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Hacks On Tap

When David Axelrod, Mike Murphy and Robert Gibbs get together to talk politics, it’s not academic. They speak from the perspective gained through hundreds of campaigns for offices from City Hall to the White House. So if you want to know what’s really going on behind the scenes, where strategic decisions are being made, pull up a stool for Hacks on Tap. Incisive, sometimes uproarious and always entertaining, these political warhorses and their guests will give you insights you’ll only get from folks who have spent a lifetime in the political trenches of both parties.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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26: No Kamalot! Harris Exits and Trump Churns

This week, the Hacks dive into the latest polling out of New Hampshire and size up the state of the race. With the breaking news that Sen. Kamala Harris is dropping out, will other lower-tier candidates follow suit? Is Bloomberg’s huge ad buy cash well-spent, or will he fail to break through? Will Mayor Pete’s weekend jaunt through the Carolinas move the needle? Plus, Axe and Murphy talk Trump’s visit to the NATO summit and dig into the latest impeachment news. Tune in for all this and more! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

54mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Merry Debate-mas with a Dash of Joe-mentum

The Hacks reunite in Los Angeles, California as the sixth Democratic debate draws to a close. Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar overperform the norm: will this newfound Joe-mentum last? The blows buffet Buttigieg: will he weather the storm? We turn to impeachment: the House of Representatives voted this week to impeach Donald Trump, but his approval rating remains steady. How will the saga unfold, and what will it portend for the 2020 election? All this and more during our midnight edition of Hacks on Tap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

39mins

20 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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al-Baghdadi Issues and Impressions in Iowa

This week, the Hacks talk politics of al-Baghdadi: did Trump overplay the death of the ISIS leader? Will Trump benefit, and will it last? The timing of Nancy Pelosi's impeachment decision strikes Axe and Murphy as peculiar: Why now? What does it mean for 2020? Joe Biden's new 60 Minutes interview featured the side of Biden everyone's been waiting for. Is the former Veep's 'Candidate Protection Program' turning over a new leaf? Plus, the Hacks talk Nate Silver's new FiveThirtyEight story on whether or not Democrats really want a new candidate, the politics of Biden's PAC reversal, and the upcoming Law and Justice (formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson) dinner in Iowa, the event that was considered a launchpad for President Obama. The Hacks wrap by answering listeners' questions on whether or not Murphy can be convinced to vote for Liz Warren, and whether it's better to be leading in national polls or gaining in statewide polls. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

41mins

29 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Bloomberg or Iceberg?—New Entrants and The Impeachment Show

The Hacks huddle to tackle the latest: The public impeachment hearings kick off this week. Republicans have been auditioning wild arguments in defense of the president—and Jeff Sessions’ new Senate ad suggests this won’t change—what, if anything, will bring Republicans around?  Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg consider throwing their hats into the Democratic race. Will it spark a Deval-ution or fail to bloom? Pete Buttigieg surges in Iowa but is starting to take fire from Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Will the hits stick, and what does it mean for the young mayor? Lastly, the Hacks take listeners’ questions on how Trump may affect down-ballot races, the potential power of a unity ticket, and why TV ads matter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

12 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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The Great Zzzzebate and Will Impeachment Ignite?

The Hacks are back to discuss the latest Democratic debate. With public impeachment hearings sucking up most of the oxygen, did the debate move the needle in the race? Axe and Murphy break down each candidate’s performance and recap the night’s best—and worst—moments. The Hacks also weigh in on the latest impeachment news. Despite some extraordinary testimony, will the Senate vote to convict? Tune in to hear Axe and Murphy’s take! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

43mins

21 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Hacky New Year!—Iran, Iowa, & Impeachment

The Hacks kick off the new decade with all the latest— President Trump ordered the fatal strike of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week. Was there a strategy behind the move, and to what end? Will the attack play to his base or undermine his pledge to end endless war?  John Bolton says he’ll testify before the Senate during the President’s impeachment trial. But will it move the needle in the Senate? The Iowa caucuses are upon us! With a purported three-way tie between Biden, Buttigieg, and Bernie – and Warren not far behind – the frontrunners vie for victory. What do the latest fundraising disclosures mean for the candidates and their campaigns, and how will it shake up the final weeks of the Iowa race? The Hacks also tackle listener questions on how likely a repeat PA, MI, and WI general election sweep is for President Trump, and share a Hacks history lesson – when and how Axe and Murphy, political pros hailing from opposite sides of the aisle, became pod-mates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

55mins

7 Jan 2020

Rank #6

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Poltergeisty Polls, LJ Dinner Wrap-Up, and Bye-Bye Beto

