613 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 • 7.4K 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. 581 — George Stephanopoulos

    Ep. 581 — George Stephanopoulos

    Originally built in just two weeks for $30,000, the White House Situation Room has been the nerve center during some of history’s most seismic events, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, to the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. In his new book, “The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis,” George Stephanopoulos chronicles 60 years of American politics through spotlighting the historic room. George joined David onstage at the Chicago Humanities Festival to talk about his time working in the White House, how failed missions hashed out in the Situation Room informed future presidencies, and the responsibility of the media in covering Donald Trump in the 2024 election.
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    • 54 min
    Ep. 580 — Jen Psaki

    Ep. 580 — Jen Psaki

    For former press secretary and current MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki, clear communication has long been a hallmark of her success, from door knocking in Iowa as a young campaign staffer to explaining to her kids why they should eat vegetables. With her new book, “Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World,” Psaki delves into what she’s learned about effective communication over the years. She joined David to talk about her book, the Biden administration’s messaging on the economy, how people are multilayered yet often caricatured, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the ongoing war in Gaza.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Ep. 579 — Cyrus Habib

    Ep. 579 — Cyrus Habib

    Cyrus Habib was a political rising star when he made the surprise announcement that he was leaving elected office to join the Catholic ministry. Cyrus lost his eyesight to cancer at 8 years old, but that didn’t stop him from collecting such accolades as degrees from Yale and Oxford and the role of Washington state lieutenant governor by the age of 35. While he valued helping those in need, he felt he could make a difference more authentically by removing the ego of political office and leaning into his faith. He joined David to talk about growing up as the son of Iranian immigrants and how his parents taught him his blindness was not his identity, interning for then-Senator Hillary Clinton following 9/11 and how it changed his outlook on public service, and deciding to convert to Catholicism and join the Jesuit order.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 578 — Frank Bruni

    Ep. 578 — Frank Bruni

    “Measuring misfortune is no strategy for living,” writes journalist Frank Bruni in his new book, “The Age of Grievance.” Yet, he says, we live in a culture obsessed with feeling victimized, searching for every micro-aggression, and leaning in to personal grievance as a sort of social currency. Frank joined David to talk about his book, the civic challenges posed by grievance, why Ron DeSantis is the most emblematic politician of our era, the need for political reform, protests on college campuses, and how to approach others with more grace and less judgement.  
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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep. 577 — Ken Buck

    Ep. 577 — Ken Buck

    Former Rep. Ken Buck eludes simple classification. He grew up on the East Coast but says he felt more at home on his uncle’s Wyoming ranch as a kid. He is Princeton educated, but beelined for the Rocky Mountain West upon graduating. He is a former Freedom Caucus conservative who voted to certify the 2020 election and believes some of the charges against Donald Trump should be taken seriously. He resigned his seat in March 2024, citing the current dysfunction in Congress. Former Rep. Buck joined David to talk about his take on the Republican MAGA wing, Speaker Mike Johnson and how long he’ll hold his leadership role, attacks on the Department of Justice, his issues with the Affordable Care Act, and the importance of bipartisanship. 
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Ep. 576 — Fareed Zakaria

    Ep. 576 — Fareed Zakaria

    According to Fareed Zakaria, we are living in an age of revolution, kindled by the converging factors of technological advancement, information proliferation, globalization, and cultural shifts. He joined David during a live taping of The Axe Files at the University Club of Chicago to talk about what he discovered in researching his new book, “Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present,” how past revolutions inform today, how the US electoral system magnifies polarization, the ways in which the ideas of left and right politics have changed, and his mixed feelings on the upcoming trials of former President Donald Trump. 
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    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
7.4K Ratings

7.4K Ratings

Equig12 ,

Cyrus Habib

I enjoyed the podcast and I found Mr Habib inspiring. The conversation left me with a desire to hear much more about his mother. I’d love to hear her on the podcast.

541red ,

Jen psaki

Yes good CV, yes has experience. Yes completely annoying and on pundit tour.

gordoe72 ,

Suggestion

Consider an interview with Anthony T. Ironman.🦉

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