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POLITICO's Off Message

Updated 6 days ago

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POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital.

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POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital.

iTunes Ratings

574 Ratings
Average Ratings
411
70
36
24
33

Vocal Fry

By B9090 - Jun 21 2018
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Good interview with Durkan but the host has way too much vocal fry by the host.

Each of your shows are great..

By 527kevin - Jun 05 2018
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And thanks for the intro to Delaney (did I get the name right?😀)

iTunes Ratings

574 Ratings
Average Ratings
411
70
36
24
33

Vocal Fry

By B9090 - Jun 21 2018
Read more
Good interview with Durkan but the host has way too much vocal fry by the host.

Each of your shows are great..

By 527kevin - Jun 05 2018
Read more
And thanks for the intro to Delaney (did I get the name right?😀)

Listen to:

Cover image of POLITICO's Off Message

POLITICO's Off Message

Updated 6 days ago

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POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital.

Preet Bharara: Trump, indictments and the Godfather

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For years, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was one of the most feared prosecutors in America. Then President Trump asked him to resign. Now, as Robert Mueller’s investigation unleashes its opening torrent of indictments, we talk to Bharara about the president who ousted him, what to make the special prosecutor’s investigation into Trump’s orbit, and a similarity between Donald Trump and Vito Corleone.

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Oct 31 2017

50mins

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Joe Scarborough dishes on Donald Trump, Jeff Zucker

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'Morning Joe' host Joe Scarborough sits down with Glenn Thrush to talk music, what fuels Donald Trump and the balancing act of being a good host and asking tough questions.

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Jun 08 2016

54mins

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John Dickerson: Don't blame media for Donald Trump's rise

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John Dickerson: Don't blame media for Donald Trump's rise by POLITICO

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Aug 15 2016

1hr 5mins

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Maz Jobrani on Trump protest comedy

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Comedian Maz Jobrani reflects back on his own immigrant experience as a child and how that has influenced his perception of the world, especially now that the country is charged by policies like President Trump's travel ban. Jobrani discusses white protester privilege, finding the funny in Trump, and the president's appeals to some immigrants. 

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Jul 29 2017

28mins

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John Dean: Trump's inner circle has no idea what’s about to hit them

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John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel, has a memo for White House lawyer Ty Cobb and the rest of President Donald Trump’s defenders as they enter 2018: believing the investigation and prosecutions will be over any time soon is “wishful thinking.” And, says the man who famously flipped and became the Watergate prosecution’s star witness in the process that helped take down Richard Nixon, no one in the president’s orbit should assume they’re prepared for everything that cooperating witnesses George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn might be telling Bob Mueller, as they’ve done out of confidence from their own review or just out of public bluster. That’s the mistake Dean saw Nixon, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman make about him.

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Jan 02 2018

47mins

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Hillary Clinton has had enough of Bernie Sanders

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Hillary Clinton sits down with Glenn Thrush following a campaign event in Syracuse, New York. The former secretary of state compares Donald Trump to foreign demagogues and says she's not even sure her primary opponent is a Democrat.

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Apr 06 2016

58mins

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Mark Salter on Trump: 'I think he could come apart'

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Former top John McCain aide and one of the most prominent Republicans to publicly back Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump – tells Glenn Thrush that he believes the 2016 campaign could drive Trump insane- literally clinically insane- on cable TV. Salter also discusses the decision to choose Sarah Palin as McCain's VP and if that choice cracked the door open for Trump's candidacy.

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May 09 2016

52mins

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Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on the future of independents in politics

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Bill Walker sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss the last time he saw Sarah Palin, standing in the middle of a river at age 12 when an earthquake destroyed his hometown and what his meetings during Energy Week at the White House were like. 

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Aug 08 2017

35mins

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How Jason Kander won by losing

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Jason Kander, who came shockingly close to ousting Missouri’s Republican Sen. Roy Blunt last November despite Hillary Clinton’s blowout loss in the state—has been a man in demand the last seven months. Isaac Dovere sits down with him in New Hampshire to discuss enlisting on 9/11, how "mug shots" contributed to his rise to political prominence and what's next for the rising star.. 

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Jun 17 2017

45mins

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Michael Che, Colin Jost: What SNL's weekend anchors really think of 2016

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Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che sit down with Glenn Thrush in 30 Rock for an unvarnished conversation about hating on Donald Trump, what Hillary Clinton is like behind the scenes and growing up in New York City. These guys are hilarious and their take on Trump might just surprise you. 

