Ron Elving

Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.

Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.

With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.

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It's All Politics
6:16 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Amazingly, Congress Actually Got Something Done

House Speaker John Boehner takes the gavel from Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Jan. 6 at the start of the 114th Congress.
Mark Wilson Getty

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:58 pm

They said it couldn't be done. And for more than a decade they were right.

But on Thursday, staring at a deadline that could have disrupted health care to millions of seniors, the House got something done.

It voted to fix the flawed formula for compensating doctors who provide services to patients under Medicare. But this time it wasn't just a patch for a few months or years — like the ones Congress has done 17 times since 2003.

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It's All Politics
11:21 am
Wed March 25, 2015

With Sen. Dan Coats' Retirement, One More Gone From The Old School

Sen. Dan Coats on midterm election night in 2014.
AJ Mast AP

Senate Republican Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday — probably surprising no one — that he would not seek another term in 2016. Although he has been a stalwart Republican through a turbulent generation in Washington, Coats seems less at home in the hyper-partisan world of Congress today.

While Coats, 71, said his decision was strictly personal and age-related, he did refer to the "terribly dysfunctional Senate" in an interview with the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter.

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It's All Politics
11:01 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Wild Day In Madison Likely To Be Another Win For Gov. Walker

Protesters filled Wisconsin's state Capitol in Madison on Monday, demonstrating against last weekend's shooting death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 8:21 pm

You could scarcely imagine a day that better demonstrated the split personality of Wisconsin politics.

On Monday, the state Capitol building in Madison was flooded once again with an angry crowd of protesters. This time the outrage was sparked by a local police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old black man.

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Politics
5:20 am
Wed February 25, 2015

6 Years On, Is The Tea Party Here To Stay?

Tea Party supporter William Temple protests against President Obama's health care law outside the Supreme Court in 2012.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 2:22 pm

It was February of 2009. President Obama had been in office less than a full month. His approval rating was over 60, and nearly 60 percent of the House and Senate seats were held by Democrats. The country seem poised on the edge of a new era, perhaps even another New Deal.

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It's All Politics
10:01 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Why Congress Doesn't Really Worry About What Most Americans Think

The heightened partisanship cemented in congressional districts has created havens for both Democrats and Republicans, whose job security now often depends more on pleasing primary voters than on the high-altitude questions facing the nation at large.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 1:27 pm

With each week, we have come to expect another jarring outrage from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the new breed of terrorists that is redefining terror.

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Politics
11:39 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Why Convention Sites Don't Make Very Good Swing State Strategy

If the Democrats do win Pennsylvania, it won't be because they had their convention in Philadelphia, which is already a mother lode of Democratic votes. And if the Republicans wind up winning Ohio, it won't be because they won over a lot of precincts in Cleveland, which is a similarly rich trove of Democratic support in elections at all levels.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:04 pm

Put it in the category of things we know for sure that just ain't so.

No sooner did the Democratic National Committee announce it had chosen Philadelphia, Pa., as its 2016 convention site than a lot of us political analyst types popped out the conventional wisdom about "appealing to a swing state in the general election."

It sounds good and it makes sense, as far as it goes. It just doesn't go very far.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Tue February 10, 2015

In White House Memory, A-U-M-F Translates To B-U-S-H

President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, vowing to tap "every resource" to fight terrorism. Two days before the speech, he had signed an Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress.
WIN MACNAMEE AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 9:26 am

Update: 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Obama has sent Congress proposed legislative language that would grant him specific permission to make war on the group calling itself the Islamic State.

If approved by the House and Senate, that language will formalize the struggle against the Sunni extremists who are also known as ISIS or ISIL — and are best known for such actions as the torture killing of a captive Jordanian pilot and the beheading of other hostages from around the world.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Says Climate Change Real, But Not Really Our Fault

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., was the only senator to vote against an amendment calling climate change "real and not a hoax."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:20 pm

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Obama Joins Ike, The Gipper, Bill And George II In A Club No One Wants To Be In

President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of the 86th Congress in 1959. Behind him are Vice President Richard Nixon (left) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:06 pm

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Iowa's Sen. Ernst Grabs Spotlight That's Often Proven Too Hot

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will deliver the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:43 am

On the one hand, having the just-elected senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address next week makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why anyone would want the job. As often as not, the opportunity to speak right after the president does has been the kiss of death for aspiring politicians — especially in the GOP during the Obama years.

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Politics
10:27 am
Wed January 14, 2015

What If Mitt And Jeb Really Do Go At It, Hammer And Tongs?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (right) talks with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Romney's campaign plane in 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 3:44 pm

Pity the poor guys who are trying to run for president while still serving as governors.

All the media attention this week went to former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, because Romney suddenly decided to call in his chits and get back in the presidential conversation for 2016. Virtually every news organization in North America instantly got wide-eyed about it.

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It's All Politics
7:55 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Who's Dreaming Now? Obama Opponents Do A Weapons Check On Immigration

Even though they were sitting close together at a White House luncheon earlier this month, Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on many issues including immigration. From left are House Speaker John Boehner, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 8:20 am

Even before President Obama actually announced his new deferred deportation policy for millions of people in the country illegally, Republicans were everywhere denouncing it and threatening retaliation.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Obama's Immigration Action Has Roots In Reagan Policy

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
5:54 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

The Color Of Politics: How Did Red And Blue States Come To Be?

NBC employees change Nebraska to red in the electoral map of the United States in 2008. All the TV news operations, including NBC News, settled on red for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 2000.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 10:31 am

Americans grow up knowing their colors are red, white and blue. It's right there in the flag, right there in the World Series bunting and on those floats every fourth of July.

