Jill Lawrence
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an award-winning journalist

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National Journal articles by Jill Lawrence, 2012-2013:

Republicans Might Be Mad at John Kasich, But Voters Won't Be
The Ohio governor's decision to ignore GOP objections and expand Medicaid improves his odds in 2014 (and 2016 too).

The Truthiness of Rand Paul
The junior senator from Kentucky could transform the GOP-if the facts don't get in his way.

Relax, GOP! You've Already Wounded Obamacare
If Hill Republicans can pull themselves away from the shutdown drama, they'll see that their GOP gubernatorial allies have already done much of the work for them.

Senator Gridlock Rides to the Rescue, and Possibly Reelection
McConnell's role as a negotiator undercuts the Democrats' primary argument against him.

Ted Cruz Is Almost Famous. That Doesn't Mean He's Almost President.
The young, Hispanic, Texas firebrand is a conservative idol, but that only gets him so far.

What Happened to 'Compassionate' Conservatives?
Veteran Republicans are watching the shutdown in horror. Maybe the best to come from it will be public longing for the return of compassionate conservatism.

Why Delaying Obamacare Could Ultimately Do As Much Damage as Defunding
The GOP-backed one-year delay sounds benign but it would create the kind of chaos that could permanently harm the health insurance program.

Republicans Deserve Some Credit For Health Exchanges
They bemoan the companies "dumping" employees onto the exchanges. But until the health law passed, that's what they said they wanted.

Virginia Isn't the Place Ken Cuccinelli Thinks It Is
The state has changed dramatically in the last decade, giving a demographic edge to the Democrat in a contest between two deeply flawed candidates.

Former House Leaders Say the Current Group Has It Rough
The Old Guard says the New Guard deserves more respect from GOP members.

Obama Says He's Not Worried About Style Points. He Should Be.
More focus on tone, timing and discipline might stop Obama from becoming Carter or Bush.

How to Beat the Senate Minority Leader
While Mitch McConnell wants to make his reelection race about President Obama, McConnell's Democratic opponent wants to make it about him.

Obamacare Showdown Over a Ham Breakfast in Kentucky
The state fair became a showcase for national tensions over the Affordable Care Act as the state's Democratic governor and two Republican senators squared off.

Business Tries to Tame Tea-Party Conservatives It Helped Elect
Gridlock, shutdown threats, and default are on the table this fall as weapons in the spending wars.

This Townhouse of Cards
Neither This Town nor House of Cards offers a realistic view of the Washington most of us know.

Wait, Marco Rubio Would Shut Down the Government Over Obamacare?
The Florida Republican's pendulum swing is alienating those who used to praise him, but will it win back tea partiers angry about immigration?

Why Is Martin O'Malley Channeling Jimmy Carter?
History shows Americans don't like to be told their country has a 'crisis of confidence.'

What If John Kerry Outperforms Hillary Clinton as America's Top Diplomat?
Kerry has already brought Israeli and Palestinian negotiators together for the first time in years. Could his successes hurt Clinton?

Huma and Anthony Are Not Like Hillary and Bill
For one thing, they're on track to be tremendous political failures. Here are some more reasons.

What's Keeping Women From Getting Presidential Buzz? Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is a bigger obstacle than sexism for Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar.

Could Chuck Schumer Be the Next Ted Kennedy?
The senior senator from New York was once seen as an overly ambitious camera hog. Now he's earning a reputation as a legislator.

Obama's Economic Plan: Circumvent Congress and Cross Fingers for 2014
The president's speech and Pelosi's latest initiatives spell an election strategy based almost entirely on blaming Republicans for inaction.

Obama Had to Say Something about Trayvon Martin, and Americans Needed to Hear It
The president embraces his black identity, his place in history, and his responsibility to the country.

The Senate Deal Doesn't Help Obama on Judges, and That's What Matters Most
Obama is getting his administration picks, but what about the federal judges who will carry his legacy into the future?

The Myth of Marco Rubio's Immigration Problem
He's taking heat for supporting a path to citizenship. But almost every other GOP 2016 prospect supports one, too.

Do Women Make Better Senators Than Men?
They make up one-fifth of the body. It doesn't look anything like parity (or America), but they say they can do what the men can't - namely, get things done.

How Conservatives are Helping Democrats for 2014
Activist state legislators have endangered Republican governors in some swing states.

Is Hillary Clinton Peaking Too Soon?
Crack organizers from President Obama's campaigns are the latest political honchos to join the Clinton-for-president movement.

Are You Really Sure You Want to Block That Nominee?
Rejectees don't always slink away, as Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Sessions show. Sometimes confirmation is the best way to minimize their impact.

Memo to Snowden: Don't Try This in Ecuador (or Russia or Cuba or Venezuela or Hong Kong)
The countries on his itinerary wouldn't meet his standards or treat him very well.

Is It Time to Take Martin O'Malley Seriously?
The Maryland governor is determined to be part of the 2016 conversation. If Hillary Clinton lets him, that is.

Bob McDonnell Could Have Been a GOP MVP. But His Party May Have to Do Without Him.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's evolution from Republican up-and-comer to the center of an FBI and grand-jury investigation is a significant loss to his party.

Argo and New Resolve on Capitol Hill Could Finally Bring Justice to the 1979 Iran Hostages
With success possible after many disappointments, the hostages' families are making their first united push for action in a Father's Day letter to senators.

Families of the 1979 Iran Hostages Write a Father's Day Letter to Senators
A Father's Day plea.

Obama Won't Be the Last Wartime President to Break the Rules
Obama is just the latest commander-in-chief to step over the line in the name of national security.

What Michele Bachmann Taught Women About Running for President
Her candidacy holds lessons about everything from religion and makeup to the wrong way to seem tough.

Why Anthony Weiner Shouldn't Bank on Forgiveness in the New York Mayoral Race
Redemption narratives appeal to evangelical voters, as Mark Sanford demonstrated in South Carolina. But there aren't many voters like that in New York City.

How Obama Could Start Fixing the IRS
Step one, name a Republican-preferably a prominent one-to head the agency.

Will the Benghazi and IRS Probes Do More Damage to Obama or the GOP?
Impeachment talk and multiple investigations recall the Clinton era that Obama promised to avoid.

Terry McAuliffe's Woman Problem
If McAuliffe can't change his image as a Mad Men-era spouse, he will have to hope people go for policy over personality. Just like they did in South Carolina

The Most Bogus Argument Against New Gun Laws
As Congress prepares for a possible round two on guns, it's time to retire a talking point that misses the point.

Has Washington Given Up on the Economy?
When it comes to jobs, Obama should forget 'permission structures' and go into cheerleading mode.

The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy on Jobs
The press didn't ask Obama about jobs or the economy, and he barely mentioned them.

Dennis Miller and Bill O'Reilly Counterprogram the White House Correspondents Dinner
Red and Blue America coexist inside the Beltway during a joke- and insult-filled weekend.

Hispanics Actually Don't Share Republican 'Faith and Family' Values
There's a gulf between how the GOP and the voters it needs define social and cultural issues.

Three Democrats Figure Out How to Praise Bush
At the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the art of paying tribute when you disagree with someone about practically everything.

Will George W. Bush Ever Get Historians on His Side?
Truman and Eisenhower won belated respect, but they didn't have an Iraq problem.

Boston Bombings Create Three New Stress Points for Obama
President Obama seemed like a man ready to exhale after the surviving Boston Marathon bomber suspect was captured, but he shouldn't breathe too easy.

Why John McCain Is Barack Obama's New Best Friend
The two have their eyes on history as they transcend years of friction. The upshot could be good for the country.

The Boston Bombings Could Help a State Get Beyond Its Liberal Stereotype
Massachusetts really did invent America, so stop making fun of it.

After the Gun-Control Defeat, How to Counter the Passion Gap
Obama, Giffords, and Bloomberg are invaluable assets, but it will also take money and creative politics.

Changing Sides on Medicare and Social Security Is a Time-Honored Tactic
That's especially true for Republicans, and for Greg Walden in particular.

Tough Gun Votes Could End Careers on Capitol Hill
TARP, taxes, Obamacare, and guns have been blamed for scores of defeats in the last 20 years.

