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.
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.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: 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.
Rank #5: 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.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: Ep. 60 - Sen. Al Franken
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.
Rank #9: 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.
Rank #10: 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.
Rank #11: 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.
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.
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.
Rank #14: Ep. 315 - Jeb Bush (TV)
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.
Rank #15: Ep. 307 - Nate Silver
Nate Silver, statistician and founder of FiveThirtyEight, joins David to talk about how his early love of sports fused with a passion for statistical modeling, the bridge from sports modeling to predicting political races, the 2008 projections that catapulted him to national fame, and his take on the 2020 field—including why an analysis of five key groups within the Democratic party suggests Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke may have the best chance of securing the nomination, why early polls so often miss the mark, and why Howard Schultz’s potential impact on the race may not be as helpful to Trump as some pundits claim.
Rank #16: Ep. 313 - Sen. Elizabeth Warren (TV)
Elizabeth Warren is the Senator from Massachusetts and a Democratic presidential candidate. She joins David for the Axe Files on CNN in this extended conversation about her life, her candidacy, and much more.
Rank #17: Ep. 301 - John Kerry (TV)
Former Secretary of State John Kerry joins David for a televised version of the Axe Files to discuss the state of American foreign policy under Donald Trump, whether he’s considering a run for the White House in 2020, what he learned from a life of public service, his decorated service in Vietnam, and why he remains hopeful for the future.
Rank #18: 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.
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: Ep. 216 - Anthony Scaramucci
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci joins David to talk about is upbringing on Long Island, how the economy has impacted communities like his home town, what went wrong during his tenure in the White House, the Rob Porter scandal, and more.