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.

Only 19 percent of Americans — about 1 in 5 — say they trust the government "always or most of the time," according to a study released by the Pew Research Center on Monday. Yet clear majorities also favor the government taking "a major role" in fighting terrorism, responding to natural disasters, keeping food and drugs safe, protecting the environment, strengthening the economy and improving education.

Political leaders in the national and state capitals this week began raising barriers against refugees coming to the U.S. from Syria and Iraq. They were responding to a sense of fear in the land that refugees might bring with them some of the dangers they were fleeing.

Hillary Clinton entered the second debate of the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination with far less to prove than she had in the first, and, in the end, she probably achieved far less as well.

But for the time being, at least, she may be able to afford it.

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The fourth debate among the leading Republican candidates for president filled the historic Milwaukee Theatre with cheers, laughter and occasional boos, but it probably did not alter the dynamics among the eight featured contestants.

No one seemed to stumble or scintillate so notably as to change the pecking order with the first voting, now fewer than a dozen weeks away in the Iowa precinct caucuses.

It is common knowledge that televised debates between presidential candidates began with Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in the fall of 1960. But few remember that the very first debate to be broadcast featuring White House hopefuls happened a dozen years earlier, and it happened on radio.

Whatever else Jeb Bush's campaign for president might need right now, it doesn't need a renewal of the controversies about his father's and brother's years in the White House.

Yet the release of a new biography of the elder President Bush by journalist and author Jon Meacham has reopened some old wounds and renewed the debate over the Iraq War. Or perhaps that should be wars.

It was late summer when America began to "feel the Bern," and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the beneficiary of that warm-weather bump, still sees himself as hot on the campaign trail to the White House.

Sanders sat down Wednesday with Steve Inskeep, host of NPR's Morning Edition, to review his own remarkably resilient campaign. Inskeep asked the self-described Democratic socialist from Vermont if he sees a path to the Democratic nomination.

Nebraska's Ben Sasse was elected to the U.S. Senate a year ago this week, one of a dozen Republicans who first won seats that day as their party captured its first majority in the storied chamber in eight years.

And like many of the 5,000 men and women who preceded him in the Senate, he soon came to regard that old sobriquet "World's Greatest Deliberative Body" with a certain irony — if not bitterness.

The Republican presidential race entered a new phase Wednesday night as the outsider candidates, who dominated the first two debates, were upstaged by several of their office-holding rivals — and by a budding controversy over the conduct of the third debate itself.

When John Boehner announced his resignation last month, he said he wanted to "clean the barn" before he left. What he is accomplishing this week should put him in the Barn Cleaning Hall of Fame.

If the votes go as planned — always a question mark in the current House — Boehner will end his week and his career having engineered the choice of his successor, stabilized the nation's fiscal trajectory for the next two years and wrapped up most of the other major legislation pending in the chamber.

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Now we want to look ahead to the week in politics in this country. Joining us is NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. Hi, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Michel.

Joe Biden summoned the attention of the nation at noon Wednesday in the Rose Garden of the White House, where he shared his thoughts and feelings about running for president.

"Unfortunately," the vice president said, "I believe we're out of time — the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination."

Biden said he had thought that even this late in the year, the window of opportunity might still be open for him.

"I've concluded that it's closed," Biden said.

Updated 10:40 a.m. EST

Paul Ryan made it all but official Tuesday night.

He told his fellow Republicans he had returned from a 10-day recess visit home to Wisconsin with a new attitude toward being speaker of the House.

After weeks of being ostensibly uninterested and even hostile to the idea, Ryan had found a reason to seek the most powerful post in Congress and the second spot in the presidential succession (after vice president).

The House is back for its first business day after a 10-day break, and the first item of business is a big one: finding a leader.

Speaker John Boehner has said he is resigning at month's end. The Republican conference met to choose a successor, but Boehner ended the session when his No. 2, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, withdrew as a candidate.

