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Candidate Confessional

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Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painfully close margins. Looking back, these candidates give the listener an unvarnished, often-emotional picture of what life is really like on the campaign trail. Candidate Confessional is produced by Christine Conetta.

Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painfully close margins. Looking back, these candidates give the listener an unvarnished, often-emotional picture of what life is really like on the campaign trail. Candidate Confessional is produced by Christine Conetta.
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United States

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HuffPost

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Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painfully close margins. Looking back, these candidates give the listener an unvarnished, often-emotional picture of what life is really like on the campaign trail. Candidate Confessional is produced by Christine Conetta.

Language:

English


Episodes

This Democrat Says The Party Needs To Reinvent Itself In The Era Of Trump

10/4/2017
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Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello lost his congressional seat in the Tea Party wave of 2010. In 2017, he jumped back in the ring with a run for Governor, and his primary race against Ralph Northam was viewed as another skirmish in the broader Democratic party battle between the Bernie wing and the party establishment. Perriello rejects that narrative, but he has some strong opinions about how the party will have the evolve if it wants to compete in the Trump era.

Duration:00:54:31

What It’s Like To Be At The Center Of One Of The Biggest Political Sex Scandals In American History

9/27/2017
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In 2006, John Edwards hired Rielle Hunter to produce a series of videos that would help lay the groundwork for his planned presidential run. That she did, but the two also carried on a affair that resulted in a child -- all of which Edwards tried desperately to keep secret. Early in his journalistic career, Candidate Confessional host Sam Stein was among the first reporters to publicly speculate about the possibility of an affair. Now, a decade later, Sam and Rielle look back at their...

Duration:00:44:48

These Two Senators Voted Against The Iraq War. They Thought They Were Ending Their Careers

9/20/2017
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When Senators Kent Conrad and Dick Durbin cast their votes against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, they knew it was unlikely they’d be able to stop the invasion. They also knew that their votes might well be the end of their senate careers. Today, that “no” vote looks like an obvious choice. But in the moment, it was a leap of faith for them to trust their instincts and oppose the war. They also remind us that the political realities that fueled the rush to war are still present today,...

Duration:00:28:02

The Only Person Ever To Lose An Election To Mitt Romney

9/13/2017
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In 2002, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien decided to throw her hat in the ring in the race for governor. Her opponent would be one Willard “Mitt” Romney, known for his failed senate run in 1994 and as president of the 2002 Winter Olympics. She went after him, after Barack Obama would do in 2012, over his time at Bain Capital. Mitt went after Shannon over her husband’s ties to Enron. Sparks flew, and O’Brien became the only person ever to go down to Mitt Romney at the polls.

Duration:00:29:32

The South Florida Dem Who Got Hacked By The Russians

9/6/2017
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In early 2016, the race for the 26th congressional district looked like it was shaping up to be a pretty standard Florida election, as Democrat Annette Taddeo took on incumbent Republican Carlos Curbelo. To her surprise, Taddeo attracted an unexpected opponent in the primary, a former Democratic congressman named Joe Garcia. That was bad enough. But things got even worse when a bunch of documents relating to her campaign got leaked by Russian hackers.

Duration:00:30:07

Revisiting The Last Disaster In The Gulf

8/30/2017
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In the Spring of 2010, one of the worst environmental disasters in history occurred when the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next few months, over 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the ocean. Today, as a new disaster -- Hurricane Harvey -- confronts the gulf coast, what lessons are there to be learned from the response to the BP spill? Ben LaBolt, assistant White House press secretary during the spill, talks to us about how he helped craft the...

Duration:00:26:00

What It Was Like To Be An Openly Gay Politician In 1996

8/23/2017
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In 1996, two of congress’s only 3 openly gay members were set to retire; only Barney Frank would be left standing. To fill the void, two new gay candidates stepped up. One of them was Rick Zbur in Southern California, and during that campaign he became an unwitting test case for how to deal with running for office while out.

Duration:00:48:02

The Day The Global Economy Stood Still

8/16/2017
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In the fall of 2008, President George W. Bush warned top political leaders that without a massive infusion of cash into the market, "this sucker" -- that is, the economy -- "could go down." Days later, the House of Representatives balked at Bush. The first failed vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program cost the Dow 777 points. It was, perhaps, the most dramatic legislative failure of the 21st Century. And this week’s guests were in the middle of it all.

Duration:00:44:51

The Real History Of The Infamous Compromise Behind Don't Ask Don't Tell

8/9/2017
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In 1994, Bill Clinton signed a directive allowing gays to serve in the military, provided they concealed their sexual identity. That policy -- Don't Ask Don't Tell -- had many critics and few proponents. And Clinton's legacy took a hit because of it. Fifteen years later, Don't Ask Don't Tell was finally repealed. Former Congressman Barney Frank talks with us about the institution and repeal of the policy -- and why he thinks Clinton gets a bad rap.

