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The Axe Files with David Axelrod

Updated 8 days ago

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David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings 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.

Read more

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings 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.

iTunes Ratings

4776 Ratings
Average Ratings
3556
576
252
162
230

The axe files

By Edb67 - Jan 03 2020
Read more
David Axelrod is the best. Such insightful shows. Keep them coming

Subscribed and left a star 5

By Time pass by - Dec 06 2019
Read more
Strictly for having Yang on, am happy to lend support to the podcast #YangGang

iTunes Ratings

4776 Ratings
Average Ratings
3556
576
252
162
230

The axe files

By Edb67 - Jan 03 2020
Read more
David Axelrod is the best. Such insightful shows. Keep them coming

Subscribed and left a star 5

By Time pass by - Dec 06 2019
Read more
Strictly for having Yang on, am happy to lend support to the podcast #YangGang
Cover image of The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Axe Files with David Axelrod

Latest release on Dec 30, 2019

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David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings 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.

Rank #1: Ep. 108 - President Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama sits down with David Axelrod to discuss their shared history together, how President Obama managed to stay grounded during turbulent moments of his childhood and adolescence, why the Obama presidency struggled to overcome the partisan politics in Washington, and what’s in store for the President when he leaves office on January 20th.

Dec 26 2016

58mins

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Rank #2: Ep. 49 - Jon Stewart (Live)

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Jon Stewart, comedian, author, and former host and executive producer of "The Daily Show," chats with David in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago to talk about Donald Trump and the 2016 election, lessons from lobbying in Washington, what he's working on today, and more.

May 10 2016

49mins

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Rank #3: Ep. 95 - Van Jones

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Van Jones, political activist and CNN commentator, talks with David about Tuesday’s election results and the cultural chasm that exists in America, his childhood in rural Tennessee and the important relationship he had with his father, and why he won’t be running for public office any time soon.

Nov 10 2016

1hr 2mins

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Rank #4: Ep. 33 - Lindsey Graham

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spends his Super Tuesday talking with David on Capitol Hill about why he opposes GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, why he thinks the Republican Party is falling apart, and how his parents' owning a bar in a small South Carolina town helped prepare him for a career in politics.

Mar 03 2016

39mins

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Rank #5: Ep. 167 - Rahm Emanuel

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacts to Trump's controversial statements on Charlottesville, discusses the city's lawsuit over the Trump administration's immigration policies, shares his advice for the Democratic Party ahead of the 2018 midterms, and more.

Aug 17 2017

1hr 7mins

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Rank #6: Pete Buttigieg (TV)

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Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joins David for a televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He makes the case for why his executive experience as mayor prepares him for the presidency, talks racial tensions in South Bend and his plan forward, what he learned from his military service in Afghanistan, why he waited until his thirties to come out as gay, and more. 

Jul 14 2019

1hr 17mins

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Rank #7: Ep. 267 - Jon Lovett

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Pod Save America co-host and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama Jon Lovett joins the show to talk about the art of speechwriting, his experience working with Hillary Clinton prior to joining the Obama White House, and what the future holds for Crooked Media.

Sep 10 2018

1hr 3mins

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Rank #8: Ep. 288 - Barack Obama (Live)

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Former President of the United States Barack Obama sits down with David in Hyde Park for a special live taping of the Axe Files. Their conversation touches on the Obamas' life in the Hyde Park community, the sacrifices his family made for his political career, his biggest regret from his time in the presidency, the politics of race in America, increasing political polarization, and much more.

Nov 20 2018

1hr 14mins

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Rank #9: Ep. 60 - Sen. Al Franken

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Minnesota Senator Al Franken talks with David about his journey from comedian to politician, his work on mental health issues, Congressional dysfunction, the Orlando shooting, and more.

Jun 23 2016

1hr 1min

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Rank #10: Ep. 99 - Steve Kerr

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Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, sits down with David to discuss his upbringing in the Middle East, his father’s assassination in Beirut, his reaction to President-elect Trump’s victory, his future in coaching, and much more.

