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POLITICO's Off Message


POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital. Hosted by Isaac Dovere.

POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital. Hosted by Isaac Dovere.
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POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital. Hosted by Isaac Dovere.






Mazie Hirono: Brett Kavanaugh is fudging the truth

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono gets candid about why she believes Kavanaugh's accuser, what it's like being the only immigrant in the U.S. Senate, and shares her own #MeToo story. Mazie Hirono thinks Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is not telling the truth about the sexual assault he allegedly committed as a teenager. She thinks he wasn’t telling the truth to the Judiciary Committee when he claimed not to remember any sexual misconduct by a judge he clerked for who was forced to resign last...


Ben Jealous: ‘Americans are suffering under the weight of half-measures’

Ben Jealous is a venture capitalist. Opponents call him a socialist. He says that’s the cost of wanting “people to be treated in a way that’s just.” Ben Jealous campaigned all over the country for Bernie Sanders, but he has a platinum American Express card in his wallet. He got his first campaign experience as a 14-year-old volunteer for Jesse Jackson in 1988, but the presidential candidate from that year he has since reconsidered is Steve Forbes, whose ideas about transforming schools into...


Seth Meyers: Trump wanted me to apologize for making fun of him (REPRISE)

A reprise episode: It wasn’t all porn star hush money: Michael Cohen once tried to negotiate an appearance by Donald Trump on Seth Meyers’ show, for what the “Late Night” host pitched as a fun way of coming together after torching Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. Meyers had invited Trump after running into him at the “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special in February 2015, a few months before the real estate developer’s presidential campaign launched. Trump,...


Tony Perkins: Trump gets ‘a mulligan’ on Stormy Daniels and other past indiscretions (REPRISE)

A reprise episode: Donald Trump is still the answer to many conservative evangelical leaders’ prayers. Or at least to their continuing grievances. They embrace Trump the policymaker, despite being uneasy about Trump as a man, says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a prominent evangelical activist group. Perkins knows about Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who claimed, in a 2011 interview, that in 2006 she had sex with Trump four months after his wife, Melania, gave...


Why Michael Hayden says Trump is helping Russia (Reprise)

Michael Hayden doesn’t know whether Donald Trump colluded with the Russian attack on the 2016 election—but he’s sure the president helped the Kremlin and is continuing to do so every day. Hayden, a retired general who led the NSA and the CIA under President George W. Bush, is sure, too, of what he calls a “convergence” of interests between Trump and Russia. And he thinks it risks destroying America. POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply...


Randi Weingarten: For unions, this is a ‘which side are you on’ moment

The president of the American Federation of Teachers says that union members haven’t just cooled on Trump—they’ve turned on him. Union leaders and members now “know who the bad guys are,” says Weingarten, the longtime head of the American Federation of Teachers—President Donald Trump and the five justices who signed on to the court’s Janus decision in June. Early on, Trump’s support among organized labor was at astronomical levels for a modern-day Republican, with November 2016 exit polls...


Shannon Watts: How to create an ‘army of angry moms and women’ from your own kitchen

The founder of Moms Demand Action talks about how she created one of the most successful gun control groups in the country—and where they go from here. Shannon Watts has a bodyguard who travels with her. He doesn’t carry a gun—his job is to scope out the local hospitals and know which one to rush her to if she gets shot. That’s been life for the mother of five since late 2012, when she founded Moms Demand Action, an organization that advocates for stricter regulation of guns. Watts says the...


John Dean: Nixon ‘might have survived if there'd been a Fox News’ — Reprise

This week, an encore presentation of an interview we first brought you earlier this year. John Dean was the star witness of the Watergate investigation — the counsel to President Richard Nixon who famously flipped and became the prosecution’s star witness in the process that helped take down the president. The Russia scandal is far from over, said Dean, but Trump has advantages that Nixon didn’t. “There’s social media, there’s the internet; the news cycles are faster. I think Watergate...