The Hacks are back this week to talk through the latest: The famed Liberty and Justice Dinner (formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson) wrapped last Friday in Iowa: Who stood out, what does it mean, and how much will it shake up the race? Poll-a-palooza: Why do Axe and Murphy dub the slew of new polls in early swing states a “wake-up call” for Dems? State of the Senate: a growing number of Republican senators consider acknowledging Trump's misdeeds with Ukraine—but does it matter? …And we raise our glasses to Beto O’Rourke for a hard-fought bid for the nomination. The Hacks close with listeners’ mailbag questions on why internal polls matter and the potential impact of a third-party candidate on the race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

41mins

5 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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The Pierre Affair and Senate Slippage? (with Cory Booker)

This week, the Hacks dive into:  The state of the Senate Republicans: Is Mitt Romney — aka Pierre Delecto — a lone detractor of harbinger of what’s to come? Plus, Lindsay Graham tells Axios that evidence of a true quid pro quo could change his mind on impeachment, and new data spells potential trouble for some senators up for re-election in 2020.  It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for Elizabeth Warren as she continues to be pressed for details on her Medicare for All plan. She’s promised a roadmap in the coming weeks, but could the delay cause problems for the newly-minted frontrunner?  New polling from Iowa is in: will Buttigieg’s bump overcome any growing pains for his campaign?  And Sen. Cory Booker joins the Hacks, who ask for his take on Warren’s new education plan, why his poll numbers seem to be lagging in Iowa, and whether or not he seems himself as a good alternative to Biden.  And the mail bag returns with answers to why healthcare suddenly seems to be the Democrats’ downfall, if Trump’s social media war chest can overcome his unpopularity, and which if any Democratic candidate has the potential to draw from Biden’s strong support from African-American voters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr

22 Oct 2019

Rank #8

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Jolt’n Joe Biden and Impeachment Day Zero

The hacks are here to talk all the latest—  Politics of impeachment: as the impeachment saga continues to unfold, Democrats and Republicans alike continue to politicize the process. How much — if at all — will this weaken Trump in 2020, and will any senators defect from the party line?  Someone had his Cup o’ Joe! Biden talks tough toward an Iowa voter — did he cross the line, or is this the energy voters want to see from him?  Bloomberg’s bid: he’s flush with cash and flooding the airwaves—but will he make a splash?  Lastly, we dive into the mailbag and answer listeners’ questions on what the onslaught of House GOP retirements mean, how to reconcile Buttigieg’s Christian faith with his lack of support among faith-based strongholds, and parse through what the “white working class” actually means.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

48mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #9

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Warren's huge haul and Steyer's surprise with Jon Favreau

This week, the hacks make sense of the newly announced fundraising numbers, talk Biden’s attempt to relaunch, discuss the political impact of Trump’s flip on the census question, and share their thoughts on Mitch McConnell’s new Senate challenger. Guest hack Jon Favreau of Pod Save America joins the show to talk about billionaire Tom Steyer throwing his hat into the race, the Democratic landscape in a post-debate world, and the rise of left-wing media. Axe and Murphy dive into the mailbag and answer submitted listener questions about what Mayor Pete should do with his impressive fundraising haul and whether or not Trump will participate in the general election debates.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

45mins

9 Jul 2019

Rank #10

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Hats, Prattle, and a Primary Battle with Mark McKinnon

In this week’s episode, Biden flubs the details, but will it ever cross the line with voters? Axe and Murphy also take stock of the rest of the field ahead of the next Democratic debate, what's next for the candidates who didn't make the stage, and Trump's half-hearted hurricane watch. Guest hack Mark McKinnon joins the show to talk about Warren's worries with white working-class and black voters, his affinity for Mayor Pete, and redemption for Beto in Texas. Plus, the hacks hand out a bit of political travel advice for political junkies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

52mins

3 Sep 2019

Rank #11

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Mooch Ado About Something

Axe has returned from his secret mission and is reunited with Murphy as they hash through Trump’s latest poll numbers and his frustration with Fox News. The first Biden TV ad has dropped in Iowa, but does he have what it takes to go the distance? And Anthony Scaramucci joins the Hacks—he’s back in the President’s crosshairs after voicing his opposition to him, and fills us in on his plan to “beat the bully.” He even makes a bit of news on his next steps. Finally the hacks field questions from the mailbag on Iowa’s status as “first in the nation,” and the search for some new and novel ways to campaign against Trump.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

59mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #12

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Showdown in Motown

In this week's episode, the Hacks huddle in Detroit in the wake of the second round of Democratic debates. Axe and Murphy share their takes on the Biden-Harris rematch, discuss the progressive-moderate party divide, highlight Warren and Booker's strong performances, and gauge the impact this round will have on the candidates moving forward. The Hacks also break down the memorable moments: Gabbard takes aim at Harris, Bernie brings the fight, Biden bites back, and a handful of one percenters – Delaney, Bullock, Bennet, and Inslee – make themselves heard.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

