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.

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We're going to turn now to NPRs Ron Elving here in the studio. So Ron, just a recap - Bernie Sanders projected to have one Vermont, Hillary Clinton projected to have one Virginia and Georgia. And yet the Republican race - too close to call.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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."

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