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Oct 03 2016

1hr 3mins

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Ann Coulter: The Doyenne of the Deplorables

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Author and political commentator Ann Coulter delves into what in her genetic makeup allows her to endure and even delight in being called unsavory names (most recently at the Comedy Central Roast). Coulter also discusses why she is so drawn to Donald Trump and what influence she's had over his immigration platform.

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Sep 12 2016

1hr 12mins

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How Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan became unbeatable

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discusses his unexpected write-in victory, turning around the city's urban decline and turning the street lights back on. Plus, the mayor discusses his close relationship with Joe Biden and what John Kelly told him about the city's immigration policy.

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Aug 29 2017

41mins

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Sophia Bush: 'I have a right to take up space'

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Actress and political activist Sophia Bush sits down with Isaac Dovere in New Orleans to discuss fighting for what she believes in (even if that means losing followers), standing up against sexism in the work place and why her social anxiety is "through the roof."

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May 09 2017

48mins

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Paul Ryan: Trump could win, but I’m not ‘betting’ on it

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House Speaker Paul Ryan sits down with Glenn Thrush to discuss the importance of party unity, how he's adjusting to his new leadership role and the importance of keeping expectations in line with reality. The Speaker also reflects back on the 2012 presidential campaign and shares his views on Obama's presidency.

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May 23 2016

36mins

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Cecile Richards and the future of choice politics

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Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards discusses women senators' role in the health care repeal vote, the resilience of volunteers and clinics, and what the future holds for the abortion fight.

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Aug 15 2017

32mins

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Roger Stone on Russian claims: "They have no proof"

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Republican strategist Roger Stone says he’s apologized to Paul Manafort for getting him involved in all the inquiries about possible Russian connections to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. But Stone says he hasn’t apologized for anything he’s done himself—not to Trump, and not to anyone else. There’s nothing to apologize for, in his mind.

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Mar 27 2017

55mins

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Elliott Abrams: Steve Bannon 'not a good influence'

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Former Reagan and Bush diplomat Elliott Abrams sounds off on Steve Bannon, President Trump’s about-face on Syria and the boss he almost had.

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Apr 11 2017

56mins

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Larry Wilmore is not joking around

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Comedian and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner host Larry Wilmore sits down with Glenn Thrush to discuss what attracts people to Donald Trump and why he thinks voters might be suffering from Clinton fatigue. The Nightly Show host also rates President Obama's performance and muses about why he pursued the frequently dreaded WHCD gig.

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Apr 29 2016

46mins

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Joel Benenson: No path for Donald Trump in November

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Pollster Joel Benenson tells Glenn Thrush that Donald Trump has no path to victory in November and predicts that states like Arizona and North Carolina could flip in a Clinton/Trump matchup.

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Mar 14 2016

50mins

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Michael Chertoff: 'I’d be guessing' on Trump's ability to handle crisis

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Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss the country's most pressing security concerns, how to be prepared for the unexpected, his experiences with 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and how he thinks the Trump administration is holding up. 

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Mar 06 2017

59mins

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A new tone from some in GOP on climate change -- but mostly behind closed doors

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We're bringing you an episode of POLITICO's Global Translations, a show about big global problems that will take a certain amount of creativity to solve. 

Driven by a public clamoring for action and pressure from corporate CEOs, lawmakers are noting an evolution in attitudes toward climate action among some of their Republican colleagues – a subtle but significant shift in tone that could pave the way for modest legislation this year. Guests include:Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL)Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)Catherine McKenna, Canada’s first foreign minister for climate and the environmentDan Byers, U.S. Chamber of CommerceIf you like the episode, check out the show wherever you listen.

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Aug 23 2019

34mins

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Which 2020 Democrat should Donald Trump most be afraid of?

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To get the inside view from the only people in the world who know what it’s like to run in a primary field so large -- and do so in the shadow of Donald Trump -- we invited the strategists for four of the top GOP primary campaigns of 2016 into a Washington cigar bar, a literal smoke-filled room, to talk shop. Which Democratic candidate has the most raw political talent? What weaknesses of Donald Trump's would they exploit in 2020? And why is everybody still so ticked off about the Virginia primary?

Guests Danny Diaz (from the Bush campaign), Beth Hansen (Kasich), Jeff Roe (Cruz), and Terry Sullivan (Rubio).

