Rank #1: Ep. 108 - President Barack Obama
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
Rank #2: Ep. 49 - Jon Stewart (Live)
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
Rank #3: Ep. 95 - Van Jones
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
Rank #4: Ep. 33 - Lindsey Graham
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
Rank #5: Ep. 323 — James Carville
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
Rank #6: Ep. 288 — Barack Obama (Live)
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
Rank #7: Ep. 135 - Sen. John McCain
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
Rank #8: Ep. 238 - Michael Avenatti
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
Rank #9: Ep. 11 - Jon Favreau
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
Rank #10: Ep. 348 — George Will
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.
Sep 23 2019
Rank #11: Ep. 267 — Jon Lovett
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
Rank #12: Ep. 252 — Rachel Maddow
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
Rank #13: Ep. 167 - Rahm Emanuel
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
Rank #14: Ep. 197 - Tom Hanks
Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks joins David to talk about how his career began, films as a part of historical record, the sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood, his views on the Trump presidency, and more.
Dec 03 2017
Rank #15: Best of The Axe Files: Aaron Sorkin
We revisit our May 2019 conversation with Aaron Sorkin: screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright. He joins David to talk about the qualities that make a great speechwriter, how writing for the screen differs from writing for the stage, creating “The West Wing,” his struggle with addiction, and more.
May 11 2020
Rank #16: Ep. 31 - Gov. Jon Huntsman
Former Republican presidential nominee Jon Huntsman chats with David about his time as governor of Utah, ambassador of China, and 2012 GOP hopeful, as well as his views on the 2016 race, including why he is intrigued by Donald Trump and what impressed him about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Feb 22 2016
Rank #17: Ep. 48 - Anderson Cooper
Journalist and host of CNN’s “AC360” Anderson Cooper talks with David about his new book, becoming a self-appointed embed in Burma and Somalia, Donald Trump’s relationship with the media, and more.
May 09 2016
Rank #18: Ep. 208 - Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins the Axe Files on CNN to discuss her tenure in the Bush administration, foreign policy under the Trump administration, her advice for Oprah, and much more.
Jan 14 2018
Rank #19: Ep. 241 - Jeffrey Toobin
Staff writer for the New Yorker Jeffrey Toobin joins David to talk about working as a prosector in the Oliver North trial, covering the O.J. trial as a journalist, the Mueller investigation, and more.
May 10 2018
Rank #20: Ep. 183 - Ta-Nehisi Coates
Author and writer for The Atlantic Magazine Ta-Nehisi Coates sits down with David to talk about his upbringing in Baltimore, his early forays into journalism, race and politics in America, his reflections on the Obama presidency, and much more.
Oct 19 2017