Marty Walsh: Working-class Trump voters ‘forgot where they came from’

Marty Walsh is a college drop-out and recovering alcoholic who grew up in a union household and worked his way up through organized labor and local politics. In many ways, he fits the profile of the kind of white working-class man who put Donald Trump in the White House. He also happens to be the Democratic mayor of Boston, and he has a bracing assessment of the blue-collar white voters backing Trump: They “forgot where they came from.” Walsh says it bothers him how many of the people he...


Francis Suarez: Miami's almost-millennial, Latino mayor doesn't like labels

Francis Suarez believes he may be the first Miami-born mayor of Miami. He also has a front-row seat to his swing state's senate and gubernatorial races. He didn't vote for Trump, but Mar-a-Lago isn't far. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Kate Andersen Brower: Making sense of the Trump-Pence relationship

How does Mike Pence keep his boss happy? By staying out of the spotlight, for starters, says journalist Kate Andersen Brower, whose new book looks at the relationships between presidents and their vice presidents. She describes the Trump-Pence dynamic, and sizes up how Pence compares to his predecessor in the job, Joe Biden. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Tom Arnold: 'Donald Trump is a D-list president, and his enemies are D-list, like Tom Arnold'

Tom Arnold talks about his hunt for Trump tapes, his selfie with Michael Cohen, and the mad coincidences that have injected him into a handful of political scandals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Seth Moulton: ‘We have a commander in chief that we fundamentally can’t trust.’

Congressman Seth Moulton is amassing an army of service-oriented Democratic candidates. His goal isn’t simply to defeat Trump; it’s to change politics — and maybe form his own national campaign in the process. He joins us to talk about military service, Donald Trump, 2020, and how he's hoping the Democratic Party will change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Kirsten Gillibrand: Trump is pushing the ‘devil’s schemes’

The New York senator has a different word for the family separation policy which the attorney general and White House press secretary call “Biblical.” Her word is “evil.” In the Biblical sense. Referencing the “devil’s schemes” from the Book of Ephesians, the New York senator said President Donald Trump’s administration qualifies for that label “if you were talking in Christian language.” “To me? Yes, these are all things that come from the darkness that are ripping children from their...


Jenny Durkan: ‘The baton got dropped,’ and Obama alums are running to finish what he started

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was the first Obama appointee to win a major election after his presidency. She's part of a network of Obama administration officials that want his presidency to mark the start of a new progressive era — and in order to make it a reality, they’re focused on defeating Trump, not simply by opposing him, but by out-organizing him. “‘Resist’ is too passive,” said Durkan. “We’ve got to focus and build a progress and a movement going forward,” “We saw the immense...


John Delaney: The 2020 long-shot candidate who’s gaining ground in Iowa

For Congressman John Delaney, the 2020 campaign is already underway. The money is there. So is the commitment. And people in are starting to pay attention. The little-known Maryland congressman thinks that’s part of what will transform a presidential run that pretty much no one takes seriously into the next Jimmy Carter-style, out-of-nowhere explosion onto the presidential debate stage. Delaney, who made his fortune founding two commercial lending companies, has already spent $1 million out...


Steyer: Pelosi is ‘normalizing’ Trump by not talking about impeachment

The billionaire California activist says Democratic leaders who don’t take up the cause aren't just writing off millions of potential voters, they are like those who told civil rights activists to be patient in the 1960s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Jimmy Carter: ‘Democracy has reached its peak and is declining’

Former President Jimmy Carter joins us to talk about the lack of moral leadership in the White House, faith, and what it would take for Donald Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize. We spoke to Carter at Liberty University shortly ahead of his delivery of the keynote speech at the school's commencement ceremonies. Though he and Jerry Falwell make an unlikely pair due to their very different politics (Falwell is a conservative Republican, Carter is a proud Democrat), Carter's deep and abiding...


Benjamin: ‘I don’t know exactly what the president cares and doesn’t care about’

Trump has lived his whole life in the city. So why does he have such an adversarial relationship with mayors? Mayor Steve Benjamin, the head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, joins us to discuss what cities are doing next in their battles with the Trump administration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Seth Meyers: Trump wanted me to apologize for making fun of him

The “Late Night” host talks about President Trump, the White House Correspondents Dinner, and the time Trump sent Michael Cohen to negotiate a mea culpa from the comedian. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices