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.

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SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley in Providence. Netroots Nation is part pep rally, part technology seminar, and - this year at least - part postmortem. Netroots chairman Adam Bonin kicked off the gathering just two days after the Wisconsin vote, which was viewed very differently in this crowd than it was by the audience at CPAC.

The Obama administration is searching for a "sweet spot" in economic policy: measures that could increase job growth right now without worsening the federal deficit. That task gained new urgency this month when the Labor Department reported a sharp slowdown in job growth in May.

The challenge could force the president to try to revive his "grand bargain" with Republicans.

If unusually warm weather helped encourage job growth earlier this year, May was like a wet, cold rain. A report from the Labor Department on Friday showed that U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs last month — far fewer than expected.

NPR is examining what the American dream means to our culture, our economy and our politics. On Morning Edition, we'll explore what Republicans think of the American dream. In this installment, the view from President Obama.

The American dream — the idea that in this country anyone can rise from humble beginnings and succeed — is deeply woven into our national psyche. It's a promise that draws immigrants to our shores. And it's a staple on the campaign trail.

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Think of this as blowback. President Obama's campaign has intensified the questioning of Mitt Romney's business record.

MONTAGNE: That is what candidates often do - work to define the opponent. Republicans are pushing back, defending Romney's record at a private equity firm and attacking the attack.

Camp David, in the Maryland hills outside Washington, D.C., is usually a place for the president and his family to get away from work, a wooded refuge with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a putting green.

This weekend, though, President Obama is bringing work with him to the camp — along with the leaders from most of the countries with the world's largest economies.

The Group of Eight is meeting in the rustic setting, but the agenda will be all business.

Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. It's a choice that has been framed as guns versus butter, and this time, guns are expected to win.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation, which the House votes on Thursday. But the president is willing to leave the Pentagon cuts in place for now, in hopes of bringing Republicans back to the bargaining table.

President Obama says the country has come too far in the last four years to change course now. He kicked off his re-election campaign Saturday with a pair of high-profile rallies in two pivotal states, Ohio and Virginia.

Obama acknowledged the economic recovery still has a long way to go. Yet he argued his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, would move the country backward, not forward.

Unsatisfied With Unemployment

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For the president, next week is being billed as the official launch of his re-election campaign. Mr. Obama will be holding rallies in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. But it would be hard to tell a difference from this week, when Mr. Obama made a tour of college campuses in three other battleground states.

President Obama sets off on a two-day tour of college campuses Tuesday to tout a plan to keep student loans more affordable.

The trip is billed as official business, but it has a political flavor. Stops include: North Carolina, where Democrats hold their national convention this summer; Colorado, where Obama accepted his party's nomination four years ago; and Iowa, where his White House campaign was launched in 2008.

All three states are expected to be hard-fought battlegrounds in November.

More than 99 million federal taxpayers had filed their returns as of Tuesday, with more than 80 million of those expecting a refund.

People who file at the last minute — and Tuesday is this year's deadline — are somewhat more likely to owe money to the government. And if Congress and the president don't act, next year could see many more Americans paying higher taxes.

That's not because either President Obama or presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney advocate a tax increase for most Americans.

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President Obama is back in Washington this morning, after a weekend summit in Colombia. The gathering with leaders from throughout the Americas produced some agreement on trade and some disagreement on drug policy in Cuba.

Jim Yong Kim, President Obama's nominee to be the leader of the World Bank, is an unconventional choice. As a global health expert, he's a medical doctor who helped start an international health organization. He currently serves as president of Dartmouth College.

"Despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank," Obama told reporters during the White House announcement Friday morning. "It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."

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As many of you know, prices at the gas pump are still rising. That can often spell trouble, politically, for a sitting president. And President Obama has spent much of this week touting different kinds of energy as the solution to price spikes. Out on the road, Mr. Obama has promoted a mix of fossil fuels, alternative energy and greater fuel efficiency. Along with solar and wind power, Mr. Obama says brain power can help to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

The second day of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy tour brought him to Oklahoma.

