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
9:15 am
Wed May 8, 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 9:46 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.

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Political Junkie
8:29 am
Thu May 2, 2013

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

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 3:34 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.

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Political Junkie
8:25 am
Thu May 2, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 3:38 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.)

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Political Junkie
4:53 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 5:43 am

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?

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Political Junkie
7:28 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 5:18 am

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.)

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Political Junkie
12:03 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Sanford And Weiner: Different Humiliations, Same Remorseful Script

On the 2013 redemption/apology tour.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 11:11 am

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.

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Political Junkie
8:03 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 5:08 am

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.

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Political Junkie
2:25 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 11:42 am

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
2:16 pm
Wed March 27, 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
1:54 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 1:32 pm

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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