CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood sits down with 2020 election candidates, top political decision makers, and key influencers, from Elizabeth Warren to Gary Cohn to John Legend, in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations that reveal who they are and what drives them.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is one of the top-tier Democratic candidates for president, near the head of the pack, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders and upstart Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Warren saw some of her momentum stall in national and state polls after she rolled out her proposal to pay for “Medicare for All” in early November and a subsequent plan detailing how she would transition the American health care system to a single-payer model. She also got into high-profile, public battles with billionaires such as Leon Cooperman and Lloyd Blankfein.
With the Iowa caucuses coming in early February, the Democratic presidential candidates, particularly those at the top of the field, are scrambling for support among the party’s rank and file. Over the weekend, Warren sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood at the Erickson Community Center in Clinton, Iowa, to discuss the state of her campaign, her vision for remaking American capitalism and what she thinks of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was on the campaign trail in Iowa last week, sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood to discuss a range of topics, including trade, health care, taxes and President Donald Trump’s standing among world leaders.
Biden has lagged behind Democratic presidential rivals Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in recent polls of voters in Iowa, which will hold the first-in-the-nation nominating contest in February. He has consistently led the field in national polling averages.
What follows is a lightly edited interview from a pub in rural New Hampton, Iowa.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
As the only self-described socialist in the U.S. Senate and the Democratic presidential race, Bernie Sanders represents a unique figure in American political life. Four years ago, his message of dramatic change to remedy income inequality and other economic ills won a large following in his fight against Hillary Clinton for the nomination of a party he does not even formally embrace. The results encouraged him enough to try again for 2020, even at age 78.
This race poses different and perhaps more formidable challenges. The political independent faces not only a moderate, conventional front-runner in former Vice President Joe Biden, but also a powerful fellow liberal in Sen. Elizabeth Warren brandishing ideas nearly as ambitious as his. In debates and on the campaign trail, Warren has expanded her support this year; polls suggest Sanders has not.
Then, on Oct. 1, he suffered a heart attack. After surgeons inserted two stents to relieve coronary artery blockages, Sanders returned home to rest in Vermont as political observers wondered whether he could resume full-bore campaigning.
He ended that speculation quickly. The gruff, rumpled candidate – memorably depicted by the comedian Larry David on Saturday Night Live - returned to engage his rivals in a televised debate two weeks later. Like many patients who undergo successful catherization, Sanders says he has actually benefitted from renewed energy. Moreover, campaign finance reports show that Sanders out-raised all his rivals in the third quarter of the year, and has more cash-on-hand than anyone else.
Over healthful green smoothies in a Des Moines coffee shops, Sanders sat down with Editor-at-Large John Harwood to discuss his health, his economic agenda, and his hope to become a 21st century version of the president of his infancy, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has a long way to go, but it already has at least one winner. That’s Andrew Yang, and it’s not because he will end up as his party’s candidate. Yang, an affable 44-year-old who eschews neckties and traditional rhetoric, trails front-running candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. But he has demonstrated sufficient appeal to outpace governors, senators, and House members to grab and hold his place on Democratic debate stages. A former lawyer who became wealthy as an entrepreneur, Yang entered the race without familiar presidential credentials. He had spent recent years boosting business start-ups through Venture for America, a non-profit he founded. Yang has built his campaign around what he calls The Freedom Dividend – a $1,000 per month “universal basic income” intended to cushion the impact of technological advances that have begun to supplant large swaths of the American workforce. Americans of every income level would receive it, with the enormous cost financed by a value-added tax under which the bottom 94% of earners would come out ahead. Over bubble tea in Manhattan, Yang sits down with Editor-at-Large John Harwood to discuss his campaign.
The Democratic sensation of 2018 has struggled so far in the 2020 presidential race. Over tacos in an El Paso Tex-Mex haunt, he filled in some blanks about his economic policies, explained how immigrants can help pay for Baby Boom retirements, and explained what he learned about business and gentrification in his hometown.
Sen. Cory Booker
Of all the Democratic presidential candidates, none delivers a speech any better than Cory Booker. The New Jersey senator declares his commitment to the disadvantaged with the passion of a preacher, the intellect of a Rhodes Scholar, the street-smarts of a former Newark mayor. At 50, he retains the imposing presence of his days playing top-level college football at Stanford. Those gifts marked this African-American politician as a rising star before Barack Obama smashed racial barriers to win the White House. Now Booker seeks to leverage them in the jampacked race for his party’s 2020 nomination. He faces big challenges - from better-known veterans Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, , to formidable female colleagues Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, to emerging young contender Pete Buttigieg. Polls show him mired in single digits. But Booker’s strengths mean no one can write him off yet, fewer than two weeks before the first televised debates. He has assembled an extensive on-the-ground campaign team in Iowa, whose caucuses kick off the nominating process next February. I caught up with him in a Des Moines coffee shop on June 8 to discuss his ideas for expanding the reach of American prosperity. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Geoff Dills
Customer ReviewsSee All
These are great interviews. More of them, and longer please!
Getting to hear Jerry Nadler eat / talk with his mouth full?
Engaging interviews with fascinating leaders
Loving these interviews - they are a perfect mix of in depth content and informal banter. I always come away feeling like I know the person John is speaking with - a rare feeling in the political media which is often stiff and impersonal. Thank you John!