So when did we become a nation of red states and blue states? And what do they mean when they say a state is turning purple?

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Politics
6:06 am
Wed October 8, 2014

36 States To Elect Governors Next Month

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Those who do vote in 36 states have a chance to vote for governor this fall. Governors' races tend to be a little less partisan than races for Congress. They're often more about what the guy in the statehouse, or the woman in the statehouse, can get done.

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It's All Politics
4:56 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

The White House Could Be Made A Fortress, But Should It Be?

Visitors take photos in front of the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 7:46 am

It turns out the Secret Service isn't too good at protecting the White House, and maybe one reason is that we don't want it to be.

Secret Service agents are famously willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president and his family. They are also trained to take the lives of others in defense of their protectees.

But are they equally prepared to do either of those things for the White House itself? Should it be policy for the armed agents around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to use deadly force whether the president or his family is present or not?

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NPR Story
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Week In Politics: Progress On Upgrading VA Health System

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Congress is heading into its last week before taking a summer recess. For a change, lawmakers are not racing the clock to overt a fiscal calamity. Still, the standoff between the two parties has all but stopped the process of governing.

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Politics
6:14 am
Wed June 18, 2014

House Republican Conference To Choose Cantor's Successor

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:09 am

The House Republican Conference on Thursday will chose a new majority leader, who will succeed Eric Cantor at the end of the month. Cantor is stepping down after losing last week's primary.

Politics
9:58 am
Wed May 21, 2014

In Kentucky Primary, McConnell Bests Tea Party Challenger

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

In a day packed full of primaries, voters headed to the polls in six states — including three that are expected to have highly competitive Senate races.

Analysis
4:57 am
Mon May 19, 2014

GOP Candidates Try To Hold Off Tea Party Picks In Primaries

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 7:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so that's the governor's race in Pennsylvania; a battle among Democrats. The other races we'll be watching closely tomorrow are mainly those among Republicans who want to serve in the Senate, and they are hoping it is a Senate with a GOP majority.

To walk us through some of these races, we're joined as we are most Mondays by Cokie Roberts. Cokie, good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, David.

GREENE: And here in the studio with me is NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Ron, good morning to you.

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Remembrances
4:43 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dies At 84

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Politics
4:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

With Shutdown Looming, Senate Takes Up Stopgap Spending Bill

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 10:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And on Capitol Hill, words of anger and frustration today over the increasing likelihood of a government shutdown. This morning in the House, members of both parties took to the floor and pointed fingers.

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER: If you're serious about working together to solve problems, why don't you work together to solve problems?

REPRESENTATIVE TED POE: Where oh where has the Senate gone? Where oh where can they be? With time so short and issues so long, where oh where has the Senate gone?

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Politics
6:17 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye Dies At 88 Of Respiratory Complications

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Election 2012
7:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

All Eyes On The Battleground States As Polls Close

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And in our studio, NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Every couple of years, here we are around this time trying to figure out who has been elected to what. Tonight, what are you looking for? What are the important signs you're looking for in the numbers as they come in?

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It's All Politics
10:36 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

NPR Poll Finds Presidential Race Too Close To Call

A new NPR poll shows the outcome of the Nov. 6 election is too close to call. Mitt Romney leads President Obama nationwide; Obama leads Romney in key battleground states. Both leads are within the poll'€™s margin of error.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 1:20 pm

The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election.

The poll adds evidence that the Oct. 3 debate between the two men redefined the race. But the movement toward Romney that emerged after that night in Denver also seems to have stalled after the race drew even — leaving the outcome difficult to call.

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Presidential Race
5:16 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Could There Be A Tie In The Electoral College?

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Most polls in the presidential race show the national popular vote to be a virtual tie. But as we know, the popular does not pick the president. That's the job of the Electoral College. And some election number crunchers are starting to explore the nightmare scenario of an Electoral College tie. It's a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.

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It's All Politics
12:47 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Analysis: Romney Debate Strategy Shows He Thinks He's In the Driver's Seat

Mitt Romney shakes hands with President Obama after their final debate Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:02 pm

In his third debate with President Obama, Mitt Romney dialed up "cool and cautious" on his mood meter. And that tells you a great deal about where this presidential race stands with two weeks to go.

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It's All Politics
6:36 am
Mon October 22, 2012

George McGovern, An Improbable Icon Of Anti-War Movement

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern talks about the bombs being used in Vietnam at a $250-a-person fundraising dinner in Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 1972.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 2:11 pm

If George McGovern often seemed miscast as a presidential candidate, he was at least as improbable as an icon of the anti-war movement.

The Vietnam War gave birth to an opposition movement unlike any America had seen in its previous wars. It was young, unconventional and countercultural, defiant of authority and deeply suspicious of government.

McGovern himself was none of these things.

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It's All Politics
7:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

A Stronger Showing At Hofstra, But Ghost Of Denver Still Haunts Obama

President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:42 pm

President Obama beat at least one of his adversaries on the stage at Hofstra University last night. He easily outperformed that guy — whoever he was — who debated against former Gov. Mitt Romney two weeks ago in Denver.

That much was obvious — and necessary for the president. The question now is whether it will be sufficient to restore his momentum in the race itself.

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It's All Politics
1:44 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

7 Signals Stolen From The Running Mates' One-Game Playoff

Vice President Biden and Republican Paul Ryan at Thursday night's debate.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 2:59 pm

You may have noticed that the vice presidential debate took place on the same day as four crucial games in this year's baseball playoffs. In case you were distracted at all by the latter, here's some of what you may have missed:

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