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Playbook Deep Dive

Welcome to Playbook Deep Dive, the stories behind the power. From Congress and the White House to bar stools and back rooms, POLITICO's top reporters and Playbook authors bring you the most compelling and confounding stories that explain what’s really going on in Washington.

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Three ways President Trump could get his wall

There's ways the president could get his wall without congressional approval. But it won't be pretty. POLITICO White House reporter Nancy Cook joins the podcast to give an update on what's happening in the White House during the shut down as federal employees miss their first paychecks. Last week she told us not much was going on, but this week everything has gone into hyper drive. Then POLITICO reporters Elena Schneider and David Siders join to talk about the democrats with big donation possibilities. Plus, editor Charlie Mahtesian talks about the importance of candidates having viral moments as they gear up for 2020.


11 Jan 2019

Rank #1

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Republicans are in a shutdown pickle

Hope for avoiding shutdown is evaporating; it might be a long few weeks in Washington, with less than happy holidays approaching. We breakdown the republican mood with the shutdown deadline approaching. Then, hear from two White House reporters on the chief of staff search. Nobody wants the job that used to be one of the most sought after in Washington.


14 Dec 2018

Rank #2

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Two Supreme Court decisions, explained

This week on the Nerdcast with host Scott Bland: The Supreme Court had a busy week, ruling on two cases that have big political implications. First, immigration reporter Ted Hesson joins to explain how a road block has been put in the path of implementing a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Then, Scott and Charlie talk about the ruling on partisan gerrymandering. In the second segment, national political reporter Natasha Korecki explains where the democratic presidential candidates stand in the first week post-debate.


3 Jul 2019

Rank #3

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The White House's nickname for President Trump

White House staffers have been using an.... interesting nickname for President Trump. Maybe a reference to his love for skyscrapers? Who can say? White House reporter Nancy Cook spills. Then reporter Rachael Bade shares some behind the scenes tape that shows the different sides of vulnerable House republicans. Who they are depends on who is listening.


5 Oct 2018

Rank #4

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Political nightmares and peering into the future

The Nerdcast gets into the Halloween spirit with White House reporters Darren Samuelsohn and Gabby Orr, who entertain some future speculations and sketch out political nightmare scenarios. What are the worst-case fears for Democrats and Republicans heading into 2020?Plus, senior legal affairs contributor Josh Gerstein joins Scott to talk about Rudy Giuliani who continues to place himself at the center of the Ukraine story.


25 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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Klobuchar strikes Buttigieg in fight for center

Scott and senior politics editor Charlie Mahtesian break down a key moment in a battle of the moderates between Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Plus, White House reporter Nancy Cook and deputy Congress editor David Kihara talk the impeachment vote and what's coming next.


20 Dec 2019

Rank #6

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Possibility of a shutdown deal is at a 'total impasse'

The president and democrats haven't been able to come to an agreement, and with the new congress sworn in it doesn't look like things are going to get any easier. White House reporter Nancy Cook joins the Nerdcast to discuss if there is an end in sight for the government shutdown. Plus, senior politics editor Charlie Mahtesian breaks down Warren's potential presidential run and politics reporter Alex Isenstadt explains what's going on with Mitt Romney, who, as you may remember, he went on a hike with before.


4 Jan 2019

Rank #7

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BONUS: Did a presidential pardon just become more likely?

President Trump loves a controversial pardon. Following his disgraced former campaign chairman Paul Manafort being found guilty, it's looking like we might be entering a fall filled with the will-he-or-won't-he energy of a president faced with the power to pardon and a loyal former campaign chair caught in a, shall we say, legal snafu. Plus, we talk about the implications of Michael Cohen's, uh, implication.


22 Aug 2018

Rank #8

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Does conventional wisdom have it wrong on Sanders and Warren?

This week on the Nerdcast with host Scott Bland: We examine some of the front-runners who have begun to emerge for Democrats, particularly on the left of the party. POLITICO's National political reporters Holly Otterbein and Alex Thompson check on the 2020 race. Also: What would you ask Robert Mueller, if you got the chance? POLITICO's national security correspondent Natasha Bertrand and POLITICO's legal affairs analyst Josh Gerstein discuss what might happen on Capitol HIll for Robert Mueller.


12 Jul 2019

Rank #9

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Four decades in politics - what's next?

In this New Years special, Scott and senior White House reporter Darren Samuelsohn look back at the defining political moments of the 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s and then give their magic 8-ball a shake and talk about what might happen in the 2020s.


3 Jan 2020

Rank #10

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Cohen testimony renews impeachment speculation

President Trump's former fixer spent hours fixating the American public. Did his testimony reveal anything new? Plus, Iowa proves to be twice as nice.


1 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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The post-debate state of the race

This week on the Nerdcast with host Scott Bland: POLITICO national political reporter Elena Schneider and senior politics editor Charlie Mahtesian break down who came out on top in this week's democratic debates. Also: A divided Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates for the first time in more than a decade. What’s that mean and why does it matter? POLITICO financial services reporter Victoria Guida explains.


2 Aug 2019

Rank #12

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The James Comey episode

POLITICO reporters do a deep dive into President Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey - examining the implications for the bureau, why the president chose this moment and how Democrats are reacting. Then the group discusses the number of troops Trump’s military advisers are recommending he send to Afghanistan in a surge to help stabilize the country.


12 May 2017

Rank #13

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Is the Democratic field about to shrink?

This week on the Nerdcast with host Scott Bland, POLITICO White House reporter Gabby Orr and Congressional reporter Heather Caygle explain the fallout of President Trump's racist tweets. Also: POLITICO national political reporter David Siders on why a big shrink to the democratic primary field might be coming soon.


19 Jul 2019

Rank #14

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Dr. Ronny Jackson drops out, Missouri midterms heat up

It seems like we are destined to have at least one confirmation battle pending before the senate until the end of time. This week, we can thank Dr. Ronny Jackson, who has withdrawn his nomination to lead the VA. White House reporter Eliana Johnson breaks down all the drama surrounding his nomination. Then, reporter Daniel Strauss breaks down what is shaping up to be an interesting midterm election in Missouri.


27 Apr 2018

Rank #15

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The moment that impeachment got real

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) helped kick off the latest phase of the House Democrats' impeachment debate when she and six other moderate members of Congress said that Donald Trump's contact with Ukraine could constitute an impeachable offense.She reflected on the weight of what that means in a raw and emotional interview with POLITICO's Michael Kruse, and Michael joins the show to share his observations. Plus: how'd we get here? POLITICO's Natasha Bertrand takes us through the timeline.


27 Sep 2019

Rank #16

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A week of chaos

POLITICO reporters dive into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation after only 25 days, President Trump's 77-minute press conference and who's in the lead in the race to become DNC chair.


17 Feb 2017

Rank #17

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The aftermath of Charlottesville

POLITICO reporters discuss the political upset over Trump's statements on Charlottesville, the results of Alabama's special Senate race and the shifting map of power in the West Wing.


18 Aug 2017

Rank #18

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Republicans reel from debt ceiling deal

POLITICO reporters discuss President Trump's deal with Democrat leadership to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government for 3 months and provide Hurricane Harvey aid. The panel also delves into former President Obama's response to DACA and what it says about his post-presidency agenda. Plus, a look at the White House's tax reform plan.


8 Sep 2017

Rank #19

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2017 election preview

POLITICO reporters discuss President Trump’s comments about fallen troops this week, the competitive Virginia governor’s race with Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie pitted against one another, and Steve Bannon’s anointed outsider Republican Senate candidates.


20 Oct 2017

Rank #20