Ina Jaffe

Ina Jaffe is a National desk correspondent based at NPR West, NPR's production center in Culver City, Calif.

Covering California and the West, Jaffe has reported on nearly all of the major news events, elections, and natural disasters in the region. Currently, she covers issues related to aging. She also reports on regional and national politics, contributing election coverage in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

In addition to captivating and informing listeners, Jaffe's reports have garnered critical acclaim. Her 2012 investigation into how the West Los Angeles VA made millions from renting property while ignoring plans to house homeless veterans won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. A few months after the story aired, the West Los Angeles VA broke ground on supportive housing for homeless vets.

Jaffe's 2011 series on rising violence in California State Psychiatric Hospitals was also honored with a Gracie Award as well as awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the American Bar Association. Her three-part series on California's Three Strikes sentencing law won the ABA's Silver Gavel Award in 2010, as well as the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Jaffe was the first editor of Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon which made its debut in 1985.

Born in Chicago, Jaffe attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University receiving Bachelor's and Master's degrees in philosophy, respectively.

Once upon a time, the Republican presidential contenders seemed to be mostly on the same page. They agreed on who the real enemies were — as Newt Gingrich explained at a debate in September.

No one seems to be talking about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan this week — including Herman Cain. Instead, he's had to deal with allegations that he committed sexual harassment when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

On Wednesday night, he accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign of planting the story. Perry's campaign flatly denied it, and Cain has backed off.

Regardless, some political consultants have seen the invisible hand of opposition research during this campaign season — what's known as the "dark art of politics."

In Las Vegas, Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate was arguably the hottest show on the Strip.

It was supposed to be a test for businessman Herman Cain, who has gone from nowheresville to competing for the title of front-runner. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose debates and poll numbers have been lackluckster, showed a combative side that had been missing up until now.

If you watched the Emmy Awards recently, you may have seen an ad inviting viewers to "fight" for President Obama's jobs plan.

"The next election is 14 months away," Obama says in the ad. "And the people who sent us here, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months."

Although the election is more than a year away, it's not keeping political commercials off of our TV screens. Yet, according to a new survey, the audience for those ads is shrinking.

Young People Aren't Watching Live TV

The presidential campaign has been a roller coaster for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

From a back-of-the-pack start, the Tea Party favorite won an upset victory in the Iowa straw poll. Then, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got in the race and eclipsed her as a media headliner, and Bachmann's star fell. After a feisty debate appearance last week that put her back on an upswing, Bachmann headed to southern California to try and get her groove back.

As politicians go, California Rep. Xavier Becerra has a relatively low profile considering that he's been in Congress for 18 years. He's the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, the former head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the first Latino to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

When the Democrats had the House majority, Nancy Pelosi appointed him to the new post of assistant to the speaker. And earlier this month, she chose him to join the supercommittee tasked with finding a way to cut $1 trillion from the federal deficit.

When Standard & Poor's downgraded the United State's credit rating, it said that the "effectiveness, stability and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened." In other words, S&P was down on Washington's dysfunction, distrust and gridlock. The reactions to S&P's move — at least the reactions seen on TV — suggest that the ratings agency may have had a point.

Thousands of assaults occur each year at California's state psychiatric hospitals. Last October, a patient allegedly murdered a staffer at Napa State Hospital. Employees there demonstrated, demanding greater safety.

Now, the protests have spread to Metropolitan State Hospital near Los Angeles, where about 100 workers recently spent a broiling hot lunch hour marching in front of the place where they work.

During the 1976 campaign, Betty Ford was more popular than her husband, President Gerald Ford. Ford, who died Friday, had been a supporter of feminist causes, and her support for abortion rights riled many conservatives during the campaign of her husband, who died in 2007. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports

It's officially summer vacation time. But if you're a candidate running for president, you'll spend your summer shaking hands in early voting states. Here, a look at the required stops and must-see attractions in Nevada.

Las Vegas may be in the middle of a desert, but once you're on the Strip, you can pretend you're anywhere. Just pick a hotel: Paris, New York, Monte Carlo. Republican candidates generally go Venetian.

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