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. Her reporting is wide-ranging, with particular focuses on gender politics, demographics, and economic policy.

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/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the battle for primary votes, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight battle.

Recent claims about Bernie Sanders' economic proposals are hurting the Democratic Party, say four former White House economists.

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET to reflect revised delegate counts

Bernie Sanders delivered the second-biggest rout in New Hampshire Democratic primary history last night, besting Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points.

At the start of the Democratic caucus in Earlham, Iowa, there were 40 Hillary Clinton supporters, 40 Bernie Sanders supporters and 11 Martin O'Malley supporters, all massed around their respective tables in the concrete-floored town community center.

O'Malley was — in the language of caucus rules — not viable: He needed at least 14 supporters to get a delegate in this Madison County gathering. It was time to see if O'Malley's 11 would move to someone else.

Stephanie Hundley is an enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter. The 28-year-old from Waterloo is also enthusiastic about the fact that she's not going to vote for Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman.

Ted Cruz has one of the most overtly religious stump speeches on the Iowa campaign trail.

In Emmetsburg, Iowa, Friday the Texas senator quoted the Bible and exhorted his supporters to pray "each and every day" until Election Day.

"He's real," said Bobbie Clark, a Cruz supporter from Algona. "There's something there. There's substance behind it. It's not just talk."

Every four years, Iowans are deluged with the talking points, the stump speeches, the polls and, of course, the ads.

They also hear that they shouldn't be first. Iowans are too white, too old and too few to merit first-in-the-nation status, say the critics.

But if Iowa shouldn't be first, who should be? For more than a century, reformers have been proposing ideas for how to change the primary system. And they've been failing. And they'll probably continue to fail.

Hillary Clinton wants you to know she has a new tax proposal. She also wants you to know that Bernie Sanders does not.

Here are a few safe bets for Tuesday's State of the Union: There will be dozens of applause breaks, endless GIF-worthy moments and a laundry list of proposals (not to mention lots of reporters using the phrase "laundry list" for the first — and maybe only — time this year).

One more bet: Most of those proposals won't be successful.

Here's one topic Americans can bank on hearing about in next week's State of the Union address: gun control. The reaction to President Obama's announced gun-control measures this week was swift and entirely as expected. Gun-control advocates and many Democrats applauded his efforts; gun-rights groups and many Republicans loudly denounced the orders as executive overreach.

Submitting to interviews is usually a big part of the presidential job description. Conducting interviews, on the other hand, falls pretty far down on the list.

Here's what we've heard about evangelical voters lately: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and now Ted Cruz are fighting for them. Cruz says that a bunch of them are "missing" (and that he's the man to find them). And anyone will tell you that they play a decisive role in Iowa GOP caucuses.

Ted Cruz is introducing some voters to what he says is a new term in the fight over immigration: "undocumented Democrats." Speaking in Las Vegas on Thursday, the Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate portrayed the idea of a path to citizenship as a ploy to beef up Democratic voter rolls.

There are a lot of surprising things about Donald Trump's campaign. He has been atop polls almost constantly for nearly five months. Contrast that to GOP primaries of recent past, in which a series of "front-runners" have come and gone before a nominee was chosen.

Likewise, he seems not only immune to fact checks but is helped when he is perceived to be a victim of media targeting — even when he has made blatantly untrue claims and refused to back down.

In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting — the deadliest in recent U.S. history, with 49 victims — calls for gun control have once again grown louder. In fact, they were shouted on the House floor on Monday. After Speaker Paul Ryan led a moment of silence, Democrats yelled, "Where's the bill?" at him, asking for new gun control measures.

TV ads are unavoidable during a presidential election campaign — just ask the Iowans and New Hampshirites being bombarded with advertisements right now. So why aren't those TV spots seeming to do much good for some Republican candidates?

It has become de rigueur to write about the woes of Thanksgiving-table political arguments. If you are unlucky enough to actually experience these, you may have noticed that the fights at the Thanksgiving table have grown more heated in recent years. That would make sense — after all, we keep hearing that Capitol Hill is growing more polarized (and, relatedly, paralyzed).