Nov 23 2016

1hr

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Rank #11: Ep. 135 - Sen. John McCain

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Senator John McCain talks with David Axelrod about the threat Russia poses to Western democracies, why he is more worried now about America than he has ever been before, what he misses most about his early days in the House and Senate, and why Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan.

Apr 02 2017

54mins

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Rank #12: Ep. 80 - Karl Rove

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Karl Rove, former White House senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, and the mastermind behind President George W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns, sits down with David to discuss his early passion for politics, his assessment of the Bush years, and Donald Trump’s difficult road to winning the White House.

Sep 19 2016

1hr 3mins

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Rank #13: Ep. 11 - Jon Favreau

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Jon Favreau, former Director of Speechwriting for President Obama, speaks with David about his nerve-racking first meeting with his future boss, what it was like writing speeches in the White House, and the state of political speech-making today.

Nov 16 2015

46mins

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Rank #14: Ep. 238 - Michael Avenatti

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Michael Avenatti, the high-profile attorney representing Stormy Daniels, joins David to chat about how the loss of his father’s job when he was a teenager fueled his own ambitions, his passion for racecar driving, the slew of hard-hitting legal cases he’s been involved in, and what he thinks the outcome of the Stormy Daniels case will be.

Apr 30 2018

1hr 3mins

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Rank #15: Ep. 315 - Jeb Bush (TV)

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Former Governor Jeb Bush joins the Axe Files on CNN to talk about the Bush family legacy of public service, Trump’s impact on the 2016 Republican primary, his personal connection to the issue of immigration, and more.

Mar 17 2019

1hr 32mins

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Rank #16: Ep. 161 - George Stephanopoulos

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Chief Anchor for ABC News George Stephanopoulos chats with David about his previous career in politics, the Trump administration's tense relationship with the press, and what the appointment of a Special Counsel portends for the White House.

Jul 10 2017

1hr 5mins

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Rank #17: Ep. 100 - Doris Kearns Goodwin

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Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, talks with David Axelrod about her love of baseball, the power of storytelling in politics, why being tested by adversity is an important experience for our leaders, and much more.

Nov 28 2016

1hr 2mins

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Rank #18: Ep. 252 - Rachel Maddow

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Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, joins David to talk about growing up as a liberal activist in a conservative town, her unique philosophy on newscasting in the Trump era, and lessons she’s learned from her lifelong battle with cyclical depression.

Jun 18 2018

1hr 9mins

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Rank #19: Ep. 323 - James Carville

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James Carville is a Democratic political strategist best known for his work as the lead strategist of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. He joins David to talk about how growing up in segregated Carville, Louisiana motivated him to jump into politics, what he believes set Bill Clinton apart as a presidential contender, and what it will take for any 2020 hopeful to succeed.

May 02 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #20: Ep. 356 – Samantha Power

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Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, joins David to talk about the journey from her childhood in Ireland to the halls of the U.N. — and the trials she faced along the way. She shares the experiences that compelled her to become a Balkan War correspondent, how what she saw there inspired her to author a Pulitzer-prize winning book on genocide, and the human rights causes that drew her to then-senator Barack Obama.

She also shares her thoughts on the hollowing out of the State Department, Trump’s attempt to politicize service officers and institutions, U.S. credibility and the state of our global alliances, and what an emboldened Putin and Erdogan means for the global order.

Her new memoir, The Education of an Idealist, documents this journey—and the lessons she picked up along the way.

Nov 18 2019

1hr 12mins

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Ep. 362 — Heather McGhee

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Heather McGhee is the former president of Demos, a non-profit progressive think tank devoted to racial justice. She joins David to talk about her upbringing in the South Side of Chicago, the evolution of race relations in the United States, the weaponization of race in present-day politics, and the future of inequality in America. 

