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The Axe Files with David Axelrod

CNN

News

4.67.6K Ratings

Overview

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.

616 Episodes

Mayor Mike Duggan

From darkened streetlights and abandoned homes to pervasive graffiti and long waits for emergency services, Mayor Mike Duggan inherited a Detroit rife with problems, but also potential. Since he took office in 2014, Mayor Duggan has helmed a turnaround for the city, overseeing rising standards of living and significant economic growth. Mayor Duggan joined David at the newly re-opened Michigan Central to talk about the revitalization of Detroit, how Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer would fare as a presidential candidate, and the deeply felt ramifications of the Israel-Gaza war in his home state. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 13 June 2024

Ep. 582 - Leon Panetta

When Leon Panetta was growing up in Monterey, California, his Italian immigrant parents often invited soldiers training at nearby Fort Ord to holiday dinners before they shipped out to World War Two battlegrounds. Later, as Secretary of Defense, Panetta’s thoughts returned to those service members when deploying young men and women to war. He sat down with David to talk about his long political career, his thoughts on the war in Ukraine, the intelligence lapse around the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what Israel is doing wrong in its fight against Hamas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 6 June 2024

Best of The Axe Files: Bill Walton

Bill Walton, one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and former basketball announcer, died this week. David talked with Bill back in 2016 about leadership, what he learned playing for John Wooden at UCLA, how his back troubles nearly drove him to suicide, his love of the Grateful Dead, and much more. We revisit that conversation this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 30 May 2024

Ep. 581 — George Stephanopoulos

Originally built in just two weeks for $30,000, the White House Situation Room has been the nerve center during some of history’s most seismic events, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, to the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. In his new book, “The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis,” George Stephanopoulos chronicles 60 years of American politics through spotlighting the historic room. George joined David onstage at the Chicago Humanities Festival to talk about his time working in the White House, how failed missions hashed out in the Situation Room informed future presidencies, and the responsibility of the media in covering Donald Trump in the 2024 election. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 23 May 2024

Ep. 580 — Jen Psaki

For former press secretary and current MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki, clear communication has long been a hallmark of her success, from door knocking in Iowa as a young campaign staffer to explaining to her kids why they should eat vegetables. With her new book, “Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World,” Psaki delves into what she’s learned about effective communication over the years. She joined David to talk about her book, the Biden administration’s messaging on the economy, how people are multilayered yet often caricatured, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the ongoing war in Gaza. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 16 May 2024

Ep. 579 — Cyrus Habib

Cyrus Habib was a political rising star when he made the surprise announcement that he was leaving elected office to join the Catholic ministry. Cyrus lost his eyesight to cancer at 8 years old, but that didn’t stop him from collecting such accolades as degrees from Yale and Oxford and the role of Washington state lieutenant governor by the age of 35. While he valued helping those in need, he felt he could make a difference more authentically by removing the ego of political office and leaning into his faith. He joined David to talk about growing up as the son of Iranian immigrants and how his parents taught him his blindness was not his identity, interning for then-Senator Hillary Clinton following 9/11 and how it changed his outlook on public service, and deciding to convert to Catholicism and join the Jesuit order. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 9 May 2024

Ep. 578 — Frank Bruni

“Measuring misfortune is no strategy for living,” writes journalist Frank Bruni in his new book, “The Age of Grievance.” Yet, he says, we live in a culture obsessed with feeling victimized, searching for every micro-aggression, and leaning in to personal grievance as a sort of social currency. Frank joined David to talk about his book, the civic challenges posed by grievance, why Ron DeSantis is the most emblematic politician of our era, the need for political reform, protests on college campuses, and how to approach others with more grace and less judgement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 2 May 2024

Ep. 577 — Ken Buck

Former Rep. Ken Buck eludes simple classification. He grew up on the East Coast but says he felt more at home on his uncle’s Wyoming ranch as a kid. He is Princeton educated, but beelined for the Rocky Mountain West upon graduating. He is a former Freedom Caucus conservative who voted to certify the 2020 election and believes some of the charges against Donald Trump should be taken seriously. He resigned his seat in March 2024, citing the current dysfunction in Congress. Former Rep. Buck joined David to talk about his take on the Republican MAGA wing, Speaker Mike Johnson and how long he’ll hold his leadership role, attacks on the Department of Justice, his issues with the Affordable Care Act, and the importance of bipartisanship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 25 April 2024