Though it holds immense power, the House speakership seems like the worst job in Washington these days. Current Speaker John Boehner wants to leave, but after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the contest, it could be anybody's race. Rep. Paul Ryan doesn't want to do it, though he's been prodded, and it's not clear any other candidate has enough consensus to win on the House floor.

This fall, we have seen a sitting House speaker announce his resignation because he no longer feels confident he can control his own party on the floor of the chamber.

We have also seen the House's No. 2 official, the majority leader, withdraw his own candidacy to succeed the speaker because he does not feel he can control his own party on the floor of the chamber.

Both of the leading Democrats probably helped themselves in their party's first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, held in Las Vegas and carried by CNN. But Hillary Clinton, the candidate with the most to lose, may have come away having gained the most.

The longtime front-runner has been beset by controversy, falling poll numbers and a brittle relationship with the media. A bad performance before this season's first national audience would have deepened doubts about her candidacy.

You may never have offered to swear something "on a stack of Bibles," but you probably recognize that folksy phrase as a variation on saying, "Honest to God."

And when you hear: "Raise your right hand, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth...," you may very well have your left hand on a Bible.

Why are we making such a monumental fuss over the visit of Pope Francis to America?

So he is the first pope ever to speak to Congress, and he will also visit the White House, New York City and Philadelphia. While millions are excited to the point of frenzy, millions more ask what it's all about.

There are many reasons, of course, starting with the vital significance of the pope in the practice and history of Roman Catholicism. But the visit also matters because of the history of Roman Catholicism in America.

Don't bet on John Boehner being ousted as House speaker during the latest round of wrangles on Capitol Hill this month. He's likely to survive into 2016 and finish this, his third term, as the boss of the House majority Republicans.

Boehner might have any number of reasons to retire, not least of them a sense of frustration. That was evident in comments he made in an interview that was published this past weekend.

Donald Trump was once again at center stage at Wednesday night's debate hosted by CNN — the second debate among the GOP candidates for president This time, however, he had a harder time holding the spotlight.

Again and again throughout the seemingly interminable three-hour spectacle, the attention of the audience migrated to the the smallest figure on the set: Carly Fiorina.

As Rick Perry suspended his second campaign for president Friday, it was hard to remember how big a deal his first one had been just four years ago.

Perry was riding high in the saddle in the summer of 2011. He was the thrice-elected governor of the nation's second-most-populous state, which is, by far, the largest source of Republican votes on the map.

He had raised $17 million in his first few weeks in the game, and he brought a grin and a swagger and an attitude to the national stage. (There were no thick nerd glasses in those days.)

Could he talk Southern? Yes.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton currently dominate the 2016 presidential story, not only in the polls but in the news. Virtually everything either of them says is instantly seized upon to be celebrated or condemned by various media.

It is hard to imagine a presidential election cycle at NPR without the warm presence and reassuring wisdom of Andy Kohut.

The man who founded the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, and who later served as president of the expanded Pew Research Center from 2004 to 2012, died early Tuesday after years battling leukemia. He was 73.

Now that 34 senators have committed to support President Obama on the Iran nuclear agreement, that deal looks certain to survive the opposition of Republicans in Congress.

But Congress still faces an ugly September and fall, as other crises await members returning from five weeks of vacation, namely:

  • A potential government shutdown
  • Once again hitting the debt ceiling
  • The highway fund running out of money
  • A lapse in authority for the Export-Import Bank
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One measure of how impressive Bernie Sanders' crowds have been lately is the respect they get from Donald Trump, a man who clearly believes size matters.

"He's getting the biggest crowds, and I'm getting the biggest crowds," Trump said last week of Sanders in one of his innumerable TV interviews.

He meant it as a putdown of Hillary Clinton, but the left-handed salute to Sanders resonated. Because he has arguably drawn the very biggest crowds this summer, even more "biggest" than Trump's.

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It is possible that Donald Trump will look back on the first Republican presidential debate Thursday night in Cleveland and wish he had not taken part.

That notion seems absurd at first glance. Taking the stage for the season's first clash was widely seen as the zenith of Trump's campaign to date, if not the validation for all his political thrusts dating back to the 1990s.