Cover art for podcast The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Axe Files with David Axelrod

545 EpisodesProduced by The Institute of Politics & CNNWebsite

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.

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Ep. 520 — Tim Ryan

February 2nd, 2023


A chance meeting with his Congressman during a high school football banquet set Tim Ryan on a path to politics, from a seat in the Ohio Senate, to …

Ep. 519 — Sec. Antony Blinken

January 26th, 2023


Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a circuitous path to government, working in journalism, law, and the movies before landing a job in the Clinton administration. He still has varied interests; while he spends his …

Ep. 518 — Amanda Gorman

January 19th, 2023


When poet Amanda Gorman was 5 years old, she was already in the habit of waking up before dawn to write; her mother paid her a quarter each morning …

Ep. 517 — Gov. Chris Sununu

January 12th, 2023


Although New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has said that he was a shy child, he has no problem with the spotlight now; there is widespread …

Ep. 516 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

January 5th, 2023


In 2022, Democrats in Michigan made history when they took control of state government for the first time in 40 years. At the top of the ticket was …

The Axe Files presents The Assignment with Audie Cornish

December 22nd, 2022


This week The Axe Files team is sharing an episode of CNN’s The Assignment with Audie Cornish. Each week Audie pulls listeners out of their digital …

Ep. 515 — Dr. Anthony Fauci

December 15th, 2022


After 54 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Anthony Fauci will step down from his role at the end of 2022. While he has worked on …

Ep. 514 — Wes Moore

December 8th, 2022


When Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore was 3 years old, he watched his father collapse in front of him. Losing his father at a young age greatly …

Ep. 513 — Mike Pence

December 1st, 2022


Former Vice President Mike Pence has centered his career around his Christian faith and conservative beliefs. Most recently, he spent four years serving alongside former President Donald Trump, who has been criticized …

Best of The Axe Files: Anderson Cooper

November 24th, 2022


This Thanksgiving, we're revisiting a conversation with Anderson Cooper from October 2021. Anderson is now a well-known CNN anchor and host of the new podcast, All There Is with Anderson Cooper, but he got his start in …

Ep. 512 — Sen. Alex Padilla

November 17th, 2022


Just months after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in engineering, California Senator Alex Padilla was drawn …

Ep. 511 — Speaker Rusty Bowers

November 10th, 2022


Rusty Bowers, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, is a Mormon and conservative Republican. He is also a sculptor and painter with a love …

Ep. 510 — Major Garrett

November 3rd, 2022


Journalist Major Garrett caught the journalism bug early, chasing fire trucks down the street in search of a story as a kid. He has since spent his career as a Congressional and White House correspondent, most recently …

509 — Rep. Liz Cheney

October 27th, 2022


In the span of 15 months, Rep. Liz Cheney went from House GOP conference chair to losing her primary by more than 30 points. Her fall within the Republican Party began with her vote to impeach President Donald Trump …

Ep. 508 — Maggie Haberman

October 20th, 2022


Journalist Maggie Haberman began covering Donald Trump as a reporter for the New York tabloids in the early 2000s. Now at The New York Times, Maggie rose to national prominence churning out scoops on the Trump White …

Ep. 507 — Cody Keenan

October 13th, 2022


In high school, Cody Keenan wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. But a challenging college chemistry course led him to pursue a degree in political …

Ep. 506 — Doug Jones

October 6th, 2022


While in law school, former Alabama Senator Doug Jones skipped class to watch the trial of Robert Chambliss, convicted in 1977 for his role in the …

Ep. 505 — Beth Macy

September 29th, 2022


When journalist and author Beth Macy first pitched a book about the opioid crisis in 2014, her publisher and editor rejected the idea. But Beth kept …

Ep. 504 — Chris Wallace

September 22nd, 2022


Chris Wallace spent 18 years at the helm of Fox News Sunday, surprising viewers when he announced his resignation on-air in December 2021. Now at CNN with a new show streaming on HBO Max, Wallace has admitted that the …

Ep. 503 — Rep. Adam Kinzinger

September 15th, 2022


Rep. Adam Kinzinger was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the January 6 insurrection. …

The Axe Files presents Offline with Jon Favreau

September 8th, 2022


This week we’re sharing a conversation between Jon Favreau, host of Offline, a podcast from Crooked Media, and Ev Williams, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter. The two discuss Twitter’s early years, including the …

The Axe Files presents Hell & High Water with John Heilemann

September 1st, 2022


This week The Axe Files team is sharing an episode of Hell & High Water with John Heilemann. This episode features a conversation with David Axelrod and was recorded in New York City in December 2021. Together they …

The Axe Files presents Morning Brew’s Imposters

August 25th, 2022


In 2020, Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit & Founder of Seven Seven Six, broke ties with the $10 billion-dollar company he helped to build as …

Ep. 502 — Henry Kissinger

August 18th, 2022


As a young boy, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and his family escaped Nazi Germany; later, as a soldier with …

Ep. 501 — Jason Kander

August 11th, 2022


Ten years after serving in Afghanistan, Jason Kander was a rising star in the Democratic Party, testing the waters for a presidential run. In 2018, …

Ep. 500 — John Legend

August 4th, 2022


At 15, musician John Legend wrote an essay proclaiming he would one day become a famous singer and use his platform to advance civil rights. His …

Best of The Axe Files: Sen. Bernie Sanders

July 28th, 2022


As we prepare for the 500th episode of The Axe Files, we take a look back at the show’s very first episode featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders. David spoke with Sen. Sanders in September 2015, just a few months after he …

Ep. 499 — David Chalian

July 21st, 2022


When David Chalian was in first grade, he memorized the names of all the US presidents—in reverse chronological order. His interest in politics was …

Ep. 498 — Gov. Jared Polis

July 14th, 2022


By the time Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was 16, he was already enrolled at Princeton University. At 23, he became a millionaire after selling the …

Ep. 497 — Sen. Chris Murphy

July 7th, 2022


Sen. Chris Murphy caught the political bug early; he was first elected to the Connecticut state legislature at age 25 while still in law school. He …

Ep. 496 — Kellyanne Conway

June 30th, 2022


Kellyanne Conway made history as the first woman to run a Republican campaign for president when she helped Donald Trump win in 2016—a far cry from her days packing blueberries at a farm in New Jersey. As many advisers …

Ep. 495 — Rep. Fred Upton

June 23rd, 2022


After more than three decades representing his Michigan hometown in Congress, Rep. Fred Upton announced his retirement in a speech on the House floor in April 2022. He joined David to talk about his famous Michigan …

Ep. 494 — John Dean

June 16th, 2022


John Dean, former counsel to President Richard Nixon, was directly involved in covering up the Watergate break-in. But he has also been credited with …

Ep. 493 — Arne Duncan and Curtis Toler

June 9th, 2022


Former US Secretary of Education and CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan now spends his days focused on stopping gun violence in his hometown …

Ep. 492 — Gov. Pete Ricketts

June 2nd, 2022


Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts tried to get out of applying to the University of Chicago, as his father wanted, by pretending to forget about the …

Ep. 491 — Chris Krebs

May 26th, 2022


Chris Krebs was a champion pole vaulter and spent time as a scuba instructor before getting into infrastructure risk management. He ended up as the …

Ep. 490 — Rep. Jackie Speier

May 19th, 2022


Rep. Jackie Speier got her start in politics working for Rep. Leo Ryan, then a California state Assemblyman. But what started as a high school …

Ep. 489 — Shaka Senghor

May 12th, 2022


Growing up, Shaka Senghor wanted to be a doctor. But at age 14, he ran away from his unstable home. By 19, he was in prison. While in prison, he began unravelling his past, seeking to understand how he went from a …

Ep. 488 — Al Franken

May 5th, 2022


Al Franken has been in the public eye for decades, first as a comedian and then as a senator from Minnesota. Since he resigned from the Senate in 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations—that he has denied—he has mostly …

Ep. 487 — Amb. Michael McFaul

April 28th, 2022


As a high school student in Montana, Ambassador Michael McFaul became interested in Russian affairs while working on a debate team assignment …

Ep. 486 — Sarah Longwell

April 21st, 2022


Inspired by the stacks of books in her parents’ home, Republican strategist Sarah Longwell once thought she might become a poet. But at Kenyon …

Ep. 485 — Maria Ressa

April 14th, 2022


Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa faces 100 years in prison stemming from what she says are illegitimate charges, but that hasn’t stopped …

Ep. 484 — Anne Applebaum

April 7th, 2022


This week’s episode comes from a conversation at the Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy Conference, co-hosted by the University of …

Ep. 483 — Tony Fabrizio

March 31st, 2022


Growing up, GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio spent time helping out at his grandfather’s produce stand in Brooklyn, selling everything from watermelons to …

Ep. 482 — Amb. Marie Yovanovitch

March 24th, 2022


Growing up the child of Eastern European and German immigrants, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch strived to fit in. Learning to …

Ep. 481 — Erin Burnett

March 17th, 2022


CNN anchor Erin Burnett grew up on a farm in a small town in eastern Maryland, but her career has taken her around the world, covering major events from the Arab Spring in Cairo to the Bataclan shooting in Paris. She …

Ep. 480 — Frank Bruni

March 10th, 2022


One morning in 2017, journalist Frank Bruni woke up to altered vision— he had lost sight in his right eye during the night. As he grappled with this new reality, he began reevaluating his expectations, priorities, and …

Best of The Axe Files: Justice Sonia Sotomayor

March 3rd, 2022


With the recent nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, if confirmed, would be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, we revisit a …

Ep. 479 — Bianna Golodryga

February 24th, 2022


Growing up in Texas, Bianna Golodryga begged her immigrant parents to avoid speaking Russian in front of her friends for fear of not fitting in. She …

Ep. 478 — Lotfullah Najafizada

February 17th, 2022


When he was 5 years old, Afghan journalist Lotfullah Najafizada watched as rockets landed in his front yard. He and his family moved around the …

Ep. 477 — Sen. Jon Tester

February 10th, 2022


More than 100 years ago, Sen. Jon Tester’s grandfather arrived in Montana, where he homesteaded a vast stretch of farmland. Sen. Tester still makes time to farm that land today, saying his tractor doesn’t care if he’s a …

Ep. 476 — Ian Bremmer

February 3rd, 2022


In 1998, Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer made a name for himself when he successfully predicted the collapse of the Russian ruble. Since then, …

Ep. 475 — Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown

January 27th, 2022


The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown grew up the son of a minister in an industrial Scottish town before ascending the ranks of Britain’s Labour Party to eventually serve as Prime Minister. Since leaving office, The Rt. Hon. Brown …

Ep. 474 — Amb. Andrew Young

January 20th, 2022


After graduating from college, Andrew Young had a moment of extreme clarity while standing at the top of a mountain. He suddenly realized that …

Ep. 473 — Barton Gellman

January 13th, 2022


Journalist Barton Gellman has been questioning power and authority since, as editor of the school paper, he sued his high school for censorship. He …

Ep. 472 — Rep. Jamie Raskin

January 6th, 2022


Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin rose to national prominence when he led the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in January 2021, a proceeding that took place just weeks after two compounding …

Best of The Axe Files: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

December 30th, 2021


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already faced a series of unprecedented crises during her four year tenure in the nation’s highest office. This week, we revisit our June 2021 conversation with the young, …

Best of The Axe Files: Jen Psaki

December 23rd, 2021


This week, we revisit our May 2021 conversation with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Psaki didn’t envision herself returning to the White House after serving as Communications Director under President Obama, but …

Ep. 471 — Rep. Elissa Slotkin

December 16th, 2021


Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin intended to pursue international development work, but watching the twin towers fall on 9/11 as a graduate student in New York changed the trajectory of her career. Rep. Slotkin spent years …

Ep. 470 — Gen. Stanley McChrystal

December 9th, 2021


After more than three decades in the military, including overseeing joint special operations and leading the war in Afghanistan, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal has learned a thing or two about risk. He recently wrote …

Ep. 469 — Marc Short

December 2nd, 2021


A longtime Republican operative, Marc Short served as both White House director of legislative affairs and chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence during the Trump administration. He joined David to share his take …

Ep. 468 — Chris Christie

November 22nd, 2021


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie considers Donald Trump a friend, but he has been outspoken against the former president’s insistence that …

Ep. 467 — Rep. Pramila Jayapal

November 18th, 2021


Rep. Pramila Jayapal came to the US for college at just 16 years old. She found success in finance, nonprofits and activism before deciding to take …

Ep. 466 — Fiona Hill

November 11th, 2021


Growing up in England’s distressed coal country, there weren’t many opportunities for bright, ambitious people like Fiona Hill. Through hard work and some lucky breaks, Fiona rose to deputy assistant to the president …

Presenting Margins of Error

November 4th, 2021


This week, we’re bringing you an episode of CNN’s Margins of Error. It's been a year since Americans waited on edge to find out the winner in the strangest election of our lifetimes. CNN’s Harry Enten revisits that …