Duration:00:53:57

The Senate Candidate Who Put Together An AR-15 Blindfolded

8/2/2017
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Jason Kander ran what was widely considered one of the best Senate campaigns of the 2016 cycle. He combined an impressive resume with youthful vigor and a clear comfort with being on the trail. Oh, he also had the best campaign ad of the cycle. But it wasn't enough to unseat Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). And on this episode, he discusses what it might take for a progressive to win in a red state.

Duration:00:39:54

How A Tea Party Darling Was Undone By Hubris, Drugs, and Washington D.C. (But Mainly Drugs)

7/26/2017
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Trey Radel had a promising congressional career ahead of him -- before it all came crashing down one night after he attempted to purchase cocaine from an undercover agent. In that moment, he became a cautionary tale and a pariah within his party. Now removed from office, he reflects on the missteps made and has some pointed pieces of advice for future "rising stars."

Duration:00:42:00

How A Conservative Writer Became A Target For The Alt-Right

7/19/2017
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David French never thought he'd run for office, let alone the White House. But in the spring of 2016, as the Never Trump movement was growing desperate for a candidate, his name was floated by conservative stalwart Bill Kristol. French, a writer for the National Review, took the idea seriously. But he soon discovered all the horribles that come when you're thrust into the ring.

Duration:00:49:56

What It’s Like to Campaign Against Donald Trump And Vladimir Putin At The Same Time

7/12/2017
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When Donald Trump won the Republican presidential primary, most Democrats cheered their good fortune. Not the Clinton campaign. They worried about an unconventional opponent who had already humiliated one establishment favorite (Jeb Bush). Little did they know just how insane the campaign would be.

Duration:00:50:48

How One Senator Found His Calling In The Wake Of Tragedy

7/5/2017
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Chris Murphy never thought much about gun control when he was serving in the House. In fact, he often parroted the NRA's talking points out of political expediency. But shortly after he won election to the senate in 2012, 20 first graders were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The tragedy took place in Murphy's old district and it fundamentally transformed him and his career. But it didn't change gun laws.

Duration:00:43:42

The Inside Story How Bernie Sanders Raised $218 Million Online

6/28/2017
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When Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign, he needed someone to do his online fundraising. He chose the team at Revolution Messaging (or rather, they chose him), and together, they turned a candidacy that no one expected to go all that far into the biggest grassroots money machine in U.S. political history. On this first episode of Season Two of Candidate Confessional, the folks at Revolution Messaging speak out for the first time about how it all happened. We talk to Tim...

Duration:00:47:51

Coming Soon: Candidate Confessional Season 2

6/21/2017
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Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis will go back to look at some of the biggest stories from campaigns past - the scandals, the policy battles, the failures and everything in-between. Each week, Stein and Cherkis sit down with some of the biggest names in politics. Highlights from this season will include Hillary Clinton's Communications Director Jen Palmieri, National Review Writer and near-presidential candidate David French, former Congressman Barney Frank, and Rielle Hunter, the videographer...

Duration:00:01:35

BONUS: The Rise And Fall Of James Comey

5/11/2017
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Candidate Confessional season 2 approaches! In the meantime, host Sam Stein sits down with Huffpost's senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly and former Department of Justice spokesperson Matthew Miller to discuss recently-fired FBI director James Comey: his career, and how it came to this. Enjoy.

Duration:00:38:41

BONUS: Huffpost's All-Star Trumpcare Panel

5/5/2017
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Candidate Confessional Season 2 is on the way! But in the meantime, we assembled a panel of Huffpost healthcare reporters to chew on yesterday's legislative bombshell: the House's passage of an Obamacare repeal/replace bill. Sam is joined by Huffpost reporters Jeff Young, Jonathan Cohn, and Matt Fuller to talk about what all this means.

Duration:00:33:10

The Man Who Tried To Help Al Gore Win The White House

6/6/2016
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The 2000 presidential election was 16 years ago. But for Ron Klain, a lawyer for Vice President Al Gore, the loss still hurts. Klain sits down with Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis to explain the intricate process of the Florida ballot recount.

Duration:00:58:31

Gary Johnson On His Run For President

5/29/2016
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Gary Johnson was the governor of New Mexico before he decided to embark on a presidential run in 2012. Johnson talks to Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis about his presidential bid as a libertarian, and why he separated himself from his republican counterparts.

Duration:00:33:15