KASU

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.

In a hearing that stretched through nearly 12 hours Tuesday, the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch took a long step toward Senate confirmation.

Barring an utterly unforeseen reversal when the questioning resumes Wednesday, observers expect Judiciary Committee approval along party lines on April 3 and a similar win on the Senate floor.

Twenty senators took turns asking questions for half an hour each. The Republicans tried to get the country to share their affinity for the nominee. The Democrats tried to tie him to President Trump.

Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night was the occasion for his most presidential performance to date, balancing a reprise of his angry campaign themes with a recitation of hopes and dreams for the nation.

It was his most successful, if not his first, effort at assuming the public persona and personal demeanor associated with his new office. He stuck to the script on his teleprompter, spoke graciously to individuals in the audience and refrained from attacks on critics, rivals or adversaries.

When new presidents address Congress for the first time, they can scarcely be said to be making a first impression. In recent years, even the youngest presidents have become familiar to everyone in the country via their careers, their campaigns and the constant attention of the media.

On Tuesday night, President Trump will address a joint session of the Congress for the first time, laying out his case for making the agenda of his campaign the law of the land.

He will talk about controlling immigration, cutting taxes, abolishing regulations, repealing the Affordable Care Act, pulling out of multinational trade agreements and spending more on defense and homeland security. He may also talk about his disdain for much of the news media and bring up social issues such as abortion.

Americans have complained for years about presidential campaigns that start too early and last too long.

Now, they are confronted with one that refuses to end — even after reaching the White House.

There may never be a "last word" written or spoken about President Trump's 77-minute barrage in the East Room Thursday, but the first word from many was: "Wow."

President Trump and his inner circle have reached their first crisis with the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, but the crisis extends well beyond one empty chair in one critical moment.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Vice President Pence has done something that his predecessor, Joe Biden, did not do even once in his eight years in the same office.

He cast a tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate.

First, we had a candidate and a campaign like no other, then an election and transition like no other. We should have expected President Trump's first two weeks in office to be just as dizzying as they have been.

Yet Trump lovers and haters alike have stood by, mouths agape. Editorialists have worn out the words "whirlwind" and "firehose," just as they had recently burned through "unprecedented."

After a dozen tumultuous days in the White House, President Trump on Tuesday night found a way to unite his party, delight his most ardent supporters and change the storyline on his nascent presidency in a single stroke.

It wasn't magic that did it, it was the choice of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Donald Trump had already emerged as the likely presidential nominee of the Republican Party back in April when he gave a foreign policy speech pledging that "America First" would be "the major and overriding theme of my administration."

Among the unusual elements of President-elect Donald Trump's Wednesday news conference was a 15-minute interlude in which an attorney took the podium and described Trump's plan to address potential conflicts of interest between his businesses and the responsibilities of his office.

The attorney, Sheri Dillon, outlined an arrangement by which Trump would turn over "total control" of his worldwide business interests to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, with whom he would not communicate about the family business.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President-elect Donald Trump continues to dispute the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia used computer hacking to interfere in the 2016 elections. He does so even though other Republican leaders and analysts perceive a serious cyberattack that demands retaliation.

If he persists in this posture, Trump may wish to rely on the precedent of previous presidents who entered the White House at odds with their own parties over a major issue in foreign relations.

But can he find one?

Several of Donald Trump's Cabinet choices have prompted controversy from the moment they were named, but the one most likely to face real Senate opposition is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, whom Trump wants as his secretary of state.

How badly did Trump want Tillerson on his team? Badly enough to defend his pick's remarkable profile as a Russophile, a reputation so vivid that several Republican senators immediately began flashing yellow cards — if not red.

We are all in transition these days. Washington is getting used to the idea of a new and very different president, who is getting used to the idea of Washington.

One thing we are learning about the mind of President-elect Donald Trump is that his train of thought rarely runs on a single track.

Consider the Cabinet announcements this week, dramatically at odds with those of the previous week. Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

With the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the election of Donald Trump, Democrats may feel they have hit bottom.

The new power structure in Washington will combine a Republican president and a Republican Congress for the first time since 2006. Throw in pending and prospective vacancies on the Supreme Court, and you can see why many progressives consider this the worst-case scenario.

But it is not.

When American voters must choose a new president, reaction tends to rule. Given a choice between continuity and contrast, we favor contrast — even when the retiring incumbent leaves office with relatively high public approval.

This sometimes is called the pendulum effect: The farther the pendulum swings in one direction, the farther it is likely to swing back. In physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction; in politics, the pushback sometimes can be disproportionate.

When Donald Trump came down the escalator in June of 2015 in the tower he named for himself in Manhattan, few of us who do politics for a living took his off-the-cuff announcement for president seriously.

But the past 17 months have been a lesson to all of us who flattered ourselves — as campaign pros, polling pros and media pros — that we knew more about politics than he did.

What have we learned? That Trump was being taken very seriously, indeed, by the people who ultimately mattered: voters.

Polls are not the only place people look to for guidance to Election Day outcomes. Lots of people believe in bellwethers.

The first two things to know about bellwethers is that there's no letter "a" in the word, and bellwethers don't have anything to do with predicting the weather. The name refers to the neutered rams that shepherds use to guide flocks in the right direction. The wether trots along when the shepherd calls, the bell at his neck jangles, and the other sheep come ambling after him.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's go back to NPR's Ron Elving, still with us in studio here in Washington, D.C. Ron, briefly, what is the biggest issue for the campaigns now?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages