Ken Rudin - Political Junkie

Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
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Ken Rudin has a problem:  he is hooked on politics. The political junkie regularly joins The State of Things for Friday discussions about the political world in North Carolina. Ken’s experience spans three decades of political coverage, most recently at NPR.

From the latest congressional news to behind-the-scenes views on the campaign trail, Ken offers political insight, historical analysis and trivia. More information, including his weekly scuttlebutton puzzle, can be found at his website.

Kim Yong Chol, left, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting, Thursday, May 31, 2018, in New York.
Seth Wenig / AP Photo

The week kicked off with White House officials working overtime to save the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been photographed in New York enjoying dinner and drinks with the leader’s right hand man, Kim Yong-chol. Will the stepped up efforts save the summit?

photo of eastman amongst red and blue baloons, speaking at a podium
Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Female candidates swept primary elections in Pennsylvania and Nebraska this week. Will this wave continue into the November midterm elections? And Wednesday’s teacher rally in Raleigh is part of a wave of teacher protests in red states. What impact could this have on the midterms?

photo of rudy giuliani
Carolyn Kaster, File / AP Photo

Rudolph Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City and now member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday that Trump repaid the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump followed up on Twitter the next morning and backed up some of what Giuliani stated adding “money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll (sic) in this transaction.” The repayment claim goes against what Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen have previously said.

photo of Nikki Haley speaking at the United Nations
Julie Jacobson / AP Photo

This week marked another rift in the Trump administration, this time over imposing new sanctions on Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the president would announce those new sanctions during her appearance on Sunday talk shows. On Tuesday, a top White House official negated that comment and blamed Haley’s statement about sanctions on “momentary confusion.” Haley shot back, saying “I don’t get confused.”

photo of scott pruitt
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

This week President Donald Trump announced he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the fight against ISIS in Syria. In a news conference with Baltic leaders Trump said the U.S. was “very successful against ISIS.” The president has since pulled back on an urgent removal plan, and instead instructed the military to withdraw from the conflict within a few months.

photo of Donald Trump, speaking and gesturing
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Two of the nation’s largest gun sellers announced they will take steps to curb firearm sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, and they’ll also require those buying guns to be over 21, whether it’s required by local laws or not. Walmart will no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21, and they’ll stop selling items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. 

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The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The House has approved a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-February, but Senate Democrats seem dissatisfied. They want concessions including deportation protection for some young immigrants before giving their vote.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones and his wife Louise wave to supporters before speaking Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

Democrat Doug Jones won the red state of Alabama in his senate race against Republican Roy Moore this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, joins Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP lawmakers to talk about the GOP tax plan.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The U.S. Senate is busy debating its tax overhaul bill. A vote on the measure is expected later today. The bill has moved swiftly to the Senate floor, and Republican leaders say they are confident there are enough votes to pass it. 

Donald and Melania Trump take a tour of the Forbidden City while visiting Beijing, China as part of their five-country trip through Asia.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

President Donald Trump has returned from his five-country tour of Asia. He characterized the trip as a “tremendous success,” but political analysts say his exuberance does not align with the political accomplishments. 

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Robert Mueller’s team handed down their first indictments this week in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates turned themselves into the FBI and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released their tax bill Thursday with hopes to pass it through before the end of year. And federal judges reviewing North Carolina’s legislative district maps have ordered an independent “special master” to draw new lines.

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rpL7cW

President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger has prompted questions about the level of respect the President displayed for the soldier’s service.

Donald Trump makes first speech to the UN
Richard Drew / AP Photo - 2017

After multiple failed attempts by Republican leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act, GOP lawmakers are back with their newest repeal effort. The Graham-Cassidy bill would cap funding to Medicaid, and many opponents say it would leave millions of people without healthcare coverage. 

Trump sits at head of table to discuss public safety operations in Texas in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Evan Vucci / AP Photo - 2017

President Donald Trump traveled to Texas this week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He met with a number of government officials and rescue workers but received criticism for not meeting with flood victims. 

Donald Trump
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP - 2017

President Trump continues to receive criticism after his remarks earlier this week about violence that took place last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

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As tension persists in the Trump administration, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stepped in last week as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. 

Donald Trump Jr.
Richard Drew / AP - 2017

Senate Republican leaders unveiled the newest version of their health care bill intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The new bill differs from the Senate’s last attempt in a few significant ways, namely a resurrection of two Obama-era taxes on high-income individuals. 

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President Donald Trump meets with world leaders this week at the G-20 summit in Germany. This morning Trump had a highly-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting comes as questions remain regarding ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the presidential election. 

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 Relations between the U.S. and Russia are tense this week as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Moscow on a diplomatic trip. Tillerson urged Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, to pull their support from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These talks come a week after the U.S. launched a missile strike against Syria. Meanwhile, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh.
Jim Bowen / Flickr

The replacement bill for House Bill 2 has been signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper called House Bill 142 a compromise between state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. 

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The U.S. Senate convened early this morning to move forward on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. In a rare move,  Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the vote to advance the decision for 6:30am. Critics say DeVos lacks any educational experience and is unqualified to serve. DeVos is one of several controversial nominations by President Trump. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the confirmation and the latest in political news.

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In his first five days in office, President Donald Trump has signed several executive orders, including a directive to build a wall on the Mexican border and a measure designed to begin the repeal of Obamacare. 

Ken Rudin
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It has been a wild year in American politics. A crowded field of presidential hopefuls whittled to two candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

After months on the campaign trail, Clinton won the popular vote by the largest margin in history but Trump received more Electoral College votes. Meanwhile, President Obama finishes his eight-year stint in the White House. What legacy will he leave? Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the year in politics.

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The campaign season is in the final stretch, and both presidential candidates are making last minute pleas in North Carolina. 

Polls predict a tight race, and candidates up and down the ballot are working to get out the vote. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the election. 

Ken Rudin
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  Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a health issue sidelined her for a few days.

And health becomes a key issue in the campaign. Donald Trump releases some of his medical details of the Dr. Oz show. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

All signs point to the fact that North Carolina has become a battleground in the race for the White House.

New polls out this week indicate a tight race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and both campaigns are spending large sums of money on campaign advertisements.

The Senate race between Richard Burr and Deborah Ross is also in a dead heat. Will North Carolina's voters help the Democrats take back the Senate?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie, about the 2016 election.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

A federal court declared North Carolina's drawing of election lines unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel said the districts must be redrawn because they are racially gerrymandered. The court will allow the election in November to proceed under the old maps.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the decision, its consequences and other political news.

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Donald Trump announces Mike Pence will be his running mate in his bid for the White House.

Trump delayed the decision last night in the wake of the attack in Nice, France. He revealed his choice of the Indiana governor on Twitter earlier today. His decision comes as the Republican party gears up for its convention in Cleveland.

And on the Democratic side of the ticket, Bernie Sanders steps aside and endorses Hillary Clinton as the presidential nominee. Meanwhile, legal challenges to North Carolina's voter ID requirements continue in the courts.

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The United States Supreme Court issued decisions this week in several high profile cases related to abortion restrictions and immigration regulations.

The high court also agreed to hear North Carolina's redistricting suit. Their decisions could affect voters in November.

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