Amita Kelly | KERA News

Amita Kelly

Amita Kelly manages national news coverage across NPR.org and other digital platforms.

Previously, she was a digital editor on NPR's Washington Desk, where she managed election, politics, and policy coverage for NPR.org as well as social media and audience engagement.

She was also an editor and producer for NPR's mid-day newsmagazine program Tell Me More, where she covered health, politics, parenting, and, once, how Korea celebrates St. Patrick's Day. Kelly has also worked at Kaiser Health News and NBC News.

Kelly was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she earned her M.A., and earned a B.A. in English from Wellesley College. She is a native of Southern California, where even Santa surfs.

Donald Trump's campaign has spent an unusual amount of time this week answering questions about violent incidents.

The latest involves an allegation by reporter Michelle Fields of conservative site Breitbart that she was assaulted by someone who was ID'd by another reporter as Trump's campaign manager.

Here's what we know:

What Fields reported

President Obama said Thursday that the Republican Party is responsible for Donald Trump's rise, for "over a course of time, creating an environment where somebody like Donald Trump can thrive." Obama refuted the argument that Trump's surge is a reaction to his presidency.

"He's just doing more of what has been done for the last 7 1/2 years. And, in fact, in terms of his positions on a whole range of issues, they're not very different from any of the other candidates," Obama said in response to a question during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Bernie Sanders was the story of Tuesday night as he beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary. It wasn't a walloping — he won by less than 2 points — but still a big coup considering Clinton led in most polls by double digits before the race.

Michigan is Sanders' ninth state win, though Clinton still leads in delegates overall.

That means Sanders is only partway up a steep hill to the nomination.

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who ended her own presidential bid last month, has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Appearing at a Cruz rally in Miami on Wednesday morning, Fiorina said she voted for Cruz in Virginia's recent primary, and praised his record in challenging Washington's status quo.

Calling Cruz a "real constitutional conservative," she said "he is a fearless fighter and reformer, and he didn't care much whether he got invited to the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C." Fiorina said.

Former three-term mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg said Monday he will not run for president, after months of speculation that he would jump in as in independent during a campaign in which it seems anything could happen.

We all know live election coverage is hard — you have to cram a lot of quickly changing information into not a lot of time, and sometimes you forget to eat dinner. MSNBC's Chris Hayes must have been hungry, because here's what he said after Bernie Sanders was announced a winner:

This week, NPR asked voters around the country how they are feeling about this election, and why so many tell us they are anxious or angry.

President Obama and Vice President Biden "have tried to be fair and even-handed" in the primary process, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday following a meeting with the president at the White House.

Calling the meeting "constructive and productive," Sanders cautiously praised the Obama administration's economic work, saying there is still work to be done. The two also talked talked about foreign and domestic policy and "a little bit of politics," according to Sanders, who spoke to reporters after the meeting.

Several GOP presidential candidates are starting to lay out their closing messages in a new round of campaign ads airing in Iowa and New Hampshire this week. The ads come ahead of the early February primaries in those states.

They strike a dark and fearful tone, with footage and news headlines highlighting the recent terror attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris.

It all started with a question about food labeling at the Iowa Agriculture Summit earlier this year and Jeb Bush's not-so-humble brag:

"When I go to Publix in Coral Gables after church to go prepare for Sunday Funday in my house ... I'll probably make a really good guacamole and I want to know where that avocado is from and I want to know where the onions are from and the cilantro and all the secret stuff I put in it."

Stressing that his administration has "been at this for a long time," President Obama launched a forceful defense of his strategy against ISIS in a year-end interview with NPR. He makes "no apologies," he said, for wanting to target terror groups "appropriately and in a way that is consistent with American values."

Weighing in at 17 1/2 pounds, 4-month-old giant panda cub Bei Bei made his media debut Wednesday at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Keepers say the cub, born in August, is developmentally on track and ahead of his older sister Bao Bao in some milestones. The cub will make his public debut on Jan. 16.

"He's actually walking a lot sooner than his older sister did," said panda keeper Juan Rodriguez. "He's about 4 or so pounds heavier than his sister was at this same age, so he's definitely a much larger bear and developing a lot faster than his sister did."

This post was updated at 10:00 a.m. ET Friday.

Fourteen Republican candidates are speaking Thursday at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C. Comments made by front-runner Donald Trump are already garnering criticism on social media.

Trump spoke about Wednesday's shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., saying it "probably was related" to "radical Islamic terrorism." He criticized Obama for not using the term.