Dec 30 2019

15mins

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Ep. 361 — Sarah Hurwitz

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Sarah Hurwitz, former head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama and senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, joins David to discuss her early career in politics, the art of speechwriting, and the spiritual journey that culminated in her new book: Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life-- in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).

Dec 23 2019

57mins

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Ep. 360 – Richard Stengel

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Richard Stengel is the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and former managing editor of Time. He joins David to talk about his collaboration with Nelson Mandela on Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom; his tenure at the helm of Time, during which he interviewed Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mohamed Morsi, and Julian Assange; and his efforts in the Obama administration to combat disinformation. His new book, Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It chronicles the global spread of disinformation and offers prescriptions on how to combat this ever-growing threat to democracy.

Dec 16 2019

22mins

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Ep. 359 – Andrew Yang

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Entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang joins David for a live edition of The Axe Files to discuss why he abandoned a career in law to build his own business, how rapid technological growth is shaping our society both socially and economically, the rationale behind his ‘Freedom Dividend,’ how raising an autistic son shapes his perspective in life and on the campaign trail, and much more.

Dec 05 2019

1hr 5mins

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Ep. 358 – Gary Cohn

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Gary Cohn served as the Director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to President Trump. He joins David to talk about how an early dyslexia diagnosis shaped his drive to succeed; his tenure at Goldman Sachs, particularly as an executive during the 2008 financial crisis; why he decided to serve under President Trump despite differences on trade, climate, and immigration; his concerns about the absence of dissenters in the White House; and much more. 

Dec 02 2019

1hr 2mins

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Ep. 357 – Amb. Dennis Ross

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Dennis Ross is a diplomat and author with over four decades of experience in Middle East policy. He joins David to talk about his service under six presidential administrations, how the political climate in the Middle East has evolved, and the status of America’s diplomatic efforts under the Trump administration. His new book, Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny, explores the stories of the founding leaders of Israel—both the challenges they faced and the resolve they showed in the struggle to protect the fledgling democracy. 


For the full episode visit luminary.link/axe.

Nov 25 2019

20mins

Play

Ep. 356 – Samantha Power

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Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, joins David to talk about the journey from her childhood in Ireland to the halls of the U.N. — and the trials she faced along the way. She shares the experiences that compelled her to become a Balkan War correspondent, how what she saw there inspired her to author a Pulitzer-prize winning book on genocide, and the human rights causes that drew her to then-senator Barack Obama.

She also shares her thoughts on the hollowing out of the State Department, Trump’s attempt to politicize service officers and institutions, U.S. credibility and the state of our global alliances, and what an emboldened Putin and Erdogan means for the global order.

Her new memoir, The Education of an Idealist, documents this journey—and the lessons she picked up along the way.

Nov 18 2019

1hr 12mins

Play

Ep. 355 – Cindy McCain (TV)

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Cindy McCain joins David for a special televised edition of the Axe Files on CNN to discuss President Trump and the state of the Republican party, her advocacy on human trafficking issues, the toll living a public life took on her and her family, and her mission to carry on the legacy of her husband, the late Senator John McCain.

Nov 10 2019

1hr 21mins

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Ep. 354 – Dikembe Mutombo

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NBA Hall of Famer and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo joins David for a conversation about his upbringing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, how an international science competition ultimately steered him to the Georgetown Hoyas’ basketball team, his decorated 18-season career in the NBA, and his worldwide humanitarian initiatives with the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.

Nov 04 2019

1hr 1min

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Ep. 352 – Admiral Michael Mullen

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Admiral Mike Mullen, formerly the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joins David to discuss President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, the state of our alliances today, his historic testimony in support of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and his upbringing as the son of a Hollywood publicist.

Oct 22 2019

28mins

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Ep. 351 – Harry Reid (TV)

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Harry Reid, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, sits down with David in Las Vegas, NV for a special televised edition of The Axe Files. In this extended version of the conversation, they talk about his tenure as Senate Majority Leader and how the role has changed under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, Reid’s unique relationship with Barack Obama, his take on Donald Trump and the impeachment inquiry, and much more.

