Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University's 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as the manager of NPR's Washington coverage, NPR reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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."

Ron 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, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

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.

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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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

President Obama was giving the final speech of his Africa tour, offering a critique of the young democracies on that continent, singling out the all-too-typical practice of leaders overstaying their terms in office.

"When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife," Obama said, aware that the president of Burundi, seated nearby, had recently defied that country's two-term limit.

These are palmy days for Sen. Bernie Sanders and his improbable campaign for president. Thousands throng his events in Maine, Iowa and Wisconsin. He has raised $15 million in just a few months, and he polls better among Democrats than any one Republican is polling among Republicans.

At a minimum, the "independent socialist" senator has established himself as the insurgent to watch among Democrats in this cycle. So, we should salute the man. But we should also cast a smiling glance toward the other, possibly ultimate, beneficiary of his early success.

With his eulogy Friday for the slain pastor and parishioners of "Mother Emanuel" AME Church in Charleston, S.C., President Obama concluded the most shining week of his second term.

The president praised the leadership of South Carolina for its response to the Charleston killings, especially their decision to take down the Confederate battle flag that has long flown either on or next to the state Capitol in Columbia.

"By taking down that flag, we expressed God's grace," the president said. "For too long, we've been blind to past injustices."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The tragic events in Charleston this month have released years of racial and political tension in the South, and the pressure is being felt by Republican officeholders across the region.

Why the Republicans? Because it is increasingly difficult to find officeholders in the region who are not Republicans.

This post was updated at 12 p.m. ET

The 2016 presidential race has attracted the widest and most diverse field of major candidates in anyone's memory. Yet, even in this crowd, Donald John Trump Sr. stands apart. On Tuesday, he joined that field, two days after his 69th birthday.

Donald Trump, or "The Donald" as he often styles himself, has high national name recognition as a billionaire real estate developer and TV celebrity.

Major decisions are expected this month, as the U.S. Supreme Court works its way through several cases still pending before it closes out its calendar for the 2014-2015 term.

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. E.T.

Although not nearly so crowded as its Republican counterpart, the Democratic field of presidential contenders is growing. On Wednesday, Lincoln Chafee, a former senator and governor of Rhode Island, became the fourth major politician to enter the White House chase as a Democrat.

This post has been updated to reflect that Pataki is officially running.

George Pataki announced his presidential candidacy in Exeter, N.H., on Thursday. He's the eighth official Republican entrant in the 2016 race for the White House. The field is expected to double over the next couple of months. Pataki has made numerous visits and a few friends in recent months in the Granite State, home of the first primary in 2016. Still, the mention of his name in most of the country might prompt questions of, "Who?" and possibly, "Why?"

When the Supreme Court returns for its next term in October, among the cases it has agreed to hear is a challenge to a fundamental practice that has governed American elections for generations.

When public-policy makers talk about a state's population, they generally mean the number of human beings living in that state — as counted or estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That applies to a host of political actions, including the apportionment of seats in Congress and the Electoral College votes that choose the president.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, held the floor of the Senate for 10 1/2 hours Wednesday afternoon and evening, airing his objections to the NSA bulk collection of telephone records in the U.S.

Many of the accounts of this lengthy performance referred to it as a filibuster, or a near-filibuster, or some kind of filibuster or other.

It was none of the above.

Before there was George, there was Sid.

George Stephanopoulos is, of course, the ABC news anchor whose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton foundation have reminded the world of his longtime ties to Bill Clinton, for whom he worked from 1991 to 1997.

Jim Wright occupies a kind of shadow territory in Washington memory. He rose to be speaker of the House, arguably the second most powerful job in the country. For a season he challenged the authority of the president on foreign policy. A master of the internal politics and practices of the House, Wright once seemed likely to rule that world for as long as the Democrats held the majority — which he and they and most everyone else expected to last forever.

This week we mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. On our screens and in our memory's eye we can see the helicopters lifting the last, desperate evacuees from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Loretta Lynch's confirmation as Attorney General was not the only sign of a spring thaw in the Senate this week: Senators also voted for a crackdown on human trafficking, while green shoots of compromise seemed to sprout on other contentious issues, both foreign and domestic.

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