37mins

1 Aug 2019

Rank #13

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Will the Democratic Party Bern?—On to South Carolina

The Hacks are back for a special post-Nevada, pre-South Carolina pod: First, Sanders claims his surge has the Democratic establishment worried: can anyone best Bernie or will the Democratic socialist nab the nomination? And what might a Sanders nomination mean for down-ballot races? The aftermath of Bloomberg's paltry debate performance remains to be seen, but may spell trouble for the billionaire. Will another media blitz move the needle for the former mayor? As we turn the corner on Nevada and steer to South Carolina, and all eyes are on Joe Biden: will the former Vice President pick up the Joe-mentum he needs or will his debate performance sink expectations? And in Washington: Donald Trump fires the Acting Director of National Intelligence and appoints the U.S. Ambassador to Germany in his wake. But how much do voters really care about the chaos? Lastly, the Hacks dive into our mail bag and take listeners’ questions on whether Bloomberg should launch a media assault on Bernie, and how some candidates’ debate prep failed to gird them for the obvious. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

51mins

25 Feb 2020

Rank #14

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A Hack in Hog Heaven and Trump’s Tempestuous Trip

Axe is back from his stint in the cornfields of Iowa armed with new intel to break down with Murphy. But first – the hacks talk Trump’s erratic behavior at the G7 summit, size up Trump’s new primary challenge from former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, pose a theory as to why the governors in the Democratic race have yet to break through, and unpack Axe’s Iowa interviews with the leading presidential candidates. The hacks later dive into the mailbag and answer listener questions on Democratic strategy, to what extent early national polls really matter, and which brews the hacks themselves take on tap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

46mins

27 Aug 2019

Rank #15

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May the debate stage be ever in your favor, Sen. Michael Bennet joins the show

This week, Axe and Murphy question whether Bob Mueller’s testimony will have any bearing on the race. Then, we’ll preview the Hunger Games, also known as the second round of Democratic debates. It's do or die for candidates stuck at 1%. And, we'll talk to one of those 1 percenters -- Colorado Senator Michael Bennet -- about how he plans to break through and keep the party from "going off a cliff." Plus, we dive into the mailbag to answer questions about the electoral college and whether the Democrats should be doing more to push back against Trump. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

42mins

23 Jul 2019

Rank #16

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Calling All Conspiracies and Let Biden Be Biden

In this week’s episode, Democratic strategist and guest host Paul Begala joins Murphy on the mic to take stock of this week’s news. The hacks talk Jeffrey Epstein’s sudden death and the rise of conspiracy theories in politics, how Biden could benefit from leaning into his gaffes, and assess the Democratic candidates’ standings in the race. Guest hack and former White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri joins the show to share who she thinks has broken through in the Democratic field and her biggest fear for the Democratic Party in 2020. Lastly, the hacks dive into the mailbag and answer listeners’ questions on whether or not Barack Obama could beat Trump, Joaquin Castro taking heat for tweeting names of Trump donors, and the best lane for Mayor Pete in the Democratic race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

49mins

13 Aug 2019

Rank #17

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4: Recapping the first Democratic debates

The first round of debates is in the books. Who helped themselves the most and who's spending their weekend doing damage control? In this bonus episode of Hacks on Tap, Axe and Murphy parse through the winners and losers of the first round of Democratic primary debates. The hacks break down the most memorable moments: Kamala Harris' exchange with Joe Biden, Buttigieg's answer on the South Bend police shooting, Warren's performance as the solo frontrunner onstage night one, Booker's response on gun control, and Castro's potential breakout moment.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

33mins

28 Jun 2019

Rank #18

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5: The post debate pollercoaster and the art of Beto-busting with Julián Castro

This week, the hacks throw on their strategists’ caps and discuss how they would manage the leading campaigns in the wake of the first debates. Axe and Murphy also break down the slew of post-debate polling, talk Trump’s trip to North Korea, and discuss whether there’s a lane for a more moderate candidate should Biden’s support continues to slip. Guest hack Julián Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Democratic presidential candidate, joins the show to talk about his standout debate performance, his immigration plan, and what’s next for the campaign. Lastly, the hacks reach into the mailbag and answer listener questions about a Murphy's post-debate advice for Warren, Axe’s take on former Obama staffers working the race, and what Amy Klobuchar needs to do to break through. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

49mins

2 Jul 2019

Rank #19

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Hacks Live from Austin with Karl Rove

The Hacks reunite LIVE at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, TX. This time, they’re joined by super-hack Karl Rove — former Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush — to break down all the latest on the impeachment inquiry, alleged Trump transgressions, the 2020 race, and more.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 5mins

30 Sep 2019

Rank #20