Danielle Kurtzleben | New Hampshire Public Radio

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.

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In a speech addressing the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, Joe Biden acknowledged that with vaccines being distributed, "brighter days are coming." However, the speech overall had a sobering tone, with the president-elect acknowledging the more than 330,000 coronavirus deaths, as well as the potential for many more over the winter.

"We need to be honest: The next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, a very tough period for our nation — maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic," he said. "I know it's hard to hear, but it's the truth."

At some point on election night 2020, as CNN's "KEY RACE ALERTS" rolled in and the map turned red and blue, things started to feel eerily like election night 2016.

Specifically, it was that déjà vu feeling of "Huh, maybe the polls were off." It was a feeling that grew as states such as Iowa and Ohio swung even harder for President Trump than polls seemed to indicate, key counties were tighter than expected and Republicans picked up one toss-up House seat after another.

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Minnesota's sprawling, rural 7th Congressional District has been represented by conservative Democrat Collin Peterson for 30 years. It was considered one of Democrats' most vulnerable seats going into this year's election, and the GOP flipped it when Michelle Fischbach won by 13 points.

Rep.-elect Fischbach credited one particular Republican with helping her win: Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.​

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In the run up to the 2020 election, many polls show Joe Biden and Democrats with a significant lead, both nationally and in multiple swing states. As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports, pollsters are now confronting the question of how far off polls were and what caused it.

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Alicia Aguiano drove down to Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia this weekend to pay her respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As she stood in front of the Supreme Court building, with its sidewalk covered in flowers and chalk tributes to Ginsburg, her voice quavered and she wiped at tears.

"I've just been super inspired by her. I really identify with her," she said. "I'm a lawyer, and I also teach at a law school. And so I fully recognize that I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for her, and so I just felt the need to come down and pay my respects."

If President Trump wins Wisconsin again, he'll have Republican stalwarts like Mary Ludwig to thank.

"I always vote Republican because I'm so against abortion," she said, sitting next to a lake in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc on a recent summer evening.

Ludwig has some reservations about Trump; she says that she doesn't like the "offensive" things he says. On the other hand, she also has things she admires about him: She really likes his kids and thinks he's handling the economy well.

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Decades before Sarah Palin or Geraldine Ferraro were put on presidential tickets, India Edwards was in contention for the vice presidency. At their 1952 convention, Democrats put forth Edwards, then vice chair of the party, as a potential running mate for Adlai Stevenson.

Edwards didn't want the job.

"First of all, I had no aspiration to be vice president of the United States," she told NPR in 1984. She added with a chuckle, "I also didn't think the Democratic Party was ready for a woman vice president."

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

This week, Joe Biden's campaign released its fourth and final plank in the former vice president's package of economic ideas: a plan for racial economic equity. It's a 26-page rundown of policies ranging from a plan to boost small businesses to a first-time homebuyer tax credit.

But contained in the plan was a less-flashy proposal: asking the Federal Reserve to explicitly take race into account when it sets policy.

On July 28, 2020, Mattel announced it would be releasing its seventh presidential Barbie. They have released one in nearly every cycle since 1992, but of course, America has yet to see Barbie in the Oval Office. But this year, for the first time, Mattel gave her a campaign team. Candidate Barbie 2020 came with a campaign manager, a fundraiser, and one (1) voter. There was renewed hope in the Barbie camp that this could be the year she won.

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Updated 5:05 p.m. ET, July 23

The White House is repealing and replacing an Obama-era rule intended to combat historic racial discrimination in housing.

In a Wednesday announcement, the White House said it would be rolling back the rule as a part of a broader deregulation push.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Here's one way of understanding just how far off the map the U.S. economy is right now: The U.S. has now had two straight months where it has added more jobs than it did in all of 2019.

It's hard to know what's most notable about the Colorado Republican primary upset that ousted Rep. Scott Tipton on Tuesday night.

Mamie Brown is getting up earlier than ever these days.​

"A typical day for me starts about 4:30 to 5:00. I actually naturally wake up. I think part of that's my anxiety right now," she said. "And then when I do, very first thing in the morning is catch up on to-dos around the house and paperwork."

She's a self-employed lawyer in Fairbanks, Alaska, specializing in helping small businesses with things like contracts and HR issues. But now she and her husband are juggling work and their kids, ages 8 and 4.

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET

Protesters staged large-scale demonstrations across the country on Sunday, expressing outrage at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, more broadly, anger at police brutality. Some cities, including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Louisville, saw clashes with police, buildings and cars set afire, and looting.

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The first time Rosemary Ugboajah applied for a small-business relief loan, it didn't go well. She needed the money for her small Minneapolis-based company, which has created ad campaigns for brands like the NCAA Final Four.

So she went to her credit union.

"They were hard to reach, but eventually I got through to someone and they emailed me back saying they can't process the loan because they don't process SBA loans," she said. "I wasn't aware of that."

Very briefly, at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, there were slightly more women on American nonfarm payrolls than men.

That's no longer true. The historically disastrous April jobs report shows that the brunt of job losses fell on women.

Christian Piatt finally got a loan to help rescue his brand-new bar and restaurant in Granbury, Texas.

But it wasn't easy.

He applied through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is meant to help small businesses threatened by the pandemic. One bank told him it couldn't lend through the program. Another told him he might have better luck elsewhere. The third approved his loan and he got the money.

Now he's wondering: How should he use his $34,000 loan?

Small businesses, already hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, can't seem to catch a break.

On the first day of the reopened Paycheck Protection Program, a key lifeline from Congress, banks are reporting that the Small Business Administration's portal is not working.

Bankers told NPR on Monday that the system, known as E-Tran, would not allow them to enter loan application information that is needed for small businesses to access the program.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Until a few weeks ago, Melissa St. Hilaire worked the night shift taking care of a 95-year-old woman for a family in Miami.

"I help her to go to the bathroom, use the bathroom, and I watch TV with her, and I comb her hair sometimes in the night," she said.

But one day in March, the woman's daughter told her not to come back, saying she wanted to protect her mother during the coronavirus pandemic.

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