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
4:04 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 11:34 am

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
1:48 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

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

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:15 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
4:17 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye Dies At 88 Of Respiratory Complications

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:19 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
5:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

All Eyes On The Battleground States As Polls Close

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:08 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
8:36 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 11:20 am

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
11:01 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 11:02 am

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
4:36 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 12:11 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
5:49 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 10:42 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
5:56 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 6:39 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
11:57 am
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 12:59 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
11:50 am
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 4:44 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
6:20 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 7:15 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
8:28 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 9:17 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
5:53 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 3:19 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
5:48 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 7:53 am

The 2012 Republican National Convention may have been the first gathering of its kind to take its theme from a gaffe.

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It's All Politics
5:33 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 6:47 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
3:03 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 6:36 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
5:30 am
Tue August 28, 2012

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

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 6:38 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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It's All Politics
4:49 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Tempest in Tampa: Isaac Tests Mitt Romney's Mettle

Mitt Romney, who this week is set to accept the Republican presidential nomination, with wife Ann on Sunday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 7:12 am

Political conventions are famed for focusing the nation's attention on one name, but at this year's Republican National Convention here in Tampa, that name is not the nominee's.

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It's All Politics
7:04 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Roberts' Ruling Recalls Other Moments When High Court Shocked The Nation

The U.S. Supreme Court on the eve of a hearing about the Florida presidential election recount, Nov. 30, 2000. The justices later ruled 5-4 in the case of Bush v. Gore, effectively deciding the outcome of the presidential race.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:41 am

You may already have made a mental note as to where you were when you heard the Supreme Court had upheld the health care law known as Obamacare. It's one of those moments that become touchstones of our memory, personal connections to the history we have witnessed in our lifetimes.

The Supreme Court may not be the source of such moments very often, but when its rulings reach this level of our awareness, they alter the course of our lives.

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It's All Politics
6:11 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Seven Ways Wisconsin's Recall Vote May Matter To You

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 2:15 pm

For weeks now, we in the news business have been telling you how much the Scott Walker recall election in Wisconsin matters to the country as a whole.

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It's All Politics
12:32 am
Wed June 6, 2012

How Walker Held On To His Job In Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets supporters at a rally Tuesday in Waukesha, Wis., after weathering a recall challenge.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 6:17 am

Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall attempt in Wisconsin on Tuesday by doing what he had to do: turning out huge majorities in the Republican enclaves of the state — especially in its eastern half near Lake Michigan.

In the end, Walker wound up with about 53 percent of the vote, about 1 percentage point better than he had in winning the governorship the first time in November 2010.

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It's All Politics
8:42 am
Tue June 5, 2012

County-By-County Battle In Wisconsin

"Recall Walker" buttons at the Rock County Democratic Party Headquarters Monday in Janesville, Wis.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 12:07 pm

Wisconsin votes on recalling its governor Tuesday, and much has already been made of that vote's potential implications beyond the state.

But for now, this historic moment belongs to the 3 million-plus Wisconsinites registered to vote. Most of them are expected to turn out, and those who do will be thinking about the implications for Wisconsin more than the prospects for fallout elsewhere.

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It's All Politics
8:33 am
Wed May 30, 2012

For Romney, The People May Trump The Money In Associating With The Donald

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney walks past Donald Trump's airplane as he arrives in Las Vegas on Tuesday, where he met with Trump for a fundraiser.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 10:52 am

The latest variant of the presidential election parlor game we call "What Were They Thinking?" asks why Mitt Romney chose this moment in his quest for the White House to become involved with Donald Trump.

Here's a contrarian guess by way of an answer: populism. Bear with me for a moment of explanation.

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It's All Politics
12:20 am
Wed May 9, 2012

America's Dairyland Doubles As Test Site For Political Civil War

Protesters march outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Hotel where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is speaking to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on April 17 in Springfield, Ill. Walker faces Democrat Tom Barrett in a recall election June 5. The events in the state over the next four weeks could be a sign of where the U.S. is headed in the months ahea
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 11:15 am

Back before the conflagration that was World War II, some of Europe's great powers engaged in a surrogate struggle by arming the warring factions in the Spanish Civil War. It was a great way to test their latest weapons and tactics.

Here in our country and in our time, the role of Spain is being played by the state of Wisconsin, where a political civil war has raged for nearly 18 months — presaging the fierce national politics of this presidential year.

Watch Wisconsin over the next four weeks, and you will see where we are headed as a nation in the months ahead.

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It's All Politics
12:58 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Once Again, Santorum Keeps It Close But Falls Further Behind

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Four Seasons Sheraton in Mars, Pa., Monday night. Rival Mitt Romney won the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin primaries.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:50 am

Rick Santorum came surprisingly close to an upset in Wisconsin this week, losing to Mitt Romney by less than 5 percentage points. It was not as heartbreakingly close as his previous losses in Michigan and Ohio, but it was one more reminder of what might have been.

With a win in Wisconsin, Santorum would have confounded the ruling media narrative of the moment, which wants to turn from the primary season of spring to the autumnal matchup of Romney and President Obama.

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It's All Politics
5:14 am
Thu March 29, 2012

How Collapse Of Health-Care Law Could Help Democrats

Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes the new health care law, rallies in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 8:12 am

We probably won't know until June what the Supreme Court justices will decide regarding the health overhaul law known as Obamacare. The questions this week from the conservative majority seemed skeptical of the "individual mandate" at the center of the law, yet dubious of the law's survival without it.

(A line of questioning may not be a perfect guide to a justice's thinking, but right now it appears to be the way to bet.)

So let's say it's June and the high court has laid low the whole law. That's terrible news for President Obama and the Democrats, right?

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It's All Politics
4:43 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Are Primary Republicans Chasing Romney Or The Reagan Rainbow?

President Ronald Reagan looms over today's GOP field. Here he waves as he boards Air Force One after a brief three-hour visit to Washington state on April 20, 1984.
Barry Sweet AP

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 10:28 am

Rick Santorum's underdog campaign limped out of Illinois to fight another day, but his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination goes forward under a long shadow.

It's not really the shadow of Mount Mitt, even though front-runner Romney's big win in Illinois heightened his pile of delegates. Romney creeps ever closer to inevitability, yet he too is caught in the same shadow of a man who left the stage two decades ago but dominates it to this day.

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It's All Politics
4:26 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Analysis: Why It's Time For Newt Gingrich To Say Good Night

After his losses in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich will face increasing pressure to drop out of the GOP race. Here he waves to supporters after speaking at a rally in Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday.
Marvin Gentry Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 4:12 pm

It is time for the much-winnowed field of Republican presidential contenders to shrink a little further. It is time for Newt Gingrich to bid adieu and wrap up his bid for the nomination.

Rick Santorum, who won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries on Tuesday, has proven himself the conservatives' favored alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney. He did this by winning the voters who mattered most in the deep-dyed red states of Alabama and Mississippi, the white evangelical "born again" voters who cast more than two-thirds of the vote in each state.

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It's All Politics
2:37 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Fight For GOP Nomination Is Over But Will Still Go On

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addressed supporters at a Super Tuesday rally in Boston on Tuesday. His home state was one of the six he won Tuesday night.
Jessica Rinaldi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 8:18 am

As they counted up the votes on Super Tuesday, you could almost hear Celine Dion singing that theme song from Titanic — the one about how her heart and the whole tragic tale would go on.

And on.

So it is with this year's Republican presidential contest.

Usually by this time in the picture, the GOP has given its heart to its hero, and it's lights out for the rest of the cast. But once again this week, the GOP of 2012 refused to read the usual script.

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