474 episodes

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.

The Axe Files with David Axelrod The Institute of Politics & CNN

    • News
    • 4.5 • 6.6K Ratings

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.

    Ep. 460 — Ken Burns

    Ep. 460 — Ken Burns

    Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns can pinpoint the exact moment he knew he wanted to be a storyteller. After witnessing his father cry during a film, he understood the power of an impactful story. That, plus the tragic death of his mother which he calls the defining moment of his life, spurred a passion for storytelling that unearths the past and “wakes the dead.” He joined David to talk about his difficult upbringing, what he loves about history, why it’s impossible to disentangle race from his work, and his latest project exploring the life of boxer Muhammad Ali.

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    • 59 min
    Ep. 459 — Clarissa Ward

    Ep. 459 — Clarissa Ward

    Twenty years ago, as Clarissa Ward watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on television, she experienced a profound sense of shock and shame that she did not have a better grasp on what was happening in the world. In that moment she felt compelled to pursue journalism in order to bring to life the shared human experience, and since then she has reported from the front lines of conflict zones around the world. Ward, who is CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, joined David to talk about her childhood in the U.S. and London, the mental and emotional toll of covering conflict, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and how the events of 9/11 shaped her life, America, and the world.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Ep. 458 — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

    Ep. 458 — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

    After a behind-the-scenes career in the military that led to the National Security Council, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found himself thrust into the spotlight as a key witness in the first impeachment trial of President Trump. He joined David to talk about his family history and childhood as an immigrant in New York, his thoughts on the Afghanistan withdrawal and Afghan refugees coming to America, Trump and his relationship with Russia, and his new memoir, Here, Right Matters.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 57 min
    Ep. 457 — Dr. Leana Wen

    Ep. 457 — Dr. Leana Wen

    Dr. Leana Wen has become a leading voice offering straightforward guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic, but her journey to professional prominence was anything but simple. Her family left China—where her father was frequently jailed as a political dissident—when she was a child, arriving in the US with just $40 in their possession. She joined David to discuss the incredible story of her family’s journey to America and the struggles they faced once in the country, her roles as a physician and health advocate, what she believes is the last and best hope to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 and her new book, Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 59 min
    Ep. 456 — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

    Ep. 456 — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

    Shortly after coming to America, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s family hit a financial rough patch. For a time, the family lived in public housing and relied on food stamps, a boost that instilled in Rep. Krishnamoorthi a lifelong appreciation for the US government and a desire to give back. He joined David to talk about what he sees as the US’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, his journey from engineering student to US Congressman and how the job has grown more dangerous in the past few years.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 58 min
    Ep. 455 — Anne Applebaum

    Ep. 455 — Anne Applebaum

    Journalist Anne Applebaum began her career as a stringer in Poland in the late 1980s reporting on the fall of communism, an assignment that led her to drive to Germany when she heard the Berlin Wall was coming down. She has written extensively on the former Soviet Union while becoming a prominent conservative journalist in the U.S., U.K. and Poland. She joined David to talk about how her early exposure to authoritarian governments shaped her political ideology, how autocratic leaders create alternate realities and manipulate institutions to retain power, and her recent book, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
6.6K Ratings

6.6K Ratings

educate-me ,

Finally thoughtful discourse

It is so refreshing and hopeful to hear smart people discuss controversial topics with respect and no sound bites. Just listened to Justin Amash and now I better understand him and his perspective. David brought up good counterpoints but always civil. Bottom line… I learned!

pereeli ,

Classy & Thoughtful

Enjoy the varying guests, there’s a lesson from every session.

Vytvtyvytvty ,

The Sharpest Axe

David Axelrod makes an interview sound like you’ve been invited to sit at the kitchen table with him and the person he’s speaking with. And he’s really hitting his stride in 2021.

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