Ep. 465 — Russell Moore

October 28th, 2021


Public theologian Russell Moore has long encouraged evangelical Christians to focus on practicing religion rather than engaging in culture wars, …

Ep. 464—Anderson Cooper

October 21st, 2021


Anderson Cooper is now a well-known CNN anchor, but he got his start in journalism armed with just a camcorder and a fake press pass. Cooper is also part of the storied Vanderbilt family, which he writes about in his …

Ep. 463—Evan Osnos

October 14th, 2021


When journalist Evan Osnos returned to the US in 2013 after eight years in China, he experienced somewhat of a culture shock. He found the …

Ep. 462 — Robert Costa

October 7th, 2021


Journalist Robert Costa is known for his in-depth reporting on former president Donald Trump and for co-authoring a new book with legendary journalist Bob Woodward, but his first claim to fame was convincing John Mayer …

Ep. 461 — Monica Lewinsky

September 30th, 2021


Monica Lewinsky has been many things: White House intern, media punching bag, writer, anti-bullying activist, and now, producer. She talked to David …

Presenting Total Recall: California's Political Circus

September 23rd, 2021


This week we’re bringing you an episode of CNN's Total Recall: California’s Political Circus. You probably remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger was …

Ep. 460 — Ken Burns

September 16th, 2021


Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns can pinpoint the exact moment he knew he wanted to be a storyteller. After witnessing his father cry during a film, …

Ep. 459 — Clarissa Ward

September 9th, 2021


Twenty years ago, as Clarissa Ward watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on television, she experienced a profound sense of shock and shame that she did …

Ep. 458 — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

September 2nd, 2021


After a behind-the-scenes career in the military that led to the National Security Council, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found himself thrust …

Ep. 457 — Dr. Leana Wen

August 26th, 2021


Dr. Leana Wen has become a leading voice offering straightforward guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic, but her journey to professional prominence was anything but simple. Her family left China—where her father was …

Ep. 456 — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

August 19th, 2021


Shortly after coming to America, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s family hit a financial rough patch. For a time, the family lived in public housing and relied on food stamps, a boost that instilled in Rep. Krishnamoorthi a …

Ep. 455 — Anne Applebaum

August 12th, 2021


Journalist Anne Applebaum began her career as a stringer in Poland in the late 1980s reporting on the fall of communism, an assignment that led her …

Ep. 454 — Amy Walter

August 5th, 2021


Cook Political Report editor-in-chief and publisher Amy Walter grew up in a bipartisan household. Her mother was a Democrat, and her father was a …

Best of The Axe Files: Megan Rapinoe

July 29th, 2021


With the Tokyo Olympics under way, we revisit a conversation from 2020 with Megan Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team and …

Ep. 453 — Stephanie Cutter

July 22nd, 2021


Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter says she has a fearless streak. This fearlessness gave her the confidence to walk into Gov. Mario Cuomo’s …

Ep. 452 — John Anzalone

July 15th, 2021


John Anzalone first met President Joe Biden while working as a field organizer in Iowa on Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign. Thirty-three years …

Ep. 451 — Ben Rhodes

July 8th, 2021


Ben Rhodes thought he wanted to pursue creative writing, but witnessing the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a graduate student at New York University altered his career path. He joined the 2008 Obama campaign as a …

Ep. 450 — Nathan Law

July 1st, 2021


As an architect of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, Nathan Law first tried to keep his activism a secret from his mother. But before long …

Ep. 449 — Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

June 24th, 2021


Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was picking up his dry cleaning in Brooklyn when he got a call from the Obama administration asking if he was interested in the job. He wavered at first, but realized it was the perfect …

Ep. 448 — Cecile Richards

June 17th, 2021


Growing up was a political affair for activist Cecile Richards. She spent time stuffing envelopes at her family’s dining room table and got in …

Ep. 447 — Rep. Liz Cheney

June 7th, 2021


When Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was a little girl, she and her sister would spend Saturday mornings watching cartoons in the West Wing while their …

Ep. 446 — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

June 3rd, 2021


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already faced a series of unprecedented crises during her almost four year tenure in the nation’s highest office. The young, progressive Prime Minister has led her country …

Ep. 445 — Heather McTeer Toney

May 27th, 2021


Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, much of Heather McTeer Toney’s life was tied to the environment, from food and agriculture to the levees holding …

Ep. 444 — Justin Amash

May 20th, 2021


Growing up as the son of a Palestinian refugee and a Syrian immigrant, former Rep. Justin Amash developed an early appreciation for the opportunities and freedoms America offered. His views on what power the government …

Ep. 443 — Sally Yates

May 13th, 2021


Sally Yates was born into a family of lawyers. She followed suit, entering private practice before becoming a federal prosecutor, which began a 27 …

Ep. 442 — Jen Psaki

May 6th, 2021


Press Secretary Jen Psaki didn’t envision herself returning to the White House after serving as Communications Director under President Obama, but when President Joe Biden asked her to join his team, she agreed. She now …

Ep. 441 — Speaker John Boehner

April 29th, 2021


As the second oldest of 12 siblings growing up in a two-bedroom house, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner learned early on how to wrangle a …

Ep. 440 — Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield

April 22nd, 2021


US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield grew up in the small, segregated Louisiana town of Baker. After watching a group of Peace Corps …

Ep. 439 — Jamie Dimon

April 15th, 2021


Jamie Dimon assumed the roles of CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase in 2005 and 2006 respectively, just before the onset of the Great Recession. He's …

Ep. 438 — Sen. Tammy Duckworth

April 12th, 2021


When Senator Tammy Duckworth was shot down over Iraq while serving in the US Army, she did not notice at first that her legs were mostly gone, destroyed by the blast. After countless surgeries and hours of rehab, Sen. …

Ep. 437 — Bud Selig

April 8th, 2021


Growing up, former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was enamored with baseball, thanks primarily to his mother’s love of the game. After a brief stint selling cars, he jumped into the MLB, working his way up …

Ep. 436 — Rev. Dr. William Barber

April 1st, 2021


Growing up as the son of an ordained minister, Rev. Dr. William Barber didn’t want to be a preacher. But during his senior year of college he …

Ep. 435 — Kara Swisher

March 25th, 2021


While using an early iteration of email in the 1990s, tech journalist Kara Swisher, host of the podcasts “Sway” and “Pivot,” had a feeling the internet was about to become a giant story. She jumped on it and became a …

Ep. 434 — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

March 18th, 2021


For Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the last year was full of unexpected challenges and opportunities. She has led her city through the ongoing …

Ep. 433 — Tim Alberta

March 11th, 2021


Journalist Tim Alberta got his first taste of Washington, DC straight out of undergrad as an intern for The Wall Street Journal. Since then, he has …

Ep. 432 — Rep. Joe Neguse

March 4th, 2021


Rep. Joe Neguse first became interested in politics at a young age, inspired by his immigrant parents’ lesson to give back to the country that had …

Ep. 431 — Fareed Zakaria

February 26th, 2021


As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the US and much of the country hunkered down under stay-at-home orders, journalist, author and CNN host Fareed Zakaria was already thinking about the future. He began considering …

Ep. 430 — Heidi Heitkamp

February 18th, 2021


While former US Senator Heidi Heitkamp was growing up in Mantador, North Dakota, her family made up one tenth of the town’s population. She took the …

Ep. 429 — Daniel Goldman

February 11th, 2021


After more than a decade working as a federal prosecutor and legal analyst, Daniel Goldman became a household name in 2020 for his role as lead …

Ep. 428 — Andrew McCabe

February 4th, 2021


Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe didn’t always plan to become an agent, but while interning at the Department of Justice he found himself obsessed with intricate details in case records. The fascination led him …

Ep. 427 — Rep. Adam Kinzinger

January 28th, 2021


Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a sixth-term Congressman from Illinois, recently found himself in the spotlight after he called for former President Trump’s …

Ep. 426 — Doris Kearns Goodwin

January 21st, 2021


Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin found she had a knack for storytelling as a child, recounting baseball games inning-by-inning for her father when he’d …

Ep. 425 — Joe Scarborough

January 14th, 2021


Joe Scarborough had his first media experience hosting a call-in show on public access television to raise his political profile during a run for …

Ep. 424 — Rep. Ayanna Pressley

January 7th, 2021


Rep. Ayanna Pressley got her start in progressive politics at a young age, watching as her mother fought for tenants’ rights as an organizer in …

Silence is Not an Option: Black to the Future

December 31st, 2020


This week we’re bringing you an episode of Silence is Not an Option, a CNN podcast hosted by Don Lemon. A record number of Black candidates ran for office this year, representing not only their constituencies, but also …

Best of the Axe Files: Tony Blinken

December 24th, 2020


Antony "Tony" Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, first met Biden more than 15 years ago when he served as staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Biden chaired. …

Ep. 423 — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

December 17th, 2020


U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the House by storm when she beat out 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, winning on a staunchly progressive platform. She is often portrayed as the embodiment of the liberal left, …

Ep. 422 — Dan Rather

December 10th, 2020


As a young reporter, Dan Rather was no stranger to getting the story by any means necessary, whether that meant sneaking off to use the office phone at Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch or chaining himself to a tree during …

Ep. 421 — Abby Phillip

December 3rd, 2020


Growing up, journalist Abby Phillip wanted to be a heart surgeon. But a college service trip through the South caused Abby to reconsider. Inspired by …

Ep. 420 — Sen. Mitt Romney

November 19th, 2020


After failing to win the presidency in 2012, Senator Mitt Romney suggested he might be done with national politics for good. But after a move to …

Ep. 419 — Gov. Andrew Cuomo

November 12th, 2020


Governor Andrew Cuomo was just over a year into his third term as Governor of New York when Covid-19 first reached his state. While he was a …

Ep. 418 — David Plouffe

November 9th, 2020


David Plouffe is a veteran Democratic political strategist who served as Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and later as senior advisor to …

Ep. 417 — Jon Meacham

November 2nd, 2020


As a child, historian Jon Meacham would find artifacts from Civil War battles while playing in the Chattanooga hills. To him, history was always …

Ep. 416 — Mandy Patinkin

October 29th, 2020


Mandy Patinkin may be a well-known, award-winning actor and singer on the big screen and stage, but these days he’s trying out a new medium: social media. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mandy has been uploading videos …

Ep. 415 — Nina Totenberg

October 26th, 2020


As a young reporter, Nina Totenberg once got a tip about a robbery underway at the local bank. When she called the bank to confirm, one of the burglars answered the phone. Her career has since taken her from covering …

Ep. 414 — Susan Page

October 22nd, 2020


As a high school senior facing college applications, Susan Page had a choice to make. Should she follow her passion for playing the oboe and go to …

Ep. 413 — Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

October 19th, 2020


Journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser met while working together at The Washington Post. While they spent long hours together in the newsroom investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal, they didn’t realize they lived …

Ep. 412 — Amb. John Bolton

October 15th, 2020


As a young man, Ambassador John Bolton often found himself as the lone conservative in a sea of anti-Vietnam War liberals, whether at his private …

Ep. 411 — Bob Costas

October 12th, 2020


Sports broadcaster Bob Costas loved baseball from an early age. As a kid, Bob would sit in his father’s car, tuning the radio to find baseball games …

Ep. 410 — Sen. Sherrod Brown

October 8th, 2020


Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown announced his first campaign for public office as a college senior at a one dollar-per-plate fundraiser in a Yale dining …

Ep. 409 — Nicolle Wallace

October 5th, 2020


Nicolle Wallace, host of MSNBC’s Deadline: White House got into Republican politics partly by chance. After a brief stint in broadcast news, she …

Ep. 408 — Tim O'Brien

October 1st, 2020


Journalist Tim O’Brien took a winding path to reporting. He built bridges in Peru, studied karate in Japan, taught in New York City, and earned three graduate degrees before landing in journalism for good. His reporting …

Ep. 407 — Sen. Bernie Sanders

September 28th, 2020


Senator Bernie Sanders first got involved in social justice movements as a University of Chicago student fighting against segregated housing. Today …

Ep. 406 — Jeff Daniels

September 24th, 2020


Growing up in small-town Michigan, Jeff Daniels seemed destined to join the family lumber business. But after a teacher spotted his acting talent, his life took a turn down a different path. Jeff’s award-winning career …

Best of the Axe Files: Michael Phelps

September 21st, 2020


Everybody knows Michael Phelps as the most decorated Olympian of all time. Phelps’ hard work, determination, athleticism, and competitive drive were …

Ep. 405 — Nikole Hannah-Jones

September 17th, 2020


When Nikole Hannah-Jones was a high school student at a predominantly white school in Waterloo, Iowa, she complained to a teacher that the school …

Best of the Axe Files: Vladimir Kara-Murza

September 14th, 2020


Vladimir Kara-Murza was just 10 years old during the Russian Democratic Revolution in 1991. Witnessing a revolution was a formative experience that …

