508 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 • 6.8K 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. 489 — Shaka Senghor

    Ep. 489 — Shaka Senghor

    Growing up, Shaka Senghor wanted to be a doctor. But at age 14, he ran away from his unstable home. By 19, he was in prison. While in prison, he began unravelling his past, seeking to understand how he went from a bright young boy to solitary confinement. Shaka joined David to talk about the overwhelming challenges facing young people in neighborhoods like the one he grew up in, the seduction of drug culture, the injustices of the criminal justice system, being a father, and his new book, “Letters to the Sons of Society.”

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    • 1 hr
    Ep. 488 — Al Franken

    Ep. 488 — Al Franken

    Al Franken has been in the public eye for decades, first as a comedian and then as a senator from Minnesota. Since he resigned from the Senate in 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations—that he has denied—he has mostly stayed out of the spotlight. He talks to David about his transition from comedy to politics, his departure from the Senate and his subsequent battle with depression, whether he might run for office again, and his touring comedy show, “The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour.”

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

    • 57 min
    Ep. 487 — Amb. Michael McFaul

    Ep. 487 — Amb. Michael McFaul

    As a high school student in Montana, Ambassador Michael McFaul became interested in Russian affairs while working on a debate team assignment concerning trade sanctions on the Soviet Union. He first visited the Soviet Union in college and went on to serve as US Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. Ambassador McFaul joined David to talk about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s paranoia over the expansion of democracy around the world, the rise of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, what he sees as potential outcomes for the war in Ukraine, and how Putin’s attempts to tighten his grip on power may actually accelerate the unraveling of his leadership.

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    • 1 hr
    Ep. 486 — Sarah Longwell

    Ep. 486 — Sarah Longwell

    Inspired by the stacks of books in her parents’ home, Republican strategist Sarah Longwell once thought she might become a poet. But at Kenyon College, she found herself more captivated by political science than writing. Sarah joined David to talk about coming out as gay in a very conservative professional environment, her work to keep Donald Trump from winning in 2020, the struggle to separate true conservatism from the current culture wars, why she believes Joe Biden shouldn’t run for reelection, and what happens if Trump wins in 2024.

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

    • 1 hr
    Ep. 485 — Maria Ressa

    Ep. 485 — Maria Ressa

    Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa faces 100 years in prison stemming from what she says are illegitimate charges, but that hasn’t stopped her mission of exposing political malfeasance and lies in her home country of the Philippines. She joined David to talk about immigrating to the US as a child and later returning to the Philippines where she built a career, technology’s corrosive impact on journalism and democracy, founding Rappler and finding herself a government target, and maintaining hope as she fights corruption and disinformation through her journalism.

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

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 484 — Anne Applebaum

    Ep. 484 — Anne Applebaum

    This week’s episode comes from a conversation at the Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy Conference, co-hosted by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and The Atlantic. Journalist Anne Applebaum joined David on stage to talk about how globalization has turbocharged the spread of disinformation, how the Russian disinformation campaign in Ukraine failed, how we lost touch with the truth, and what happened when she found herself at the center of a disinformation campaign. 

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

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
6.8K Ratings

6.8K Ratings

THF Seattle ,

Great podcast

David is a great interviewer and wish he can instill some sanity in politics.

Also, love the shows with Maria Ressa and Sarah Longwell.

ORrose ,

Al Frankenstein

Like another person wrote, I too did not like how this interview went. Both were interrupting especially Mr. Axelrod. And at times Al tried to control the conversation and make jokes. Seems it needed to have more direction and less of being too chummy.
We all know the sadness of Mr Axelrod’s father’s death. It has been mentioned before and there is no need to keep repeating it.

texicantrish ,

Al Franken interview

I love Axelrod but I found myself growing so frustrated with the interrupting and finishing Al’s sentences and qualifying and characterizing Al’s answers for him. Al: Paul Wellstone is why I ran for senate. Axe: Paul Wellstone your mentor. Al: No he wasn’t my mentor. He was my friend. Axe: Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Al: Right. Anyhoooooo….

David, respectfully, stuff a sock in it and just let your guest tell a story.

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