Ep. 576 — Fareed Zakaria

According to Fareed Zakaria, we are living in an age of revolution, kindled by the converging factors of technological advancement, information proliferation, globalization, and cultural shifts. He joined David during a live taping of The Axe Files at the University Club of Chicago to talk about what he discovered in researching his new book, “Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present,” how past revolutions inform today, how the US electoral system magnifies polarization, the ways in which the ideas of left and right politics have changed, and his mixed feelings on the upcoming trials of former President Donald Trump. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 18 April 2024

Ep. 575 — Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi may have made history as the first woman elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives, but she made her reputation as an effective leader with a knack for building consensus and pushing landmark legislation across the finish line. She joined David live at Arizona State University to talk about the political skills she learned from her father, her work to pass the Affordable Care Act, her unfavorable opinion of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, why she wishes the Department of Justice would have moved faster on investigating January 6, 2021, and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 11 April 2024

Ep. 574— Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell has never shied away from fighting for the underdog. Since childhood, she has looked for ways to assist those in need, a drive further fueled by the early loss of her sister to Hodgkin's lymphoma. Sister Simone joined David to talk about making a name for herself as an advocate for the Affordable Care Act, deciding to attend law school in addition to taking her vows as a Catholic nun, intertwining her faith with activism, and centering her faith in the present. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 4 April 2024

Ep. 573 — David Plouffe and Karl Rove

This episode is a little different from the normal Axe Files. David sat down at Arizona State University with two legendary political strategists: Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s campaigns, and David Plouffe, David’s old partner and the brilliant manager behind the 2008 Barack Obama campaign. You can find their personal stories in past episodes of The Axe Files (Karl Rove episode #80, and David Plouffe episodes #43 and #418), but in this conversation, they talked about the Biden-Trump rematch, which they all agreed is the most unusual campaign of their lifetimes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 28 March 2024

Ep. 572 — Chris Christie

Eight years ago, then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shook up the political world by dropping out of the race for president to endorse Donald Trump. Since the election of 2020 and the events that followed, including a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, Christie has become one of Trump’s fiercest critics and unsuccessfully challenged him in this year’s primary elections. He talked with David about the arc of his journey from ally and advisor to outspoken foe. He discusses their ruptured relationship and offers fascinating insights into the now-thrice-nominated Trump and his capture of the Republican Party. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 21 March 2024

Best of The Axe Files: Alastair Campbell

This week, we're revisiting a conversation from the early days of The Axe Files, way back in 2015, featuring Alastair Campbell. He served as the communications guru for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Campbell, a prolific author and speaker, shares poignant insights into his own struggles with mental illness, in addition to delving into political matters. They explore various topics, including the emerging candidacy of Donald Trump, who was embarking on his unlikely journey to the presidency at the time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 14 March 2024

Ep. 571 – Michael Crow

Last week, David sat down with Arizona State University’s celebrated president, Michael Crow. During their discussion, the two talked about Crow's remarkable personal journey, ASU's pioneering model for the new American public university, which emphasizes inclusivity in admissions and academic excellence, as well as innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the 21st century. They also delved into ASU's deep commitment to addressing local and global challenges, highlighting the university's significant impact on Arizona and beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 7 March 2024

Ep. 570 — Rep. Pete Aguilar

Last week, David sat down with Congressman Pete Aguilar of California, who serves as the chairman of the Democratic House Caucus and holds the distinction of being the highest-ranking Hispanic member in the U.S. House. They delved into Aguilar's remarkable personal journey, emblematic of the American dream, and addressed the gridlock gripping Congress, exacerbated by mounting crises concerning the budget, the border, and funding for Ukraine and Israel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 29 February 2024

