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
11:02 am
Wed March 13, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

If any of you happen to see the "white smoke" in the next day or so, you should immediately know what that means: I've been once again using hallucinogens to come up with the new ScuttleButton puzzle.

Read more
Political Junkie
1:07 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

How Jeb Bush Did In His 2016 Tryout

Ready for another Bush vs. Clinton election?
Ken Rudin collection

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:13 am
Tue March 5, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Apologies for those on my Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list who didn't get a notification last week about the new column and new puzzle. NPR has adjusted its e-mail server and my mass mailing from last week didn't see the light of day. I'm hoping the problem will be addressed this week.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:18 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Who's 'Right' — CPAC Or Chris Christie?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gives details on his 2014 state budget in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.
Rich Schultz AP

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 2:38 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
10:33 am
Wed February 27, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Has anyone figured out how the sequester would affect ScuttleButton?

I didn't think so.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday (or, as they call today, "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
6:18 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Chicago's Robin Kelly On Track To Join List Of Black Women To Serve In Congress

Shirley Chisholm (N.Y.) was the first black woman elected to Congress; Barbara Jordan (Texas) was twice the Dem keynote speaker; Cynthia McKinney (Ga.) was later a Green Party prez nominee; Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio) served as House ethics cmte chair and played a big role in the 2008 Clinton campaign.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:10 pm

Once, the special election to succeed the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Illinois' 2nd District seemed impossible to handicap, especially with some two dozen or so candidates on the ballot. Thus, it became not so much a horse race discussion as a conversation dominated by concerns about race and guns. Now, according to many observers, many of the questions have given way to the sense that Tuesday's winner will be Robin Kelly, a former state representative. (We officially must wait for the general election, on April 9.)

Read more
Political Junkie
3:52 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

One category that, regrettably, won't be discussed during next Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony: best on-line button puzzle.

I don't know about you, but in my book that would be ScuttleButton.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:33 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Nebraska Sen. Johanns Won't Run Again; Was Support For Hagel Nomination A Factor?

Nebraska governors have often moved on to the Senate. Will Heineman be next?
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:25 pm

Nobody saw this one coming.

Sen. Mike Johanns, a reliably conservative Republican from Nebraska, announced yesterday (Feb. 18) he would retire rather than seek a second term in 2014 ... one where he was considered the overwhelming favorite. A former two-term governor and agriculture secretary under President George W. Bush, Johanns wrote his constituents an open letter that was also signed by his wife Stephanie:

Read more
Political Junkie
6:03 am
Tue February 12, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Knowing you the way I do, I figured it would make no sense putting up ScuttleButton later in the day today. Not while you're getting ready for President Obama's State of the Union address to Congress.

So I decided to have it ready early this morning, giving you more time to solve this week's puzzle. And, I daresay, it's a bit harder than usual.

Read more
Political Junkie
11:15 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 11:51 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.

Read more
Political Junkie
11:40 am
Tue February 5, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:22 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.

Read more
Political Junkie
11:54 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 4:19 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?

Read more
Political Junkie
10:00 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?"

Read more
Political Junkie
6:48 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 11:07 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?

Read more
Political Junkie
2:07 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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:33 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Monday Was All About Obama. Now All He Needs Is A Cabinet.

President Barack Obama, center, makes a statement to the media before the start of a meeting with his Cabinet on Nov. 28, 2012.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 1:37 pm

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.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:43 am
Tue January 15, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

While you're gearing up for the Political Junkie D.C. Live Road Show on Wednesday evening — see below for details — why not try and solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle first?

Read more
Political Junkie
6:13 am
Mon January 14, 2013

This Particular Nomination May Not Be About Obama; It's About Chuck Hagel

Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., speaks at the White House on Monday after President Obama nominated him to replace U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:12 pm

Democrats are fond of saying that Republicans are interested in only one thing, and that is to thwart President Obama at every opportunity. He proposes something, the GOP opposes it. He says it's day, they say it's night. In some cases, those complaints are justified; in others, it's just whining.

But it's a complex story about the opposition to Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel, the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, to become the next secretary of defense. It may not be about Obama at all.

Read more
Political Junkie
6:48 am
Tue October 23, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 10:19 am

One thing that can't be debated: America needs ScuttleButton.

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
6:48 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Is The V.P. Debate A Sideshow Or Something More?

Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) shakes hands with Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Ind.) before their vice presidential debate at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 5, 1988.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 10:28 am

The reviews are in and, agree with them or not, most people thought Mitt Romney bested Barack Obama in Wednesday's presidential debate. The two don't meet again until Oct. 16, but in the meantime, there will be the vice-presidential face-off this Thursday.

How much pressure is riding on Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan?

Read more

Pages