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Speakeasy with John Harwood


CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood sits down with 2020 election candidates, top political decision makers, and key influencers, from Elizabeth Warren to Gary Cohn to John Legend, in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations that reveal who they are and what drives them.

CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood sits down with 2020 election candidates, top political decision makers, and key influencers, from Elizabeth Warren to Gary Cohn to John Legend, in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations that reveal who they are and what drives them.


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CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood sits down with 2020 election candidates, top political decision makers, and key influencers, from Elizabeth Warren to Gary Cohn to John Legend, in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations that reveal who they are and what drives them.




Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is one of the top-tier Democratic candidates for president, near the head of the pack, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders and upstart Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Warren saw some of her momentum stall in national and state polls after she rolled out her proposal to pay for “Medicare for All” in early November and a subsequent plan detailing how she would transition the American health care system to a single-payer model. She also...


Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was on the campaign trail in Iowa last week, sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood to discuss a range of topics, including trade, health care, taxes and President Donald Trump’s standing among world leaders. Biden has lagged behind Democratic presidential rivals Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in recent polls of voters in Iowa, which will hold the first-in-the-nation nominating contest in February. He has consistently led...


Sen. Bernie Sanders

As the only self-described socialist in the U.S. Senate and the Democratic presidential race, Bernie Sanders represents a unique figure in American political life. Four years ago, his message of dramatic change to remedy income inequality and other economic ills won a large following in his fight against Hillary Clinton for the nomination of a party he does not even formally embrace. The results encouraged him enough to try again for 2020, even at age 78. This race poses different and...


Andrew Yang

The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has a long way to go, but it already has at least one winner. That’s Andrew Yang, and it’s not because he will end up as his party’s candidate. Yang, an affable 44-year-old who eschews neckties and traditional rhetoric, trails front-running candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. But he has demonstrated sufficient appeal to outpace governors, senators, and House members to grab and hold his place on...


Beto O’Rourke

The Democratic sensation of 2018 has struggled so far in the 2020 presidential race. Over tacos in an El Paso Tex-Mex haunt, he filled in some blanks about his economic policies, explained how immigrants can help pay for Baby Boom retirements, and explained what he learned about business and gentrification in his hometown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Sen. Cory Booker

Of all the Democratic presidential candidates, none delivers a speech any better than Cory Booker. The New Jersey senator declares his commitment to the disadvantaged with the passion of a preacher, the intellect of a Rhodes Scholar, the street-smarts of a former Newark mayor. At 50, he retains the imposing presence of his days playing top-level college football at Stanford. Those gifts marked this African-American politician as a rising star before Barack Obama smashed racial barriers to...


Rep. Jerry Nadler

After a quarter-century in Congress, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York stands on the brink of an outsize role in American political life. As Judiciary Committee chairman in the Democratic-controlled House, Nadler leads his party’s efforts to exercise oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration. If Democrats pursue the fourth serious presidential impeachment effort in American history, Nadler would wield the gavel when it starts. Nadler, now 71, first took on the future president...


Sen. Amy Klobuchar

In some ways, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota boasts an ideal profile to compete for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. She won her third term last November with 60% in a state President Trump nearly captured in 2016. Blending mainstream liberal views, a prosecutor’s experience and a plain-folks common touch, she has built a formidable reputation as the “senator next door.” Yet the crowded, chaotic Democratic race presents challenges that Klobuchar, 58, has never faced before....


Mayor Pete Buttigieg

In the sprawling 2020 Democratic field, Pete Buttigieg may be the unlikeliest serious contender of all. He’s just 37 years old. He’s the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of barely more than 100,000 people. If elected, he would become the youngest president in American history, and the first to be openly-gay. Yet Buttigieg has a remarkably broad range of experiences and talents. After graduating from Harvard, he became a Rhodes Scholar. He advised major businesses as a McKinsey and...


Governor Larry Hogan

Until very recently, no one thought of Larry Hogan as a candidate for president. His first two campaigns for office ended in defeat. In 2014 he won the Maryland governorship at age 58 - and within months received a diagnosis of Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Four years later, re-elected and cancer-free, the Hogan has turned into a focus of 2020 attention. Dissident members of the GOP, searching for someone to challenge President Trump’s renomination, have turned to him for two reasons. The...


Rep. Maxine Waters

As the House Democratic majority begins wielding power, Rep. Maxine Waters of California is among its tallest lightning rods. In her three decades on Capitol Hill, she has built a reputation for fiery advocacy on behalf of her constituents in a majority-minority Los Angeles district of below-average incomes. Now she will conduct oversight of the titans of Wall Street. The House Financial Services panel - once considered a “juice committee” for its ability to deliver big donations to members...


Rep. John Delaney

John Delaney leaves Congress in a few days, but not in defeat like so many of his colleagues. The wealthy former financial executive is leaving to ramp up his campaign for president. Yes, you read that correctly. The outgoing representative from Maryland’s Sixth House District seeks the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Delaney has been the one and only declared Democratic candidate for the last 17 months. After just four years on Capitol Hill, Delaney launched his bid in July 2017 in...


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 his...


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. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced...


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 Pittsfield...


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 the...


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 tide?...


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 declined...