Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Prior to his current post, Shapiro reported from the NPR Washington Desk as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms, as Justice Correspondent during the George W. Bush administration and as a regular guest host on NPR's newsmagazines. He is also a frequent analyst on CNN, PBS, NBC and other television news outlets.

Shapiro's reporting has consistently won national accolades. The Columbia Journalism Review recognized him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American gavel Award, recognizing a body of work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro graduated from Yale University magna cum laude and began his journalism career in the office of NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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Middle East
12:34 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:23 pm

The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

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It's All Politics
9:59 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Future Historians: Good Luck Sifting Through Obama Video

President Obama is seen on a video camera as he delivers a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2010. In addition to footage of official events, the White House now has thousands of hours of behind-the-scenes video that it will archive.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 7:43 am

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Politics
11:24 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Susan Rice's First Month On The Job Has Been A Doozy

Rice talks with Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the United States, before the start of a dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House last month.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:45 pm

People have been talking a lot lately about the National Security Agency. But there's another important "NSA" in the federal government — the president's national security adviser.

That person is a sort of funnel — gathering information from the military, the intelligence community, the State Department — and channeling it all to the president.

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Code Switch
4:54 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Obama Warms To Speaking Personally About Race

President Obama speaks about the George Zimmerman acquittal nearly a week after the ruling.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 8:46 am

On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.

"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.

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The Salt
12:22 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Help! My Egg Yolks Are Freakishly White

The white egg yolk at left, seen next to a yellow yolk, may seem strange, but it's just a result of the chicken feed used, scientists say.
Junko Kimura Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:19 am

Dear Salt,

I recently joined President Obama on his trip through Africa, and I brought a mystery home with me. I wonder if you can help me solve it.

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It's All Politics
10:05 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

In Second Term, Obama Takes Softer Tone Toward Bushes

President Obama applauds as former first lady Barbara Bush and former President George W. Bush help President George H.W. Bush stand at the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on April 25 in Dallas. Former first lady Laura Bush looks on.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 12:10 am

Former President George H.W. Bush will visit the White House on Monday, along with his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, to celebrate a milestone for Points of Light, a volunteer service organization that got its start during the first Bush administration.

During President Obama's first term, he didn't see much of the Bushes. He met with the former presidents — father, son or both — a total of just five times in four years.

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Africa
11:45 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Obama Announces Trade Africa Initiative

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And farther south on the African continent, President Obama is wrapping up a three-country tour. He's in Tanzania now, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. NPR's Ari Shapiro is travelling with the president and reports on Obama's first day in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.

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Politics
10:44 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Mandela's Condition Clouds Obama's S. Africa Visit

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. President Obama is in Johannesburg, South Africa this morning. It's his second stop on a three-country tour of Africa. NPR's Ari Shapiro is traveling with the president. He joins us now. Good morning, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Good morning, Lynn.

NEARY: The president held a press conference with the current South African president Jacob Zuma this morning. Tell us about that.

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Africa
11:33 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Obama: Time For A Mutually Beneficial Alliance With Africa

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 2:13 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

President Obama's trip through Africa is turning out to be political and also personal. The Obama family is visiting three countries in vastly different regions of the continent.

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Africa
12:40 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Obama's Africa Trip To Focus On Democracy, Investment

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 6:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

President Obama flew home from Europe less than a week ago, and this morning, he is headed back overseas. This time, Air Force One is bound for Africa. It's a weeklong journey that will take the president and his family to three countries covering vastly different regions. This is Obama's first extended trip to the continent as president.

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It's All Politics
12:20 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Presents From The President: What Obama Gives His Friends

President Obama meets with speechwriter Jon Favreau in the Oval Office in 2009.
Pete Souza White House via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 4:59 pm

Between his trip to Europe last week and his travels to Africa next week, President Obama is doing a lot of gift exchanges with foreign leaders.

In the past, he has gotten mixed reviews. Four years ago, he was panned for giving the queen of England an iPod. Other presents have gone over better. But the president does not personally select these gifts — a staffer does.

