Related Content: Gwen's Take

Five Things to Watch for in South Carolina

Gwen's Take

COLUMBIA, S.C. - This has probably been the single craziest week of the 2012 campaign, as candidates rose and fell nearly every single day.

As the voters here head to the polls for an unusual Saturday Republican party primary, here’s what I am watching for.

Five Things: What Matters Most After New Hampshire

Gwen's Take

Throughout this year’s election, I will pose and answer key questions at critical moments during the campaign. On New Hampshire Primary Election Day, I shared the five things I was watching for.

Here is how it all shook out.

New Hampshire: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Gwen's Take

Northfield, NH – The scene is a rustic old building perched on a pretty river in the center of the state. The walls are knotty pine and the pot-bellied stoves are putting out real heat.

It is standing room only in the middle of the day and the middle of the week, and everybody is there for…Rick Santorum.

The Tax Cut Debate: The Latest Train Wreck Waiting To Happen

Gwen's Take

As I prepared for a PBS NewsHour discussion about the prospects of extending and expanding the year-old payroll tax holiday, I knew the challenges that lay ahead. And that was before the Senate confirmed my pessimism by rejecting not one, but two, proposals to grant Americans year-end tax relief late Thursday.

This time, I hoped for a little more nuance. After all, both sides say they agree that now is not the time to allow a tax cut to lapse that has saved many families as much as $1,000 this year. Plus, the proposal now on the table would boost those savings to $1,500, while cutting payroll taxes for small businesses as well. What’s not to like at holiday time?

Condoleezza Rice Tells Her Story

Gwen's Take

When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice walked into our interview at her publisher’s office in New York this week, she was as composed as ever—happy to be out of Washington and now free to tell her side of a tumultuous story.

I’d just spent the past several days living inside her head as I read the memoir of her time in Washington, “No Higher Honor” (Crown Publishers). Rice, the reserved, piano-playing minister’s daughter and Russia expert, occupied center stage during eight critical years in the nation’s history.

Pick Your Poison: How Compromise Ceased To Be A Choice

Gwen's Take

It happened again the other day. Someone in the audience I was speaking to in Newark, New Jersey wanted to know: “Is compromise too much to hope for in Washington?”

And once again, I had to duck the question. I simply don’t know. But the signs are not good.

I spend my days sorting through the pronouncements of our leaders in search of answers to thorny questions like this.

Debate Night: When the Questions Count As Much As The Answers

Gwen's Take

Updated:  Friday, Sept 23-10am

If you are a political junkie like me, there can never be too many candidates’ debates. FOX? CNN? MSNBC? Have at it. The more they talk, the more we learn.

But as someone who has gotten the chance to moderate a debate or two, or three, I find myself focusing on the questioners – the handful of journalists and commentators who get to steer the conversation.

Searching for Bottom: Why Everybody Had A Bad Week

Gwen's Take

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." -- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

By now it is old news that the President of the United States is in a deep political hole, with daylight growing ever farther away. He doesn’t have gum in his hair yet, but it’s doubtful the White House would admit it if he did.

A Decade Since 9/11: Reporters Reflect on the Day That Changed Everything

Gwen's Take

I have long held that most of the people who grow up to be reporters are idealists. We like to think if we just dig deeper, understand better and listen harder, we will find something revealing – then get to share it with the world.

But much of the time, reporters act as witnesses, as translators for transformative events.

Split-Screen: The Art of Watching Two Things At Once

Gwen's Take

Not long ago, I was at the army installation at Fort Bragg, North Carolina reporting a story for the PBS NewsHour when my cellphone began to vibrate with news of a big earthquake back home in Washington, D.C.

We’d felt nothing. I’d been in the moment, interviewing a weeping 26-year-old widow about losing her husband in combat in Afghanistan. My life as split-screen.