Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is a White House correspondent for NPR News. He reports on the policy and politics of the Obama Administration, with a special emphasis on economic issues.

The 2012 campaign is the third presidential contest Horsley has covered for NPR. He previously reported on Senator John McCain's White House bid in 2008 and Senator John Kerry's campaign in 2004. Thanks to this experience, Horsley has become an expert in the motel shampoo offerings of various battleground states.

Horsley took up the White House beat after serving as a San Diego-based business correspondent for NPR where he covered fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley was a reporter for member station KPBS-FM, where he received numerous honors, including a Public Radio News Directors' award for coverage of the California energy crisis.

Earlier in his career, Horsley worked as a reporter for WUSF-FM in Tampa, Florida, and as a news writer and reporter for commercial radio stations in Boston and Concord, New Hampshire. Horsley began his professional career as a production assistant for NPR's Morning Edition.

Horsley earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University.

President Obama is ramping up his campaign for continuation of a payroll tax cut, which only affects the first $106,000 in individual income. Republicans object, in part because they don't even consider it a tax since the money goes to the Social Security Trust Fund. Democrats see it a progressive tax cut. "Spreading the wealth" is a theme Obama campaigned on four years ago.

At NPR, we know a thing or two about promotional merchandise. After all, we invented the Nina Totin' Bag and the Carl Kasell Autograph Pillow. So, on this Black Friday, White House correspondent Scott Horsley presents the NPR guide to campaign swag.

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While Republicans prepared to debate yesterday, a debate we've heard elsewhere in this program, President Obama was visiting New Hampshire. He appeared in that state, which holds the nation's first primary. New Hampshire is also an important general election state and the president's appearance offered a counterweight to all the Republicans who've been busy there. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Within the Republican presidential field, no one has talked tougher about China than Mitt Romney. He has vowed to go after that country from his first day in office, threatening to slap tariffs on Chinese imports to make up for its artificially low currency.

"We can't just sit back and let China run all over us," Romney said. "People say, 'Well, you'll start a trade war.' There's one going on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're going to stand up to China."

President Obama has kept his distance from the supercommittee. Unlike the budget battles earlier this year, there were no bargaining sessions at the White House. No presidential motorcades to Capitol Hill.

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Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is rising in the polls, but Rick Perry is back in the spotlight after some proposals he made in Iowa yesterday. The Texas governor wants Congress to take a 50 percent pay cut, as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul the government.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

The economy is expected to dominate all other issues in next year's presidential race. But in recent days, both the Republican candidates and President Obama have focused on foreign policy.

Republican White House hopefuls criticized President Obama's handling of Iran, Afghanistan and the Arab Spring during a debate Saturday night in South Carolina. It was the first of this year's debates in which foreign policy was the dominant topic.

Although the candidates aimed most of their firepower at the sitting president, the forum did expose some fault lines within the Republican ranks.

The Senate has approved just in time for Veterans Day a series of tax credits designed to make it easier for veterans to find jobs.

Some 240,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are out of work. The Senate bill would provide tax breaks of up to $9,600 to private employers who hire them.

The tax credits are the first sliver of President Obama's $447 billion jobs package to actually win bipartisan approval in the Senate. Obama says service members who fought for their country shouldn't have to fight for jobs when they come home.

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SCOTT SIMON, host: President Obama spent the last two days in France wrestling with Europe's financial problems. He's back in the United States this morning where America has its own economic challenges. Home and abroad, Mr. Obama and his fellow leaders are confronted with slow growth, big debts and the political battles over how to deal with them. NPR Scott Horsley reports.

President Obama joked that the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, offered a crash course in European politics, with impromptu bargaining sessions that stretched late into the evening.

Yet the summit produced no big breakthroughs, only vague promises to prevent the political and economic turmoil in Greece from spreading.

After huddling with leaders from throughout the eurozone, Obama reiterated his belief that the countries on the continent can solve their own debt problems.