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News
12:25 am
Sat June 8, 2013

NSA Scandal Looms Over Obama's Talks With China's Xi

President Obama walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a retreat on Friday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where the two leaders are meeting for talks.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 12:39 am

President Obama always intended to talk about spying this weekend. But not like this.

He's getting to know China's new leader at a sprawling estate in the Southern California desert this weekend, but domestic controversies have followed him there.

The president veered off his talking points Friday to spend more than 10 minutes defending a pair of massive surveillance operations that the media recently disclosed.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Sunnylands: Where Movie Stars And Presidents Play (And Work)

President Bill Clinton with Walter and Leonore Annenberg at the entrance of the historic estate on Feb. 14, 1995.
White House The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 12:38 pm

President Obama arrives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Friday to spend two days with China's new president, Xi Jinping, at a 200-acre estate called Sunnylands.

The house at Sunnylands is built of lava stone. The private golf course includes a pink pagoda. And if the presidents feel like fishing in one of the property's 11 lakes, they will hardly be the first world leaders to dip a line in the water.

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It's All Politics
12:23 am
Sat June 1, 2013

Obama's Economic View: A Glass Half-Full And Half-Empty

President Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday. He said the economy is seeing progress but added that too many people are still struggling.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 1:39 am

It has been a good week for economic news. Here's a quick rundown of the positive signs: Home prices showed their best gains in seven years. Consumer confidence hit a five-year high. The stock market set a new record. All just this week.

"We're seeing progress," President Obama said in the White House Rose Garden on Friday morning, "and the economy is starting to pick up steam. The gears are starting to turn again, and we're getting some traction."

You could tell from the tone of his voice that he was leading up to a "but."

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It's All Politics
12:35 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Why Obama Wants To Change The Key Law In The Terrorism Fight

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on May 23.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:18 pm

Almost all of the federal government's actions against terrorism — from drone strikes to the prison at Guantanamo Bay — are authorized by a single law: the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress passed it just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, President Obama says he wants to revise the law, and ultimately repeal it.

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Politics
10:51 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Obama's Next Big Campaign: Selling Health Care To The Public

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act at the White House on May 10.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 2:58 am

President Obama often tells audiences that he has waged his last campaign. But that's not exactly true.

The White House is gearing up for a massive campaign this summer that will cover all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. And the president's legacy may hinge on whether it succeeds or fails.

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It's All Politics
10:06 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Obama Group's Climate Push Puts President Under Scrutiny

President Obama speaks at Ellicott Dredges in Baltimore on May 17. The trip followed a visit by the company's president to Capitol Hill to testify in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. The White House says Obama's speech had nothing to do with Keystone, but environmental groups have been frustrated with his stance on the issue.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 7:54 am

Organizing for Action — a group that formed out of President Obama's re-election campaign — has posted five tweets in the past week about climate change using the @BarackObama Twitter account.

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It's All Politics
10:07 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

Is There Really A Second-Term Curse?

Richard Nixon says goodbye to members of his staff outside the White House as he boards a helicopter after resigning the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974.
AP

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 6:15 am

The phrase "second term curse" is so familiar that it's become a cliche of American politics. Whether it's President Richard Nixon's resignation or President Bill Clinton's impeachment, presidents tend to have a tough time during the back half of an eight-year presidency.

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Politics
12:13 am
Sat May 18, 2013

What A Week: White House Rattled By Controversy

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 2:23 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

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It's All Politics
11:56 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama U: What Graduation Speeches Say About The President

President Obama's commencement speeches seem to be his real State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 1:52 pm

This weekend, President Obama will give a speech that very likely won't be about the controversies of the moment.

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Politics
10:03 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

AP Case Adds To Obama Team's Tough Record On Leaks

President Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday. He told reporters: "Leaks related to national security can put people at risk."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:34 am

President Obama had a reputation when he took office as a liberal former constitutional lawyer who had condemned Bush-era national security policies.

