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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Election 2012
8:37 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 1:32 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
8:29 am
Sat August 11, 2012

5 Vice Presidential Picks Who Were Key To Victory

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 11:09 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
6:48 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 10:56 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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Political Junkie
6:43 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Latest Tea Party Vs. GOP Establishment Battle Comes Tuesday In Texas

Dewhurst and Cruz buttons.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 10:16 am

One question heard over and over again this year: Is the Tea Party still relevant?

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Road Map For Mitt Romney: Positive, And Negative, V.P. Picks Dating Back To 1964

Who will be Romney's VP? The naming of his running mate is likely going to come in mid-August, after his foreign trip and the conclusion of the Olympics.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 10:27 am

Forget the widespread rumor going around in recent weeks that Mitt Romney was going to announce his running mate this month. Perhaps, if the persistent attacks on Romney's taxes, investments and stewardship of Bain Capital started to show sharp erosion in his numbers, he would have moved up a V.P. announcement. But that hasn't happened. With polls indicating a continuous dead heat with President Obama, Romney is about to embark Tuesday on a week-long trip to Britain, Israel and Poland without first naming someone to his ticket.

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Would Romney, Already Looked At Skeptically By The Right, Pick Rice?

Condoleezza Rice, shown here visiting a school in Moscow in 2011, is the latest rumored choice for Mitt Romney's running mate.
Korotayev Artyom ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 5:03 pm

Pretty soon we'll be obsessing full time over Mitt Romney's running mate selection, but until then I thought I'd weigh in one on Veepstakes story that's been making the rounds in recent days.

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Political Junkie
6:43 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The Green Party Makes Its Case As A Left-Leaning Alternative To Obama

Green Party presidential candidates never attracted much support, but in 2000 they certainly attracted attention.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:07 pm

Last week's Political Junkie column ("Still Waiting For That Declaration of Independents") talked about the lack of ballot alternatives to President Obama (D) and Mitt Romney (R). If there is such dissatisfaction with the two major parties, I wondered, shouldn't there be greater support for a third party or independent presidential candidate?

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Political Junkie
12:07 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Still Waiting For That Declaration Of Independents

If this were truly a widespread sentiment, wouldn't there be more people calling for a third party candidate?
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 9:13 pm

The nation celebrates its 236th year of independence this week, a holiday that reminds us of the freedoms America's early patriots fought for and which we continue to enjoy to this day.

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Age, Demographics And Ethics Make For A Tough Primary For Charlie Rangel

Rangel has advancing age, health issues, ethics woes and changing demographics in his battle to win a 22nd term in Congress.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 5:05 pm

Back in 1970, the word on Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was that, after a quarter-century in the House, it was time for him to go.

At 61 years of age and enmeshed in ethics controversies, Powell was long known for his flamboyance. He was also known for his chronic absenteeism, and a young state assemblyman by the name of Charles Rangel promised if elected he would be a full-time congressman.

Rangel went on to defeat Powell in a five-candidate Democratic primary by just over 200 votes (32.6-31.8 percent).

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Tue June 12, 2012

A Congressional Election In Arizona We All Wish Didn't Have To Take Place

Giffords resigned her seat in January after 4 years in Congress.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 10:48 am

If Republicans had their way, there would not have been a gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin. An unnecessary waste of time, many of them said.

Democrats, for the most part, disagree. Scott Walker's policies, they argued, mandated the recall election.

As for today's special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, both Democrats and Republicans agree that it shouldn't be taking place at all.

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Is Just One Of Many Highlights Of Big Tuesday Campaign Day

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 3:45 pm

Lots at stake tomorrow, June 5, with primaries in five states, in addition to what would be only the third recall of a sitting governor in U.S. history. Here's the lineup:

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon May 21, 2012

What Does Ron Paul Want? Hint: It's Not About The 2012 GOP Nomination

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 1:16 pm

Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Even Ron Paul knows it. His acknowledgement that Mitt Romney will be the nominee is just stating the obvious.

But what exactly did he mean when he said last week that he will "no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not voted"? Was he telling us that he was dropping out of the race?

Not quite.

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Political Junkie
6:27 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Obama & Gay Marriage: 'Courageous' Or Put Into A Corner?; Happy 300th Podcast!

President Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America in the White House on May 9. During the interview, Obama expressed his support for gay marriage, a first for a U.S. president.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 11:04 am

The issue of same-sex marriage will long continue to fascinate and infuriate politics watchers everywhere, but this past week was especially impossible to ignore, starting last Sunday, with Vice President Biden's candid statement on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he is "absolutely comfortable" with it, through the Administration's torturous couple of days of attempting to "clarify" Biden's remarks, and culminating on Wednesday's interview for ABC's "Good Morning America, where President Obama "evolved" into embracing gay marriage once and for

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Political Junkie
12:49 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar May Not Survive Tuesday's GOP Primary

Both Democrats come off unsuccessful gov. campaigns; Barrett lost to Walker in 2010, and Falk lost the primary in 2006.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:03 pm

When Richard Lugar, the mayor of Indianapolis, first ran for the Senate, against Democratic incumbent Birch Bayh in 1974, a big part of his problem was that he was a partisan Republican.

In fairness, there was nothing wrong with being a partisan Republican in good GOP years ... in, say, 1972, when President Richard Nixon was on his way to a landslide re-election and Lugar was the keynote speaker at the GOP national convention.

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Political Junkie
10:57 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Top Five Vice Presidential Picks Since 1960

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 11:21 am

With Mitt Romney having all but sewn up the Republican presidential nomination, there is only one task left for restless political junkies and reporters for the next four months: predict Romney's running mate.

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