Ken Rudin

Ken Rudin is NPR's Political Junkie. For most of the past 20 years, Rudin has been the eyes and ears of political coverage as political editor. Rudin focuses on all aspects of politics, from presidential elections with the primaries, national conventions, debates and general election, to the races for the House, Senate and state governors. He has analyzed every congressional race in the nation since 1984.

In 2011, Rudin added to his duties by becoming part of the network's StateImpact project. This local-national journalism initiative will add editorial resources and reporters to NPR member stations in all 50 states, to better inform the public about the impact that the actions of state governments has on citizens and communities. Rudin mentors and advises these reporters on covering the effects politics and politicians have on people.

In addition to his role with StateImpact, Rudin continues to contribute NPR's political coverage. Every Wednesday, he can be heard on Talk of the Nation in the "Political Junkie" segment. In his "Political Junkie" weekly column on NPR.org, Rudin previews the politics of the week, and delves into campaign history, strategy and trivia, including the popular ScuttleButton contest.

Rudin was a key player on the NPR team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton award for excellence in broadcast journalism in 2002 for coverage of campaign finance.

From 1983 through 1991, Rudin worked at ABC News, serving first as deputy political director and later as the off-air Capitol Hill reporter covering the House. He first joined NPR in 1991, as its first political editor. Rudin returned to NPR in 1998, after a three-year absence during which he was the managing editor of the Hotline, a daily political newsletter. He also wrote the "Political Graffiti" column for The Hill, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill.

A political junkie for many decades, Rudin has one of the most extensive collections of campaign buttons in the country, a collection that now surpasses 70,000 items. Rudin is a graduate of Pace University in New York.

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Political Junkie
10:15 am
Mon February 11, 2013

As With The Losses In '64 And '76, More Self-Examination In The GOP

Moderates triumphed at the '76 convention but their candidate, Ronald Reagan, lost the general election in the fall,
Anthony Camerano AP

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 10:51 am

Another defeat in the race for president has led to the inevitable round of soul-searching for the Republican Party. This time — unlike, say, in the aftermaths of the defeats of 1964 and 1976 — it is less clear how to get the GOP out of its rut.

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Political Junkie
10:40 am
Tue February 5, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 3:22 pm

So what did you do during the blackout on Super Bowl Sunday? Other than, say, apply some deer antler spray?

For most Americans, it was trying to figure out the ScuttleButton puzzle on Super Bowl Sunday. Actually, it's always difficult trying to solve ScuttleButton while watching the game on Super Bowl Sunday. But now it's time to focus on the new puzzle.

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Political Junkie
10:54 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Ed Koch, New York City, And The Politics Of Resentment And Race

Koch served as mayor for three terms (1978-89).
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 3:19 pm

For anyone who lived in New York during his tenure — and even if you didn't — Ed Koch was a larger-than-life figure, a feisty, combative and mostly-successful mayor who, for better or worse, dramatically changed the city and left his mark in the history books.

But how will history judge him?

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Political Junkie
9:00 am
Thu January 31, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

What if everyone who was in this country illegally decided to try their hand at solving ScuttleButton each week? Would they be able to stay? Would that be considered "amnesty?"

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Political Junkie
5:48 am
Mon January 28, 2013

It's Splitsville Between GOP & Hillary Clinton; Fox Breaks Up With Sarah Palin

It's not what you think.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:07 am

Washington, D.C., has never been a "love thy neighbor" kind of place, certainly not in the past four years when Republicans worked to stymie President Barack Obama at all costs, or the eight preceding years when Democrats had similar feelings about President George W. Bush.

So how do you explain the love affair of the past few years between Republicans and Hillary Clinton?

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Arts & Life
1:07 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

I have a confession to make.

Yes, sometimes it's true, I do bend the rules to suit ScuttleButton. Sometimes I completely violate the precepts that ScuttleButton was founded on. So yes, many of you who write in to complain do have valid points.

But this week I may have gone too far. You'll see what I mean once you figure out the puzzle. I just want you to know that there was a serious rule violation this week and that I'm aware of it.

Not that anything will change.