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Jun 26 2019

39mins

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This is what Kirsten Gillibrand hates about running for president

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Kirsten Gillibrand is a U.S. Senator with a soaring national profile, but her presidential campaign has yet to take flight. She’s even at risk of failing to have enough donors to make the debate stage under DNC rules, leading her to ask people for just a dollar, to boost her numbers. But that’s not what bothers her most about running for president.

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May 31 2019

25mins

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Is John Hickenlooper too normal to be president?

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In a crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper makes an impression on voters as a genuine candidate, even if he's a bit quirky. He colors outside the lines of the political conventions -- a geologist by training, a brewer and restauranteur by profession, and a politician only later in life. 

In this episode, he talks about his temper as a child, his pragmatic approach to politics, and how he's managed to succeed in a people-driven business despite a condition commonly known as face blindness, a condition that keeps him from recognizing familiar faces.

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Mar 29 2019

23mins

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How it feels to win (and lose) a House majority

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For our post-midterms edition of Off Message, we talked to Corry Bliss and Charlie Kelly, the two men who led the largest House campaign organizations in 2018. This election, Bliss led the Republican-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund, and Kelly led its Democratic counterpart, the House Majority PAC. They talk about what went on behind the scenes, their biggest regrets of 2018, and where things go from here.

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Nov 08 2018

58mins

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David Axelrod: Voters don't want a ‘Democratic version of Trump’

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The strategist behind Obama's presidential campaigns gives his midterms predictions, shares his lightning-round thoughts on 2020 candidates and tells Tim whether he thinks any politician can recapture the Obama magic.

David Axelrod doesn’t like the path the country—or the Democratic Party—is on. 

The chief strategist who steered Barack Obama’s winning White House campaigns worries that President Trump has laid a trap—and that his party is walking right into it. “Escalation breeds escalation,” Axelrod said in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “And within the Democratic Party, I think there is a big debate about how to deal with Trump because he has no boundaries. He’s willing to do anything and say anything to promote his interests. It’s a values-free politics; it’s an amoral politics. And so, there is this body of thought that you have to fight fire with fire and so on. But I worry that we’ll all be consumed in the conflagration.” 

Stressing that “civility actually is a really important element of politics,” Axelrod criticized Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder for recent comments they’ve made, and described the backlash he has faced for urging Democrats to avoid confrontation. The best way to defeat Trump, Axelrod argued, is by nominating someone who can appeal to an exhausted electorate. 

“I don’t think people will be looking for a Democratic version of Trump,” he said. “I don’t think they’ll be looking for people who can go jibe for jibe and low blow for low blow. I think people are going to be looking for someone who can pull this country out of this hothouse that we’re in.” 

At his offices in Chicago, where he directs the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, we discussed Axelrod’s predictions for the midterm elections, the risk of overreach with a new House majority, and the strengths and vulnerabilities of the top-tier 2020 Democratic hopefuls. 

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Oct 30 2018

59mins

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Meet the next Ted Cruz

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When Chip Roy was a top staffer for Ted Cruz, he was an architect of the Texas senator’s strategy to shut down the government over Obamacare.

Now, in all likelihood, he’s heading for Congress with a House seat of his own, and top Republicans worry he’s going to make Cruz look like a squishy moderate.

Roy is ready to play hardball with GOP leaders in Congress. He has pledged to support House Freedom Caucus founding chairman Jim Jordan for speaker, and is expected to quickly establish himself as one of the House GOP’s most outspoken and combative members.

As with so many conservatives, however, Roy is treading lightly when it comes to Donald Trump. Once a fierce critic—described by friends as a committed “Never Trump” advocate in 2016, when he was working in support of Cruz’s presidential campaign—the congressional hopeful now talks fondly of the president, praising his assault on “the swamp” and sharing his concern about a “deep state” acting as a shadow government.

And while most Republicans campaigning for Congress this November are touting the accomplishments of President Trump and his GOP majorities: tax reform, regulatory relief and a soaring number of federal judicial appointments. In the deep-red 21st congressional district of Texas, Chip Roy is running on a different message: Republicans haven’t done nearly enough.

“If there is a thousand miles to go, we’ve gone maybe 50 miles,” Roy tells POLITICO’S “Off Message” podcast. “So now, we’ve got to focus on the things that the people really want to see done. We’ve got to have healthcare freedom, we’ve got to balance the budget and we’ve got to secure the border.”

