Eli Attie, writer for The West Wing and former political speechwriter, talks with David Axelrod about how he went from being a speechwriter to writing television scripts for one of the most notable shows on American politics, his recollection of being in the room on election night when Al Gore rescinded his concession to George W. Bush, and how the fictionalized version of the political speechwriter is often at odds with reality. Transcript.
Tammy Duckworth, the U.S. Senator-elect from Illinois, talks with David Axelrod about her childhood in Southeast Asia, the harrowing day in Iraq when the helicopter she was co-piloting came under attack, her concerns with Donald Trump’s reliance on the military to fill Cabinet posts, and what she hopes to accomplish in the U.S. Senate. Transcript.
Denis McDonough, the White House Chief of Staff, talks with David Axelrod about how growing up in a house with ten brothers and sisters was good preparation for life, why he thinks it would prove difficult for the next administration to undo aspects of President Obama’s domestic policies, and the greatest disappointments from his White House tenure. Transcript.
Alex Castellanos, longtime Republican consultant, talks with David Axelrod about his childhood experiences in Cuba, the importance of storytelling and authenticity in politics, why he thinks Donald Trump could be an effective president, and what he believes will be the biggest challenge Trump faces in Washington. Transcript.
Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, sits down with David to talk about the changes he’s seen in Washington during his 34 years there, what he views as the greatest professional joy of his life, and how Democrats should approach a Donald Trump presidency. Transcript.
Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim chats with David about the growing negativity of political media, working with Al Gore on An Inconvenient Truth, and the shared pathology between D.C. and Hollywood. Transcript.
Alex Wagner, the journalist and political commentator, talks with David Axelrod about her early exposure to politics as the daughter of a Democratic field organizer, what lessons the news media and voters should draw from Donald Trump’s election, and her concerns about transparency and press access in a Trump administration. Transcript.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, talks with David Axelrod about her love of baseball, the power of storytelling in politics, why being tested by adversity is an important experience for our leaders, and much more. Transcript.
Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, sits down with David to discuss his upbringing in the Middle East, his father’s assassination in Beirut, his reaction to President-elect Trump’s victory, his future in coaching, and much more. Transcript.
Larry Summers, U.S. economist and former Treasury Secretary, talks with David Axelrod about growing up in a family of renowned economists, shares his view of what did and did not cause the financial crisis in 2008, and forecasts the economic implications of Donald Trump’s policy proposals. Transcript.
Douglas Alexander, former British Labour politician and U.K. Cabinet Minister, chats with David Axelrod about how the closure of a car plant ignited his interest in politics, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, and more. Transcript.
Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, reflects on George W. Bush and Barack Obama after serving both presidents for years; shares his harrowing experience of being with President Bush on 9/11, and the subsequent decisions that he believes contributed to the invasion of Iraq; and what he sees as the most rapidly growing threat to America’s national security. Transcript.
Van Jones, political activist and CNN commentator, talks with David about Tuesday’s election results and the cultural chasm that exists in America, his childhood in rural Tennessee and the important relationship he had with his father, and why he won’t be running for public office any time soon. Transcript.
John Weaver, veteran Republican strategist, talks to David about how he sees the election unfolding and what the result will mean for governing in Washington, what he thinks John Kasich will do next, and how a career in politics takes a personal toll on individuals and their families. Transcript.
DeRay Mckesson, one of the most prominent leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement, talks to David about his decision to endorse Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, his organization’s work to end police violence, the importance of public education, and his turbulent childhood in inner-city Baltimore. Transcript.
Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, reflects on how Congress has changed during his years covering the institution, discusses what Paul Ryan’s political future may hold, and provides some insight into how Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination might play out after the presidential election. Transcript.
Secretary of State John Kerry talks to David about his service in Vietnam, why he chose to concede quickly after losing the 2004 presidential election, and his time in the U.S. Senate and how the institution has changed in recent decades. Transcript.