Danielle Kurtzleben

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Kurtzleben spent a year as a correspondent for Vox.com. As part of the site's original reporting team, she covered economics and business news.

Prior to Vox.com, Kurtzleben was with U.S. News & World Report for nearly four years, where she covered the economy, campaign finance and demographic issues. As associate editor, she launched Data Mine, a data visualization blog on usnews.com.

A native of Titonka, Iowa, Kurtzleben has a bachelor's degree in English from Carleton College. She also holds a master's degree in global communication from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Independent-expenditure-only committees, also known as superPACs, released their latest funding numbers on Friday, and already it's clear that the committees' roles in 2016 will be gargantuan.

The numbers already are far higher than those of the three election cycles since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which paved the way for the outside spending surge.

The State Department's latest dump of Hillary Clinton's emails may dominate the news cycle in the coming days, but her campaign also released another crucial document on Friday — a clean bill of health for the Democratic front-runner.

The confirmation comes from Lisa Bardack, a New York-based doctor who has been Clinton's physician since 2001. In a letter, she declares Clinton "a healthy-appearing female," saying that Clinton exercises regularly, eats plenty of vegetables and fruits, doesn't smoke, and "drinks alcohol only occasionally."

"Well, if I ever ran for office, I'd do better as a Democrat than as a Republican," Donald Trump told Playboy in 1990. "And that's not because I'd be more liberal, because I'm conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me."

Hillary Clinton laid out some lofty goals for her presidency in a speech on Friday.

"My mission from my first day as president to the last will be to raise the incomes of hardworking Americans so they can once again afford a middle-class life," she said. "This is the defining economic challenge not only of this election but our time."

Congress is one tiny step closer to funding America's highways, as the Senate decided Wednesday night to open debate on their transportation bill as the July 31 deadline looms. The Highway Trust Fund has been in dire straits the last few years, spending more than it's taking in. Because it gets its money from the federal gas tax, the trust fund has suffered as cars have grown more fuel-efficient and some Americans have cut back on their driving.

Barack Obama said before the New Hampshire primary during his contentious primary with Hillary Clinton in 2008 that she was "likable enough." The quip got him in trouble with Clinton supporters, but Clinton's likability is at the heart of her candidacy in 2016.

Clinton has a massive lead among Democratic candidates, but polls out in key swing states Wednesday raise warning signs for her candidacy.

Donald Trump held a kickoff event for his South Carolina campaign on Tuesday, and his speech was, to put it mildly, a doozy. Speaking in Sun City, S.C., without the aid of a TelePrompTer — because "Maybe when you run for president you shouldn't be allowed to use a TelePrompTer, because you find out what you're getting" — he was defensive, brash, angry, funny and self-aggrandizing.

To promote his economic ideas and tout his blue collar credentials, Scott Walker has been using a unique tactic: talking about his shopping habits. In his presidential campaign kick-off, the Wisconsin governor talked about how much he and his wife, Tonette, love a certain Wisconsin-based discount retailer.

"Some of you know that Tonette and I like to shop at Kohl's. Over the years, I've learned that if I'm going to buy a new shirt, I go to the rack that says that the shirt was $29.99 but now is $19.99," he said.

The first major campaign finance data dump of the 2016 presidential race is in, offering a look into how the candidates are raising and spending money. With second-quarter disclosures due at midnight July 15, most campaigns released their figures late Wednesday and into the evening.

If you've been paying attention to the political news in the past couple of years, you know that the U.S. stands virtually alone in not mandating paid leave of any type for its workers.

In a Monday speech, Hillary Clinton focused on a trend that millions of Americans know all too intimately: declining incomes.

The Clinton campaign is calling the phenomenon of stagnant wages "the defining economic challenge of our time," and as debates and primaries draw ever closer, it's becoming clear that jump-starting Americans' wages is going to be the defining challenge of the election. Candidates are furiously trying to differentiate themselves on how to deal with unstoppable phenomena.

A Recent, Scary Problem

Jeb Bush released more tax returns than any other presidential candidate in history. Over 33 years, the former Florida governor's campaign said he paid an average effective tax rate of 36 percent.

... depending on how you calculate it.

That's a confusing number, and it obscures three decades in which Bush's income climbed slowly, then explosively.

States may continue using a popular but controversial drug in lethal injection executions, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-4 decision.