Ep. 569 — Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley stands as a rare figure, achieving Hall of Fame status in both sports and politics. As a former New Jersey Senator and presidential candidate, Bradley's impact on public life spans decades. Before his esteemed political career, he left an enduring legacy in college basketball, the Olympics, and as a vital member of the historic early '70s New York Knicks. Throughout both careers Bill Bradley earned a reputation for thoughtful reflection. David sat down will Bill this week to talk about his documentary, his life, and lessons learned along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 22 February 2024

Ep. 568 — Thomas Friedman

For over four decades, Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning luminary renowned for his insightful columns in The New York Times and a friend of The Axe Files, has been a steadfast voice delving into the intricate tapestry of the Middle East. His profound understanding of the region's nuances is unparalleled, making him an invaluable ally in navigating its tumultuous landscape. As the harrowing conflict in Gaza persists, David thought it was time to sit down for some wisdom from his old friend. With the omnipresent specter of social media threats and the ever-evolving challenges of modern diplomacy, their conversation couldn't be timelier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 15 February 2024

Ep. 567 — Sen. Raphael Warnock

Many individuals have two jobs, but none quite like Raphael Warnock. On most weekdays, he patrols the halls of Congress as the Senior Senator from the state of Georgia. However, he also holds the position of senior pastor at the storied Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Preaching from the same pulpit that his idol, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once graced—a man he shares much in common with. Last week, David sat down with Reverend Warnock, Senator Warnock, to discuss his extraordinary journey from the housing projects of Savannah to these esteemed positions, and how he utilizes his platform to further Dr. King's social justice mission. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 8 February 2024

Ep. 566 — Stephanie Murphy

Stephanie Murphy truly is a great American story. Born in Vietnam a few years after the war, she and her family fled tyranny and were rescued at sea by the U.S. Navy. Raised in a trailer park in Virginia, she worked her way through college and graduate school. Post 9/11, she became a young star at the Department of Defense, working as an analyst at the highest levels of the Pentagon. Later, she was elected to three terms in Congress where she stood out from the partisans, ideologues, and bloviators, earning a reputation as an earnest and incisive problem solver. In the end, however, Stephanie Murphy may be most remembered for her service on the fateful January 6th committee. She joined David to talk about all of this, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 1 February 2024

Ep. 565 — Jeff Zeleny

Jeff Zeleny is one of America's very best political reporters, with decades of experience covering national campaigns for the Des Moines Register, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, ABC, and CNN. David sat down with him the day of the New Hampshire primary to glean his insights into the current race. Their conversation also delved into Zeleny's personal journey – from his Nebraska farm childhood influencing his reporting to overcoming a lifelong speech impediment, establishing him as one of America's premier broadcast journalists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 25 January 2024

Ep. 564 — John Miller

John Miller has seen a lot. Born into the world of journalism as the son of a National Enquirer reporter, Miller's upbringing immersed him in a world of celebrities, club owners, mobsters, and law enforcement. Miller has spent his life toggling between television, journalism, and law enforcement. He has covered some of the most significant national security and crime stories in the past four decades, including a rare interview with Osama bin Laden. Miller has also served at the highest levels of the FBI, the nation's two largest police departments, and the office of the Director of National Intelligence. He joined David to discuss his expansive career and share his unique perspective on the intersections of crime, journalism, and national security. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 18 January 2024

Ep. 563 — Mick Mulvaney

Mick Mulvaney knows a lot about the central players in the Republican nominating drama. With a background as the former budget director and acting chief of staff to Donald Trump, Mulvaney played a crucial role in the political landscape. Serving in Congress alongside Ron DeSantis and co-founding the House Freedom Caucus, he offers a unique perspective on party dynamics. Sharing anecdotes from his time as a South Carolina legislator alongside state representative Nikki Haley, Mulvaney joins David in a reflective conversation on the current state of the Republican race and the twists and turns of his own political journey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 11 January 2024

The Axe Files presents All There Is with Anderson Cooper

This week The Axe Files team is sharing a special episode of Anderson Cooper’s extraordinary podcast All There Is. It’s a conversation about grief with President Joe Biden, who has faced more than his share in life. In it, he offers moving memories, lessons, and insights that are well worth hearing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 4 January 2024

