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.

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank says he decided not to seek re-election to a 17th term in 2012 because congressional redistricting would have given him a slew of new constituents and a difficult, expensive campaign.

"I think I would have won," Frank, 71, said during a Monday press conference in Massachusetts announcing his retirement. "But it would have been a tough campaign."

Added Frank, who has led financial reform efforts on Capitol Hill: "I don't like raising money."

A new poll that gauges Americans' views of the Mormon faith served up difficult news for the nation's highest profile member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

For the not-so-super debt reduction supercommittee, failure is clearly an option.

As the blame-gaming bipartisan congressional committee stumbled toward collapse Monday, washing out on even the most basic show of common purpose, the "what happens next" scenarios began to take shape.

Karen Kraushaar, who received a 1999 settlement in a workplace sexual harassment complaint against Herman Cain, has decided not to hold a joint press conference with three other women who have also alleged past harassment by the GOP presidential candidate, her attorney said Thursday afternoon.

Only Sharon Bialek, who held a press conference this week to allege that Cain made an inappropriate sexual advance when she met with him to seek help finding a job, had agreed to participate.

She is being represented by well-known lawyer, Gloria Allred.

Until now, Karen Kraushaar has been known to many in Washington as "Woman A," one of two employees who settled claims of sexual harassment against Herman Cain more than a decade ago when he headed the National Restaurant Association.

On Tuesday, after another woman went public with her harassment accusation against Cain, Kraushaar's identity was revealed by an iPad news site, The Daily.

A woman who accused GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment when he headed the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s alleged Friday that the incidents were "a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the CEO."

In a brief statement released by her lawyer, the woman, who continued to maintain her anonymity, responded to Cain's claims this week that the harassment charges were either false, or that the woman had misinterpreted his brand of humor.

One of two women who settled sexual harassment complaints against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain when he headed the National Restaurant Association will know by Friday whether the group will release her from a confidentiality clause that prevents her from speaking about the agreement.

The woman, however, is unlikely to go public even if the lobbying group lifts the confidentiality requirements imposed as part of the 1999 cash settlement, her lawyer says.

The lawyer for a woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the late 1990s says that Cain may have violated the confidentiality terms of the agreement by commenting on its specifics over the past 24 hours.

"Herman Cain and others have already disclosed that there was a confidential settlement," says Joel P. Bennett, a Washington-based attorney specializing in employment law, who also represented the woman when she negotiated her settlement.

Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain has stumbled before, and on big issues ranging from his position on legal abortion to the effects of his radical flat tax plan on the poor and middle class.

But his response to a Politico report that he faced two sexual harassment complaints that were settled with cash payments more than a decade ago presents a new kind of threat to his cometlike ascendancy in the Republican race.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remains a long shot for the Republican presidential nomination.

He's been polling a distant fourth in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as in pivotal, winner-take-all Florida — all contests that will play out in January.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry shook up his foundering presidential campaign Monday, bringing in old Republican Party hands, including former George W. Bush operative Joe Allbaugh who is to manage the effort.

Allbaugh will be joined on the campaign by top GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, a former strategist for Bob Dole; Curt Anderson, an established GOP media strategist; and Nelson Warfield, who was spokesman for Dole's 1996 presidential campaign.

Fabrizio, Anderson, and Warfield all worked on Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott's insurgent campaign last year.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has begun showing more interest on the ground in Iowa.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has staked the future of her campaign on a strong showing in the state's Jan. 3 GOP presidential caucuses.

But it's Herman Cain, the surging former pizza executive, who appears to be capturing the imagination of Hawkeye State Republican voters just 10 weeks out from decision day.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's much discussed 9-9-9 tax plan just got a major facelift after intensifying criticism that it would shift the tax burden to the least fortunate Americans.

In a Detroit speech Friday, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO created another numbers scheme for those "at or below poverty level."

"Your plan isn't 9-9-9," Cain said, addressing low-income voters. "It is 9-0-9."

"Say amen y'all," said Cain, also a Baptist minister. "9-0-9."