POLITICO's "Off Message" podcast is hosted by Tim Alberta, produced by Zack Stanton and executive produced by Dave Shaw. Intro/outro music by Podington Bear.

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Oct 23 2018

48mins

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Steve Scalise thinks he knows who'll be the next House Speaker

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Steve Scalise was nearly killed last summer when a gunman opened fire at the Republican congressional baseball team’s practice. Last September, after months of surgeries and intensive rehabilitation, the Louisiana congressman was met with a thunderous ovation when he returned to work at the Capitol. The emotional scene—cathartic for Scalise and so many colleagues who were on the baseball field with him—might have obscured just how far he has to go. He’s still undergoing regular physical therapy and walks with the assistance of a cane; the wounds to his pelvis, hip and left leg were so severe that Scalise still doesn’t know whether he will ever be able to run again.

Mentally, however, he claims to have fully recovered. Scalise says he was able to process the incident and put the trauma behind him, by reconstructing the events of the day with the help of his teammates and security detail. That included a trip back to the baseball diamond with David Bailey, one of the two U.S. Capitol Police officers who saved his life.

“We went back to second base, and he showed me where the shooter was,” Scalise told me in an interview for Politico’s “Off Message” podcast. “We’re looking at first base, where [U.S. Capitol Police officer Dave Bailey was] in a gunfight with the shooter. And he [was] standing just kind of isolated on an island at first base with no protection, and the shooter is kind of hiding, pigeonholed behind this cinderblock dugout behind third base.”

Of course, Scalise doesn’t want to be defined by that event. And he’s a fascinating character for other reasons.

Control of the House of Representatives isn’t the only thing at stake in the Nov. 6 midterm elections—it’s the future of the House speakership. Paul Ryan is retiring, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faces an uprising among younger Democrats and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has not demonstrated the ability to collect the requisite 218 votes needed to become speaker. That makes Scalise, the House majority whip, a popular dark-horse pick to become speaker of the House—that is, if Republicans hold the majority.

Scalise, one of Washington’s most reliably on-message lawmakers, is even more cautious than usual these days. He’s spending the home stretch of the election season traveling the country with his House Republican colleagues, raising money and collecting favors while hugging President Donald Trump at every turn. Right now, with a career-climaxing promotion potentially awaiting him next month, Scalise can’t afford to alienate Republicans on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The internal dynamics are fragile: McCarthy’s allies have eyed Scalise warily for months, worried that he is undermining his superior’s bid for speaker. Scalise, for his part, promises not to run against McCarthy for the top spot if Republicans hold the House, and moreover, he tells me, “I think Kevin would have the votes.”

Politico's "Off Message" podcast is hosted by Tim Alberta. Zack Stanton is producer. Dave Shaw is executive producer. Intro/outro music by Podington Bear.

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Oct 16 2018

51mins

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John Kerry on 2020, Trump and why we need to ask ourselves "what did you do?"

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Isaac's last episode: The former secretary of state has led a Forrest Gump-like life, from his high-school days playing hockey with Bob Mueller to introducing John Lennon at a Vietnam protest to running for president and almost winning. Some people think he should run again in 2020.

He probably isn’t, but says he wants to be part of the future of the Democratic Party, and the country, no matter what. 

He’s sticking to his insistence that any White House talk distracts from 2018. But there’s clearly still an ember of desire to run again. “I’ve only done it once, unlike a lot of people who’ve been out there, and came pretty close,” he said in our interview. It was a conversation he ended with a standard-politician four-point list of priorities, some 40 minutes after delivering a standard-politician evasive answer about a 2020 candidacy: “I haven’t eliminated anything in my life, period, anything—except perhaps running a sub-four [minute] mile.” 

But that is not the point for Kerry, whose public life stretches across modern political history, from the day in 1971 when, as a young Vietnam veteran, he testified before the Senate in opposition to the Vietnam War, to walking out of the State Department for the last time in 2017. He’s already done fundraising, and endorsed several Democratic candidates in 2018—including a few of his former State Department aides running for House seats. He says he’ll be out campaigning for the midterms. And he says he’ll keep proselytizing in speeches on college campuses from the example of his own life, about how activated young people have always been the ones to change the course of political history. 