CNN's Crossfire Revival Might Be the Worst Idea Ever
Since program was canceled in January 2005, we've gotten Crossfired to the max. But CNN was the pioneer and now it wants its mantle back.

GOP Health Experts Agree: Don't Count on 'Obamacare' to Fail
Is the Obama administration totally bungling implementation of its signature universal health care law? The White House gets some surprising backup from former GOP health officials.

Why Gay Marriage Is Getting Political Traction (And Why Gun Control Isn't)
The generation gap that's driving same-sex marriage doesn't exist in the debate over guns.

Obama Budget Vs. March Jobs Report: Timing is No Coincidence
The budget proposal provides stiff competition to the bad news on employment and could turn out to be far more significant to the fate of the nation than the March jobs report.

6 Big Questions About Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch
The cast of players in the South Carolina special House election includes a fiancee, an ex-wife, and a famous brother. What roles will they play?

Don't Give Up on Guns, Immigration, or a Debt Deal
It's unfair to accuse Obama and Congress of foot-dragging, and too soon to assume failure.

How Democrats Could Finally Win the 'Obamacare' Debate
Republicans are enjoying the health law's birthday week. But there's a lot Democrats could say if they got in the game.

Hillary Clinton's Global Feminist Legacy
Her tenure at State may have lacked a bold diplomatic achievement. But posterity will remember her efforts to help women.

6 Reasons for Hillary Clinton's Gay-Marriage Move
Hint: None of them have to do with a potential presidential campaign.

How to Shrink the Dangerous Republican Empathy Gap
The GOP ought to pray that Rob Portman's gay-marriage conversion is more defining than CPAC. The country should, too.

Christie and McDonnell Aren't the Only Governors Missing From CPAC
The three-day event features 250 speakers. Only four are governors.

Obama Just Wasted a Big Chance to Sell His Economic Vision
Obama not only gave the GOP new fiscal ammunition in an ABC interview, he failed to make a vivid case for his economic plans.

Ashley Judd Is a 30-Second Ad Waiting to Happen
A Judd-McConnell Senate match would be catnip for the media and raw meat for the GOP. Democrats might have less fun.

Paul Ryan's Obamacare Repeal Fantasy
Even with Obama in the White House until 2017, the Wisconsin Republican's new budget relies on repealing most of the Affordable Care Act.

Canceled White House Tours Are Fun to Talk About, but Jobs Are the Real Sequester Casualty
The Obama administration lost the first round of PR competition. Republicans should worry about what comes next.

Can Lunches and Dinners Break the Corrosive Fiscal-Cliff Cycle?
The president's meals with Republicans are only gestures at a time when we have been waiting far too long for results. But they are a glimmer of hope.

Why Lindsey Graham Isn't Acting Like a Worried Man
Graham is balancing bipartisan outreach and praise for Obama with merciless critiques that could make him primary-proof in 2014.

Jeb Bush's Real Immigration Problem
Quite the awkward re-launch for a man considered a serious student of policy and a top GOP hope for 2016.

Republicans Need to Think for Themselves, Even in Election Years
Fixing the GOP would be a lot easier if its officeholders would stop trying to spot potential purer-than-thou primary opponents over their right shoulders.

Chris Christie is a Republican Without a Party
He used Clintonian rhetoric to explain his Medicaid decision. He should aim for a Clintonian role in the GOP.

'Argo' Is Great, but 52 Former American Hostages Are Still Looking for Justice
33 years ago, 52 Americans went through hell in Iran. Now they and their survivors are pushing Congress for action.

What History Tells Us About the Future of Obama's Agenda
President Obama had little choice but to lay out his priorities in his State of the Union address and hope they wouldn't be sidelined by an unreceptive GOP House.

Obama's Long List Gives Us a Handy Scorecard for Judging His Success
The president gets granular on domestic policy, and makes it easy to judge whether he's a second-term success.

Obama's Best Jobs Play for the State of the Union: Think Big
Obama's best hope is to go big. He'll only make progress toward his goals if there's room to let Republicans move toward some of theirs.

Bush's Paintings and the Art of Projecting Guilt
Bush's art reveals a man we didn't know, and one reviewers speculate is trying for absolution through painting.

