Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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10:37am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama Taps Sen. Kerry For Secretary Of State

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 4:02 pm

President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images
  • President Obama nominates Sen. Kerry

President Obama announced this afternoon that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's long experience in the Senate (he was first elected in 1984) and especially in foreign affairs (he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee) mean the senator's "not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said.

We followed the short appearance at the White House by the president and Kerry and posted some highlights.

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10:07am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Boehner: 'We'll Continue To Work' On Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:14 am

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

On this morning after he couldn't get fellow Republicans to support his "Plan B" for avoiding the year end "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner took some questions from reporters.

We listened in and posted updates. Hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions:

-- Update at 10:12 a.m. ET. House Will Come Back "If We're Needed":

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8:53am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Consumer Spending, Orders For Durable Goods Rose In November

Shoppers at a K-B Toy store in northern Virginia last month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There are two positive economic signals to pass along this morning:

-- The Census Bureau says orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in November from October. That follows a 1.1 percent rise in October from September and is the sixth increase in the past seven months.

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8:30am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Everybody Over The Cliff?

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:25 am

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday in the Capitol.
Alex Wong Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner's "major defeat" Thursday night — when he had to pull his "Plan B" to extend Bush-era tax cuts for nearly all American taxpayers because he couldn't get enough support from his fellow Republicans — means negotiations about avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff remain at an impasse.

So now what?

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7:58am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

#MomentForSandyHook In Memory Of Newtown Victims

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:38 am

Stuffed animals and flowers at a makeshift memorial near the entrance to the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Update at 9:36 a.m. ET: In Newtown and across the nation, bells rang starting at 9:30 a.m. ET, to honor the 20 children and six adults killed one week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. And on the Web, it appears many did take part in #MomentForSandyHook — judging from the sharp slowdown in our Twitter feed.

Our original post:

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7:14am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Apocalypse Not? Seems Like It

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:24 am

This morning on a beach in Brazil, some celebrated summer's first day — and the news that the world didn't end.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

So, it looks like all that talk about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world coming today was just ... talk.

But the fun continues. NASA's Voyager 2 Twitter feed, for instance, has this:

"END MAYACAL BTUN 12.19.19.17.19 SHUTDOWN:UNIV(12) BEGIN BTUN 13.0.0.0.0 BOOT:UNIV(13)."

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2:53pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:25 am

A Sig Sauer handgun on sale at a shop in Tucker, Ga.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

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1:19pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:33 pm

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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11:07am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:47 am

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.
Ed Crisostomo MCT /Landov

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

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10:39am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Three-Year High

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:04 am

San Francisco: A "sold" sign in front of a home earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

There was a 5.9 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in November from October, the National Association of Realtors says.

At their 5.04 million annual rate, sales were the highest since November 2009.

"Momentum continues to build," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says in the organization's report.

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