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The Political Wire Podcast

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New York City, NY


Engaging interviews and discussions of elections and the political issues of the day. Updated weekly.




Joshua Green: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

If you’re going to read one book on politics this summer vacation, the word is out: Devil’s Bargain – Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency is the one. The book is by Josh Green, Senior National Correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, and if you believe what Politico reports, the book has President Trump livid. To be clear, as you’ll hear, Josh is just fine with that. You’ll love this conversation. Josh is a great storyteller and a funny guy – Back stories on...

Duration: 00:25:47

Graham Allison: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

That’s the provocative, timely, and somewhat scary question posed by one of America’s great authorities on international affairs: Harvard’s Graham Allison. Allison looks at the rising tensions between the two global competitors through a 2500-year lens in his new, important book: “Destined for War: Can America and China escape Thucydides’s Trap.” Don’t worry, Allison explains it very clearly, but it’s centered on a central principal that has resulted in 12 wars over the last 500 years:...

Duration: 00:33:52

Al Franken: "I freed up the funny"

So where do you start a conversation with U.S. Senator Al Franken? There’s so much to discuss. Russia investigations? President Trump? Congressional Hearings? Health Care? Which is why we started with the obvious: The Grateful Dead. He’s a big fan. But don’t worry. We quickly moved off the Dead and to the policies and politics that matter today. As Sen. Franken makes clear: That’s why he says this is the best job he’s ever had. You surely know some or all of Sen. Franken’s...

Duration: 00:34:05

Sidney Blumenthal: 'Wrestling with His Angel'

I just finished talking with Sidney Blumenthal, and I know, depending on which cable network you prefer, he’s someone you already likely either love or hate. But I’m telling you, regardless of where you fall, you’re really going to like this conversation. We spoke because Sidney has a new book, and it’s excellent – It’s “Wrestling With His Angel: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856.” He has two more volumes to go, and wait until you hear about his process. It was...

Duration: 00:33:09

Tom Walker (a.k.a. Jonathan Pie): Political satire in the Trump era

Today Tom Walker is going to set you straight on politics, liberalism, free speech, and more. Who’s Tom Walker? You might know him better as Jonathan Pie, the liberal British “newscaster” – and that’s in quotes – who keeps getting surreptitiously filmed talking off-camera to his producer Tim, who’s back at the studio. Here’s the YouTube video he posted 2 days after the Trump election. By Walker’s count it’s been shown in various formats more than 100MM times. A quick warning: This...

Duration: 00:48:29

Garry Kasparov: Why Trump Will Lose Playing Putin’s Dangerous Game

What went on – and is going on – with Russia and the U.S., or more specifically, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump? DNC hacking; the President’s continually positive characterizations of Putin; former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; new questions around Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and calls for him to recuse himself from any investigations… the list goes on. And while the facts continue to trickle out, the overall context becomes increasingly relevant –...

Duration: 00:42:42

Norm Eisen: Is Donald Trump Above the Law?

It feels like every day we reach a new point of “well, this has never happened before” in American politics. And I’m not just talking about the Tweets. Ok, the tweets are something. Incredible, really. We can and will have a conversation on when to ignore and when to react to them. But let’s get past the Tweetstorms for a moment. I’m talking about actual questions about democracy and the Constitution and even America itself. Questions that take more than 140 characters to answer....

Duration: 00:34:08

Celinda Lake: It Was Still the Economy, Stupid

The Electoral College has voted. The next cabinet is essentially filled. And with the holiday season here, and our focus is turning to the little things like peace on earth and good will towards men. And yet, even with the time passing, even with the new challenges – Russia hacking our democracy, Congress promising to hack healthcare, Navy drones in the South China Sea – nearly every Democrat I talk with still has the same singular question: What happened? We know all the theories:...

Duration: 00:31:06

Neil Newhouse: The ‘Nose-Holder’ Election

We’re down to the numbers game, folks. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll still have the name calling, threats, promises, rallies, commercials and more – I didn’t say the campaign is over – but all focus now turns to a single number: 270. What’s the best path for both candidates to get there? And what’s it like inside the campaigns in the final days. Few would know better than Neil Newhouse; because he’s been there. Neil was lead pollster four years ago for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential...

Duration: 00:38:43

David Wasserman: Can Democrats Put More House Seats In Play?

It’s so hard to talk politics and not have the whole conversation be about Donald Trump. And with all of the coverage – even ours – seemingly centered on the Presidential race, it might be hard to remember that there’s another branch of government where the November 8 vote matters as well. We didn’t forget, though. So today, let’s talk about the House. You know the basics – the Republicans control it. And most people think Democrats would have to run a clean sweep of the so-called...