Gun-Control Success Is in Sight for the Brady Campaign
The group has waited a long time for gun reform. Its moment is finally here. Brady Campaign President Dan Gross talks with National Journal.

John Brennan Shows Hagel How It's Done
John Brennan radiated confidence and authority in his confirmation hearing to become CIA director. Just call him the un-Hagel.

Grading 13 Ideas From Eric Cantor's Big Speech
Cantor's grades range from A+ (consumer information on college) to D (Medicaid). He also has incompletes that give his party room to maneuver.

Scott Brown's Special GOP Role: He Came From the 47 Percent
The former senator from Massachusetts has charisma, a compelling biography, and possible plans to run for governor. Democrats would be wise to launch a star search ASAP.

Obama's Bad-Cop Act is Working
Obama is often playing bad cop to Biden's good cop these days. Bad news for the Kumbaya crowd: It seems to be working.

Why Clinton and Biden Won't Run in 2016
Sorry to spoil the fun, but a Clinton-Biden smackdown is not in the cards for 2016. In fact, both of them will likely skip the race.

Sarah Palin and the End of an Era
Palin is leaving Fox as polls show Tea Party influence at an all-time low and top Republicans want the GOP to stop being "the stupid party."

Is Obama Trying to Destroy the GOP?
The president pokes at the GOP and asks citizens to put the pressure on. Is he trying to destroy the opposition party?

For 9/11 Relatives, Newtown Brings Grim Sense of Deja Vu
Three relatives of people killed on 9/11 describe their reactions to the Sandy Hook shootings.

Second-Term Exodus Leaves Zero Hispanics in Cabinet, Few on Dems' Bench
The Obama administration is sorely in need of binders full of Latinos.

What the Sandy Hook Families Can Learn From 9/11 Families
Speed, urgency, and persistence: The keys to turning national tragedy into good public policy.

Obama's New Frame: Gun Rights Vs. The Right to Life
President Obama turned the gun rights argument away from the Second Amendment and toward other rights in our founding documents.

Obama Has Already Cemented His Legacy, Like It or Not
Love it or hate it, the president has already made his mark on health care, gay rights, and the economy.

Why Obama's White-Guy Problem Seems Worse Than It Is
Male nominees and one particular female departure are among the reasons the president is developing an optics problem.

Can You Lead on the Environment if You Bypass Climate Change?
A conservative group has ideas for stewardship, but global warming is not part of its mission.

6 Reasons Obama Chose Chuck Hagel
The Vietnam veteran and former senator shares the president's goals and worldview.

What Does It Even Mean to Be a Republican These Days?
They're talking about immigration reform and gay rights, and voting to raise taxes. Now's the time for conservatives to rebrand their party.

Professor Romney? What Lies Ahead for 2012 Republican Nominee?
He could start a super PAC, mentor young entrepreneurs, or recede into private life. So far, he isn't saying.

To Save Itself, the Republican Party Needs a Deal With Obama
The speaker's best move at this point in the fiscal-cliff crisis may be to heed the song made famous by Tim McGraw, "Live Like You Were Dying."

Newtown Rampage Proves a Turning Point for Obama
The latest slaughter of innocents may not turn out to be a tipping point for the country. But President Obama has left no doubt that it was a tipping point for him.

Bloomberg Super PAC Gun-Control Push Off to Strong Start
It is never too soon to talk about politics -- specifically gun-control politics -- when 26 people, including 20 young children, have been murdered in a school shooting rampage.

Picking a Fight Over Susan Rice Would Not Serve the Country
President Obama has said many times that "part of a president's job is to be able to deal with more than one thing at once." But another part of a president's job is setting priorities.

Four Ways Campaign 2012 Might Have Led to a Different President
Immigration, the Iowa straw poll, back surgery and Bain Capital had outsized influence.

Voting Reform: Good for the GOP, Too
Republicans might want to consider championing efforts to address long lines at voting places.

Spielberg's Lincoln: A Lesson in Realpolitik for a Squeamish Age
The gulf between Lincoln's means and his ends, as portrayed by Steven Spielberg, is staggering. If Lincoln were operating now, though, Americans would be following all the wheeling, dealing.

