431 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 • 5.9K 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. 420 — Sen. Mitt Romney

    Ep. 420 — Sen. Mitt Romney

    After failing to win the presidency in 2012, Senator Mitt Romney suggested he might be done with national politics for good. But after a move to Utah, the two-time presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor and Bain Capital co-founder decided to run for the US Senate. He was elected in 2018 and has made his disdain for President Trump’s demeanor known, although his voting record shows he falls in line with his party more often than not. Sen. Romney joined David to talk about what it was like to cast the lone Republican vote for Trump’s impeachment, how Trump’s Covid response cost him reelection and why he is more concerned about the damage done by Trump’s actions in the lame duck period than by the delayed transition. 

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    • 48 min
    Ep. 419 — Gov. Andrew Cuomo

    Ep. 419 — Gov. Andrew Cuomo

    Governor Andrew Cuomo was just over a year into his third term as Governor of New York when Covid-19 first reached his state. While he was a well-known political figure before, his daily press briefings became must watch television as the pandemic ravaged New York. Governor Cuomo joined David to talk about governing through Covid-19, why politicians should focus on how they can change people’s lives, President Trump’s skills as a marketer, and why he believes progressives-in-name-only are hurting the Democratic cause. 

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

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Ep. 418 — David Plouffe

    Ep. 418 — David Plouffe

    David Plouffe is a veteran Democratic political strategist who served as Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and later as senior advisor to President Obama. Just days after the 2020 race was called, David sat down with his former business partner and longtime collaborator to break down last week’s election, discuss how Joe Biden rebuilt the blue wall, why he was the best candidate for this moment and the challenges that await the Biden administration and the broader Democratic Party.

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

    • 56 min
    Ep. 417 — Jon Meacham

    Ep. 417 — Jon Meacham

    As a child, historian Jon Meacham would find artifacts from Civil War battles while playing in the Chattanooga hills. To him, history was always tangible. He liked finding the line from the past to the present, a sentiment that has guided his career. Jon, who started his professional life as a journalist, writes about American presidents, the nation’s founding principles and historic moments, all with an eye toward what history can teach us and how it helps us make sense of the present. In the days leading up to the Nov. 3 election, Jon joined David to talk about what he’s learned by chronicling the lives of US leaders, the history of race in America, and why he can’t find a rational case to vote for President Trump. 

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

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 416 — Mandy Patinkin

    Ep. 416 — Mandy Patinkin

    Mandy Patinkin may be a well-known, award-winning actor and singer on the big screen and stage, but these days he’s trying out a new medium: social media. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mandy has been uploading videos ranging from heartfelt moments with his wife, writer and actress Kathryn Grody, to political messages encouraging people to vote for Joe Biden. He joined David to talk about growing up enmeshed in the Chicago Jewish community, his love for acting even as he wrestled with being a perfectionist, and what his role in Homeland taught him about the patriotism of the US intelligence community

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

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Ep. 415 — Nina Totenberg

    Ep. 415 — Nina Totenberg

    As a young reporter, Nina Totenberg once got a tip about a robbery underway at the local bank. When she called the bank to confirm, one of the burglars answered the phone. Her career has since taken her from covering misguided crimes to reporting on the country’s highest court. Nina joined National Public Radio in 1975 as a legal affairs correspondent and has covered the Supreme Court ever since. She joined David to talk about her journey as a reporter, the evolution of the court over the years, and her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

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

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
5.9K Ratings

5.9K Ratings

mf967 ,

One of the best

Compelling conversations with interesting people. I just wish Axe would let his guests talk a little more.

Frankkkkkkk ,

mitt

Mitt is always on the edge of being a decent man but for some reason he never gets there. the small obvious things he does to push back on trump are said is a soft voice. Trump is mad and a 3rd grader understands how bad he is but mitt whispers. Mitt vetoes for justices that are totally unqualified to serve on the all levels. Example he approves 33 yr old judges with zero experience but are good ole right wing nuts. he is just fine with that and these judges keep kids sleeping on concrete. i hope as he sleeps in his feathered bed he is comfortable. The Axe should never give him air.

Daley Plaza ,

Establishment Politics

At times the interviews are insightful and informative but not much to offer outside the mainstream power brokers. The political world is spinning out of control and here the myopic search for explanations too often fails.

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