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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Political Junkie
11:42 am
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.

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Political Junkie
2:40 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 2:42 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.

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Political Junkie
1:32 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!

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Political Junkie
5:18 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 10:36 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.

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Political Junkie
10:02 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.

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Political Junkie
11:53 am
Mon March 11, 2013

How Jeb Bush Did In His 2016 Tryout

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

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:07 pm

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.

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Political Junkie
5:13 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.

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Political Junkie
5:18 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 1:38 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.

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Political Junkie
9:33 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.)

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Political Junkie
9:19 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 11:10 am

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.)

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