What's Next for Gay-Rights Advocates?
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, discusses the big gay-rights wins on Election Day and what's next on their agenda.

Will Obama Finally Keep His Promise to End Tax Cuts for Wealthy?
Presidents generally try to make good on their campaign promises. Many of Obama's foundered on the GOP's no-tax-hike pledge.

Will Obama Finally Keep His Promise to End Tax Cuts for Wealthy?
Presidents generally try to make good on their campaign promises. Many of Obama's foundered on the GOP's no-tax-hike pledge.

Obama Voters Shake GOP Vision of Electorate
It's easy to understand why some Republicans and pollsters dismissed the idea that the Obama coalition from 2008 would be fired up and ready to go in 2012. But they were wrong.

Romney Ad Wrongly Implies Chrysler is Sending U.S. Jobs to China
Republican nominee Mitt Romney is running a new TV ad that implies Chrysler is planning to move U.S. auto jobs to China, though that is not the case.

'Optimal' and 'Bullets': Obama, Biden Hand Ammo to GOP
It's good for democracy when politicians are in the moment, answering the questions that are asked, interacting with audiences and interviewers.

Why Debate Moderators Matter
Can a debate be considered a success if voters are hit with an avalanche of unchallenged claims, counterclaims, numbers, and misrepresentations?

Romney Edges Obama in Presidential Optics
Just saying you're a leader doesn't make you one, but Romney's claims resonate more as a result of Obama's debate performance.

Romney Goes Half-In Against Obama Foreign Policy
Voters still care most about the economy, but is he missing an opportunity?

Romney's Campaign Undercuts His Competence Pitch
Mitt Romney’s misfiring presidential campaign casts doubt on his credibility as a manager and raises questions about how he would govern.

Stimulus: The Law That Dare Not Speak Its Name
The stimulus is the law that dare not speak its name - but we're hearing a lot about it anyway.

Five Most Surprising Things About the Democratic Convention
Among them: A focus on the military, and who didn't give the best speech.

Why Democrats Flubbed 'Better Off' Question
Say what you will about Joe Biden, but so far he's come up with the best and most succinct response to the question of whether America is better off than it was four years ago.

Democratic Convention A Chance to Sell Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has been making a modest comeback since the Supreme Court ruled in June that it is indeed constitutional.

Obama Jumps Into National Security Void Left by Romney
The president is highlighting his commander in chief role in the run-up to the convention.

Five Most Surprising Things About the GOP Convention (Besides Clint Eastwood)
Among them: The absence of Afghanistan and the power of speakers you never heard of.

The Battle of the Bailout
The recession has left many white, blue-collar voters brimming with anger and anxiety about lost jobs or homes, low wages, and the possibility of worse to come.

Sutton, Renacci Offer Voters a Stark Contrast in Ohio Race
There is one, and possibly only one, thing that Reps. Betty Sutton and Jim Renacci agree on: Voters in their new, oddly shaped congressional district will have a stark choice.

Cecile Richards: Republicans Aren't Abandoning Planned Parenthood
As president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards is walking a delicate line between her Democratic history and her current role heading a bipartisan health organization.

Obamacare Vs. Obamascare: Will Health Care Swing the Election?
How badly can Mitt Romney scare Americans about "Obamacare"? And could the presidential election hinge on the answer?

Hiding the Ball
Could Wisconsin's Scott Walker have avoided strife if he had been more specific up front about his policy agenda?

Imagining a World Without 'Obamacare'
Romney would be the best Republican for managing the aftermath of a Supreme Court rejection.

'Obamacare' May Fail Someday, But GOP Is Jumping the Gun
Leave it to a 19th century law to highlight the spuriousness of Republican arguments that "Obamacare" has failed.

Making a Better Mitt
Obama's shaky approval ratings virtually assure Romney a fighting chance if he's nominated, but first he needs to be a better candidate.

Pining for Another
Is the Republican presidential field really as weak as its critics make it out to be? History suggests there's something to the complaints.

Obama's Message to GOP Rivals: I'm No Sitting Duck
There was the text of Obama's State of the Union address, and then there was the subtext.

Copyright 2023, Jill Lawrence