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.

Pages

Political Junkie
11:05 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's The Final ScuttleButton Puzzle ... For Now

Ken Rudin collection

Some words I never thought I would utter: This is the last ScuttleButton puzzle that will ever appear on the NPR Web site.

With the cancellation of Talk of the Nation, and of course the weekly Political Junkie segment that goes with it, the long relationship between Political Junkie and NPR is coming to an end.

Thus, this is the last button puzzle, with the final winner (and t-shirt and button prizes) announced on Wednesday, June 26th — the final Junkie segment on TOTN.

Read more
Political Junkie
12:34 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:16 pm

The sad thing about this week's ScuttleButton puzzle is that Edward Snowden has already revealed the answer.

Read more
Political Junkie
10:39 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Lautenberg Death Complicates Christie's Road To November, And 2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie outlines plans for a special election to be held to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died on Tuesday, at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie did not disclose who would fill the vacant seat until the election scheduled for Oct. 16.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 4:14 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:48 am
Tue June 4, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

It's time to solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Tuesday or Wednesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

Read more
Political Junkie
6:53 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Virginia Lt. Gov. Nominee Excites The Right, And Democrats Couldn't Be Happier

button courtesy of David Ray

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:18 am
Wed May 29, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 10:32 am

Just a reminder that there is a possibility ScuttleButton may disappear from the NPR Web site in the next month or so. So if I were you, I'd sign up for the Political Junkie mailing list (info below) to make sure you'll be in the know as to where these irreplaceable and delightful features wind up.

Read more
Political Junkie
1:52 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Why Don't We Pay (More/Any) Attention To Los Angeles Mayoral Elections?

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 2:36 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
11:43 am
Wed May 15, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 12:34 pm

We know how the president feels about it. "We don't have time to be playing these kinds of political games in Washington," Barack Obama said on Monday, in what many took to be a full attack on ScuttleButton, America's favorite political game.

Read more
Political Junkie
4:46 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Disgraced but asking for redemption.

I'm describing me, of course, after a spate of uneven ScuttleButton puzzles. Though, I must admit, I liked last week's offering.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:33 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Joe Biden Has History On His Side But Little Else If Hillary Clinton Runs

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 10:46 am

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
5:59 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Open Democratic Senate Seats Again Give Big Opportunity For GOP, Or Not

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:34 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
2:55 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:38 pm

An openly gay basketball player? Next thing you know, there will be openly clever ScuttleButton puzzles.

Only not this week.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

Read more
Political Junkie
6:43 am
Tue April 23, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Lots of people have been inquiring about the future of ScuttleButton. While I wish I had an answer — I don't, not yet — I'd like to suggest that you sign up for the Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list. That way, I will be able to share the information once I have it (see info below).

And what exactly IS ScuttleButton, you may ask?

Read more
Political Junkie
6:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Hopefully, the disappointment/frustration of that April Fool's ScuttleButton has subsided and now you're ready for the real stuff.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

Read more
Political Junkie
12:11 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Sanford And Weiner: Different Humiliations, Same Remorseful Script

On the 2013 redemption/apology tour.
Ken Rudin collection

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:08 am
Mon April 1, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

I'm on vacation this week, and thus no Political Junkie column, Talk of the Nation appearance or podcast for me. But giving up ScuttleButton? No way.

Read more
Political Junkie
12:42 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

In the thousand-plus or so emails I get each time a ScuttleButton puzzle is posted, I invariably will get dozens and dozens of complaints that it was just too easy, that it insulted their intelligence, that I need to make them more challenging. That was clearly the case last week, as there were nearly 100 such emails.

Well, be careful what you wish for. This week's puzzle is one of the most difficult.

Read more
Political Junkie
3:40 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Is It 2016 Yet? Moves By Hillary Clinton & Rand Paul Suggest Yes

Recent policy announcements by Clinton and Paul have convinced many that they are all about the 2016 presidential campaign.
Saul Loeb/AFP/ Getty Images and Charles Dharapak/AP NPR

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 3:42 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
2:32 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

An absolute pleasure running into so many old friends on Saturday at the meeting of the American Political Items Collectors in Tyson's Corner, Va.

Yes, such an organization exists. No, I was not the craziest person there. But the best part was learning that so many people there are diehard ScuttleButton fans!

Read more
Political Junkie
6:18 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Gay Marriage, DOMA And The Dramatic Shift In Public Opinion In One Year

For a brief time in 2004, then-S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:36 am

It is remarkable how fast the issue of same-sex marriage has moved the American public. Of course, some long-time proponents will argue the opposite, that it has taken far too long for it to gain acceptance. And they say that there is no shortage of efforts around the country to block or overturn the practice.

Read more

Pages