“I’m engaged, man, I’ve done this my whole life. I’m not going to suddenly stop and say I’m not going to be involved in these choices, you know,” Kerry said. “You know that old question that sometimes was asked [after] World War II or Korea: ‘Daddy, what did you do in the war?’ Well, people are going to ask, ‘Daddy, Mommy, kid, what did you do in this moment in our history, where our democracy is threatened, where the challenges are as great as they’ve ever been, and where the world is not coordinating very effectively?’ That’s a big challenge.” 

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Oct 09 2018

49mins

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Elijah Cummings is ready to investigate Trump

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If Democrats retake the House, Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings will likely become the new chair of the Oversight committee. Here, a preview of what to expect from their coming investigations of the Trump administration.

Cummings says President Donald Trump “is a person [who] calls a lie ‘the truth’ and the truth ‘a lie.’” He thinks the president violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause daily, and sees an abnormal tolerance for corruption and misconduct emanating straight out of the Oval Office. And, in the eyes of the 67-year-old Democrat, just as troubling is the notion that Congress has fallen flat on its Constitutional duty to check the administration’s whims.

Expect that to change if Democrats retake the House in November. Then, Rep. Cummings will likely become the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, giving him subpoena power and the ability to call as many hearings as he wants on whichever topics he chooses. In light of everything he’s learned about Trump—and especially after Senate testimony last week by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which Cummings saw as dishonest—the congressman doubts he’ll be able to believe any denial from anyone in the administration, regardless of whether or not they’re under oath, he said in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast.

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear. Get more at politico.com/podcasts/off-message

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Oct 02 2018

50mins

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Ken Starr: If I was Trump's lawyer, ‘I would be very concerned’

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The Clinton-era independent counsel weighs in on Brett Kavanaugh, why Trump has an obligation to answer Mueller's questions and whether he plans to support Trump in 2020.

Ken Starr would love to hear from Donald Trump. He thinks he could help. The former independent counsel whose investigation into President Bill Clinton led to Clinton’s impeachment says President Trump has enough to be worried about that he’ll need good lawyers around him as he decides whether to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller. “If I’m on [Trump’s] criminal defense team, I would be very concerned,” Starr said in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “I don’t know what President Trump knows, but there have been a number of guilty pleas. Some of those guilty pleas go to false statements, so I would just be cautious” before answering questions from Muller.  Starr says he’d advise this even while he believes that Trump has a duty to answer investigators’ questions under oath, just as Bill Clinton did 20 years ago. “He is the president of the United States, and I think that carries with it an obligation to cooperate with duly-authorized federal investigations,” Starr said.

“You’re not above the law. You think you’ve got a time-out based upon your service as president. We respect you, you are occupying the presidency, you have a very important job,” Starr said. “But there’s no time out. You have to respond when you’re summoned to the bar of justice. That’s the way I respond to all this. You have to be a rule of law person if you’re going to occupy a position of trust.” As he promotes his new memoir, “Contempt,” Starr—who says he probably wouldn’t have written the book if Hillary Clinton had won, reasoning that it would have damaged her presidency unfairly—says “President Trump would be well-advised” to a take lesson from the book to heart: rules matter. “Facts will come back to haunt you eventually,” said Starr. “The truth ends up coming out, and so you better deal with those facts.”

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear. Get more at politico.com/podcasts/off-message

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Sep 25 2018

47mins

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Mazie Hirono: Brett Kavanaugh is fudging the truth

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Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono gets candid about why she believes Kavanaugh's accuser, what it's like being the only immigrant in the U.S. Senate, and shares her own #MeToo story.

Mazie Hirono thinks Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is not telling the truth about the sexual assault he allegedly committed as a teenager. She thinks he wasn’t telling the truth to the Judiciary Committee when he claimed not to remember any sexual misconduct by a judge he clerked for who was forced to resign last year after allegations from more than a dozen women.  And the Hawaii senator says that if she gets to question Kavanaugh in another hearing, she’s going to tell him that the revelations over the weekend—when Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a high-school party in the early ‘80s—now make her doubt what the nominee said under oath two weeks ago even more. “It somewhat stretches credulity, let’s put it that way,” said Hirono in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “I think he didn’t want to lie about it, so one way you get through that is saying, ‘I don’t remember.’” If Kavanaugh’s nomination fizzles and President Donald Trump has to name a replacement, Hirono says he better find someone whom she considers less of a conservative ideologue, or else prepare for Senate Democrats—especially if they win a majority in November’s elections—to keep the court seat vacant until after the 2020 election. “I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick Garland,” said Hirono. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.” Hirono is short. She is quiet. She’s not much of a tweeter. She’s not running for president. She doesn’t have an outsize personality in a chamber bursting with them—her hobbies include making her own paper and folding origami cranes. She does pottery, too, but says she lacks the patience to use a wheel. Yet the unassuming senator has become Democrats’ firmest pillar of resistance on judicial nominations, refusing to vote for cloture for any Trump nominee, and asking every man who appears before her at a committee hearing if he’s engaged in physical or verbal sexual assault as a legal adult. Nominees “can lie,” Hirono said, explaining why she’s made that her standard question, “but they better hope that nobody that they did this to will come forward.”