The setting for this year's G-20 summit meeting is the Riviera Convention Center that hosts the Cannes Film Festival. President Obama will be walking the red carpet, but it's the European leaders who are stars of this show.

The Europeans are facing pressure to erect a financial "firewall" that will prevent the debt problems now plaguing Greece from spreading to the rest of the Continent and beyond.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week showing that the gap between wealthy and poor Americans has become much wider than it once was.

What's behind that expanding income gap?

Federal tax policy is part of the story. Those at the top of the income ladder have been the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts over the last three decades.

But the biggest change has come in the shape of the economy itself.

Rick Perry doesn't have a catchy marketing slogan for his tax plan. But he's hoping the idea of a flat, 20 percent income tax rate will do for his campaign what "9-9-9" did for Herman Cain's.

"We need a tax code that unleashes growth instead of preventing it; that promotes fairness, not class warfare," Perry said during a speech at the ISO Poly Films factory Tuesday in Gray Court, S.C.

Even as President Obama announced the troop withdrawal from Iraq on Friday, he acknowledged the U.S. now faces a bigger challenge: creating opportunity and jobs in this country.

"After a decade of war, the nation that we need to build — and the nation that we will build — is our own," he said, "an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe."

President Obama, a critic of the Iraq war from the very beginning, announced Friday that all U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of December. After nearly nine years, he said, the war will be over.

The president spoke after a video-conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The White House says the two men agreed this is the best way forward for both countries.

The president's announcement fulfills a campaign promise he made more than four years ago.

President Obama said Moammar Gadhafi's death marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the Libyan people. The seven-month military campaign that toppled the Libyan leader also marks a high point for the kind of international cooperation that Obama has championed.

The White House was careful Thursday not to claim vindication for the president's policies, but the Libyan exercise does offer an example of what an "Obama Doctrine" might look like.

President Obama's bus tour rolled into Virginia on Tuesday afternoon, after a day and a half in North Carolina.

The president has been using the tour to promote his jobs plan and to criticize an alternative plan put forward by Senate Republicans.

Another Day, Another Diner

Earlier Tuesday, the president stopped at Reid's House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., bypassing the special — spaghetti and Texas toast — in favor of a cheeseburger and sweet tea.

President Obama is drawing sharp contrasts between his jobs plan and the ideas put forward by Republicans in Congress as he continues his bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia. That may not bring his jobs plan any closer to passing, but it does help frame the argument for the 2012 election.

Obama is urging Congress to pass his jobs bill piece by piece if necessary. And the piece he was highlighting Monday night in an overheated high school gym in Millers Creek, N.C., would use federal tax dollars to help local governments keep teachers and other employees on the payroll.

Third in a series

GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman says he's the most qualified Republican in the White House race, thanks to his background as governor of Utah, a corporate executive, and as U.S. Ambassador to China. But if Huntsman had lived out his youthful ambition, he would have been none of those things.

"My initial passion in life was to be a rock-and-roll musician," Huntsman told graduates at the University of South Carolina in May.

President Obama has waded into the controversy over bank card fees, suggesting that Bank of America is mistreating its customers with a plan to start charging a $5 monthly fee for the use of its debit card.

In an interview Monday with ABC, the president seemed to suggest the fee could become a target for the federal government's new financial watchdog agency.

"This is exactly why we need this Consumer [Financial] Protection Bureau that we set up, that is ready to go," he said.

President Obama says his jobs plan would create tens of thousands of construction jobs by funding public works projects like roads, bridges and school improvements.

The president made that case again Tuesday afternoon, while standing outside Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver.

The Mile High City is familiar turf for Obama: It's where he accepted his party's nomination for the White House three years ago; and it's where he signed the original economic stimulus bill.

At the time, he said it marked the beginning of the end of the nation's economic troubles.

With the White House and Congress at loggerheads over how best to help the U.S. economy, some have pinned their hopes on the Federal Reserve to help fill the void.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the central bank still has a range of tools it can use to prop up the economy. But Greg McBride of the financial website Bankrate.com is not holding his breath.

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