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.

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."

President Obama gave impassioned remarks Thursday calling for stricter gun laws following a deadly shooting in Oregon. He spoke for just over 10 minutes, excoriating Congress for refusing to pass gun reform legislation. He also called on state legislatures and governors to act and on regular Americans to "think about how they can get our government to change these laws," which, he said, "will require a change of politics on this issue."

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:

Republican candidates need to get on board with addressing climate change, and voters will follow. That's the message Republican businessman Jay Faison of North Carolina is pushing — and he's putting his money behind it.

Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was honored Friday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. She was presented, to a standing ovation, the "Cost of Discipleship" Award by the conservative Family Research Council, which sponsored the summit.

"I am only one, but we are many," she said tearfully as she accepted the award. We spoke to some of Davis' supporters (along with one attendee who doesn't agree with her actions). Hear their voices below:

Speaker of the House John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden cried as Pope Francis addressed Congress Thursday. Many other political leaders were visibly moved by the mere first-ever presence of a pope in the chamber.

Speaking outside the White House Wednesday, Pope Francis praised President Obama's environmental initiatives, calling climate change "a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation." The pope said he found it "encouraging" that the president is "proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution."

President Obama is taking some heat over who's been invited to attend Pope Francis' large arrival ceremony at the White House this Wednesday. The list includes the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, an activist nun and a transgender activist — guests the Vatican reportedly objected to, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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