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear. Get more at politico.com/podcasts/off-message

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Sep 18 2018

1hr 1min

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Ben Jealous: ‘Americans are suffering under the weight of half-measures’

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Ben Jealous is a venture capitalist. Opponents call him a socialist. He says that’s the cost of wanting “people to be treated in a way that’s just.”

Ben Jealous campaigned all over the country for Bernie Sanders, but he has a platinum American Express card in his wallet. He got his first campaign experience as a 14-year-old volunteer for Jesse Jackson in 1988, but the presidential candidate from that year he has since reconsidered is Steve Forbes, whose ideas about transforming schools into vocational training Jealous cites as a model for his own approach to education reform. He may be the lone liberal Democrat running this year who says he doesn’t want anything to do with socialism, but is for “Medicare for all” and free college tuition. Jealous is the first major player to come directly off Sanders’ 2016 campaign and have done this well. He’s the first leader of a civil rights organization—from 2008-2013, he was president of the NAACP—to ever be even this close to winning a statewide office. He’s a test case to see if someone with his kind of politics can win something more than a primary, even in a heavily Democratic state. But first, he’ll have to get past Republicans who insist that he’s a socialist—and he’ll have to overcome the clear anger that attack stirs up in him, despite his public statements that he takes their label as a badge of honor. “It’s unfortunate if we get to a place where we believe that you have to be a socialist to simply want people to be treated in a way that’s just. I would not like to live in that country,” Jealous says.

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear.

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Sep 11 2018

58mins

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Seth Meyers: Trump wanted me to apologize for making fun of him (REPRISE)

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A reprise episode: It wasn’t all porn star hush money: Michael Cohen once tried to negotiate an appearance by Donald Trump on Seth Meyers’ show, for what the “Late Night” host pitched as a fun way of coming together after torching Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Meyers had invited Trump after running into him at the “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special in February 2015, a few months before the real estate developer’s presidential campaign launched.

Trump, Meyers told me in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast, started out receptive to appearing on “Late Night,” but the conversation ended once Meyers refused a demand Cohen relayed that was non-negotiable to Trump: He wanted Meyers to go on air and publicly apologize for making fun of Trump at the dinner four years earlier.

Neither a White House spokesman nor Cohen responded when asked what happened.

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear.

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Sep 04 2018

44mins

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Tony Perkins: Trump gets ‘a mulligan’ on Stormy Daniels and other past indiscretions (REPRISE)

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A reprise episode: Donald Trump is still the answer to many conservative evangelical leaders’ prayers. Or at least to their continuing grievances. They embrace Trump the policymaker, despite being uneasy about Trump as a man, says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a prominent evangelical activist group.

Perkins knows about Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who claimed, in a 2011 interview, that in 2006 she had sex with Trump four months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron. He knows of the reports that Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) was paid off to keep the affair quiet in the waning weeks of the 2016 election. He knows about the cursing, the lewdness and the litany of questionable behavior over the past year of Trump’s life or the 70 that came before it.

“We kind of gave him—‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,’” Perkins said in a January 2018 interview for Off Message.

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear.

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Aug 28 2018

47mins

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Why Michael Hayden says Trump is helping Russia (Reprise)

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Michael Hayden doesn’t know whether Donald Trump colluded with the Russian attack on the 2016 election—but he’s sure the president helped the Kremlin and is continuing to do so every day.

Hayden, a retired general who led the NSA and the CIA under President George W. Bush, is sure, too, of what he calls a “convergence” of interests between Trump and Russia. And he thinks it risks destroying America.

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Executive Producer is Dave Shaw. Theme music by Podington Bear.

