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.

One of the last things Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel did before he resigned to join the Nixon Cabinet was to fill a Senate vacancy caused by the December 1968 death of E.L. Bartlett, a Democrat. Hickel picked a GOP state representative by the name of Ted Stevens. Stevens, who only months before lost a Republican primary bid for a different seat, went on to serve more than 40 years in the Senate, longer than any Republican in history. Appointing Stevens was by any definition a good move.

It's taken awhile, but Tea Party activists and social conservatives are finally beginning to get smiles on their faces. Whether that will last through the November election is another story.

After watching their insufficiently conservative (in their view) presidential nominee lose last November, their opposition to taxing-the-rich fall by the wayside thanks to congressional Republican acquiescence, and changes in same-sex marriage and immigration coming faster than they might have wished, some on the right were becoming inconsolable.

Horace Greeley may have suggested at one point that going west might be a good idea, but he probably wouldn't be happy to see what's going on with Los Angeles as of late. The Dodgers are in last place in the National League West, the Angels are hovering near the bottom of the American League West, and the Lakers' appearance in the playoffs was brutally short. Even Jimmy Fallon and NBC are bringing The Tonight Show back to Manhattan, deserting some place called Burbank after 40 years.

It's pretty much a truism in American political history: If the president is not running again and the vice president wants his party's nomination, it's his for the asking.

That was the case in 1960, with President Eisenhower term-limited and Vice President Richard Nixon's path to the GOP nomination unimpeded.

The headlines have not been especially kind to Senate Democrats lately as they, for the second consecutive cycle, head into an election with a numerical disadvantage and more open seats to defend.

In the past three decades or so, when writing about political sex scandals became an art form, the tendency has always been to lump everyone together. There are many differences between, say, what Anthony Weiner did and what Mark Sanford did.

If you have any interest in politics at all, you pretty much know two things. One, that the next presidential election, on Nov. 8, 2016, is only 1,324 days away. And two, you won't be surprised if people are focusing on it in March of 2013.

Sometimes the speculation is silly, but sometimes it's not. Judging from what we've seen and heard from Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul, the speculation may be on target.

Contrary to what you read, everything politicians say and do don't necessarily always have to be only about 2016. Sometimes, really and truly, presidential calculations are not part of the conversation.

For a city that thrives on huge controversies and breathtaking tremors, perhaps last week's mini-squabble over whether or not to invite Chris Christie to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) later this month is not what you would call a big deal. But the decision — not to invite him — says something about the conservative movement ... and what defines a conservative.

The day had history and symbolism written all over it: the inauguration of President Barack Obama, coming on the very day the nation was honoring the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The pomp, the ceremony, the speech, the festivities, the parade, the emotions, the hugs, the tears. It's all part of America's finest moment, and yesterday was no exception.

Pages