Ep. 404 — Brian Stelter

September 10th, 2020


Brian Stelter, CNN chief media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources, got his start in journalism at a young age. At just 8 years old he would …

Ep. 403 — Chasten Buttigieg

September 3rd, 2020


Chasten Buttigieg rose to national prominence in 2019 as the husband of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. He quickly gained attention for his …

Best of the Axe Files: Khizr Khan

August 31st, 2020


One of the most moving speakers at the 2016 Democratic National Convention was Khizr Khan, who felt compelled to address a national audience after then-candidate Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslims and immigrants. Mr. …

Ep. 402 — Rep. Jim Clyburn

August 27th, 2020


When Rep. Jim Clyburn was growing up in the 1940s and 50s in segregated South Carolina, his parents had an important message for him: study hard, …

Ep. 401 — Jonathan Karl

August 24th, 2020


Jonathan Karl was a young reporter for the New York Post when he first interviewed Donald Trump in 1994, following a tip that the newly married …

Ep. 400 — Speaker Nancy Pelosi

August 20th, 2020


For the 400th episode of The Axe Files, David is joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has never been a stranger to politics—her father …

Best of the Axe Files: Sen. Kamala Harris

August 17th, 2020


When David sat down with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in March of 2017, the last thing she wanted to do was discuss whether she would be a candidate …

Ep. 399 — Tina Tchen

August 13th, 2020


Tina Tchen, CEO and President of TIME'S UP, didn’t set out to become a champion for women’s rights. But in 1978 she fell into a job in Springfield, Illinois, which happened to be at the center of the fight for the Equal …

Ep. 398 — Rep. Karen Bass

August 6th, 2020


Rep. Karen Bass is a fifth-term Democratic Congresswoman from California and the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Watching the Civil Rights …

Best of the Axe Files: Justice Sonia Sotomayor

August 3rd, 2020


This week we revisit our November 2018 conversation with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She joined David to discuss her remarkable personal journey from the Bronx to the highest court in the land, how her …

Ep. 397 — Gov. Larry Hogan

July 30th, 2020


Maryland Governor Larry Hogan grew up around politics—his father was the first Congressional Republican to call for former president Richard Nixon’s …

Ep. 396 — Dr. Anthony Fauci

July 23rd, 2020


In his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a prominent figure in the fight against Covid-19. He joins David to talk about his early interest in …

Best of The Axe Files: Theo Epstein

July 20th, 2020


We revisit our January 2017 conversation with Theo Epstein, President of the Chicago Cubs. He joins David to share why he fell in love with baseball at a young age, how he became general manager of the Boston Red Sox at …

Ep. 395 — Erik Larson

July 16th, 2020


Erik Larson is a best-selling narrative non-fiction author. His latest book, The Splendid and the Vile, chronicles British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s first year in office during Germany’s bombing blitz of London …

Best of The Axe Files: Rep. John Lewis

July 13th, 2020


This week we revisit our July 2017 conversation with civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. He joins David in Atlanta for a special …

Ep. 394 — Atul Gawande

July 9th, 2020


Atul Gawande is a surgeon, bestselling author and writer for The New Yorker. He joins David to talk about how Trump has misled the public in …

Best of The Axe Files: Lin-Manuel Miranda

July 6th, 2020


When Lin-Manuel Miranda first picked up Ron Chernow’s autobiography of Alexander Hamilton, he didn’t know much about the former Treasury Secretary. He didn’t yet know he was an immigrant, and he hadn’t yet read a …

Ep. 393 — Shannon Watts

July 2nd, 2020


Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action, an advocacy group dedicated to ending gun violence. She joins David to talk about how she became …

Yang Speaks to The Axe Files

June 29th, 2020


In this crossover edition of The Axe Files, David joins entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on his new podcast Yang Speaks. They talk about the future of the Democratic Party and what …

Ep. 392 — Jon Stewart

June 25th, 2020


Jon Stewart is a comedian, writer, director, and former host of The Daily Show. He joins David to talk about President Trump’s out-of-touch messaging, the pervasiveness of systemic racism and inequity in America, how he …

Best of The Axe Files: Mitch Landrieu

June 22nd, 2020


This week we revisit our July 2017 conversation with former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He joins David to talk about his father’s journey in …

Ep. 391 — Charlie Sykes

June 18th, 2020


Charlie Sykes is a longtime conservative commentator and the founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark. He joins David to talk about his father’s …

Ep. 390 — Bakari Sellers

June 15th, 2020


Bakari Sellers is a political commentator, attorney, and former South Carolina state representative. He joins David to talk about how growing up in a …

Best of The Axe Files: Bryan Cranston

June 11th, 2020


We revisit our April 2019 conversation with Bryan Cranston, actor, producer, director, and screenwriter. He joins David to talk about finding truth in acting, challenges posed by inhabiting larger-than-life figures, the …

Best of The Axe Files: Ta-Nehisi Coates

June 8th, 2020


This week we revisit our October 2017 conversation with author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. He joins David to talk about his upbringing in Baltimore, his career in journalism, race relations in America, reflections …

Ep. 389 — Mark Cuban

June 4th, 2020


Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur, television personality, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He joins David to discuss the origins of his entrepreneurial spirit, what he learned from his early failures in business, his …

Best of The Axe Files: Bryan Stevenson

June 1st, 2020


This week we revisit our December 2018 conversation with Bryan Stevenson: civil rights activist, lawyer, and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to prisoners …

Ep. 388 — Ezra Klein

May 28th, 2020


Ezra Klein is a journalist and co-founder of Vox, where he currently serves as the editor-at-large. He joins David to talk about his evolution from …

Best of The Axe Files: Admiral William McRaven

May 25th, 2020


In honor of Memorial Day we revisit our September 2019 conversation with Admiral William McRaven, retired U.S. Navy SEAL who served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations from 2011 to 2014. He joins David to talk …

Ep. 387 — Gene Sperling

May 21st, 2020


Gene Sperling is the former Director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He joins David to share how his parents’ fight for racial and economic justice shaped his values, …

Ep. 386 — Mayor Lori Lightfoot

May 18th, 2020


Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot joins David to talk about managing the COVID crisis and its disproportionate impact on communities of color, the …

Ep. 385 — Mary Kay Henry

May 14th, 2020


Mary Kay Henry is the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization of more than 2 million union members in health care, the public sector, and beyond. She joins David to talk about the …

Best of The Axe Files: Aaron Sorkin

May 11th, 2020


We revisit our May 2019 conversation with Aaron Sorkin: screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright. He joins David to talk about the qualities that make a great speechwriter, how writing for the screen differs …

Ep. 384 — Gayle Smith

May 7th, 2020


Gayle Smith is the president and CEO of the ONE Campaign and the former administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). She joins David to talk about her two decades spent in Africa as a young …

Ep. 383 — Megan Rapinoe

May 4th, 2020


Megan Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, joins David to talk about growing up in a small conservative town, finding and forging her identity, her decorated soccer career and World Cup wins, and …

Ep. 382 — Cecilia Muñoz

April 30th, 2020


Cecilia Muñoz is the former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration and currently serves as Vice President for Public …

Best of The Axe Files: José Andrés

April 27th, 2020


We revisit our 2018 conversation with world-renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés. He joins David to talk about becoming a United States citizen, his passion for cooking, his crisis relief efforts, and more.

To …

Ep. 381 — Stacey Abrams

April 23rd, 2020


Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial nominee and founder of Fair Fight 2020, joins David to talk about inequities in Georgia's public health infrastructure, voter suppression and her efforts to remedy it, her own …

Best of The Axe Files: Steve Kerr

April 20th, 2020


We revisit our 2016 conversation with Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors. He sits down with David to discuss his upbringing in the …

Ep. 380 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

April 16th, 2020


Gretchen Whitmer is the 49th governor of Michigan. She joins David to talk about leading her state during the COVID-19 pandemic and her assessment of the federal response, as well as her journey in public service and …

Ep. 379 — Chris Christie

April 13th, 2020


Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, joins David to talk about what he’s learned throughout his thirty-year career in law and politics, his …

Best of The Axe Files: Tom Hanks

April 9th, 2020


We revisit our 2017 Axe Files episode with Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, who joins David to talk about how he parlayed an early love of drama into a …

Best of The Axe Files: Doris Kearns Goodwin

April 6th, 2020


This week, we revisit our November 2016 conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. She joins David to talk …

Ep. 378 — Dr. Sanjay Gupta

April 2nd, 2020


Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon, professor, and the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN. He joins David to share his insights into the present crisis, his assessment of the government’s response to COVID-19, and what …

Ep. 377 — Gerald Butts

March 30th, 2020


Gerald Butts is the former chief adviser and strategist to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He joins David to talk about the early friendship he forged …

Ep. 376 — Ron Klain

March 23rd, 2020


Ron Klain is the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden and served as the Ebola Response Coordinator in 2014 under President Obama. He …

Ep. 375 — Denis McDonough

March 16th, 2020


Denis McDonough is the former White House Chief of Staff and former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama. As the world faces the reality of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, he joins David to …

Ep. 374 — Rep. Abigail Spanberger

March 9th, 2020


Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) joins David to discuss her career as a CIA operations officer and federal law enforcement agent, the series of events that drove her to run for public office in 2018, and why she …

Ep. 373 — Andrew Gillum

March 5th, 2020


Andrew Gillum is the former Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida and the 2018 Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee. He joins David to talk about the state of the 2020 Democratic primary in the aftermath of Super Tuesday. …

Ep. 372 — Paul Krugman

March 2nd, 2020


Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. He joins David to talk about why he decided to pursue a …

Ep. 371 — Adam Frankel

February 24th, 2020


Adam Frankel is a former senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama. He joins David to discuss his new memoir, “The Survivors: A Story of War, Inheritance, and Healing.” The book is a remarkable story of family …

Ep. 370 — Abdul El-Sayed

February 20th, 2020


Abdul El-Sayed is a public health expert, former Health Commissioner of the City of Detroit, progressive activist, and former Michigan Democratic …

Ep. 369 — Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

February 17th, 2020


Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are Pulitzer-Prize winning authors and journalists. They join David for a live edition of The Axe Files to talk …

Ep. 368 — Rep. Adam Schiff

February 13th, 2020


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and served as lead House manager in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He joins David to share his assessment of the impeachment …

Ep. 367 — Michele Norris

February 10th, 2020


Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, joins David to talk about how her family’s firsthand experience with housing discrimination shaped her world view, her struggle as a fledgling television …

Ep. 366 — David Gergen

February 6th, 2020


David Gergen is a former presidential adviser and CNN political commentator. He joins David to talk about how Trump’s State of the Union could shape …

Ep. 365 — Judd Apatow

February 3rd, 2020


Judd Apatow is a filmmaker, writer, and comedian. He joins David to talk about how his parents’ divorce helped fuel his interest in comedy, his …

Ep. 364 — Fusion GPS (Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch)

January 30th, 2020


Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch are the co-founders of Fusion GPS, the private research firm behind the Steele “Trump-Russia” dossier. Simpson and Fritsch join David to discuss their joint roots as Wall Street Journal …

Ep. 363 — John Heilemann

January 27th, 2020


John Heilemann is a journalist, author, television commentator, editor-in-chief of The Recount, and host of Showtime’s The Circus. He joins David fresh from a swing through Iowa to share his assessment of the leading …

Ep. 362 — Heather McGhee

December 30th, 2019


Heather McGhee is the former president of Demos, a non-profit progressive think tank devoted to racial justice. She joins David to talk about her …

Ep. 361 — Sarah Hurwitz

December 23rd, 2019


Sarah Hurwitz, former head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama and senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, joins David to discuss her …

Ep. 360 – Richard Stengel

December 16th, 2019


Richard Stengel is the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and former managing editor of Time. He joins David to …

Ep. 359 – Andrew Yang

December 5th, 2019


Entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang joins David for a live edition of The Axe Files to discuss why he abandoned a career …

Ep. 358 – Gary Cohn

December 2nd, 2019


Gary Cohn served as the Director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to President Trump. He joins David to talk about how an early dyslexia diagnosis shaped his drive to succeed; his tenure at …

Ep. 357 – Amb. Dennis Ross

November 25th, 2019


Dennis Ross is a diplomat and author with over four decades of experience in Middle East policy. He joins David to talk about his service under six …

Ep. 356 – Samantha Power

November 18th, 2019


Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, joins David to talk about the journey from her childhood in Ireland to the halls of the U.N. — and the trials she faced along the way. She shares the …

Ep. 355 – Cindy McCain (TV)

November 10th, 2019


Cindy McCain joins David for a special televised edition of the Axe Files on CNN to discuss President Trump and the state of the Republican party, …

Ep. 354 – Dikembe Mutombo

November 4th, 2019


NBA Hall of Famer and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo joins David for a conversation about his upbringing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, how …

Ep. 352 – Admiral Michael Mullen

October 22nd, 2019


Admiral Mike Mullen, formerly the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joins David to discuss President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops …

