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Speakeasy with John Harwood


CNBC’s John Harwood sits down with political decision-makers in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations revealing who they are and what drives them.

CNBC’s John Harwood sits down with political decision-makers in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations revealing who they are and what drives them.
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CNBC’s John Harwood sits down with political decision-makers in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations revealing who they are and what drives them.




Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio holds an unusual distinction in the 2018 mid-campaign for Congress. He is a Democrat seeking re-election in a state President Trump carried easily two years ago. But unlike several colleagues in the same situation, the raspy-voiced populist has moved far ahead of Republican challenger Jim Renacci in polls assessing his bid for a third term. If he wins and Democrats manage to recapture the Senate, Brown stands to chair the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs...


John Legend

At age 39, John Legend has carved a major role in American culture. He has found success as a singer, songwriter and actor with hits like “Ordinary People” and “All of Me” and in movies such as Selma and LaLa land. He is one of just 15 entertainers to win individual Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. Born John Stephens into a blue-collar family in Springfield, Ohio, Legend studied English at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for a global business consulting firm. While building...


Rep. Steve Stivers

Congressman Steve Stivers may have the toughest job in politics right now. As Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign, Stivers is fighting to protect the House Republican majority against the blue wave that Donald Trump’s presidency has set off. He’s trying to pull it off with a three-part formula - peace, prosperity and Pelosi. Over a few slices of pizza in his home state of Ohio, Stivers discusses his party’s strategy heading into midterms.


Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren, the unlikely politician who won a Senate seat as a champion of economically-struggling families, has emerged as a leading prospective candidate for her party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Raised in Oklahoma on what she calls “the jagged edge of the middle class,” she rose to teach at Harvard Law School before entering elective office in 2013 at age 63. Heavily-favored to win a second-term from Massachusetts voters in November, she sat down with me at a café in...


Vicente Fox

Vicente Fox, the 55th president of Mexico, has become one of the most flamboyant international critics of U.S. President Donald Trump. At age 75, a dozen years removed from his time in office, Fox has used profanity and humor to defend Mexicans from Trump’s attacks and rebut the American’s contention that he can force Mexico to finance a border wall separating the two countries. He sat down with me to discuss his role, and North America’s economic future, after delivering a speech to the...


Stephanie Schriock, EMILY’s List President

A central force behind this year’s mid-term election campaign is neither a political party nor a candidate. It is EMILY’s List, which for the last three decades had worked to assist Democratic women in politics. Originally organized around fund-raising – EMILY is an acronym for Early Money Is Like Yeast – the group now recruits and trains as well as finances women candidates. Its only litmus-test issue is support for abortion rights. What makes the organization loom so large in 2018 is...


Pennsylvania's Special Election: The Power of Trumpism & The Backlash Against It

In this episode, Speakeasy goes on the road - to Southwest Pennsylvania ahead of the March 13 special election in the state's 18th Congressional district. We spent a couple of days watching the candidates, listening to the ads, and talking to voters in a district that Donald Trump won by a landslide two years ago. This special election tests three big questions we dig into over the course of the podcast: 1) Can tax-cuts help the Republican majority in Congress turn back the Democratic...


Senator Jeff Flake

When Jeff Flake of Arizona announced his retirement from the Senate last fall, he become one of the strongest Republican critics of President Trump. “I rise today to say, ‘Enough,’ he told his colleagues, ripping the president of his party for policies and behavior he called “dangerous to a democracy.” Last month, Flake delivered a second Senate floor speech likening Trump’s words to those of 20th century Russian dictator Josef Stalin. As he leaves his Senate seat, he has pointedly...


Bill Kristol

Before Donald Trump came along, Bill Kristol exemplified virtually all the leading elements of the modern Republican Party. After watching his father help found the neo-conservative movement, he joined the Reagan Administration as an aide to Education Secretary William Bennett, a leading figure on the cultural right. Later he pressed President George H.W. Bush from the right on taxes and other issues as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle. In 1993, at the newly-minted Project...


Senator Mark Warner

John Harwood talks with Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat suddenly back in the national spotlight as he helps lead the Senate’s Trump-Russia investigation. Once considered a presidential contender, Warner could be back in the mix for his party’s 2020 nomination. They discuss his belief that the notorious “dossier” hasn’t yet been disproven, that Trump campaign contacts with Russia turned out to be far more numerous than expected, and that firing Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller...


Gary Cohn

John Harwood interviews Gary Cohn, top White House economic adviser. Cohn discusses a range of topics including the Republican push for tax cuts - and complaints that the benefits will go to the rich. The interview was recorded on November 7, 2017 at American University, where Cohn went to college.


Senator Lamar Alexander

A conversation with Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican point man for the bipartisan effort to stabilize Obamacare, in Nashville’s songwriting mecca, The Bluebird Cafe.


Introducing “Speakeasy with John Harwood”

CNBC’s John Harwood has been covering Washington politics for more than 30 years, reporting on the people in the White House and Congress who make decisions affecting our lives. In his “Speakeasy” podcast, Harwood brings those conversations to life in diners and bars, Capitol offices, and even hits the road to meet with political players in their home towns.