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Political Junkie
5:18 am
Mon January 7, 2013

John Boehner Has Been Up And Down And Up Again. Where Is He Now?

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio bangs the gavel after being re-elected as House Speaker of the 113th Congress on Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:41 pm

As John Boehner finally got the votes to put him over the top, and his re-election as Speaker of the House became official, one had to wonder what was going on in his mind.

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Political Junkie
5:08 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2012

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:43 pm

In political terms, 2012 was not the greatest of years. We witnessed an ugly, personal, petty, and often childish presidential election. Living in a "battleground" or "swing" state often meant being bombarded 24/7 by an incessant barrage of negative campaign commercials. And just as we were finally emerging from the campaign, we ended the year with an unfathomable tragedy, the gunning down of 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut.

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Politics & Government
5:33 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Both Sides Itching For A Confirmation Fight Over Susan Rice

Some Republicans are betting that President Obama won't push for a Susan Rice nomination if it could jeopardize negotiations with the GOP on things like the budget, or immigration.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:23 pm

The election was over. As President Obama faced the press in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, the anger and bitterness of his long battle with Mitt Romney seemed to have faded. Unlike President George W. Bush after his 2004 re-election — and his comments about having political capital and intending to spend it — Obama seemed a bit more humble victor, talking more about compromise and saying he was willing to hear other points of view to solve the nation's problems.

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Political Junkie
5:33 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Who Gets The Blame For The Romney Loss? The Tea Party Has A Theory.

Tea Party favorites: Bachmann (Minn.) barely survived; Mourdock (Ind.) lost a previously safe GOP seat; West (Fla.) refuses to concede.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:38 am

It was an election that, once upon a time, many thought was stacked in Mitt Romney's favor.

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Political Junkie
8:08 am
Mon November 5, 2012

What To Look For On Election Day: The Battle For The White House & Congress

A voter reads her ballot as she prepares to cast her vote during the last day of early voting in Miami on Nov. 3.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 7:02 am

Tuesday, as those who follow politics probably know, is Election Day. The battle between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been contentious, expensive, personal, illuminating, ugly, frustrating, petty, enlightening and, above all, long. And it is expected to be close.

This week's Political Junkie column is an attempt to guide you to what's at stake on Tuesday, both in the contest for the White House as well as the 33 Senate and 435 House seats on the ballot.

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Political Junkie
1:53 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Will The Debates Determine The Outcome? History Says It's Debatable

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 2:20 pm

The candidates have gone through the primaries and caucuses, the delegate counts and the conventions. At this point, they're traveling the country, trying to make their case. Now comes the most widely anticipated event in the race for the White House: the presidential debates.

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Election 2012
7:37 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Running Mate Scorecard: Ups And Downs Since 1964

GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, his running mate, George Bush, and their wives, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, wave from the podium at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit on July 17. In picking Bush, Reagan created a ticket that unified the party.
AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 12:32 pm

It will be a while before we know if presidential candidate Mitt Romney's pick of Rep. Paul Ryan to join the Republican ticket will be a plus or minus for his campaign.

In my view, not since Jack Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson has the choice of a running mate truly affected the outcome in November. LBJ did, after all, help bring Texas to the Democratic fold in 1960. But the record for subsequent No. 2s is a bit mixed. Here's my scorecard:

1964

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Election 2012
7:29 am
Sat August 11, 2012

5 Vice Presidential Picks Who Were Key To Victory

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 10:09 am

There have been a number of instances in recent history where the choice of a vice presidential running mate was an important stepping stone toward winning in the fall.

Of course, it's much too early to know how much of a difference GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will make. In the meantime, here is my subjective list of the top five instances in the past half-century or so where a selection of a running mate was crucial to victory:

1. 1960: John Kennedy-Lyndon Johnson (D)

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Political Junkie
5:48 am
Mon August 6, 2012

The United States Of America ... All Ten Of Them

For Romney to win the election, he is going to have to pick off some big states from Obama's 2008 tally.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 9:56 am

In 92 days, we will either re-elect President Obama or replace him with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. On paper, at least, voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will make that decision.

But if you look at the travel schedules and campaign budgets of Obama and Romney, it's clear that the 2012 election will be decided in only ten or fewer states.

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