Oct 14 2019

1hr 4mins

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Ep. 350 – Gov. Gina Raimondo

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Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island and Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, joins David to talk about how her father’s early job loss moved her to enter public service, what Democrats running in 2020 can learn from the governors who ran successfully in 2018, and how her role as governor has changed in the age of Trump.

Oct 07 2019

25mins

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Ep. 349 – Admiral William McRaven

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Admiral William McRaven is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations from 2011 to 2014. He joins David to talk about his foray into military service, his disagreements with Donald Trump, and his most memorable missions — including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. His new book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, is a look back on over three decades of service.

For more episodes of The Axe Files, visit LuminaryPodcasts.com

Sep 30 2019

1hr 2mins

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George Will on Democrats’ Impeachment Efforts

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In this clip from Episode 348 of the Axe Files, conservative commentator and columnist George Will discusses how Trump has dismantled political norms and whether a return to civility is possible. He answers whether the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi should push harder for impeachment or if the political waters are too difficult to navigate. The full version of this conversation can be found on LuminaryPodcasts.com and through the free Luminary app.

Sep 23 2019

25mins

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Ep. 347 – Eric Holder (TV)

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder joins David on the CNN edition of the Axe Files to discuss potential impeachment proceedings, his advice for 2020 candidates, the long-term implications of Trump’s attacks on our institutions, and the arc of his historic career which ultimately led him to become the nation’s first African American Attorney General. 

Sep 15 2019

1hr 5mins

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The Axe Files goes to Iowa

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For this month’s episode of the Axe Files on CNN, we took the show on the road and traveled across Iowa during a whirlwind week of campaigning at the state fair and beyond. We spoke with candidates, organizers, and voters, whose first-in-the nation votes will define the Democratic race. In the podcast version of the show, we hear directly from those voters on the issues that matter to them, what they’re thinking about the race and their role in the process.  

Aug 25 2019

56mins

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Rep. Will Hurd on Trump’s Racist Tweets

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In this clip from Episode 342 of the Axe Files, Republican Congressman Will Hurd talks about his own experiences with racism and discrimination and the consequences of sowing racial division for Republicans. To hear the full conversation, sign up for Luminary at luminary.link/TheAxeFiles and get your first month free!

Jul 29 2019

16mins

Play

Pete Buttigieg (TV)

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Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joins David for a televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He makes the case for why his executive experience as mayor prepares him for the presidency, talks racial tensions in South Bend and his plan forward, what he learned from his military service in Afghanistan, why he waited until his thirties to come out as gay, and more. 

Jul 14 2019

1hr 17mins

Play

Ep. 338 - David Remnick

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David Remnick is a journalist, author, and editor of The New Yorker magazine. He joins the show to talk about the New Yorker’s feature on Hunter Biden, covering Russia as a young reporter for the Washington Post, his philosophy as an editor, and the life lessons he’s learned from caring for his child with autism.

Jul 01 2019

58mins

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Hacks on Tap – Double-Whammy in Miami: Dem Debate Preview

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Hacks on Tap is the latest podcast from David Axelrod, giving listeners weekly insight into the 2020 presidential race. This week the hacks talk Biden and Buttigieg’s tough week with race relations, escalating tensions with Iran, and preview this week’s Democratic debates with guest hack Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. David and Mike also dig into the mail bag, taking listeners’ questions on the electoral college, the relative advantages of the Democratic primary system, and which 2020 Democratic campaign they’d least like to helm.

Jun 25 2019

54mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

4776 Ratings
Average Ratings
3556
576
252
162
230

The axe files

By Edb67 - Jan 03 2020
Read more
David Axelrod is the best. Such insightful shows. Keep them coming

Subscribed and left a star 5

By Time pass by - Dec 06 2019
Read more
Strictly for having Yang on, am happy to lend support to the podcast #YangGang