Ep. 351 – Harry Reid (TV)

October 14th, 2019


Harry Reid, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, sits down with David in Las Vegas, NV for a special televised edition of The Axe Files. In this extended version of the conversation, they talk …

Ep. 350 – Gov. Gina Raimondo

October 7th, 2019


Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island and Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, joins David to talk about how her father’s early job loss moved her to enter public service, what Democrats running in 2020 can …

Ep. 349 – Admiral William McRaven

September 30th, 2019


Admiral William McRaven is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations from 2011 to 2014. He joins David to talk about his foray into military service, his disagreements with Donald …

Ep. 348 — George Will

September 23rd, 2019


Conservative commentator and columnist George Will discusses how Trump has dismantled political norms and whether a return to civility is possible. …

Ep. 347 – Eric Holder (TV)

September 15th, 2019


Former Attorney General Eric Holder joins David on the CNN edition of the Axe Files to discuss potential impeachment proceedings, his advice for 2020 …

The Axe Files Goes to Iowa

August 25th, 2019


For this month’s episode of the Axe Files on CNN, we took the show on the road and traveled across Iowa during a whirlwind week of campaigning at the state fair and beyond. We spoke with candidates, organizers, and …

Ep. 342 — Will Hurd

July 29th, 2019


Rep. Will Hurd joins David Axelrod from his congressional office Washington, D.C. office for an episode of The Axe Files.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit

Ep. 340 — Pete Buttigieg (TV)

July 14th, 2019


Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joins David for a televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He makes the case for why his executive experience as mayor prepares …

Ep. 338 - David Remnick

July 1st, 2019


David Remnick is a journalist, author, and editor of The New Yorker magazine. He joins the show to talk about the New Yorker’s feature on Hunter Biden, covering Russia as a young reporter for the Washington Post, his …

Hacks on Tap – Double-Whammy in Miami: Dem Debate Preview

June 25th, 2019


Hacks on Tap is the latest podcast from David Axelrod, giving listeners weekly insight into the 2020 presidential race. This week the hacks talk Biden and Buttigieg’s tough week with race relations, escalating tensions …

Robert Gates (TV)

June 9th, 2019


Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss his long career serving eight presidents, his thoughts on global tensions and America’s standing in the world …

Bonus: Fiasco, from Leon Neyfakh

May 30th, 2019


In this debut episode of Fiasco: how the largely forgotten race between Al Gore and George W. Bush roiled Florida long before anyone had ever heard of a hanging chad.  

For more from "Fiasco", go to

Ep. 327 – Janet Napolitano

May 16th, 2019


Janet Napolitano is the former Secretary of Homeland Security and two-term Governor of Arizona. She joins the show to talk about her long career in …

Ep. 326 - Sen. Cory Booker (TV)

May 12th, 2019


The New Jersey Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate joins David for The Axe Files on CNN in this extended conversation about his career in …

Ep. 325 — Bill Burns

May 9th, 2019


Bill Burns is the former Ambassador to the Russian Federation under President Obama and currently serves as the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He joins David to talk about his three-decade …

Bonus: Deep Background with Noah Feldman

May 9th, 2019


Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and the former dean of admissions at Yale Law School, gives us a unique perspective on the college admissions …

Ep. 324 — Jason Rezaian

May 6th, 2019


Jason Rezaian is an author, CNN contributor, and opinion writer for the Washington Post. In 2014, while working in Iran as the Tehran bureau chief for the Post, he and his wife were detained by the Iranian authorities …

Ep. 323 — James Carville

May 2nd, 2019


James Carville is a Democratic political strategist best known for his work as the lead strategist of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. He …

Ep. 322 — Bryan Cranston

April 29th, 2019


Bryan Cranston is an actor, producer, director, and screenwriter best known for his roles on Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle, and Seinfeld. He …

Bonus: Trevor Noah

April 26th, 2019


Trevor Noah and David Kibuuka discuss the fire at Notre Dame and the ethics of philanthropy before being joined by Tiger Woods biographer Jeff Benedict to discuss one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. 

For …

Ep. 321 - Valerie Jarrett

April 23rd, 2019


Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, sits down with David for a live taping of “The Axe Files” at the University of Chicago. Born in Iran to American parents, she discusses how growing up …

The Axe Files

April 22nd, 2019


For more of The Axe Files, go to

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit

Ep. 320 — Rep. Jan Schakowsky

April 18th, 2019


Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 9th district, a position she's held since 1999. She joins David to talk about …

Ep. 319 — Beto O'Rourke (TV)

April 14th, 2019


Former Texas congressmen Beto O’Rourke joins David on CNN to talk about his vision for the country, growing up as the son of a larger-than-life Texas …

Special Announcement from The Axe Files

April 10th, 2019


We’re happy to announce that the Axe Files is joining the Luminary podcast network! Go to and sign up before April 22 to get your first three months for free and only $6.99 a month after that …

Ep. 318 - Tommy Vietor

April 8th, 2019


Tommy Vietor is the former National Security Council spokesman under President Obama and current host of Pod Save the World on the Crooked Media network. He joins David to talk about his journey on Team Obama—from …

Ep. 317 - Peter Roskam

April 1st, 2019


Peter Roskam is a former Republican congressman from Illinois. He joins David to talk about how he was caught up in the 2018 Democratic wave, what …

Ep. 316 — Alex Kotlowitz

March 25th, 2019


Journalist and author Alex Kotlowitz joins David to talk about his award-winning book on kids growing up in the Chicago housing projects, the mental …

Ep. 315 — Jeb Bush (TV)

March 17th, 2019


Former Governor Jeb Bush joins the Axe Files on CNN to talk about the Bush family legacy of public service, Trump’s impact on the 2016 Republican primary, his personal connection to the issue of immigration, and more.

To …

Ep. 314 - Alyssa Mastromonaco

March 11th, 2019


Alyssa Mastromonaco is an author and served as Barack Obama's deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the White House. She joins David to talk about her early experience interning for Bernie Sanders, working on Obama's …

Ep. 313 - Sen. Elizabeth Warren (TV)

March 3rd, 2019


Elizabeth Warren is the Senator from Massachusetts and a Democratic presidential candidate. She joins David for the Axe Files on CNN in this extended conversation about her life, her candidacy, and much more.

To learn …

Ep. 312 - Bill Kurtis

February 28th, 2019


Legendary broadcast journalist and news anchor Bill Kurtis joins the show to talk about the history he's witnessed from his many years covering the news, from being threatened by Charles Manson to his investigative work …

Ep. 311 - Claire McCaskill

February 25th, 2019


Claire McCaskill, former Democratic U.S. Senator from Missouri, joins David to talk about the 2018 midterms race she narrowly lost in a state swept by Donald Trump by nearly 19 points in 2016. She also shares her take …

Ep. 310 - Michael Smerconish

February 21st, 2019


Michael Smerconish, is a journalist and host of the eponymous ‘Smerconish’ on CNN, as well as the host of “The Michael Smerconish Program” on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel. He joins David to talk about his early start in …

Ep. 309 — Lisa Madigan

February 18th, 2019


Lisa Madigan is the former State Attorney General for Illinois. She joins the show to talk about teaching in South Africa during the rise of the anti-apartheid movement, the Jason Van Dyke case in Chicago, her …

Ep. 308 — Kirsten Powers

February 14th, 2019


Kirsten Powers is an author, columnist for USA Today, and frequent contributor on CNN. She joins David to discuss her far-flung upbringing in Alaska, …

Ep. 307 — Nate Silver

February 11th, 2019


Nate Silver, statistician and founder of FiveThirtyEight, joins David to talk about how his early love of sports fused with a passion for statistical …

Ep. 306 — Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

February 7th, 2019


Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the head of the House Democratic Caucus. He joins the show to discuss his reaction to the State of the Union address, how Democrats plan to respond, what he's looking for in a …

Ep. 305 - Josh Shapiro

February 4th, 2019


Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, joins David to discuss the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealing child sex abuse by Catholic …

Ep. 304 — John Delaney

January 31st, 2019


Former Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate John Delaney joins the show to talk about his journey from a blue collar family to the …

Ep. 303 - David Leonhardt

January 28th, 2019


David Leonhardt, author and op-ed columnist for The New York Times, joins David to discuss the state of the American economy, Democratic hopes in …

Ep. 302 - Stanley McChrystal

January 24th, 2019


Stanley McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the U.S. Army who led America’s Joint Special Operations Command and NATO forces in the War in Afghanistan. He joins David to share his view of Trump’s military …

Ep. 301 — John Kerry (TV)

January 20th, 2019


Former Secretary of State John Kerry joins David for a televised version of the Axe Files to discuss the state of American foreign policy under …

Ep. 300 - Sherrilyn Ifill

January 17th, 2019


Sherrilyn Ifill is the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She joins David to talk about how growing up in the heat of the civil rights movement inspired her to practice law, …

Ep. 299 - Miguel Cervantes

January 14th, 2019


Miguel Cervantes, star of the blockbuster Hamilton play in Chicago, sits down with David to talk about the years he spent auditioning prior to …

Ep. 298 - Ivo Daalder

January 10th, 2019


Ivo Daalder is the President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He joins David to talk about the decline of American influence abroad and current vacuum in global …

Ep. 297 - Gov. J.B. Pritzker

January 7th, 2019


J.B. Pritzker, governor-elect of Illinois, joins David to discuss the unique challenges facing the state and his priorities moving forward, what surprised him upon meeting Donald Trump during the December governors …

Ep. 296 - Rep. Eric Swalwell

December 20th, 2018


Congressman Eric Swalwell represents California's 15th district and serves on the House Intelligence Committee. He joins the show to discuss the House investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, what the …

Ep. 295 — Howard Wolfson

December 17th, 2018


Howard Wolfson is the former Deputy Mayor of New York City, counselor to former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chief strategist and communications …

Ep. 294 — Al Hunt

December 13th, 2018


Political journalist Al Hunt, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, joins David to discuss his time covering Watergate, similarities and …

Ep. 293 — Rahm Emanuel (TV)

December 9th, 2018


Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, joins David for a televised edition of the Axe Files to discuss how Democrats should take on the Trump …

Ep. 292 — Bryan Stevenson

December 6th, 2018


Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer, activist, author, and founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to prisoners lacking effective representation. He joins …

Ep. 291 — Jeff Zucker

December 3rd, 2018


Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, sits down with David to talk about how a rejection from Harvard Law School paved the way for his meteoric rise as a …

Ep. 290 — Amanda Carpenter

November 29th, 2018


Amanda Carpenter is a conservative commentator, author, and former senior communications advisor and speechwriter to Senator Ted Cruz. She sits down with David to discuss the challenges of being raised by a single …

Ep. 289 — Chris Dodd

November 26th, 2018


Chris Dodd is the former and longest-serving U.S. Senator from Connecticut. He joins David to talk about the influence of his late father, Sen. Thomas Dodd; the formative friendships he forged and lessons learned …

Ep. 288 — Barack Obama (Live)

November 20th, 2018


Former President of the United States Barack Obama sits down with David in Hyde Park for a special live taping of the Axe Files. Their conversation touches on the Obamas' life in the Hyde Park community, the sacrifices …

Ep. 287 - Sonia Sotomayor

November 18th, 2018


Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joins David on the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the shifting dynamics on the bench after Brett Kavanaugh’s bitter confirmation battle, her personal ties to Puerto Rico and whether …

Ep. 286 — Mark Salter

November 15th, 2018


Mark Salter is a longtime advisor and speechwriter to Senator John McCain. He joins David to talk about the early literary influences that shaped …

Ep. 285 — Gloria Borger

November 12th, 2018


Gloria Borger is a political pundit, journalist, and columnist who currently commentates as a chief political analyst for CNN. She sits down with …

Ep. 284 — Jen Psaki

November 8th, 2018


Jen Psaki is the former White House Communications Director and White House Deputy Press Secretary under President Obama. She joins David after the …

Ep. 283 - Arnold Schwarzenegger

November 4th, 2018


Bodybuilder, actor, and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to talk about his rise from a humble …

Ep. 282 — Steve Brill

November 1st, 2018


Author and journalist Steve Brill joins David to talk about his new project NewsGuard, which uses journalism to fight fake news, as well as his long career in business and journalism.