Best of The Axe Files: Madeleine Albright

This holiday season, we are revisiting a conversation from March 2017 with Madeleine Albright, the trailblazing American scholar, diplomat, and Secretary of State. She passed away in 2022, but her inspiring personal story and her extraordinary insights into this complicated world are timeless. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 28 December 2023

Ep. 562 — Cassidy Hutchinson

Before June 28th 2022, few Americans knew of Cassidy Hutchinson, the young former White House staffer. But that all changed that day when she appeared as a surprise star witness at a hastily called televised hearing of the House Select Committee on January 6th to share what she knew about the events leading up to and following the storming of Capitol Hill by a pro-trump mob. But her own life story is worth hearing and compellingly told in her new book “Enough”. Cassidy joined David to talk about her book, her time in the White House, her relationship with the Republican Party, and her life now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 21 December 2023

Ep. 561 — Sara Paretsky

Although author Sara Paretsky grew up in Kansas, she said it was her summer in Chicago volunteering during the civil rights movement in 1966 that marked the “defining experience” on her life. Second wave feminism similarly influenced Sara, culminating in the creation of V.I. Warshawski, a stereotype-smashing, hardboiled, female private eye, who leads 22 of Sara’s crime novels. Sara joined David to talk about her family history, the recent rise in antisemitism, using her writing to give voice to the marginalized, the creation of V.I. Warshawski, and Sara’s work on abortion and women’s rights. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 14 December 2023

Ep. 560 — Tim Alberta

Journalist Tim Alberta grew up in the evangelical church and has watched with both concern and interest as some factions of the faith have changed over the years. Following the death of his pastor father, Tim decided to take a closer look at American evangelicalism. He published the book “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism” in December 2023. Tim joined David to talk about his new book, the profitability and politicization of the evangelical movement, the Moral Majority and the history of evangelical victimization, Donald Trump’s threat to religious freedom, and the real Nikki Haley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 7 December 2023

Ep. 559 — Sen. Mallory McMorrow

Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow always wanted to design cars. While that didn’t quite pan out—although she did spend some time working for Mattel on Hot Wheels—she has made a name for herself as a legislator after a speech she gave on the Michigan Senate floor rebuking GOP culture wars went viral in 2022. Sen. McMorrow joined David to talk about her Catholic upbringing rooted in service, her journey from industrial design to politics, the war in the Middle East and her disgust over politicization of human suffering, Michigan politics, and why she thinks Democrats need to prioritize good candidates at all levels of government. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 30 November 2023

Ep. 558 — Walter Massey

Dr. Walter Massey is a uniquely accomplished and fascinating American. Raised in the segregated South, Walter became one of only a handful of Black physicists in the 1960s and went on to hold leadership roles at laboratories, universities, and briefly Bank of America during the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis. He joined David to talk about his work bringing more minorities into the sciences, his involvement in civil rights as a professor, nuclear energy and scientific research, and Covid-19’s effect on trust in the scientific community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 23 November 2023

Ep. 557 — Amb. David Pressman

Ambassador David Pressman has spent decades working on human rights, from positions at the White House to years as a human rights lawyer and nonprofit leader. He is continuing to fight for human rights and democracy as the current Ambassador to Hungary, but this time with added significance—he serves as a gay man in a country enacting increasingly anti-LGBT legislation. He joined David to talk about supporting LGBT rights in Hungary, how the state-run media has made him a target, and the threat of Vladimir Putin and Russia to democracy is Hungary and around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 16 November 2023

Ep. 556 — Obama 15-Year Anniversary Special

This week, we’re bringing you a special episode of The Axe Files. In honor of the 15th anniversary of President Barack Obama’s historic election, David assembled a group of key players who made the 2008 Obama campaign happen. Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Reggie Love, and Alyssa Mastromonaco joined David to talk about their memories of the campaign, share stories from the trail, and reflect on the historic nature of Nov. 4, 2008. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 9 November 2023

