Ron Elving

Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.

Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.

With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.

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It's All Politics
12:56 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Scott Walker Is Looking Beyond His Fan Base

GOP Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16 in Madison, Wis.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 1:14 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially announced this week that he is running for — wait for it — re-election as governor of Wisconsin.

It will be at least six months before he says anything definitive regarding that other office, the oval-shaped one in Washington, D.C.

And that's to be expected.

Governors in both parties routinely run for re-election while keeping coy about the White House — much like Bill Clinton in 1990 and George W. Bush in 1998 and Rick Perry in 2010.

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It's All Politics
10:12 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Immigration Turbulence Buffets Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures while speaking during a Feb. 6 news conference on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Will the real John Boehner please stand up?

Just a dozen days ago, Speaker Boehner and his GOP leadership team embraced a set of principles for updating the nation's immigration laws.

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It's All Politics
6:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Congressman's Exit Closes Book On 'Watergate Babies'

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California fields a flurry of phone calls in his Capitol Hill office just after announcing Thursday that he'll retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:17 am

Henry Waxman's retirement means more than the loss of a legendary legislator on health care, energy and other regulatory issues. It also closes an era that began 40 years ago with the election of the "Watergate babies."

When Waxman departs, there will no longer be a House member who has been serving since that historic class of 75 Democrats was first elected in 1974. One classmate who had been, George Miller of California, announced his retirement several weeks earlier in January.

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It's All Politics
6:21 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Obama Showed A Deft Hand With Speech. Why Not With Congress?

President Obama shakes hands after giving the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Larry Downing AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:40 pm

The toughest test of a card player comes not with a big hand or a sheer bust, but rather with cards somewhere in between. Then it's not the deal that makes the difference — it's the sheer skill of the player.

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It's All Politics
4:16 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nuclear Option' Vote Marks Tectonic Shift In Senate Rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:15 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move Thursday to make possible the confirmation of presidential nominees with a simple majority marks a tectonic shift in the rules and folkways of the Senate.

Back in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called this idea "the constitutional option" when he came close to invoking it on behalf of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush.

That sounded a lot more dignified than the name Frist's predecessor, Trent Lott, had used just two years earlier: "the nuclear option."

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It's All Politics
9:49 am
Wed November 6, 2013

7 Election Lessons We Should Have Seen Coming

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, appearing with his family, waves goodbye to supporters after conceding the Virginia governor's race to Terry McAuliffe. Cuccinelli's stronger-than-expected run became the dominant story on Election Night.
Win McNamee Getty Images

In the end, they pretty much all won. The people who were expected to prevail Tuesday night wound up in the winner's circle. In New Jersey and New York, of course, and in Virginia, too, in the end. The ballot measures also went according to script.

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It's All Politics
6:46 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Tom Foley, A House Speaker Who Embraced Compromise And Comity

Democrat Tom Foley served Washington state's 5th Congressional District for 30 years and was House speaker from 1989 to 1995. He died Friday at age 84.
Jeff T. Green AP

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 7:16 pm

Former Speaker of the House Tom Foley was the product of far different times, yet his career in politics a generation ago still carries a message current congressional leaders might want to heed.

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Remembrances
3:43 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dies At 84

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 9:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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It's All Politics
1:00 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

President Obama's 'It's Good To Be The King' Moment

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sit together at a Capitol event in February dedicating a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 6:05 pm

It is good to be the king.

That old adage holds, even though nowadays we call our chief executive "Mr. President."

After another long day of showdown over the shutdown, President Obama was able to dominate the headlines, break the tension and change the atmosphere in Washington. He could demonstrate everything that is different about being in the White House — as opposed to that other House where Speaker John Boehner lives.

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It's All Politics
6:54 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Obama's Shift On Syria: A Show Of Strength Or Fear?

President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday night's speech on Syria.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 10:00 am

One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."

Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time?

Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.

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It's All Politics
6:26 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope

The sudden eruption of second-term scandals is likely to cost President Obama his fondest dream for his presidency: the opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 6:33 pm

The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.

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It's All Politics
6:49 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Logic Behind Obama News Conference Hard To Fathom

President Obama answers questions during his news conference at the White House on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:03 am

On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama declared May as Older Americans Month, National Foster Care Month, National Building Safety Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

The president also issued a statement on the investiture of the new king of the Netherlands.

While small and routine, these moves were all easy to understand, as were the accompanying proclamations from the White House press shop.

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It's All Politics
5:04 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Reluctant Justices May Be Forced To Make History

Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:34 pm

Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.

It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.

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It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Debate: Why The (Very) Few Rule The Many In Congress

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:15 pm

In the final hours of the latest budget crisis in Washington, several salient facts are increasingly clear.

First, the leaders of the two parties in the Senate might still put together a negotiated deal that would avert the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The leaders would start with President Obama's top priorities, modify them to accommodate Republican preferences, throw in some measures that are GOP priorities and take the package to the floor.

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Politics
5:17 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye Dies At 88 Of Respiratory Complications

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 6:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Election 2012
6:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

All Eyes On The Battleground States As Polls Close

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 7:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And in our studio, NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Every couple of years, here we are around this time trying to figure out who has been elected to what. Tonight, what are you looking for? What are the important signs you're looking for in the numbers as they come in?

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It's All Politics
9:36 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

NPR Poll Finds Presidential Race Too Close To Call

A new NPR poll shows the outcome of the Nov. 6 election is too close to call. Mitt Romney leads President Obama nationwide; Obama leads Romney in key battleground states. Both leads are within the poll'€™s margin of error.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 12:20 pm

The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election.

The poll adds evidence that the Oct. 3 debate between the two men redefined the race. But the movement toward Romney that emerged after that night in Denver also seems to have stalled after the race drew even — leaving the outcome difficult to call.