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Aug 21 2018

43mins

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Randi Weingarten: For unions, this is a ‘which side are you on’ moment

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The president of the American Federation of Teachers says that union members haven’t just cooled on Trump—they’ve turned on him. Union leaders and members now “know who the bad guys are,” says Weingarten, the longtime head of the American Federation of Teachers—President Donald Trump and the five justices who signed on to the court’s Janus decision in June. Early on, Trump’s support among organized labor was at astronomical levels for a modern-day Republican, with November 2016 exit polls showing him with the support of more than 40 percent of union households. A March 2017 Reuters-Ipsos poll gave him a 62 percent approval rating among union members, but by spring 2018, it had dropped to 47 percent. The union members who ruled out voting for Hillary Clinton don’t appear to be sticking around as the president actually moves forward on his trade war and economic agenda.  Weingarten says the combination of an antagonistic administration and hostile high court has driven union members to the barricades. And though she acknowledges that the AFT and its allies may now be in a fight for their existence, at least they’re in the fight.

POLITICO’s "Off Message" podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is a proud member of the Panoply network. Produced by Zack Stanton. Special thanks to Dave Shaw. Intro and outro music by Podington Bear.

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Aug 14 2018

52mins

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Shannon Watts: How to create an ‘army of angry moms and women’ from your own kitchen

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The founder of Moms Demand Action talks about how she created one of the most successful gun control groups in the country—and where they go from here.

Shannon Watts has a bodyguard who travels with her. He doesn’t carry a gun—his job is to scope out the local hospitals and know which one to rush her to if she gets shot. That’s been life for the mother of five since late 2012, when she founded Moms Demand Action, an organization that advocates for stricter regulation of guns. Watts says the threats of violence and rape started coming in within 24 hours of the group’s formation. Threatening strangers have shown up at her house. The National Rifle Association regularly features her in its magazine. Right-wing provocateur Dana Loesch, before she went on the NRA payroll, showed up with a camera crew to confront Watts off-guard at a protest she was leading near the NRA’s annual meeting.  It all started that day in December 2012 when 20 first-graders were mowed down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and a frustrated Watts wrote a Facebook post about the need for new gun laws. She figured she’d just join a group that existed—something like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, except for gun violence—sign up for a few events, write a check. Instead, sitting at her kitchen table and almost without realizing what she was doing while talking with the fellow mothers who reached out to her, Watts started what has quickly become one of the largest and most far-reaching organizations in American politics and an aspirational model for how a group of like-minded political amateurs can quickly move from liking each others’ social media posts to having a real impact on policy.

For more: https://www.politico.com/podcasts/off-message

Politico's "Off Message" podcast is hosted by Edward-Isaac Dovere, produced by Zack Stanton, and is a proud member of the Panoply network. Intro/outro music by Podington Bear.

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Aug 07 2018

53mins

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John Dean: Nixon ‘might have survived if there'd been a Fox News’ — Reprise

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This week, an encore presentation of an interview we first brought you earlier this year. John Dean was the star witness of the Watergate investigation — the counsel to President Richard Nixon who famously flipped and became the prosecution’s star witness in the process that helped take down the president. The Russia scandal is far from over, said Dean, but Trump has advantages that Nixon didn’t.

“There’s social media, there’s the internet; the news cycles are faster. I think Watergate would have occurred at a much more accelerated speed than the 928 days it took to go from the arrest at the Watergate to the conviction of Haldeman and Ehrlichman and [John] Mitchell, et al.,” Dean told Off Message host Isaac Dovere in our first episode of 2018. “There’s more likelihood [Nixon] might have survived if there’d been a Fox News.”

POLITICO's Off Message podcast is hosted by Isaac Dovere and is part of the Panoply network. Zack Stanton is its producer. Theme music by Podington Bear.

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Jul 31 2018

46mins

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Marty Walsh: Working-class Trump voters ‘forgot where they came from’

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Marty Walsh is a college drop-out and recovering alcoholic who grew up in a union household and worked his way up through organized labor and local politics. In many ways, he fits the profile of the kind of white working-class man who put Donald Trump in the White House.

He also happens to be the Democratic mayor of Boston, and he has a bracing assessment of the blue-collar white voters backing Trump: They “forgot where they came from.”

Walsh says it bothers him how many of the people he grew up with and worked with—or fit that same profile all around the country—support Trump policies. And he talks about what Democrats can do to turn things around.

Read more at politico.com/podcasts/off-message

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Jul 24 2018

48mins

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