It starts with seemingly benign questions: Who are you voting for? Did you see that exposé about candidate X on Facebook? Before long, somebody is storming off to the basement or slamming the mashed potatoes on the table. And playing Adele's new song "Hello" won't make every family instantly get along (a la SNL's Thanksgiving Miracle).

Bernie Sanders laid out his brand of Democratic socialism Thursday, explaining how it informs his views on higher education, poverty, health care, the minimum wage and more.

In response to last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, House Republicans have formed a task force charged with finding a legislative response to calm fears about Syrian refugees coming into the U.S.

Speaking on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the attacks "pure evil."

"It's clear that this was an act of war and that the world needs American leadership," he said.

'It's All Politics' is packing up. We have decided to suspend the blog to consolidate NPR's political news and make it easier to find.

But don't worry, we're bringing you with us. You can find the same great news coverage, analysis, fact checking and more from NPR's political team streamlined here: NPR Politics.

We're also adding some new beats and angles to our coverage — more on that to come.

The Republican National Committee says it will suspend a debate partnership with NBC News, citing "inaccurate or downright offensive" questions during Wednesday night's debate on CNBC.

"We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a letter to NBC Chairman Andrew Lack.

This post was updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Paul Ryan has been elected speaker of the House of Representatives, receiving 236 votes.

Ryan faced the full House vote Thursday after getting approval Wednesday from the House Republican conference. He faced token opposition from fellow conservative Daniel Webster and Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Speaker John Boehner gave farewell remarks on the House floor Thursday, picking up a box of tissues as he prepared to speak, a nod to his tendency to cry in emotional moments.

Officially announcing his intent to resign as speaker and the representative from Ohio, Boehner said he leaves "with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job."

He spoke for 10 minutes about his life and rise in government, accomplishments in Congress and the role of the body.

The Republican presidential candidates gathered again Wednesday — this time in Boulder, Colo. for their third debate.

NPR's politics team live chatted the debate on Twitter using #nprdebate — you can see the archived chat below, catch up on our live blog here, or tweet us @nprpolitics with additional comments or questions.

This post was updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

House Republicans have voted to elect Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan as the party's nominee to serve as the next speaker of the House.

"This begins a new day in the House of Representatives," Ryan said, speaking briefly to reporters after Wednesday's vote. "Tomorrow, we are turning the page. We are not going to have a House that looked like it looked the last few years. ... Our party has lost its vision and we're going to replace it with a vision."

Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday to defend her actions around the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans.

We broke down the substance of the hearing and followed it in our live blog. But the hearing also repeatedly brought politics front and center.

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan has officially entered the House speaker race, saying in a letter to colleagues, "After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team." His announcement came after securing the support of three disparate House Republican groups.

This post was updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The first Democratic debate brought out some passionate and, at times, awkward moments from the five candidates on stage. A highlight of the night was when Bernie Sanders decided he'd had enough of Hillary Clinton's email scandal, exclaiming "the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails."

But Sanders later stumbled on foreign policy, and Clinton struggled to defend her changing positions.

Here's each candidate's best and worst moment from Tuesday night:

Donald Trump found love Thursday night. He's been trying to get the word out that he loves Latinos and "Latinos love Trump," after widespread criticism of his stance on immigration.

At a campaign event Thursday in Las Vegas, Trump pulled onstage an immigrant from Colombia who was holding a copy of the People magazine as he was talking about it.

The woman jumped up onstage screaming with come-on-down-you-just-won-a-car excitement, "Mr. Trump!"

There was chaos on Capitol Hill on Thursday after front-runner Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name from the House speakership election. The closed-door House Republican meeting that was supposed to emerge with a speaker nominee spilled out into the hallway outside of the House Ways and Means Room in the Longworth Office Building. That's where reporters rushed lawmakers to find out exactly what had happened and where the conference might go from here.

Here's a peek into that hallway, in 60 seconds:

As chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has pushed investigations into the Secret Service following security lapses at the White House, and he aggressively challenged Planned Parenthood. He's now shaking up Capitol Hill even more as a challenger to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the current House majority leader, in the race for speaker.

President Obama is losing his patience when it comes to the country's gun laws. Speaking Thursday following a deadly shooting in Oregon, he sounded aggravated as he excoriated Congress for not doing more to pass stricter gun legislation.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this summer, he called gun policy "one area where I feel that I've been most frustrated and most stymied."

If all goes as planned, the House will know who its next speaker will be by the end of next week. Elections for the next House leadership will be held on Thursday, Oct. 8 — a date outgoing Speaker John Boehner said he came to after consulting the Republican conference.

Boehner's office released this statement from the speaker:

Pages