Domenico Montanaro | KUOW News and Information

Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead editor for politics and digital audience. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and has taught high-school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college-basketball junkie.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. That's exactly the argument Ohio Gov. John Kasich is making for why Republicans should choose him as their nominee in 2016.

"I will tell you that you can't be president if you don't win Ohio. That's not even a question," Kasich said Friday at a lunch with reporters in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. Kasich is thinking about running for president and is trying to determine whether he has a viable path.

It's been a tough week for a couple of candidates looking to break through on the presidential stage, namely Chris Christie and Martin O'Malley.

First, in New Jersey, David Wildstein, a former Christie ally and former Port Authority official, pleaded guity Friday to charges related to the "Bridgegate" scandal that closed several lanes of traffic to the George Washington Bridge over four days in 2013, ensnaring cars in massive backups.

Hillary Clinton's new logo has been much maligned. A simple, rightward-pointing "H" with a red arrow through it that looks like it could have been made with Microsoft Paint.

Red, the color of the other team. How could she? some Democrats wondered. It seemed so amateurish, some design experts lamented.

It's a long-time ritual — American presidents going before the Washington journalists who cover them to recognize some of the best work of the prior year from the assembled crowd.

Of course, there are also jokes. Here are eight Obama jokes that stood out from the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner:

In recent campaigns, candidates have been asked to sign a lot of pledges. But one stands out from the rest — the 58-word "Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz became the first 2016 presidential candidates to sign the no-new-taxes pledge. They're likely just the first dominoes to fall in line. In 2012, every presidential candidate signed the pledge except former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

A full-fledged Democratic trade war has broken out.

"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues, but she's wrong on this," President Obama said Tuesday night in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, referring to liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Like many Democrats, including the current president, Hillary Clinton has had difficulty maintaining a consistent position on international trade.

As President Obama seeks fast-track authority for a 12-country Pacific trade deal and Congress inches toward giving it to him, Clinton is hedging on a deal she once strongly backed.

Hillary Clinton is inauthentic, not transparent and will have trouble connecting with younger voters. And Republican economic theory is "bull- - - -."

That was essentially the argument Martin O'Malley made in an interview with NPR for why voters should choose him to be president over Clinton — the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination — as well as whichever candidate survives the Republican primaries.

Politics, power and more money than ever can create an environment ripe for corruption.

But which states are the most corrupt, and how is that even defined?

A poll out from Monmouth University asked Americans what they think are the most corrupt states. Overall, there was not much of a consensus, but New York rose to the top (with just 12 percent), followed by California, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.

Times in politics have changed.

Since it's the season for presidential campaign announcements, for evidence of just how much they've changed, look back 35 years to Ronald Reagan's announcement that he was running for president.

Navigating cultural issues like same-sex marriage and immigration has proved tricky for Republicans.

The country has grown rapidly more accepting of gay and lesbian marriage and relationships. And despite a shrinking base of white support and a fast-growing Latino population, Republicans have struggled to adjust.

This post was updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

Readiness to be president is a threshold question for many candidates. That's especially true when that candidate is 43 years old and a freshman senator.

No, not Barack Obama, but Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, who announced Monday that he's running for president.

"I'm certainly capable from Day 1," Rubio told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview in Miami hours before he announced. "I'm very confident that I have the capability from Day No. 1 to lead this country."

At around the same time that Hillary Clinton's campaign team in Brooklyn, N.Y., was hitting "send" on the emails and tweets that officially launched Clinton's presidential campaign, the former first lady was hitting the road — in a van.

Clinton was scheduled to be in Iowa on Tuesday, but instead of flying, she decided she wanted to pack up a van — which she refers to as the "Scooby" van because of its resemblance to the van from the Scooby Doo cartoon — and chat with people along the way.

This story was updated April 9 at 4 p.m. ET.

As Hillary Clinton is expected to officially launch her presidential campaign in the next couple of weeks, her famous, former president husband talked to Town & Country magazine, which went along with him to Haiti in February.

Here are four takeaways from that interview:

1. The Clinton Foundation is not going away — even if Hillary Clinton wins.

Ron Paul stood off to the side Tuesday as his son Rand announced he was running for president.

There was no speaking role for the elder Paul, 79. There was no ceremonial passing of the torch of "liberty."

There wasn't even a hearty thank you or nod to the father's raucous presidential campaigns that laid the groundwork for the son's launch.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more on Rand Paul's candidacy, joining us now is NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro. Welcome to the studio.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Thank you very much for having me.

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. E.T.

Anyone who thinks President Obama will shy away from presidential politics in 2016, think again.

Every day is a birthday for Tom Cotton.

Cotton has a reputation for being a very serious man. The military veteran, Harvard Law graduate and freshman U.S. senator gained wide attention for being able to rally 46 of his Republican colleagues in the Senate to join in writing a letter to Iran's leaders objecting to a nuclear deal.

So this is a side most would not expect.

Every politician likes to tout what they believe the "American People" want.

As the debate over the Iran nuclear deal inevitably heads toward the meat grinder that is Congress, President Obama tried to preemptively frame that debate. And he claimed to have the "American people" on his side.

Thought exercise: What if the indictment of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez ... could once again potentially place an appointment of a U.S. senator in the hands of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie?

To trigger this scenario, Menendez, who was indicted Wednesday on corruption charges, would first have to step down or be convicted. Menendez has given no indication he's going anywhere. Then again, stranger things have happened.

Consider why Christie might want to think about appointing himself IF a Senate seat were to be vacated:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — not just a rank-and-file House member — alleged Tuesday that Hillary Clinton likely broke the law with her use of private emails as secretary of state.

The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics — until something or someone pushes them to the surface.

No one in politics today is hearing more calls from progressives to run than Elizabeth Warren, the popular and populist Massachusetts senator. Warren, though, denies any interest in the presidency and continued to do that Monday in an interview with Jeremy Hobson on NPR's Here & Now.

"I'm out here fighting this fight," Warren said. "I'm fighting it every single day in the United States."

Asked if she wants to run, Warren said bluntly, "I do not."

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy's Select Committee on Benghazi announced Friday in a statement that Hillary Clinton had wiped her private email server clean; that the committee is getting no additional emails from her; that it's leaving open the possibility of a third-party investigation; and that Republicans are promising to bring Clinton in for more questioning.

Harry Reid, the wily Democratic Senate leader, was likely — once again — to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in 2016.

Few, though, would have bet the house against Reid — a sharp-elbowed campaigner — especially in a presidential year when demography will favor Democrats in a state where almost 3 in 10 people are Hispanic.

"Do you really want to go up against Harry Reid?" said one national GOP operative, pointing out Reid's bare-knuckles style of campaigning.

Harry Reid's exit could have ignited a scramble to fill the power vacuum among Senate Democrats.

But the Nevada senator is doing his best to avoid what he called a "knock-down, drag-out fight" by endorsing Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat better known as Chuck, who has been Reid's top lieutenant for years.

"He will be elected to replace me in 22 months," Reid told KNPR about Schumer. "One reason that will happen is because I want him to be my replacement."

Reid called Schumer "a brilliant man" and "a tremendous asset."

The health care law, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Whatever you call it, five years after President Obama signed the law, it remains polarizing.

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