Ep. 555 — McKay Coppins

Journalist McKay Coppins has been linked to Sen. Mitt Romney since he covered Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. As a fellow Mormon from Massachusetts, McKay was seen as a “Mormon whisperer” by his fellow reporters on the trail. Now, with the help of dozens of interviews and access to Romney’s journals and emails, McKay has written “Romney: A Reckoning.” He joined David to talk about his new book, the political evolution of Romney and the Republican Party, the omnipresence of Romney’s father in his life and career decisions, political idealism, Donald Trump, and Romney’s sense of legacy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcribed - Published: 2 November 2023

Ep. 554 — Ilana Dayan

Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan has anchored "Uvda,” the leading investigative news program on Israeli TV, for 30 years. She joined David this week to talk about the first 24 hours after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, America’s involvement in the conflict, the helplessness felt in Israel, whether she believes the war will expand throughout the region, the political fallout for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party following the attack, and where the Israeli-Palestinian relationship—as well as any hope for peace—goes from here.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 26 October 2023

Ep. 553 — Walter Isaacson

Writer Walter Isaacson grew up in a family full of engineers and spent his spare time making radios and televisions sets. While he became a journalist and author instead, his interest in technology and science remained and has informed his selection of biography subjects, from Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs. Walter joined David to talk about his latest biography on Elon Musk and Musk's “epic hero visions of himself,” his technological genius, how Musk’s father’s treatment of him affected his personality, the openness and transparency Musk allowed Isaacson, and criticism Isaacson received for getting too close to Musk during the writing of his book, "Elon Musk."To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 19 October 2023

Ep. 552 — David French

David French has held many roles: religious-liberties attorney, army officer, writer and political commentator, and outspoken critic of Donald Trump. French joined David to talk about the dissonance he felt in adhering to his conservative Christian values in the face of a changing GOP, his decision to leave the Republican Party in 2016, the hate and threats he and his family endured for criticizing Trump, his views on same-sex marriage and abortion, his steadfast belief in the First Amendment, and why he is greatly concerned for America today.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 12 October 2023

Best of the Axe Files: Rep. Nancy Pelosi

This week, we’re revisiting a 2015 interview with Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Then serving as House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi spoke with David about her childhood in Baltimore, her tenure as Speaker of the House and all of its challenges, the key to building consensus, and politics and power.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 5 October 2023

Ep. 551 — Lawrence Wright

As a child, journalist and writer Lawrence Wright cherished his summer visits to the library with his mother when he would load up cardboard boxes with books to devour. His love of reading evolved into a love of writing, and he has since written deeply reported books, novels, plays, and screenplays, as well as working as a staff writer for The New Yorker. Lawrence joined David to talk about the Texas of his childhood and what the current state of Texas portends for America; writing about faith, from Islamic extremism to Scientology; his concerns over political violence; the type of Texas he would like to see in the future; and his newest book, “Mr. Texas: A Novel.”To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 28 September 2023

Ep. 550 — Susan Rice

After a decades-long career in public service spanning three presidential administrations, Susan Rice left her post as President Biden’s domestic policy advisor in May 2023. Rice joined David to talk about the differences between working on domestic policy and national security, Biden taking office in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of mental health care, the challenges of immigration policy, gun violence's impacts on generations of young people, the stakes of the war in Ukraine, and the threat of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 21 September 2023

Ep. 549 — Gov. Jay Inslee

After decades in public office and a 2019 run for president focused on fighting climate change, Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently announced he would not seek reelection in 2024. Gov. Inlsee joined David to talk about where we are in tackling the climate crisis, moving away from a fossil fuel economy, the problems with social media, what he views as a lack of leadership in the Republican Party, and why he is optimistic about the climate future.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 14 September 2023

Ep. 548 — Scott Galloway

Born in California to immigrant parents, Scott Galloway says that he’s the product of an America willing to invest in unremarkable people. While Scott has made a name for himself as an entrepreneur, author, professor, and outspoken podcast host, he’s endeared himself to audiences through his candor and vulnerability. Scott joined David to talk about what makes America unique, higher education and its moral short fallings, the benefits of immigration, the dangers of social media, problems with the tax code, and his belief that Donald Trump will drop out of the presidential race and make a plea deal.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 7 September 2023