As Mitt Romney's opponents continue to compare "Romneycare" unfavorably with "Obamacare," we decided to take another look at the plans' similarities and differences. For additional insight, we turned to John McDonough, director of Harvard's Center for Public Health Leadership.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be headed into the 2012 GOP presidential primary season as the consistent, if not overwhelming, favorite for his party's nomination.

But there remains great discomfort among a wide swath of party members over the striking similarity of the Massachusetts health care reform legislation Romney signed in 2006 as governor, and the federal health care overhaul President Obama put his signature on last year.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has surged to the top of some national presidential preference polls, told NPR's Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday, that his fundraising has increased 20-fold in the past few weeks, and he is hiring more, much-needed staff.

In fact, he told Scott in an interview Thursday that will air on NPR Saturday, that he just "brought on an entire team" of about 10 new people to help his campaign ramp up.

Mitt Romney continued his dogged, incremental pursuit of the White House, dominating the GOP presidential debate on the economy Tuesday night. The man once touted as his most formidable opponent was barely a factor.

It's Herman Cain's moment.

The surprise winner of Florida's recent GOP presidential straw poll has been featured on Page 1 of the New York Times.

He's met with Donald Trump and sat down with The Wall Street Journal and the women of "The View."

He earned Gallup's highest candidate "positive intensity" score of this campaign season.

And is enthusiastically hawking a new memoir (Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House) that's zooming up the bestseller lists.

A Texas affirmative action case that has the potential to rewrite law on how or whether public colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, and soon.

Though the court, which opened its fall term this week, has not yet agreed to hear Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, constitutional experts on both sides of the issue say they believe the case will be scheduled for a hearing this year or next spring, just as the presidential election season heats up.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn't have to look far for a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of jumping into the presidential contest late, with great expectations, but little vetting beyond the relatively comfortable confines of one's home state.

As Christie continues to deliberate about entering the Republican presidential nomination fray, he has no doubt followed the supremely lousy weeks Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had since he got in, relatively late, with great fanfare, and largely untested on a national stage.

Republicans in the Sunshine State have long been expected to throw the 2012 GOP presidential primary-and-caucus season into its usual chaos.

Reports Wednesday that legislators will schedule the state's primary on Jan. 31, a week earlier than the tentative date for the usual first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, would accomplish that.

Florida legislators are determined to have the state GOP primary go fifth in the contest order, behind only the national party-sanctioned early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to run for president, he made a point of noting that it was his wife, Anita, who urged him to go for it, to get out of his "comfort zone."

Step into the fray, she urged.

That fray in recent days has taken a toll on Perry, who had a roundly-panned performance at GOP presidential debate last week followed by a surprising drubbing in Saturday's Florida Republican presidential straw poll.

Debate over the constitutionality and morality of the death penalty has long been an under-the-radar skirmish that occasionally emerges as part of a larger national conversation.

These past few weeks it has emerged in a big way.

It was first roused at a GOP presidential debate during which the record number of state-sponsored executions overseen by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (234 at the time; 235 as of this writing) was a surprisingly enthusiastic applause line for the candidate.

Florida will be the center of Republicans' political universe for the next three days, starting with a televised GOP presidential debate Thursday night and wrapping up Saturday with a presidential straw poll.

Get used to it.

The spotlight will remain on Florida long after the last vote is tallied this weekend.

The law that for almost 18 years has banned openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces will be officially repealed Tuesday, nine months after Congress voted to end the Clinton-era edict.

President Obama signed the repeal into law last December, but its provisions required time for the Pentagon to prepare for the policy change, and for top military officials to "certify" the law's end.

This week, Sarah Palin kept the guessing game about her White House intentions alive.

(Still thinking about it, she told her employer, Fox News, and, by the way, the media is not the boss of her timetable.)

She weighed in on the Republican presidential debate.

She took to task her old buddy and White House hopeful, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for his past support of a program to vaccinate girls against a sexually transmitted and potentially cancer-causing disease.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he wants to be honest with the American people.

That now involves attempts to shelve the part of his presidential campaign playbook that had him just last week vigorously dismissing Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."

Good luck on changing that conversation, Republican presidential frontrunner Perry, what with seven opponents nipping at your heels.

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