To learn more about how CNN …

Ep. 281 — Steve Schmidt

October 29th, 2018


Steve Schmidt is former Republican campaign strategist, who notably ran the 2008 John McCain campaign for the presidency. Since the election of Donald Trump he has left the Republican Party to become independent and …

Ep. 280 - Jonah Goldberg

October 25th, 2018


Jonah Goldberg is an author and columnist for the National Review. He joins David to discuss his roots in journalism, how a family tragedy shaped his …

Ep. 279 — Jeff Weaver

October 22nd, 2018


Jeff Weaver was the campaign manager for Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. He joins the show to discuss Sanders' unique appeal to voters, what it was like to run against Hillary Clinton, the landscape …

Ep. 278 — Mary Katharine Ham

October 18th, 2018


Mary Katharine Ham is a journalist and conservative commentator on CNN. She joins David to discuss fake news, Nikki Haley, the cultural issues …

Ep. 277 — Khizr Khan

October 15th, 2018


Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father best known for his iconic speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention honoring his late son, Humayan Khan, a …

Ep. 276 — Ana Navarro

October 11th, 2018


Ana Navarro, GOP strategist and political commentator for CNN, joins David to talk about how her Nicaraguan upbringing shapes her view of U.S. …

Ep. 275 — Steven Pearlstein

October 8th, 2018


Steven Pearlstein is a Pulitzer Prize-winning business and economics columnist for The Washington Post. He joins David to chat about his beginnings …

Ep. 274 - Chuck Todd

October 4th, 2018


Chuck Todd is a longtime political journalist and current host of NBC's Meet the Press. He joins David to talk about his father’s struggle with …

Ep. 273 — Gov. Steve Bullock

October 1st, 2018


Montana Governor Steve Bullock joins the show to discuss the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, how Democrats can win back voters in rural states, his work on …

Ep. 272 — Roberta Jacobson

September 27th, 2018


Roberta Jacobson is an American diplomat who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico until May of 2018. She joins David to discuss the diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Mexico, the Trump administration's …

Ep. 271 — Peter Sagal

September 24th, 2018


Peter Sagal is the author of The Incomplete Book of Running and host of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. He joins David to discuss a variety of topics including getting passed on by the Harvard Lampoon, appearing on …

Ep. 270 — Bob Shrum

September 20th, 2018


Bob Shrum is a longtime Democratic campaign strategist and speechwriter. He joins David to discuss his new Institute for the Political Future, …

Ep. 269 — Deval Patrick (TV)

September 16th, 2018


Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts and civil rights lawyer, author, and businessman, sits down for a special televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He talks with David about his upbringing in the South …

Ep. 268 — Susan Glasser

September 13th, 2018


Susan Glasser is a preeminent political journalist with nearly three decades of reporting experience spanning foreign policy, domestic politics, and …

Ep. 267 — Jon Lovett

September 10th, 2018


Pod Save America co-host and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama Jon Lovett joins the show to talk about the art of speechwriting, his experience working with Hillary Clinton prior to joining the Obama White …

Ep. 266 — Austan Goolsbee

September 3rd, 2018


Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee joins David to discuss the major economic policy decisions under Bush and Obama, …

Ep. 265 — Rep. Mike Quigley

August 27th, 2018


Mike Quigley is the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 5th congressional district, serving on the House Intelligence and Appropriations Committees. …

Ep. 264 — Dean Baquet & Marty Baron

August 19th, 2018


Dean Baquet and Marty Baron, the Executive Editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post respectively, join David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the challenges of covering the Trump presidency, the …

Ep. 263 — Ace Smith

August 13th, 2018


Averell “Ace” Smith is a political opposition researcher whose career has spanned campaigns for Kamala Harris, Jerry Brown, and the Clintons. He sits …

Ep. 262 — Judy Woodruff

August 6th, 2018


Judy Woodruff is a longtime broadcast journalist and current anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. Judy sits down with David to talk about the regional blind spots afflicting network news, the relationship …

Ep. 261 - Anne Burke

August 2nd, 2018


Part two of our Special Olympics series. Anne Burke, founder of the Special Olympics and a Supreme Court Justice in Illinois for the First Judicial District, joins David to talk about how coming to terms with her own …

Ep. 260 - Tim Shriver

July 30th, 2018


Part one of this week’s two episode series honoring the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics. Timothy Shriver is the Chairman of the Special Olympics and son of legendary public servants Eunice Kennedy and Sargent …

Ep. 259 — Mitch Landrieu (TV)

July 22nd, 2018


Former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu rejoins the show in this extended version of a conversation from the Axe Files on CNN.

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Ep. 258 — Dan Pfeiffer

July 16th, 2018


Dan Pfeiffer is a former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama, co-host on the Pod Save America podcast, and author of the book Yes We (Still) Can: Politics …

Ep. 257 — John King Jr.

July 9th, 2018


John King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama, sits down with David to talk about losing his parents at a young age, the impact …

Ep. 256 — Nneka Jones Tapia

July 2nd, 2018


Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia is a clinical psychologist who in 2015 became the Executive Director of the Cook County Jail, the largest jail in America. She …

Ep. 255 — Mike Barnicle

June 28th, 2018


MSNBC contributor and former columnist Mike Barnicle.

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Ep. 254 — Sen. Marco Rubio

June 24th, 2018


Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the ongoing battle at the border, the Trump …

Ep. 253 — John Farrell

June 21st, 2018


John Farrell, award-winning presidential historian and journalist, joins David to chat about why local newspapers now struggle for survival, his work on the Boston Globe’s famous ‘Spotlight’ team, and why he thinks our …

Ep. 252 — Rachel Maddow

June 18th, 2018


Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, joins David to talk about growing up as a liberal activist in a conservative town, her unique philosophy on newscasting in the Trump era, and lessons she’s learned …

Ep. 251 — Ray Mabus

June 14th, 2018


Ray Mabus, former U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Governor of Mississippi, joins David to talk about his upbringing in the heart of the South during …

Ep. 250 — Tom Donilon

June 11th, 2018


Tom Donilon, former National Security Adviser to Barack Obama, chats with David Axelrod about his experience running President Jimmy Carter’s delegate operation during Ted Kennedy’s 1980 convention challenge as a …

Ep. 249 — Ronan Farrow

June 7th, 2018


Ronan Farrow is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New Yorker, former State Department official under President Barack Obama, and author of …

Ep. 248 — Savannah Guthrie

June 4th, 2018


Savannah Guthrie is a journalist, attorney, and co-anchor of the NBC News morning show Today. She recently sat down with David to talk about the impact of losing her father at a young age, how her Christian faith …

Ep. 247 — James Clapper

May 31st, 2018


James Clapper is the former Director of National Intelligence and the author of a new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence. His long career in military intelligence spans some of the most …

Ep. 246 — Sally Yates

May 27th, 2018


Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in an extended conversation with David Axelrod from the Axe Files TV show on CNN, talks about her formative experiences in the law as well as her tenure as acting Attorney …

Ep. 245 — Michael McFaul

May 24th, 2018


Michael McFaul is the former U.S. ambassador to Russia and author of the book "From Cold War to Hot Peace," which chronicles U.S.-Russia relations …

Ep. 244 — Steve Israel

May 21st, 2018


Former congressman and novelist Steve Israel joins the show to discuss his new book on the gun lobby, the future of gun reform, the Democratic Party's chances of retaking the House, and more.

To learn more about how CNN …

Ep. 243 — José Andrés

May 17th, 2018


Renowned chef and humanitarian José Andres joins David to talk about his love of cooking, the political situation in Catalonia, his disaster relief …

Ep. 242 - Tom Price

May 14th, 2018


Former HHS Secretary Tom Price on his path to politics and healthcare in America.

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Ep. 241 - Jeffrey Toobin

May 10th, 2018


Staff writer for the New Yorker Jeffrey Toobin joins David to talk about working as a prosector in the Oliver North trial, covering the O.J. trial as a journalist, the Mueller investigation, and more.

To learn more …

Ep. 240 - Vladimir Kara-Murza

May 7th, 2018


Journalist and Russian Pro-Democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza discusses Putin’s Russia, the Magnitsky Act, hope for a democratic Russia, and more..

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Ep. 239 - Kelly Ayotte

May 3rd, 2018


Former Senator from New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte discusses her decision not to endorse Donald Trump, her early career as a prosecutor, counseling Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation process, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 238 - Michael Avenatti

April 30th, 2018


Michael Avenatti, the high-profile attorney representing Stormy Daniels, joins David to chat about how the loss of his father’s job when he was a teenager fueled his own ambitions, his passion for racecar driving, the …

Ep. 237 - Tom Perriello

April 26th, 2018


Former Congressman Tom Perriello joins David for a conversation on the direction of the Democratic Party, big ideas for 2021 and beyond, lessons he learned in Sierra Leone, and more.

To learn more about how CNN protects …

Ep. 236 - Mark Murray

April 23rd, 2018


Senior Political Editor at NBC News Mark Murray joins David to discuss the nationalization of politics, Paul Ryan's departure from Congress, what's …

Ep. 235 - Gov. John Hickenlooper

April 19th, 2018


Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado joins David to discuss the hardships of governing under a Republican administration, the legalization of …

Ep. 234 - Zalmay Khalilzad

April 16th, 2018


Former U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad joins David to discuss his childhood in Afghanistan, what went wrong after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the future of conflict in the Middle East, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 233 - Ed Miliband

April 12th, 2018


Labour MP and former party leader Ed Miliband joins David to discuss the political climate in Britain, his ongoing battle with Rupert Murdoch, …

Ep. 232 - Stephanie Schriock

April 9th, 2018


President of Emily's List Stephanie Schriock joins David to discuss how growing up in a mining community influenced her politics, her groundbreaking …

Ep. 231 - Major Garrett

April 5th, 2018


Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent with CBS News, chats with David about the most important story he ever covered, his time at Fox News, the sources of friction in Trump's White House, and more.

To learn more …

Ep. 230 - Charles Barkley

April 1st, 2018


NBA Hall of Famer and TV analyst Charles Barkley joins David to talk about his journey from the segregated South to the NBA, why Trump-era politics …

Ep. 229 - Andrea Mitchell

March 29th, 2018


Andrea Mitchell, anchor and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC News, joins David for a conversation about upheaval in Trump's State …

Ep. 228 - Michael Phelps

March 26th, 2018


Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps joins David to talk about what it took to become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, his battles …

Ep. 227 - Chris Cuomo

March 22nd, 2018


CNN television host Chris Cuomo joins David for a wide-ranging conversation on his decision to go into journalism, how his family name held him back, his father's legacy, and more.

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Ep. 226 - Peter Wehner

March 19th, 2018


Pete Wehner, author and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, joins David to discuss Trump's relationship with the Evangelical movement and the …

Ep. 225 - Ana Marie Cox

March 15th, 2018


Ana Marie Cox, host of the podcast "With Friends Like These," joins David at South By Southwest to discuss her career in journalism from Wonkette to MTV and how an attempted suicide seven years ago in Texas changed her …

Ep. 224 - Jon Favreau (Live)

March 12th, 2018


Pod Save America host Jon Favreau joins David for a live show in Austin to discuss his time as a speechwriter for Barack Obama, looking ahead to …

Ep. 223 - Jay Roach

March 8th, 2018


Film director and producer Jay Roach joins David to talk about his transition from directing comedies to political films, #TimesUp in Hollywood, …

Ep. 222 - Sen. Jeff Flake

March 4th, 2018


Arizona Senator Jeff Flake joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss what drove him out of the Senate, how his Mormonism informs his views on the Muslim ban, whether he thinks Trump will face a primary challenge, …

Ep. 221 - Jay Carney

March 1st, 2018


Former White House spokesman Jay Carney joins David to talk about covering an attempted coup in Russia, how the job of press secretary has changed …

Ep. 220 - Michael Gerson

February 26th, 2018


Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson joins the show to talk about his battle with cancer, a wake-up call for the GOP, his work on PEPFAR, and …

Ep. 219 - Mayor Marty Walsh

February 22nd, 2018


Boston mayor Marty Walsh joins the show to talk about his past struggles with addiction, labor unions in the 21st century, his commitment to DACA …

Ep. 218 - Lawrence O'Donnell

February 19th, 2018


Lawrence O'Donnell, journalist and host of MSNBC's The Last Word, joins David to discuss his rough encounter with the Boston Police Department, the …

Ep. 217 - Jake Tapper

February 15th, 2018


Journalist and CNN anchor Jake Tapper joins the show to talk about cartooning at Dartmouth, his date with Monica Lewinsky that helped launch his journalism career, moderating the second Republican primary debate, his …

Ep. 216 - Anthony Scaramucci

February 12th, 2018


Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci joins David to talk about is upbringing on Long Island, how the economy has impacted communities like his home town, what went wrong during his tenure in the …

Ep. 215 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

February 8th, 2018


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins David at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics' fifth anniversary celebration for a …

Ep. 214 - Whoopi Goldberg

February 4th, 2018


Award-winning actress, activist, and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to talk about her personal history with …

Ep. 213 - Sen. Mark Warner

February 2nd, 2018


Virginia Senator Mark Warner reacts to the State of the Union address, discusses the latest developments in the Russia investigation, and shares his thoughts on the economic challenges that will define our future.

To …

Ep. 212 - McKay Coppins

January 29th, 2018


McKay Coppins, author and staff writer for The Atlantic, joins David to talk about his bizarre journey with candidate Donald Trump, Mitt Romney's Mormonism, his recent profile of Mike Pence, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 211 - David Gregory

January 25th, 2018


Journalist and CNN political analyst David Gregory joins the show to discuss his interview with Joe Biden, covering the Bush administration, his …

Ep. 210 - Ross Douthat

January 22nd, 2018


New York Times columnist Ross Douthat joins David to discuss his faith, why Trump loves the New York Times, Trump's brand of racism, and much more.