But he has proven to be even tougher than President George W. Bush on prosecuting national security leaks. The seizure of Associated Press phone records is just the latest example.

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It's All Politics
11:47 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Democrats Invoke Boston, West To Defend Government's Role

Last week, FBI investigators and a Watertown, Mass., police officer investigate the scene near the boat where bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding. Democrats have argued that the way the government responded to the Boston attacks makes a case for not cutting too deeply.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:23 pm

President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week — one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.

But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.

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It's All Politics
11:09 am
Wed April 24, 2013

How Obama's Response To Terrorism Has Shifted

President Obama makes a statement in the White House briefing room just a few hours after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 11:57 am

President Obama's time in office has not been defined by terrorism as President George W. Bush's was. Yet incidents like the one in Boston have been a regular, painful through line of his presidency.

When a new administration walks into the White House, nobody provides a handbook on how to respond to a terrorist attack. So the Obama administration has been on a steady learning curve.

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Politics
12:56 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Obama's Pressure Fails To Get Gun Measure Passed

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 7:22 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, President Obama had promised to put the full weight of his office behind getting Congress to pass new gun control legislation. That weight was apparently not enough. When the legislation failed yesterday, Obama went into the White House Rose Garden and made a blistering speech, calling it a shameful day for Washington.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was there.

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Politics
1:38 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Obama Criticizes Congress After Background Check Bill Fails

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From Boston now to the White House, where President Obama reacted angrily tonight to the failure of an effort in the Senate to expand background checks for gun purchases. The amendment, proposed by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey, got only 54 votes - six short of the necessary 60. President Obama spoke in the White House Rose Garden. He called this a pretty shameful day for Washington.

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It's All Politics
12:20 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

'We Have To Do More': Michelle Obama's Next Four Years

First lady Michelle Obama greets students at Harper High School in Chicago on Wednesday. Twenty-nine current or former Harper students have been shot in the past year, eight of them fatally.
Nancy Stone AP

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 5:07 pm

This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.

"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."

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It's All Politics
11:59 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Will The Future GOP Be More Libertarian?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., shown speaking at a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 19, is promoting libertarian ideas as a way the Republican Party can be more inclusive.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

Republicans don't often make high-profile speeches at Howard University, one of the country's most prominent historically black schools. But on Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will talk to Howard students about how his party can be more inclusive.

Paul believes one answer is libertarianism — and party leaders are starting to think he might be on to something.

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It's All Politics
10:21 pm
Sun April 7, 2013

Why Politicians Want Children To Be Seen And Heard

President Obama signs a series of executive orders on gun control Jan. 16 surrounded by children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence. They are, from left, Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:36 pm

President Obama will visit Connecticut on Monday to keep pushing for new federal gun laws. The poster children for this campaign are just that — children.

The president has invited kids to the White House to watch him sign new executive orders on guns. And the images of the kids who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School are a constant reminder of the toll gun violence can take.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
1:11 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Gay Marriage And The Evolving Language Of Love

English-language experts say how gay couples refer to themselves, and how others refer to same-sex couples, continues to evolve.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 9:01 pm

In 1982, advice columnist Dear Abby published a letter from someone who'd just moved from a conservative Midwestern town to bohemian Portland, Ore.

Suddenly the advice seeker was interacting with gay couples and wanted to know: Should a letter be addressed to "Mr. John Doe and Friend?'"

Is it proper to say, "This is so-and-so and his lover"?

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It's All Politics
12:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Republicans Launch Mission To Turn Up Their Digital Game

Tweets from GOP supporters scroll along the side of a large-screen display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

The Republican and Democratic parties have been in a digital arms race for years. And this week, Republicans frankly admitted that they are losing.

Now, the GOP has ambitious plans to improve its game.

Monday's report from the Republican National Committee puts it bluntly: "Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns. The Obama team is several years ahead of everyone else in its technological advantage."

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