Duration: 00:27:27

What's Going On with the Republican Party?

I wanted to step away from the daily politics today and take a bit of a longer view, because maybe you’re wondering the same thing I am: What’s going on with the Republican Party? Everywhere you turn there’s another layer of erosion, whether from politicians or party elders or longtime political donors. Regardless of who wins the Presidency, something big has changed within the Republican Party. And I don’t care which party you belong to, if either of them looks like it’s...

Duration: 00:37:07

Dan Drezner: Foreign Policy for Campaigns is Like an Unexploded Landmine

I just finished talking with Dan Drezner, Professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Stay with me now… because Drezner is most definitely not your parents’ poli sci professor. For one, you’ve got to follow him on Twitter. He’s funny, topical, and as likely to tweet a goofy video as he is to include a scatter-plot graph. He’s also not above using a curse word every now and then. He also seems, on Twitter, like a guy you’d want...

Duration: 00:37:47

Jim Messina: "It Was Always Going to be Close"

So I just finished talking with Jim Messina, Barack Obama’s winning 2012 campaign manager. Boy this guy knows politics. He knows the numbers. He knows the states. He knows the strategies. He knows the personalities. And he offers this great mix of numbers and narrative – he’s a walking master class. The data doesn’t matter without the story, and if you’ve got a campaign message but no numbers to get to 270 votes, well that doesn’t matter much either. For background in case you don’t...

Duration: 00:32:28

This is Pure Madness

So if this campaign is part psychological drama, part comical farce – a matchup of personalities that would be case studies 1 and 1a for any Psych 101 class… is there anyone better to talk to than Maureen Dowd? Of course there isn’t. Which is why I was really looking forward to this conversation. Maureen Dowd, as you know, is the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist. She’s a best selling author, and her latest book – just published – is “The Year of Voting Dangerously: The...

Duration: 00:27:44

Off the Blacklist: Reporting on a 'Wild and Weird' Election

So I just finished talking with Robert Costa, the Washington Post National Political Reporter and political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. The call was perfectly timed, as just this morning, a bunch of publications – including the Washington Post and Bob Costa – were taken off the Trump blacklist. So I had a newly freed Bob Costa, ready to talk about Trump and the Republican Party and Congress and more. And he did. As you likely know, Bob is basically the pre-eminent political reporter...

Duration: 00:35:09

A Neutron Bomb Has Gone Off in the Republican Party

Where does Stuart Stevens find the time? He is a founding partner of Strategic Partners & Media, the political consulting firm. He’s a Daily Beast contributor. He was the lead political strategist for the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And he just released his 7th book – this one is a novel – titled “The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear.” It’s an excellent read whose narrative is also weirdly close to the plotlines of our current presidential campaign. Speaking of the...

Duration: 00:53:03

There's Never Been One Like This

Jim Lehrer, the Dean of debate moderators, as Bernie Shaw once called him, joins us on Political Wire Conversations. Moderator of 12 U.S. Presidential debates. He’s also a current member of the Board of Directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates, the group that organizes and runs the general election debates – three with Trump and Clinton and one for the Vice Presidential candidates Pence and Kaine, assuming, of course, they all take place. Maybe Jim hasn’t seen it all, but...

Duration: 00:32:25

Is This Clinton's Election to Lose?

The 2016 presidential campaign is shaping up as Hillary Clinton's race to lose -- unless everything we know about politics is wrong. Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the national polls and most state polls as well. Nearly every forecast at this point show s landslide in the Electoral College. She has put together a better national campaign. She's running way more television ads. But can she win?

Duration: 00:30:26

Have We Really Never Seen a Presidential Election Like This One?

We’re in the middle of a political campaign that everyone says is unprecedented. There’s never been a candidate like Donald Trump. There’s never been a candidate like Hillary Clinton. There’s never been a campaign like this one. Never more negative. Never more disorganized. Never more off the cuff. Never, never, never. Well, how truly “never before” is this campaign? Are we really in totally unchartered territory? His history in fact no guide at all? Does context matter? John...

Duration: 00:44:41

When the Temperature Gets Too Hot

So as you know, because you can hardly turn on the television without seeing him, Van Jones is a political commentator on CNN. But as you’ll hear, he’s got so much else going on. He is President of Dream Corps and Rebuild the Dream, and you’ll hear about that. As opposed to so many of the people we see and hear on TV and talk radio, this guy is out there getting it done. You may not agree with Van on every issue, but you’ll have to agree there’s substance there. More biography: Van was...

Duration: 00:40:00

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