To …

Ep. 209 - Norm Ornstein

January 18th, 2018


Author and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Norm Ornstein joins David to discuss the impact of mental illness in his life, the …

Ep. 208 - Condoleezza Rice

January 14th, 2018


Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins the Axe Files on CNN to discuss her tenure in the Bush administration, foreign policy under the …

Ep. 207 - John Bouman

January 11th, 2018


John Bouman, president of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, joins David to discuss fighting poverty through the court system, the prospect of welfare reform under President Trump, the Affordable Care …

Ep. 206 - Rep. Cheri Bustos

January 8th, 2018


Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos joins David to talk about representing a district that voted for Trump, how Democrats can reach out to rural white voters, why pushing for impeachment is a mistake, the state of …

Ep. 205 - Jake Sullivan

January 4th, 2018


Jake Sullivan, senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 election campaign, chats with David about his role in negotiating the Iran nuclear …

Ep. 204 - Adam Nagourney

January 1st, 2018


Los Angeles Bureau Chief for the New York Times Adam Nagourney joins David to talk about his lifelong love of politics, journalism in New York City, …

Ep. 203 - Card. Blase Cupich

December 21st, 2017


Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, joins David to talk about his journey to the highest levels of the Catholic church, …

Ep. 202 - Laura Haim

December 18th, 2017


Laura Haim, journalist and former communications strategist for Emmanuel Macron, joins David to talk about the state of democracy in Europe, covering conflicts around the globe, what she saw in Donald Trump before the …

Ep. 201 - Rick Santorum

December 14th, 2017


Former Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum joins David to talk about his years in both the House and Senate, his path to his Catholic faith, his …

Ep. 200 - Ed Gillespie

December 11th, 2017


Former Chair of the RNC Ed Gillespie joins the Axe Files to talk about his failed bid for Governor of Virginia, the controversial ads he ran during that race, the candidacy of Roy Moore and the state of the Republican …

Ep. 199 - Eric Garcetti

December 7th, 2017


Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti joins David to talk about the potential impact of the tax bill on his city, the way forward for the Democratic …

Ep. 198 - Preet Bharara

December 4th, 2017


Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara joins David to discuss the latest in the Russia investigation, Michael Flynn's decision to plead guilty to lying to the FBI, controversial appointments the federal judiciary by the …

Ep. 197 - Tom Hanks

December 3rd, 2017


Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks joins David to talk about how his career began, films as a part of historical record, the sexual harassment scandals in …

Ep. 196 - Pete Souza

November 30th, 2017


Former Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza chats with David about serving under two presidents, his first encounter with Barack Obama, working as a photojournalist during the war in Afghanistan, and more.

To learn …

Ep. 195 - David Sanger

November 27th, 2017


Chief Washington Correspondent of The New York Times David Sanger joins the show to talk about how we arrived at the crisis point with North Korea, the new frontier of cyber warfare, and the state of journalism, and …

Ep. 194 - Steve Kerr

November 26th, 2017


Head coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr rejoins David for the Axe Files on CNN to talk about his life, his struggles with chronic pain, …

Ep. 193 - Kathleen Sebelius

November 22nd, 2017


Former HHS Secretary and two term Governor of Kansas Kathleen Sebelius discusses her family's legacy in politics, sexual harassment in America, and …

Ep. 192 - Donna Brazile

November 20th, 2017


Democratic strategist Donna Brazile sit down with David to discuss her early work with Rev. Jesse Jackson, moving up through the ranks of the Democratic Party, systemic issues in the DNC, the accusations in her new …

Ep. 191 - Tony Blair

November 16th, 2017


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joins David in London to talk about the implications of Brexit, the Trump/Brexit connection, his dealings …

Ep. 190 - Christiane Amanpour

November 13th, 2017


CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins David in London to discuss growing up in Iran during the revolution, her experience …

Ep. 189 - Fred Hochberg

November 9th, 2017


Former Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg chats with David about the evolution of gay and transgender rights issues, his replacement at EXIM, …

Ep. 188 - Susan E. Rice

November 6th, 2017


Ambassador Susan E. Rice joins David to talk about lessons learned from Rwanda to Syria, the threat from North Korea, the need for American leadership in the world, the Tuskegee Airmen, and much more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 187 - Gov. Terry McAuliffe

November 2nd, 2017


Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joins David to talk about the races in Virginia, his winning formula in a Southern state, what Democrats need to …

Ep. 186 - Bakari Sellers

October 30th, 2017


Former South Carolina State Representative Bakari Sellers joins the show to talk about his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, the …

Ep. 185 - Karen Tumulty

October 26th, 2017


Washington Post political correspondent Karen Tumulty joins David to talk about growing up in military family, Trump's controversial call with a …

Ep. 184 - David Miliband

October 23rd, 2017


David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, joins the show to talk about the refugee crisis, the forces shaping European …

Ep. 183 - Ta-Nehisi Coates

October 19th, 2017


Author and writer for The Atlantic Magazine Ta-Nehisi Coates sits down with David to talk about his upbringing in Baltimore, his early forays into …

Ep. 182 - Sen. Michael Bennet

October 16th, 2017


Colorado Senator Michael Bennet chats with David about securing the future of our democracy, making tough choices as a a school superintendent in …

Ep. 181 - Rep. Nancy Pelosi

October 14th, 2017


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joins the Axe Files once again to talk about her negotiations with President Trump on the Dreamers, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, her hopes for women in public service, and …

Ep. 180 - David Rubenstein

October 12th, 2017


Financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein joins David to talk about his modest beginnings in Baltimore, working in the White House for Jimmy …

Ep. 179 - David Litt

October 9th, 2017


Former Obama speechwriter David Litt discusses his early days as a field organizer for Obama in 2008, his botched interview with the CIA, and other …

Ep. 178 - Jason Kander

October 5th, 2017


Jason Kander, Missouri politician and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, joins David to discuss gun control in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, …

Ep. 177 - Jeff Roe

October 2nd, 2017


Republican campaign strategist Jeff Roe sits down with David to talk about working his way up in politics, the defeat of Luther Strange in Alabama, …

Ep. 176 - Jim Baker

September 30th, 2017


James A. Baker III, Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan, joins David to talk about decision-making in the aftermath of an assassination attempt on Reagan, the ongoing anthem protests in the NFL, imposing discipline in a …

Ep. 175 - Bill Bradley

September 28th, 2017


Former Senator and Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Bradley talks with David about fighting for a player's union in the NBA, the prospect of tax reform, creating compromise in the Senate, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 174 - Gayle King

September 25th, 2017


CBS This Morning host Gayle King sits down with David to discuss her formative years in Turkey, the divisions in America today, her friendship with Oprah, raising two kids as a working mom, and more.

To learn more about …

Special Episode - David Axelrod

September 21st, 2017


The tables have turned as David joins hosts Katie Couric and Brian Goldsmith on the Katie Couric podcast to talk about his career in politics and …

Ep. 173 - Rep. Seth Moulton

September 18th, 2017


Congressman Seth Moulton sits down with David to talk about his military service, President Trump's shortcomings as commander-in-chief, the situation …

Ep. 172 - Sen. Joe Donnelly

September 14th, 2017


Senator Joe Donnelly joins David to talk about the challenge of making tough votes in Congress, why he thinks the Dream Act will get to the Senate floor, the opioid crisis, the future of the Democratic party, and more.

Ep. 171 - Gov. Jay Inslee

September 11th, 2017


Washington Governor Jay Inslee sits down with David to talk about the DACA decision, the importance of electing more Democratic governors, the future of the green economy, climate change, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 170 - Sen. Patty Murray

September 7th, 2017


Washington Senator Patty Murray joins David to discuss President Trump's brinkmanship in North Korea, the importance of female leadership in …

Ep. 169 - Don Rose

September 4th, 2017


Don Rose, legendary Chicago political consultant and former press secretary to Martin Luther King Jr., joins David to talk about his role in the …

Ep. 168 - Penny Pritzker

August 28th, 2017


Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joins David to talk about her family's humble beginnings, what Trump's proposed immigration policies …

Ep. 167 - Rahm Emanuel

August 17th, 2017


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacts to Trump's controversial statements on Charlottesville, discusses the city's lawsuit over the Trump …

Ep. 166 - Rep. Luis Gutierrez

August 14th, 2017


Congressman Luis Gutierrez discusses his formative years in Puerto Rico, his political education in Chicago alongside Harold Washington, and his …

Ep. 165 - Gary Hart

August 7th, 2017


Former Senator Gary Hart joins David to talk about his rural roots in Kansas, his torpedoed presidential campaign, the implications Russia investigation for the Trump presidency, and how it feels to be portrayed by Hugh …

Ep. 164 - Rep. Adam Kinzinger

July 31st, 2017


Congressman Adam Kinzinger joins David to discuss his early forays into politics as a college student, Trump's strained relationship with Congress, …

Ep. 163 - Mitch Landrieu

July 24th, 2017


New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu talks about his family's deep political roots in the South, rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, his …

Ep. 162 - Rep. John Lewis

July 15th, 2017


Congressman John Lewis joins David in Atlanta to talk about his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement, how far America has come on the issue of race, his views on President Donald Trump, and his emotional …

Ep. 161 - George Stephanopoulos

July 10th, 2017


Chief Anchor for ABC News George Stephanopoulos chats with David about his previous career in politics, the Trump administration's tense relationship …

Ep. 160 - Sen. Cory Booker

July 3rd, 2017


Sen. Cory Booker joins David to talk about his humbling experiences in Newark, racism in America, his mindset ahead of the 2020 presidential election, and more.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, …

Ep. 159 - Dana Bash

June 26th, 2017


CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash sits down with David to discuss the Senate health care bill, her experience covering the 9/11 attacks …

Ep. 158 - Bill Daley

June 22nd, 2017


Bill Daley, former White House chief of staff to President Obama and Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, chats with David about his father's and his brother's tenures as mayors of Chicago, the consequences of …

Ep. 157 - Steven Greenhouse

June 19th, 2017


Former labor correspondent for The New York Times Steven Greenhouse joins David to discuss the gig economy, the decline of unions, and his message for journalists in the Trump era.

To learn more about how CNN protects …

Ep. 156 - Bob Dold

June 15th, 2017


Former Rep. Bob Dold talks with David about being a Republican in a blue district, running a business during the recession, and the problems a Trump …

Ep. 155 - Sen. Elizabeth Warren

June 12th, 2017


Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins David to talk about the myriad challenges facing the middle class in the 21st century, her ongoing battles in the Senate, and her new book "This Fight is Our Fight."

To learn more about how …

Ep. 154 - Geoffrey Stone

June 8th, 2017


Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago law professor and author, speaks with David Axelrod about his impressions of his former law school student, …

Ep. 153 - Sen. Tom Cotton

June 5th, 2017


Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican from Arkansas, talks with David Axelrod about why he decided to join the Army and what he learned during his deployments …

Ep. 152 - Alfredo Corchado

June 1st, 2017


Alfredo Corchado, author and journalist at the Dallas Morning News, talks with David Axelrod about the two chance encounters that inspired him to pursue a career in journalism, the dangers he and others have experienced …

Ep. 151 - Brian Deese

May 29th, 2017


Brian Deese, former senior advisor to President Obama, talks with David Axelrod about the instrumental role Deese played in the 2009 auto bailout, …

Ep. 150 - Grover Norquist

May 25th, 2017


Grover Norquist, political advocate and president of Americans for Tax Reform, talks with David Axelrod about how he envisioned his anti-tax pledge …

Ep. 149 - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

May 22nd, 2017


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand talks with David about how her faith helps her forge relationships in Congress, how the Democratic Party can rebuild after the 2016 election, and what she thinks about the latest developments in …

Ep. 148 - Tony Blinken

May 18th, 2017


Former Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken discusses spending his formative years overseas, how his experiences during the Kosovo War impacts his understanding of the Syrian conflict, and the diplomatic challenges …

Ep. 147 - Gov. Jerry Brown

May 14th, 2017


Jerry Brown, the governor of California, talks with David Axelrod about the lessons he's learned from a remarkable career in American politics, his …

Ep. 146 - Chelsea Handler

May 11th, 2017


Chelsea Handler, comedian and creator of the Netflix show "Chelsea," sits down with David Axelrod to discuss the work she's doing on behalf of Syrian refugees, why the election of Donald Trump compelled her to become …

Ep. 145 - Jennifer Granholm

May 8th, 2017


Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, talks with David Axelrod about her searing experiences while governing through an economic crisis, …

Ep. 144 - Gov. John Kasich

May 4th, 2017


John Kasich, the governor of Ohio and former presidential candidate, talks with David Axelrod about his working-class upbringing in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania; his assessment of the opening months of the Trump …

