Hillary Clinton's event, Carl Babbitt raised his hand high until Clinton called on him to tell his story. Here, Babbitt holds two photos of himself — one from when he was 29, in prison serving time for murder.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Fri August 14, 2015 4:35 pm

New Hampshire is in the throes of a drug epidemic driven by prescription opioids and heroin.

"The state of New Hampshire loses a citizen to an overdose death about every day," said Tym Rourke, chairman of the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

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It's All Politics
10:38 am
Fri August 7, 2015

Inside Hillary Clinton's Debate Watch War Room

The Clinton campaign's debate watch war room was actually just a conference room with a big-screen TV at the front. Fifteen or so staffers huddled over their laptops ready to pounce.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Fri August 7, 2015 1:13 pm

While the Republican candidates debated Thursday night, Democratic campaigns tried to make the most of the moment, offering rapid response.

At the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters on the 11th floor of an office building in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 50 staff members gathered to watch the debate. Some were working. Others were holding beers (at least one wrapped in the "Chillary Clinton" beer koozie sold in the campaign merch store).

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