Tuesday night's Republican debate focused on economic issues. NPR reporters look at candidate claims about business creation, the minimum wage, trade and the length of the tax code.

NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley on the health of the economy:

Republican candidates painted a fairly bleak picture of the U.S. economy during the debate, offering a litany of discouraged workers, sluggish economic growth and children living on food stamps.

Immigration is shaping up to be one of the most contentious and emotional topics in the 2016 presidential race. It's also one on which candidates' views aren't yet fully formed.

If you've paid attention to Donald Trump's speeches, you probably don't have to read his new book.

That's because Crippled America doesn't exactly break new ground. It reads like one of his teleprompter-free campaign speeches: loose, casual, disjointed and full of grandiose adjectives. You can almost hear him dictating it as you read his greatest-hits lines about "real Americans" and the economic threats that China poses to the U.S., mishmashed with a rundown of his main policy ideas and a few anecdotes from his past.

If you've paid attention to Donald Trump's speeches, you probably don't have to read his new book.

That's because Crippled America doesn't exactly break new ground. It reads like one of his teleprompter-free campaign speeches: loose, casual, disjointed and full of grandiose adjectives. You can almost hear him dictating it as you read his greatest-hits lines about "real Americans" and the economic threats that China poses to the U.S., mishmashed with a rundown of his policy ideas.

In Wednesday night's GOP debate, moderators pressed GOP candidates on their massive tax reform pans. Moderator John Harwood asked Donald Trump about the idea that his massive tax cuts would make the economy take off "like a rocket ship" (an idea that Trump staunchly defended).

Right now, Americans have a front-row seat to one of the highest-profile job negotiations they will ever see.

Paul Ryan's list of demands before becoming speaker of the House includes a couple of things that few job applicants ever have to think about: party unity and a congressional rule change. But he has one demand that many workers can sympathize with: He wants time to see his kids.

In a Wednesday statement from the White House's Rose Garden, Vice President Joe Biden ended months of speculation, informing the country that he will not be seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The decision likely leaves plenty of Biden supporters disappointed, but when you look at the numbers — polling, fundraising and endorsement data — they show he would have had to clear some pretty big hurdles to win the nomination.

Here's a rundown:

1. He still lags far behind Clinton and Sanders in the polls

This post was updated at 12:28 p.m. ET.

If Vice President Biden had announced his presidential candidacy today, he would have entered the race with 384 days until Election Day. But he said it was too late for him to be competitive.

Here's the thing: 384 days is an absurdly long time.

At least, it is when you compare American campaigns to those in other countries. The U.S. doesn't have an official campaign season, but the first candidate to jump into the presidential race, Ted Cruz, announced his candidacy on March 23 — 596 days before Election Day.

Lance Mercier knows his job gets harder when a co-worker goes out on leave. But he recently also learned that raising a newborn involves, as he puts it, an "insurmountable" amount of work.

The 39-year-old bank manager from Silver Spring, Md., is currently on leave from work taking care of his newborn son with his wife, Luz.

"As a manager who has had a lot of people go out on leave of absence, it absolutely sucks when they go out on leave," he said. "This puts everything back into perspective for me."

Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail call for an Obamacare repeal all the time. Plans to replace it are rarer, though. Obamacare is a fantastically complicated policy, and overhauling the health care system would likewise be a complicated business, affecting not only government spending and the economy, but people's very lives on an intensely personal level.

No one knows who will lead House Republicans next, but for now, chaos reigns among the House GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy shocked Washington on Thursday when he dropped out of the race for speaker of the House.

If you aren't watching Capitol Hill closely, you might not know what the big deal is, or why the GOP is having such a hard time picking a speaker. Here's a quick rundown of what's going on.

We want to cut through the spin with a new feature we're calling "Break It Down."

Break It Down is going to be a regular part of our campaign coverage. We're going to try some new things. It might read a little differently from time to time. But our goal is to zoom in on what the candidates are saying, and give you the factual breakdown you need to make a sound judgment.

Pages