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President Obama visits Oklahoma today, talking of speeding construction for a major oil pipeline. Yesterday, he visited a solar panel farm in Nevada. Those were just two of the stops on a presidential effort to defend his energy policies. He's under pressure from Republicans because of rising gas prices.

And we start our coverage with NPR's Scott Horsley.

Vice President Joe Biden wears a lot of different hats in the Obama administration. He's a longtime Senate insider who can negotiate with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. He's a foreign policy veteran who helped to lead the transition in Iraq.

And one other thing to keep in mind, whenever there's idle political gossip about replacing Biden on the ticket with Hillary Cinton: He serves as a kind of White House ambassador to the middle class.

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President Obama has received a high-profile endorsement for his re-election bid. Though it's no surprise the country's largest federation of unions, the AFL-CIO, has traditionally endorsed a Democrat for president.

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The strength of that support bears watching this year. Collective bargaining has been under attack in several states, draining union resources.

MONTAGNE: But labor leaders say it's also made them more determined than ever to keep Mr. Obama in the White House. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

The American job market is still a long way from healthy, but its pulse feels a lot stronger now than it did six months ago. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 workers to their payrolls in February, a solid — if not spectacular — performance. It continues a trend that suggests a genuine recovery, not a temporary blip.

The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent, even as nearly 500,000 people joined the workforce.

Improvement in the job market is a boon for President Obama as he tries to hold onto his own job in November.

President Obama held a wide-ranging news conference Tuesday. He bluntly challenged Republican critics of his Iran policy — saying the stakes are too high to let politics intrude. The news conference was designed to steal some of the spotlight from GOP presidential hopefuls on Super Tuesday.

While Republican candidates continue to slug it out for their party's White House nomination, President Obama is getting a head start on the general election.

Obama's grassroots campaign is already hard at work with volunteers hosting house parties and staffing phone banks to find and mobilize the president's supporters. The campaign has opened five offices in Virginia, and that's not counting the basement of Sue Langley's house in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Vienna, where more than a dozen volunteers assembled this past weekend.

Mitt Romney gave a major economic speech Friday, in which he stressed his plan to lower personal income taxes.

Romney's own taxes became an issue last month, when he acknowledged paying a lower tax rate than many middle-class families.

Republican presidential hopefuls have had a field day attacking President Obama for the federal government's trillion-dollar deficits and promising things will be different when the GOP is in charge.

But while the candidates talk a good game about stemming the tide of red ink, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says their proposals don't necessarily add up.

Hourly workers at General Motors will soon be getting profit-sharing checks of up to $7,000 each after the automaker reported record earnings this week. President Obama may also get a political dividend, two and a half years after a government-engineered turnaround.

Obama reminded a group of United Auto Worker members this week that, back in 2009, his rescue of GM and Chrysler had plenty of critics.

Deficit reduction takes a back seat to job growth in the federal budget President Obama will unveil Monday. The spending plan forecasts more red ink in the current fiscal year than in 2011. Under the president's plan, budget deficits wouldn't reach a sustainable level until 2018.

The White House is trying to mend fences with Catholics and others who were outraged at a new rule governing insurance coverage for birth control.

That policy would have required Catholic hospitals, universities and other institutions to cover birth control in their employees' health insurance. Critics called that an assault on religious freedom.

President Obama announced a change of course Friday, and the White House is hoping to regain religious allies and maintain support from the women who voted for Obama.

A Change Of Policy

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has joined the chorus criticizing President Obama over a controversial policy that would require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to include birth control in their employees' health insurance.

Catholic opinion leaders have denounced the policy as an assault on their religious freedom.

It turns out January was a surprisingly good month in the job market. U.S. employers added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.

That better-than-expected news from the Labor Department triggered a rally in the stock market Friday, with the Dow climbing more than 150 points. The news could also help the stock of President Obama.

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I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is on the mend. The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly last month to 8.3 percent. And according to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added nearly a quarter million workers to their payrolls. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, it's not only good news for the economy and the nation, it's also good news for President Obama and his re-election campaign.

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