Ep. 547 — Amb. Oksana Markarova

Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova grew up during the downfall of the Soviet Union. She spent much of her career helping rebuild Ukraine’s economy after the country became independent, working in the private sector before joining Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance. She was appointed Ambassador to the U.S. in 2021 in part to help strengthen economic ties, but her priorities quickly shifted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Amb. Markarova joined David to talk about her upbringing and the difficulty and hope that came with Ukrainian independence, her view of President Zelensky, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and why this war in an existential threat to all who believe in democracy.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 31 August 2023

Ep. 546 — Sally Yates

Former US Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Yates has been mostly quiet about the indictments facing former President Donald Trump—the man who fired her as Acting Attorney General just days after he took office. This week, Sally talked to David about the legal perils and “strong cases” against Trump, the idea of a two-tiered legal system, the importance of sticking to facts and truth, concerns over degradation of US institutions, and her recent investigation into allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women’s soccer.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 24 August 2023

Ep. 545 — Arthur Brooks

Arthur Brooks has held many roles in his life: professional French horn player in Barcelona, leader of the American Enterprise Institute, and now a professor of happiness at Harvard. The author and social scientist has a new book on the subject, “Build the Life You Want,” co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, coming out in September 2023. Arthur joined David to talk about the science of happiness, the relationship between new technology and waves of populism, how America’s dignity gap influences its politics, and the need to rebuild human connection.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 17 August 2023

Ep. 544 — John Podesta

John Podesta was looking forward to retirement when he got a call from the Biden administration asking him to serve as the senior adviser to the President for clean energy innovation and implementation. A long-time advocate for the environment in the nonprofit and political sectors, he decided to jump back into the fight. John talked to David about his childhood on the Northwest side of Chicago in a close knit family, how anti-Vietnam activism led to his involvement in politics, why he worries more about America today than he did in the 1960s, and his leadership role on environmental protection and climate during the Biden presidency.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 10 August 2023

Ep. 543 — John King

After seven years as the host of CNN’s “Inside Politics,” John King is stepping away from the anchor desk and returning to his reporter roots, traveling the country to talk to Americans across the political spectrum ahead of the 2024 presidential election. John joined David to talk about his start in journalism at the Associated Press and his move to television, his multiple sclerosis diagnosis and his decision to speak out about the disease, and the challenges of working in the news industry during the time of Trump.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 3 August 2023

Ep. 542 — Adrian Perkins

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Adrian Perkins decided to forgo the traditional job at a top-tier law firm, instead opting to return to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana as a candidate for mayor. After one term, punctuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Perkins fell short in his reelection campaign, but he hasn't lost his dedication to his hometown. On the latest Axe Files, Adrian talked about his “superhero” mother, his time in the military, his tenure as mayor of Shreveport, what motivates his service, and his mission to inspire young people.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 27 July 2023

Ep. 541 — Sen. Tammy Baldwin

As a child, Sen. Tammy Baldwin suffered a months-long illness, leaving her with a preexisting condition that made obtaining health insurance impossible. The experience inspired her to pursue public office, first locally from her home in Madison, Wisconsin, and later as a member of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Baldwin joined David to talk about healthcare, tackling the mental health and opioid abuse crises, GOP culture wars, and working across the aisle to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 20 July 2023

Ep. 540 — Jon Meacham

Historian and writer Jon Meacham’s most recent book, “And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” dives deep into Lincoln and the why behind the actions of America’s 16th president, from personal to political. Jon joined David to talk about Lincoln’s anti-slavery roots, what Lincoln can teach us about the current political moment, the moral decisions we face as a country, and what qualities make a great American president.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 13 July 2023

Ep. 539 — Supervisor Bill Gates

Lifelong Republican Bill Gates was working as a lawyer and serving on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Arizona’s most populous county when the 2020 election upended his life. Maricopa County became a hub of the Stop the Steal movement, and Bill, who defended the safety and legitimacy of the election, became a top target. Bill joined David to talk about navigating vicious attacks from those within his own party, the toll it took on his mental health and that of his family, and his hopes for the future of the Republican Party.To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

Transcribed - Published: 29 June 2023

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