Ep. 143 - Rep. Ro Khanna

May 1st, 2017


Rep. Ro Khanna, congressman from California, talks with David Axelrod about the need for the Democratic Party to develop an effective economic message that resonates in every part of the country, why he supported Bernie …

Ep. 142 - Shailagh Murray

April 27th, 2017


Shailagh Murray, former senior advisor to President Obama, talks with David Axelrod about the decades she spent as a journalist before transitioning …

Ep. 141 - Dan Shapiro

April 24th, 2017


Dan Shapiro, the former ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, talks with David Axelrod about the prospects for Middle East peace, his assessment of the State Department's performance in the opening …

Ep. 140 - Rep. Adam Schiff

April 20th, 2017


Adam Schiff, congressman from California and leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, talks with David Axelrod about his committee's investigation into possible connections between the Russians who …

Ep. 139 - Lisa Monaco

April 17th, 2017


Lisa Monaco, the former homeland security adviser to President Obama, talks with David Axelrod about what she thinks are the greatest threats facing America today, why the Trump administration's travel ban hurts our …

Ep. 138 - Jason Benetti

April 13th, 2017


Jason Benetti, play-by-play man for the Chicago White Sox, joins David to discuss how he overcame the effects of cerebral palsy to become a television broadcaster, his hopes and fears for people with disabilities, and …

Ep. 137 - Jim Sciutto

April 10th, 2017


Jim Sciutto, CNN's chief national security correspondent, talks with David Axelrod about the impact his Jesuit education had on his worldview, the complex nature of the U.S.-China relationship, the key question that …

Ep. 136 - Ben Smith

April 6th, 2017


Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, talks with David Axelrod about BuzzFeed's approach to journalism and how he responds to the organization's critics, why Donald Trump has reenergized the news media, why …

Ep. 135 - Sen. John McCain

April 2nd, 2017


Senator John McCain talks with David Axelrod about the threat Russia poses to Western democracies, why he is more worried now about America than he has ever been before, what he misses most about his early days in the …

Ep. 134 - Joe Maddon

March 30th, 2017


Joe Maddon, manager of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, joins David before Opening Day to talk about his working class upbringing in Pennsylvania, his path towards an unconventional leadership style, the Cubs' …

Ep. 133 - Julián Castro

March 27th, 2017


Julián Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, talks with David Axelrod about why Housing and Urban Development programs are …

Ep. 132 - Wendy Sherman

March 23rd, 2017


Wendy Sherman, the former lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal, talks with David Axelrod about how her experience in social work prepared her for …

Ep. 131 - Jackie Calmes

March 20th, 2017


Jackie Calmes, the veteran newspaper reporter, talks with David Axelrod about the pressures journalists face covering President Trump, her concerns for the future of the news business, her experiences covering three …

Ep. 130 - Michael Froman

March 16th, 2017


Michael Froman, the former U.S. Trade Representative, talks with David Axelrod about why technology and not free trade poses the biggest threat to …

Ep. 129 - Pete Buttigieg

March 13th, 2017


Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, talks with David Axelrod about Donald Trump’s appeal in communities like South Bend; how urban economies can thrive amid the challenges posed by globalization; why he …

Ep. 128 - Sen. Kamala Harris

March 9th, 2017


Kamala Harris, the newly-elected senator from California, talks with David Axelrod about the prospects for criminal justice reform legislation in Congress, why she believes President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee must …

Ep. 127 - Kasim Reed

March 6th, 2017


Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, talks with David Axelrod about why President Trump often criticizes big cities like Atlanta, why Democrats must work through their internal differences and unite as a party, and why he …

Ep. 126 - Madeleine Albright

March 2nd, 2017


Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State, speaks with David Axelrod about her experiences as a young political refugee in the 1940s and how …

Ep. 125 - Jeffrey Goldberg

February 27th, 2017


Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic magazine, talks with David Axelrod about the prospects for Middle East peace during the Trump …

Ep. 124 - Bill Kristol

February 23rd, 2017


Bill Kristol, the neoconservative commentator and founder of The Weekly Standard, talks with David Axelrod about his experiences as Dan Quayle’s …

Ep. 123 - Corey Lewandowski

February 20th, 2017


Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager to Donald Trump throughout the Republican primary, talks with David Axelrod about the career he led prior to …

Ep. 122 - Mike Leavitt

February 16th, 2017


Mike Leavitt, former governor of Utah, talks with David Axelrod about the Republican path forward on the Affordable Care Act, the health care lessons he learned serving as President Bush’s Health and Human Services …

Ep. 121 - Nancy-Ann DeParle

February 13th, 2017


Nancy-Ann DeParle, one of the lead authors of the Affordable Care Act, talks with David Axelrod about Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, the consequences for people and for the health insurance market if the law is …

Ep. 120 - J.D. Vance

February 9th, 2017


J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy, talks with David Axelrod about what it was that attracted working class voters to President Trump, why he’s so concerned by the clustering of homogenous …

Ep. 119 - Matt Bai

February 6th, 2017


Matt Bai, the national political columnist for Yahoo! News, talks with David Axelrod about the intersection between politics, media, and celebrity; …

Ep. 118 - Carl Bernstein

February 2nd, 2017


Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein talks with David Axelrod about his memories as a young copy boy at The Washington Star, the details of the landmark reporting he did that exposed the Watergate cover-up and led to …

Ep. 117 - Natalie Jaresko

January 30th, 2017


Natalie Jaresko, Ukraine's former Finance Minister, chats with David Axelrod about her Ukrainian-American upbringing in Chicago, how Russia’s …

Ep. 116 - Cody Keenan

January 26th, 2017


Cody Keenan, former chief speechwriter to President Obama, talks with David Axelrod about his evolution from intern in the speechwriting department …

Ep. 115 - Cecile Richards

January 23rd, 2017


Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, talks with David Axelrod about growing up in deep-red Texas as the daughter of prominent Democratic activists, the gains made in women’s health over the past eight …

Ep. 114 - Thomas Friedman

January 19th, 2017


Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, talks with David Axelrod about the prospects for the Middle East …

Ep. 113 - Theo Epstein

January 16th, 2017


Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, chats with David about growing up in Massachusetts, …

Ep. 112 - Chris Wallace

January 12th, 2017


Chris Wallace, the longtime journalist and host of Fox News Sunday, talks with David Axelrod about why Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign was the best he ever covered; why he thinks the Obama administration …

Ep. 111 - John Brennan

January 9th, 2017


John Brennan, the outgoing CIA Director, talks with David Axelrod about the consequences that could arise from devaluing the intelligence community, …

Ep. 110 - Sean Spicer

January 5th, 2017


Sean Spicer, incoming White House Press Secretary and Communications Director for Donald Trump, talks with David Axelrod about what he hopes to achieve in his new job, Trump’s skepticism toward the intelligence …

Ep. 109 - Mark Shriver

January 2nd, 2017


Mark Shriver, the author and children’s rights advocate, talks with David Axelrod about the enduring legacies his parents left on the nation and on the wider world, why losing a Congressional race became a great …

Ep. 108 - President Barack Obama

December 26th, 2016


President Barack Obama sits down with David Axelrod to discuss their shared history together, how President Obama managed to stay grounded during …

Ep. 107 - Eli Attie

December 22nd, 2016


Eli Attie, writer for The West Wing and former political speechwriter, talks with David Axelrod about how he went from being a speechwriter to …

Ep. 106 - Tammy Duckworth

December 19th, 2016


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 …

Ep. 105 - Denis McDonough

December 15th, 2016


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 …

Ep. 104 - Alex Castellanos

December 12th, 2016


Alex Castellanos, longtime Republican consultant, talks with David Axelrod about his childhood experiences in Cuba, the importance of storytelling …

Ep. 103 - Sen. Harry Reid

December 8th, 2016


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 …

Ep. 102 - Davis Guggenheim

December 5th, 2016


Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim chats with David about the growing negativity of political media, working with Al Gore on An …

Ep. 101 - Alex Wagner

December 1st, 2016


Alex Wagner, the journalist and political commentator, talks with David Axelrod about her early exposure to politics as the daughter of a Democratic …

Ep. 100 - Doris Kearns Goodwin

November 28th, 2016


Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, talks with David Axelrod about her love of baseball, the power of storytelling in …

Ep. 99 - Steve Kerr

November 23rd, 2016


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 …

Ep. 98 - Larry Summers

November 21st, 2016


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 …

Ep. 97 - Douglas Alexander

November 17th, 2016


Douglas Alexander, former British Labour politician and U.K. Cabinet Minister, chats with David Axelrod about how the closure of a car plant ignited …

Ep. 96 - Michael Morell

November 14th, 2016


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 …

Ep. 95 - Van Jones

November 10th, 2016


Van Jones, political activist and CNN commentator, talks with David about Tuesday’s election results and the cultural chasm that exists in America, …

Ep. 94 - John Weaver

November 7th, 2016


John Weaver, veteran Republican strategist, talks to David about how he sees the election unfolding and what the result will mean for governing in …

Ep. 93 - DeRay Mckesson

November 3rd, 2016


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 …

Ep. 92 - Carl Hulse

October 31st, 2016


Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, reflects on how Congress has changed during his years covering the institution, …

Ep. 91 - Sec. John Kerry

October 27th, 2016


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 …

Ep. 90 - Tim Kaine

October 24th, 2016


Tim Kaine, the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and senator from Virginia, talks to David about his experience doing missionary work in Honduras …

Ep. 89 - John Heilemann

October 20th, 2016


John Heilemann, co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and best-selling author of Game Change, talks with David about Trump’s electoral end game, …

Ep. 88 - Ron Brownstein

October 17th, 2016


Ron Brownstein, columnist at The Atlantic and longtime political journalist, talks to David about working for Ralph Nader in the 1970s, the …

Ep. 87 - Maureen Dowd

October 13th, 2016


Maureen Dowd, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, talks with David about growing up in Washington, D.C., how newsrooms have …

Ep. 86 - Gary Johnson

October 10th, 2016


Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, talks with David about his foreign policy vision, the Johnson administration’s approach …

Ep. 85 - Fareed Zakaria

October 6th, 2016


Fareed Zakaria talks to David about some of the most intractable problems around the globe—including how America should respond to the social and …

Ep. 84 - Lin-Manuel Miranda

October 3rd, 2016


Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit Broadway musical "Hamilton," talks to David about what he learned from meeting Stephen Sondheim in high …

Ep. 83 - Tom Brokaw

September 29th, 2016


Tom Brokaw, the legendary NBC News journalist, talks to David about his humble roots in South Dakota, covering the last days of the Nixon White House, the experience of being a news anchor during national tragedies like …

Ep. 82 - Barney Frank

September 26th, 2016


Barney Frank, longtime former congressman from Massachusetts, talks with David about his involvement in the civil rights movement, the challenges he …

Ep. 81 - Michael Steele (Live)

September 22nd, 2016


Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, talks with David about the three years he spent in a Catholic seminary, his …

Ep. 80 - Karl Rove

September 19th, 2016


Karl Rove, former White House senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, and the mastermind behind President George W. Bush’s two presidential …

Ep. 79 - EJ Dionne

September 15th, 2016


EJ Dionne, long-time op-ed columnist for The Washington Post and author of “Why the Right Went Wrong", chats with David about his start in …

Ep. 78 - Peter Hart

September 12th, 2016


Peter Hart, a veteran U.S. pollster who has helped produce the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll for the last three decades, speaks to David about the …

Ep. 77 - Caroline Kennedy

September 8th, 2016


Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, sits down with David to discuss her memories of the White House, her mother’s strength in the wake of her …

Ep. 76 - Graham Moore

September 6th, 2016


Academy Award-winning screenwriter of 'The Imitation Game' Graham Moore sits down with David to discuss what motivated him to speak publicly about his struggles with mental illness, why he likes writing historical …

Ep. 75 - Fr. Michael Pfleger

August 29th, 2016


Father Michael Pfleger, senior pastor at Saint Sabina Church and social activist on Chicago's South Side, sits down with David to discuss violence …

Ep. 74 - Robert Gibbs

August 22nd, 2016


Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary for President Obama, sits down with David to discuss his childhood in Alabama, his experience …

Ep. 73 - Sec. Tom Vilsack

August 15th, 2016


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joins David to talk about his humble beginnings in Iowa, his relationship with Hillary Clinton, the …

Ep. 72 - Deval Patrick

August 8th, 2016


Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joins David to discuss his upbringing in Chicago, his experience studying in Darfur, police-community …

Ep. 71 - John Dickerson

August 1st, 2016


John Dickerson, host of “Face the Nation,” sits down with David at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to talk about the genesis of the Trump campaign, the death of real news, his new book, and more.

To …

Ep. 70 - Paul Simon

July 28th, 2016


Legendary musician Paul Simon sits down with David at the DNC in Philadelphia to chat about the 1970 breakup of Simon & Garfunkel, this fall's …

Ep. 69 - SE Cupp

July 25th, 2016


SE Cupp, CNN commentator and conservative columnist, talks to David about why she won’t vote for Donald Trump in November, her time as a professional …

Ep. 68 - Mark McKinnon

July 21st, 2016


Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP strategist who was chief media advisor for President George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, sits down with David at the Republican national convention in Cleveland to discuss his …

Ep. 67 - Hugh Hewitt

July 18th, 2016


Hugh Hewitt, columnist and radio host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show," talks to David about his time as a young researcher to President Richard Nixon, how …

Ep. 66 - Jeffrey DeLaurentis

July 14th, 2016


Jeffrey DeLaurentis, chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, sits down with David to discuss his career at the State Department, his three posts in Cuba, the Obama administration’s push to normalize …

Ep. 65 - Newton Minow

July 11th, 2016


Newton Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, sits down with David to discuss the clandestine role he and his agency played …

Ep. 64 - Maggie Haberman

July 7th, 2016


Maggie Haberman, presidential campaign correspondent at The New York Times, chats with David about her family’s journalism background, her time on the City Hall beat, what it was like covering 9/11, the 2016 race, and …

Ep. 63 - Paul Begala

July 4th, 2016


Paul Begala, adviser to the pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA, talks to David about his loss to Hank the Hallucination at the University …

Ep. 62 - Sen. Susan Collins

June 30th, 2016


Sen. Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, chats with David about her two decades on Capitol Hill, her relationship with Hillary Clinton, why she is …

Ep. 61 - Isaac Lee

June 27th, 2016


Isaac Lee, chief news and digital officer of Univision News and CEO of Fusion, chats with David about his grandfather fighting the Nazis and later …

Ep. 60 - Sen. Al Franken

June 23rd, 2016


Minnesota Senator Al Franken talks with David about his journey from comedian to politician, his work on mental health issues, Congressional …

Ep. 59 - Bill Walton

June 20th, 2016


Bill Walton, one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and former basketball announcer for ABC, ESPN, and NBC, chats with David about the importance of leadership, what he learned playing for John Wooden at UCLA, …

Ep. 58 - Beth Myers

June 13th, 2016


Beth Myers, who served as senior adviser to Mitt Romney on his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, sits down with David to discuss her wide-ranging career from working with Karl Rove in Texas to Romney in …

Ep. 57 - Tim Phillips

June 9th, 2016


Tim Philips, president of Americans for Prosperity, chats with David about growing up in South Carolina, his admiration of Ronald Reagan, and leading …

Ep. 56 - Tom Harkin

June 6th, 2016


Tom Harkin, retired Democratic senator from Iowa, sits down with David to discuss his four decades in Congress, his work on the Americans with Disabilities Act, his take on the 2016 presidential race, and much more.

To …

Ep. 55 - Jeff Greenfield

June 3rd, 2016


Jeff Greenfield, an award-winning journalist who writes for the Daily Beast and Politico, chats with David about what it was like working for Robert …

Ep. 54 - Eric Holder

May 30th, 2016


Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sits down with David at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics to discuss his childhood in New York …

Ep. 53 - Ilana Dayan

May 26th, 2016


Leading Israeli news anchor Ilana Dayan chats with David about her career as a reporter in Israel, her thoughts on Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, U.S.-Israeli relations, and the prospects for a two-state …

Ep. 52 - Katie Couric

May 23rd, 2016


Katie Couric, global anchor for Yahoo News, sits down with David in her New York apartment to discuss her wide-ranging journalism career from 9/11 to “The Today Show” to her 2008 interview with Sarah Palin, her views on …

Ep. 51 - Samantha Power

May 19th, 2016


Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chats with David in New York about growing up in Ireland, how she went from a sports reporter …

Ep. 50 - Michael Nutter

May 16th, 2016


Michael Nutter, former mayor of Philadelphia, speaks with David about going from nightclub disc jockey to City Council representative to mayor of the country’s fifth-largest city, his views on how to improve community …

Ep. 49 - Jon Stewart (Live)

May 10th, 2016


Jon Stewart, comedian, author, and former host and executive producer of "The Daily Show," chats with David in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago to talk about Donald Trump and the 2016 election, lessons …

Ep. 48 - Anderson Cooper

May 9th, 2016


Journalist and host of CNN’s “AC360” Anderson Cooper talks with David about his new book, becoming a self-appointed embed in Burma and Somalia, Donald Trump’s relationship with the media, and more.

To learn more about …

Ep. 47 - Frank Bruni

May 5th, 2016


Frank Bruni, author and columnist for the New York Times, chats with David about his long and diverse career in journalism from New York to Detroit …

Ep. 46 - Patrick Kennedy

May 2nd, 2016


Patrick Kennedy, former Democratic congressman from Rhode Island and son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, chats with David about growing up in the Kennedy family, his battle with mental illness and addiction, his new book …

Ep. 45 - Arthur Brooks

April 28th, 2016


Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of “The Conservative Heart,” chats with David about his time living in …

Ep. 44 - Mike Murphy

April 25th, 2016


Republican strategist Mike Murphy sits down with David at the Institute of Politics to discuss his time at Georgetown as a member of the College …

Ep. 43 - David Plouffe

April 21st, 2016


David Plouffe, former campaign manager for President Obama and currently a top adviser at Uber, chats with David Axelrod about his start in politics …

Ep. 42 - Ben Rhodes

April 18th, 2016


Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting, speaks with David about his road to …

Ep. 41 - Ron Fournier

April 14th, 2016


National Journal Political Columnist Ron Fournier sits down with David to talk about his new book, "Love That Boy," and the lessons he learned …

Ep. 40 - Abner Mikva

April 11th, 2016


Abner Mikva, a 60-plus year veteran of politics and public service, including stints in the Illinois statehouse, Congress, and the Federal Court of …

Ep. 39 - Sen. Amy Klobuchar

April 7th, 2016


Democratic Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar joins David to talk about her unconventional path to public service, her father's struggles with …

Ep. 38 - Jamie Kalven

April 4th, 2016


Jamie Kalven, the award–winning journalist who broke the Laquan McDonald story in Chicago, speaks with David about the sexual assault on his wife, …

Ep. 37 - Dan Balz

March 27th, 2016


Dan Balz, political reporter at The Washington Post, sits down with David to discuss his start in journalism at the University of Illinois, his …

Ep. 36 - Ron Klain

March 20th, 2016


The refusal of Senate Republicans to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland until after the 2016 election is an "unprecedented" move, says former Obama Administration official Ron Klain. Klain …

Ep. 35 - Mark Leibovich

March 14th, 2016


Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and author of "This Town," chats with David about his start in journalism, his nearly two decades living in Washington, D.C., and his …

Ep. 34 - Trent Lott

March 7th, 2016


Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott chats with David about his upbringing in Mississippi, his cheerleading days at Ole Miss, his concerns with the historic gridlock seen today in Congress, and his opinions on the …

Ep. 33 - Lindsey Graham

March 3rd, 2016


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spends his Super Tuesday talking with David on Capitol Hill about why he opposes GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, why he …

Ep. 32 - Erick Erickson

February 29th, 2016


Conservative commentator Erick Erickson sits down with David to discuss his childhood abroad, his opposition to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, and his …

Ep. 31 - Gov. Jon Huntsman

February 22nd, 2016


Former Republican presidential nominee Jon Huntsman chats with David about his time as governor of Utah, ambassador of China, and 2012 GOP hopeful, …

Ep. 30 - Joe Trippi

February 15th, 2016


Joe Trippi, Democratic campaign strategist, media consultant, and FOX News contributor, chats with David about his work on the tech-savvy Howard Dean …

Ep. 29 - Joel Benenson

February 8th, 2016


Joel Benenson, senior strategist for Hillary Clinton, chats with David in Manchester, New Hampshire, about his journey from working for a beer distributor in New York to being a top campaign strategist, Clinton's …

Ep. 28 - Jonathan Martin

February 4th, 2016


New York Times chief political correspondent Jonathan Martin sits down with David in Manchester, New Hampshire, to discuss his journalism career and …

Ep. 27 - Juliet Macur

January 28th, 2016


Juliet Macur, a Sports of the Times columnist at The New York Times, chats with David about her father's amazing journey from a Nazi concentration …

Ep. 26 - Jennifer Jacobs

January 28th, 2016


Jennifer Jacobs, the chief political reporter for The Des Moines Register, speaks with David about the uniqueness of the Iowa caucus process, how …

Ep. 25 - Patti Solis Doyle

January 24th, 2016


Patti Solis Doyle, the first Hispanic woman to lead a presidential campaign, chats with David about her family's immigration to the U.S. from Mexico, …

Ep. 24 - Sen. Dick Durbin

January 18th, 2016


Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, speaks with David about his start in politics, his toughest votes in Congress, his support for Hillary …

Ep. 23 - Stuart Stevens

January 14th, 2016


Republican political strategist, media consultant, and writer Stuart Stevens, currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of …

Ep. 22 - Arne Duncan

January 11th, 2016


Arne Duncan, who stepped down as U.S. Secretary of Education at the start of this year, chats with David about his childhood in Hyde Park, his tenure …

Ep. 21 - Mary Kay Henry

January 7th, 2016


Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), sits down with David to discuss her leadership of the 2.1 million member union, her concerns about Republican presidential …

Ep. 20 - Aneesh Chopra

January 4th, 2016


Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, chats with David about his work for the Obama Administration, his run for lieutenant governor of …

Ep. 19 - Sec. Thomas Perez

December 28th, 2015


U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez talks with David about his work with the Obama administration, the Department's efforts to help disabled workers, and more.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, …

Ep. 18 - Husain Haqqani

December 21st, 2015


Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, talks with David about the U.S. foreign policy struggles in Pakistan, his …

Ep. 17 - Joakim Noah

December 14th, 2015


Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah sits down with David to discuss Chicago's gun violence problems, race relations in America, and his Noah's Arc …

Ep. 16 - Sen. Claire McCaskill

December 10th, 2015


Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, chats with David about her time on Capitol Hill, the Laquan McDonald case in Chicago, and her thoughts on the 2016 …

Ep. 15 - Reihan Salam

December 7th, 2015


Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, chats with David about the future of the Republican Party, the debate over immigration reform, and more.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit

Ep. 14 - Sheriff Tom Dart

December 3rd, 2015


Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who oversees the nation's largest single site jail, speaks with David about his path to public service, Chicago's reaction to the Laquan McDonald shooting, the current state of our criminal …

Ep. 13 - Spike Lee

November 30th, 2015


Spike Lee, one of the leading African-American filmmakers of all time, speaks with David about his new movie on Chicago gun violence CHI-RAQ, race …

Ep. 12 - David Maraniss

November 23rd, 2015


David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of six best-selling books, sits down with David Axelrod to discuss his acclaimed new book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, his coverage of …

Ep. 11 - Jon Favreau

November 16th, 2015


Jon Favreau, former Director of Speechwriting for President Obama, speaks with David about his nerve-racking first meeting with his future boss, what it was like writing speeches in the White House, and the state of …

Ep. 10 - Mark Holden

November 9th, 2015


Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries, chats with David about working with the Koch brothers and their push for …

Ep. 9 - Jorge Ramos

November 2nd, 2015


Jorge Ramos, anchor for Univision and Fusion, talks to David Axelrod about his incident with Donald Trump in Iowa last summer, his assessment of the GOP's chances of winning the Latino vote, and his frustration with …

Ep. 8 - Eliot Spitzer

October 29th, 2015


Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer discusses his work as the Sheriff of Wall Street, his 2008 resignation, and his opinion of 2016 presidential contenders such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

To learn more about how …

Ep. 7 - Jessica Yellin

October 26th, 2015


Jessica Yellin, former chief White House correspondent for CNN and current Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, talks to David …

Ep. 6 - Rep. Nancy Pelosi

October 19th, 2015


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi chats with David about her childhood in Baltimore, her tenure as Speaker of the House, and President Obama's legacy.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit

Ep. 5 - Mitt Romney

October 16th, 2015


2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sits down with David Axelrod in San Diego to chat about his childhood in Michigan, his assessment of the 2016 race for the White House, and …

Ep. 4 - Alastair Campbell

October 12th, 2015


Alastair Campbell, former spokesman for Tony Blair and author of the new book Winners and How They Succeed, talks with David about his career as a …

Ep. 3 - Capt. Mark Kelly

October 8th, 2015


Mark Kelly speaks with David about his reaction to the campus shooting in Roseburg, Ore., the assassination attempt in Tucson, Ariz., that his wife, ex-congresswoman Gabby Giffords, survived in 2011, and where he thinks …

Ep. 2 - Matthew Dowd

October 5th, 2015


Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for George W. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign and current ABC News political analyst and visiting Fellow at …

Ep. 1 - Sen. Bernie Sanders

September 28th, 2015


Sen. Sanders tells David about his childhood in Brooklyn, his presidential campaign, and his stance on selfies.

To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit

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