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
5:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Why Republicans Are Out Of Step With Young Voters

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 10:16 am

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has begun a series of meetings with groups that have overwhelmingly gone Democratic in the past two presidential elections.

He's sitting down with Latino and Asian voters and with young people across the country. The youth group is of particular concern to the GOP because voting habits established at this stage could last a lifetime.

College students at Ohio State University were eager to talk about the state of the GOP brand. The class is called American Political Parties.

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Music Interviews
5:32 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The Man In Black Goes To The County Fair

Gonyea's copy of Johnny Cash's Rockabilly Blues, signed by the man himself.
NPR

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:26 pm

I started out in radio more than 30 years ago. My first job right out of college was as a country-western DJ at WVMO, my hometown radio station in Monroe, Mich.

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It's All Politics
11:52 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 11:59 am

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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It's All Politics
5:27 am
Sat January 26, 2013

For GOP Comeback, Leaders Urge Stepped-Up Outreach

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, has been re-elected to another two-year term.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 5:36 pm

In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.

The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.

In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

At Winter Gathering, GOP Asks: Where Do We Go From Here?

Reince Priebus, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, says Republicans need to "grow our party without compromising our principles."
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:22 pm

Some soul-searching is on the agenda as the Republican National Committee holds its winter meetings in Charlotte, N.C.

November's elections were a big disappointment for the GOP. The party has now lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.

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It's All Politics
3:32 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Latino Voters Urge Obama To Keep Immigration Promise

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:35 am

Latino voters were a key to President Obama's victory in November, turning out in big numbers and supporting Obama by more than 2 to 1 over Republican Mitt Romney.

Now, many of those voters say it's time for Obama to do something he did not do in his first term: push hard for and sign a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

Let's start with a group of Latinos — young and old, some U.S. citizens, some not — heading from Florida to Washington, D.C., for Obama's inauguration and for meetings with members of Congress. As caravans go, it's a small one: 13 people in two vans.

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It's All Politics
6:50 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

For Young Republican, Defying Boehner In Washington Plays Well Back Home

Republican House Speaker John Boehner administers the oath of office to Amash during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 5, 2011, at the start of Amash's first term.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.

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Politics
2:57 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Tea Party May Be Losing Steam, But Issues Still Boil

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:56 am

The battle over how to avoid the looming cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff is a frustrating one for the Tea Party. The movement is still a force within the GOP, even as its popularity has fallen over the past two years.

But in the current debate, there have been no big rallies in Washington, and Tea Party members in Congress seem resigned to the fact that any eventual deal will be one they won't like — and one they'll have little influence over.

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It's All Politics
5:15 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Rice Controversy Raises Ayotte's Profile

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain, discusses the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:44 pm

Freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been standing side by side with colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in questioning the Obama administration's version of events about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

It is just the latest in a series of high-profile moments for Ayotte, who is seen as a rising star in a party struggling to win female voters.

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Election 2012
8:45 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Update From Ohio: Ballot Dispute

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 12:18 pm

Ohio is possibly the most important state in this presidential race. A challenge over early voting there has turned into a dispute over provisional ballots.

It's All Politics
4:06 am
Mon November 5, 2012

America's Changing Face Presents Challenges For The GOP

Voters cast their ballots during the first day of early voting at the Meadows Mall on Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:07 am

The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).

But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.

The Long View

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Presidential Race
5:25 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

In Context: Mitt Romney, Ohio And The Auto Bailout

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 6:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

And in the presidential race this week, the focus in the pivotal state of Ohio has been on the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. President Obama backed it. Mitt Romney opposed it, and the Romney campaign is running some controversial ads on the subject in Ohio.

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Election 2012
5:14 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Voter Turnout Efforts Going Full Steam In Wisconsin

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 5:15 pm

Wisconsin is in the small group of remaining battleground states that could determine the outcome of the presidential election. Turnout operations are an important part of the Mitt Romney and President Obama campaigns in all the critical states. But in Wisconsin, get-out-the-vote efforts grew out of the state's hard-fought gubernatorial recall election.

Remembrances
10:06 am
Sun October 21, 2012

McGovern Legacy Offers More Than A Lost Presidency

McGovern listens to a constituent in 1974.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 8:03 am

Former Sen. George McGovern died early Sunday in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90 years old, and had been in failing health. McGovern served two terms in the House and three in the Senate, but was best known as the Democratic Party's ill-fated nominee against President Nixon in the election of 1972.

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Election 2012
6:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Campaigning In Ohio, Bill Clinton Opens For 'The Boss'

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

There are some sure signs that a presidential election is fast approaching: Get out the vote rallies take on a new urgency and the really big names show up. That was all on display yesterday in Parma, Ohio, where Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen were the co-headliners. NPR's Don Gonyea was there.

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Election 2012
4:47 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Take-Charge Obama Shows Up For Second Debate

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:31 am

Two weeks ago, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was seen as the clear winner of that debate. A very different President Obama showed up for the second debate. He went hard after his Republican opponent from the very start.

Election 2012
4:51 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Volunteers Labor To Get Early Voters Out In Iowa

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:59 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Never mind Election Day, we're in the middle of election season. That's definitely true in Iowa, one of the states that allows early voting and a state that is being fiercely contested. Supporters of both President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are urging people to beat the last-minute rush.

Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

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Election 2012
6:45 am
Sun October 14, 2012

Strict Private School Prepped Romney To 'Aim High'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lived in Stevens Hall while he was attending Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 2:14 pm

From now until November, President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at Cranbrook, an all-boys prep school in Michigan.

Cranbrook has been coed since the mid-1980s, its overall diversity is quite evident and the dress code is casual. None of that was true when Mitt Romney, class of 1965, was a student there.

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Election 2012
4:23 am
Fri October 12, 2012

No. 2s, Biden, Ryan, Square Off In Combative Debate

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Last night's vice presidential debate offered a reminder about American politics. It can be infuriating, misleading and irrelevant, but at its best politics becomes a spectacle - a highly informative show - which is what the vice presidential candidates delivered last night in a debate in Kentucky.

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Presidential Race
4:49 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Obama Leads In Nevada Despite State's Poor Economy

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

Nevada is one of the eight most hotly contest battleground states of the 2012 election. President Obama carried it by a wide margin four years ago. But since he took office, the Nevada unemployment rate has gotten significantly worse and is now at 12.1 percent. Still, polls continue to show the race is very close there, with Mr. Obama holding a narrow lead, while Mitt Romney has so far been unable to capitalize on the state's deep economic woes.

Presidential Race
4:59 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Biden A Vital Surrogate For Obama On Campaign Trail

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Vice President Joe Biden has been an important surrogate for President Obama this year, as he was four years ago. Biden especially excels at connecting with white, working-class voters — a group with which the president has struggled.

Politics
6:01 am
Sat September 15, 2012

Paul Ryan A Star Attraction For Values Voters

Paul Ryan addresses the Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

In this election, Christian conservatives seem to be more against President Obama than they are for Mitt Romney. But they do like GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who used a speech Friday to vouch for Romney.

At the annual gathering of religious conservatives in Washington, D.C., there was also talk of this week's violence in the Middle East.

The Values Voter Summit got under way first thing Friday morning, with a speech from Tony Perkins, whose Family Research Council organizes this event.

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It's All Politics
3:36 am
Thu September 13, 2012

In The Ohio River Valley, Voters Aren't Sure Either Candidate Can Help

Towns near the Ohio River, including Steubenville, seen here in 2009, are home to many undecided voters. One of them, Brian Snider, says, "This is pretty much a ghost town."
Rick Gershon Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:17 pm

Most of the election-year attention Ohio gets is focused on the heavily Democratic areas in the northeast around Cleveland, or in GOP strongholds in rural areas and in the south around Cincinnati.

But it's also worth keeping a close eye on the state's less-traveled southeastern border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — the Ohio River Valley. It's a place where there is a lot of doubt about how much either candidate can help.

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Election 2012
5:17 am
Mon September 10, 2012

After Convention, Obama Hits The Campaign Trail

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Over the weekend, two very different approaches to campaigning by President Obama and Mitt Romney.

INSKEEP: The Republican challenger was mostly out of sight, preparing for next month's presidential debates. Romney did, however, appear on Sunday morning TV shows and we'll have more on that in a moment.

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Election 2012
4:44 am
Fri August 31, 2012

GOP Uses Convention To Reach Out To Female Voters

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 12:48 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. So the president is focused on young voters. At the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney and his supporters were focused on women. Their effort is driven by the big deficit that Romney has had among women in poll matchups with the president. And that's why the GOP convention featured one high-profile female speaker after another. Here's NPR's Don Gonyea.

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Election 2012
6:43 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Ryan Won't Get All The Votes In Janesville, Wis.

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 4:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

People have been thinking quite a bit about politics in Janesville, Wisconsin, home of the freshly nominated Republican vice presidential candidate. Paul Ryan still lives in Janesville. His hometown is near the Illinois border. Its politics lean Democratic, although Ryan's own congressional district votes Republican. NPR's Don Gonyea talked to some of those who know and knew Ryan well.

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Around the Nation
4:30 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Janesville Library Prepared For Inquiring Reporters

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 1:50 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For the residents of Janesville, Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate was a story of a local man becoming the biggest news in the country. But for the librarians of Janesville, it meant something else entirely, as NPR's Don Gonyea found out last week.

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Election 2012
5:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

In Colorado With Rep. Ryan

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 7:03 am

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan continues to introduce himself to voters. Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Ryan would be his running mate. So far, Ryan has campaigned exclusively in battleground states that were carried by Democrats in 2008.

Election 2012
4:45 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Hecklers Interrupt Ryan At Iowa State Fair Stop

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 5:09 am

On Monday, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan made his first solo campaign trip since being named Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate. Ryan went to the Iowa State where candidates are a common sight. Ryan drew a big crowd but it wasn't always friendly.

It's All Politics
6:15 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

In Brawl Over Romney's Tax Returns, Harry Reid Gets Marquee Billing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. speaks to the media at the Capitol in March.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 6:57 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's decision not to release more of his past tax returns has fueled countless attacks and counterattacks.

The former Massachusetts governor has released his 2010 tax return and promises that his 2011 return is forthcoming. He says that's enough.

But that's not enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The result is an increasingly ugly fight.

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