The Supreme Court has decided that state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

In a set of cases grouped under Obergefell v. Hodges, the high court ruled, 5-4, that states have to license same-sex marriages, as well as recognize same-sex marriages from other states. All four dissenting justices wrote dissents.

As soon as Thursday, the Supreme Court could decide the fate of millions of same-sex couples nationwide. In a ruling covering four cases, the court will determine whether states can prohibit same-sex marriage, as 13 states currently do.

It's always tough to predict how the court will rule but, broadly speaking, there are three main possibilities: the simplest is that the court declares state marriage bans unconstitutional, meaning states will all perform and recognize same-sex marriage. That's a pretty simple outcome, but things get much trickier in the other two cases.

This post was updated at 12:15 p.m. ET to reflect the Supreme Court's ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state-based subsidies under the Affordable Care Act are legal. A different decision could have affected the health care of millions of Americans. In King v. Burwell, the court chose to allow the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, to many) to continue operating as-is. It could have ended the subsidies in most states allowing many lower-income Americans to afford the insurance offered through those sites.

Jeb Bush's presidential candidacy announcement this week, after months of campaigning, came as no surprise. One small surprise that did pop up in his remarks, however, was a lofty goal he has set for himself as president — to grow the economy at a 4 percent rate if he's elected.

He expounded on the claim Wednesday in Iowa.

The Obama administration finds itself in the rare position of fighting alongside House Republicans this week as it tries to overcome Friday's stinging defeat to its massive trade package, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Jenny Schulz isn't religious.

"I see religion as something really personal," said Schulz, 26, who works at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. "So the fact that it is a requirement in politics always seems unusual to me."

She said she "oscillates between atheist and agnostic," but she knows it could be many years before she votes for a political figure who shares her (lack of) religious beliefs.

Joe Biden couldn't help dropping an f-bomb when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. Obama knew he would have "more flexibility" in his dealings with Russia after he was reelected.

Imagine publishing a list of all of your recent sexual partners in the local paper. That was what one 2001 Florida law, enacted under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, required of some women in the state.

Huffington Post reporter Laura Bassett brought the so-called Scarlet Letter law to national attention in a Tuesday piece. Here's a rundown of what exactly that law did, and why it was passed in the first place.

What did the law do?

President Obama is once again poised to go it alone on labor policy, this time on overtime. The Labor Department is expected in the coming weeks to release a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime work — currently, all workers earning below $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week. The law may raise that as high as $52,000, Politico reports.

On Friday, the Labor Department announced that the economy added 280,000 jobs in May — a strong figure, and a much faster rate than economists expected.

Now imagine that in your state, job creation was nearly four times that fast.

That's what GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry can claim for Texas during his tenure as governor. Among all of the governors running for president, he can boast the best job creation numbers.

It's the early presidential campaign season, and candidates are loudly courting voters in high-profile appearances nationwide. But in quiet, closed-press fundraisers, they're also asking well-heeled elites for the cash to keep campaigning. That cash grab is so fast-paced, it would make even hot Silicon Valley startups jealous.

In the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Perry is getting in Thursday, and both Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal have announced that they have announcements to make.

Run Warren Run, the unofficial organization that for half a year pushed for the Massachusetts senator to seek the presidency, disbanded on Tuesday. Its backers nevertheless "declared victory" for their cause in a Politico magazine post, noting how her "agenda and message have transformed the American political landscape" in the campaign's six-month life.

Three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act expired Sunday night, ending — among other things — the government's ability to collect bulk metadata on Americans' phone calls and emails.

The fight pits Sen. Rand Paul and other legislators fighting for greater privacy against fellow Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and others who are in favor of extending the legislation as is. But if the lawmakers are looking to their constituents for direction, they might not get much help.

Mother Jones dug up a 1972 essay that Bernie Sanders wrote for the Vermont Freeman, an alternative newspaper. The article, called, "Man-and-Woman," is a commentary on gender roles. But it's also caused a stir, as is bound to happen anytime a candidate mentions rape.

If you haven't been following the hubbub, read on for a rundown of what the controversy is all about.

Sixteen presidential candidates talking over each other doesn't sound much like good TV. CNN and Fox News know this, so when they air their Republican debates later this year, they'll both limit the field to 10 candidates.

Both networks will use polling data to limit the field to only the 10 most popular candidates (CNN will have a second debate featuring the also-rans). It'll cut down on the chaos, but there's a big problem with winnowing down the field this way: the lowest-rated people included in the debate might not deserve to be there.

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