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It's All Politics
11:43 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Analysis: Romney Debate Strategy Shows He Thinks He's In the Driver's Seat

Mitt Romney shakes hands with President Obama after their final debate Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 12:02 pm

In his third debate with President Obama, Mitt Romney dialed up "cool and cautious" on his mood meter. And that tells you a great deal about where this presidential race stands with two weeks to go.

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It's All Politics
5:36 am
Mon October 22, 2012

George McGovern, An Improbable Icon Of Anti-War Movement

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern talks about the bombs being used in Vietnam at a $250-a-person fundraising dinner in Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 1972.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:11 pm

If George McGovern often seemed miscast as a presidential candidate, he was at least as improbable as an icon of the anti-war movement.

The Vietnam War gave birth to an opposition movement unlike any America had seen in its previous wars. It was young, unconventional and countercultural, defiant of authority and deeply suspicious of government.

McGovern himself was none of these things.

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It's All Politics
6:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

A Stronger Showing At Hofstra, But Ghost Of Denver Still Haunts Obama

President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am

President Obama beat at least one of his adversaries on the stage at Hofstra University last night. He easily outperformed that guy — whoever he was — who debated against former Gov. Mitt Romney two weeks ago in Denver.

That much was obvious — and necessary for the president. The question now is whether it will be sufficient to restore his momentum in the race itself.

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It's All Politics
6:56 am
Mon October 15, 2012

A Fighter To The End, Arlen Specter Seemed To Thrive On Controversy

Sen. Arlen Specter speaks to the media at the base of Air Force One in Maryland in 2010. Specter died Sunday at the age of 82.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:39 am

Imagine a lawyer's lawyer, a fighter's fighter and a pol's pol. Now imagine one person as all three. That was Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who died Sunday at age 82.

Over the course of three decades in the U.S. Senate (1981-2011), Specter came to personify the pragmatic, independent operator who sized up the substance and politics of every issue for himself. His vote could be one of the hardest to get, and often the one that made the difference.

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It's All Politics
12:57 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

7 Signals Stolen From The Running Mates' One-Game Playoff

Vice President Biden and Republican Paul Ryan at Thursday night's debate.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 1:59 pm

You may have noticed that the vice presidential debate took place on the same day as four crucial games in this year's baseball playoffs. In case you were distracted at all by the latter, here's some of what you may have missed:

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It's All Politics
1:07 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

That's Why Incumbents Used To Say No

Mitt Romney makes his point as President Obama listens during Wednesday's debate in Denver.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:44 pm

In case anyone was wondering, this week's presidential debate demonstrated why incumbent presidents and others leading in the polls used to refuse to debate their challengers.

After John F. Kennedy used the first TV debates to boost his campaign against incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960, there simply were no debates until 1976. Running again with a big lead in 1968 and 1972, Nixon declined to debate and won both times. Lyndon B. Johnson also demurred in 1964 without damage en route to a landslide.

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It's All Politics
7:07 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Republicans Or Democrats: The Choice Comes Down To Competing Myths

What does your vision of America look like?
Loud Red Creative iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 8:15 am

Early in his acceptance speech last night, President Obama laid out the voters' task in these words:

"On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice ... between two fundamentally different visions for the future."

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It's All Politics
9:58 am
Thu September 6, 2012

What The Democrats' Do-Over Really Says About Party Platforms

Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa calls for a vote to amend the platform Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:17 am

Party platforms are like contracts: No one bothers to read them until something bad happens.

We all know that parties to any agreement should study the fine print in advance, and surely that applies to the national political parties. The delegates really ought to spend some of their time in the host city studying the document they are voting to adopt.

But hey, it's a convention. It's a party. Who wants to sit in their hotel room and read?

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It's All Politics
6:53 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Bill Clinton, Politics' Comeback Kid, Rides Again At The DNC

It may be in former President Bill Clinton's (and his wife's) interest to help keep the Democratic party together for the next convention.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:19 pm

Bill Clinton will add yet another chapter to his storied career tonight when the former president places in nomination the name of the current president, Barack Obama.

It will be the focal point of the evening and for some, perhaps, the most newsworthy moment of the entire convention. The old Clinton-Obama feud remains an endless source of political gossip, and the convention planners are happy to have the former president's supposedly unedited and unvetted remarks as a rare source of suspense. Maybe it will help the ratings.

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It's All Politics
6:40 am
Fri August 31, 2012

GOP's "We Built It" Refrain Is Both Puzzling and Telling

Delegates filled the floor Tuesday during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 8:53 am

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It's All Politics
6:24 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Ryan's Speech Revives The Spirit Of Jack Kemp, War Over Reaganomics

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, became a speech writer for the conservative Republican politician Jack Kemp after graduating from college in 1992.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 7:47 am

The second night of the Republican convention was an orchestrated buildup for Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan.

Ryan emerged at the evening's end to deliver the payoff speech and introduce himself to a national audience. He did a rousing job of it, delivering the session's most memorable material with stark intensity.

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It's All Politics
4:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Republicans Reach Out To Women More In Convention Programming Than Platform Writing

Georgia delegates Ruby Robinson (right) and Kathy Noble hold signs and cheer during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., where a parade of female officials and officeholders appeared on stage Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 7:36 am

In case you missed it, the theme here in Tampa at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday was: "We Built It." Intended as a reference to building a business, the three words also suggested another construction project under way — a bridge to female voters.

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It's All Politics
5:55 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Romney's Forces Are In Control For Now, But Maybe Not Forever

In Tampa Tuesday, a colorfully dressed delegate spoke to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 7:38 am

When the Republican National Convention finally gets underway today here in Tampa, it will renew a civil war that's been raging — off and on — for more than a century.

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