Candidate Confessional - Defeated Politicians Tell

Candidate Confessional - Defeated Politicians Tell

United States

Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painfully close margins. Looking back, these candidates give the listener an unvarnished, often-emotional picture of what life is really like on the campaign trail. Candidate Confessional is produced by Christine Conetta.

Episodes

Clay Aiken On His 2014 Congressional Campaign  

When Clay Aiken ran for Congress in 2014, most people assumed it was a vanity project: a former American Idol star trying to hack it in politics. But the campaign became defined by incredibly sensitive issues, from being a gay man in the south to an unexpected death on the trail. Aiken relives his run on this week's episode.

Jon Huntsman On His 2012 Presidential Campaign  

Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign never took off in 2012, despite being the candidate that President Obama feared most. Looking back, the former Utah Governor has several theories why, foremost among them that his Republican Party had grown too angry for a politician like him.

The Pain Of Losing By Four Votes  

When Karl Kassel was recruited to run for a state Senate seat in Alaska, he had no idea just how historic his race would be. Out of 10,000 votes cast, Kassel ended up losing by just four -- one of the closest losses in American electoral history. In the latest Candidate Confessional, he explained all the drama, emotion and, ultimately, heartache that comes with falling just short.

Martin O'Malley Opens Up About His Presidential Campaign  

Martin O'Malley brought an impressive resume to his 2016 White House run: a young, former governor with progressive results. But it never seemed to stick. He was overwhelmed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and overshadowed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). In his first major interview on the race, O'Malley dissects what went wrong and dishes out a bit of blame.

Anthony Weiner Relives His Run For Mayor Of New York City  

When Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011, his career in politics appeared over, crushed by a scandal in which he sent lurid tweets and texts. But less than two years later, Weiner surprised many by launching a run for mayor of New York City. It was a tumultuous ride. Weiner briefly led the polls before scandal struck yet again. In the latest Candidate Confessional, he relives the race, and all its emotional highs and lows.

Richard Carmona On His 2012 Senate Campaign  

For years Richard Carmona resisted pleas from both parties to run for office. He was a former U.S. Surgeon General under George W. Bush, a one-time police officer and public health administrator. His reputation was sterling and he didn't want to muck it up. When he finally decided to run -- for the U.S. Senate in Arizona as a Democrat in 2012 -- he quickly realized why he had declined all those prior overtures. Simply put: he hated his campaign.

How The Hell Do You Lose To Rob Ford?  

Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto, is known for many things: an outlandish personality, offensive language, and, of course, the times he was caught smoking crack. He is also a formidable politician who has managed to be elected to office despite these foibles. In the latest podcast, we talk to one of the candidates Ford defeated about just how hard it is to take down the infamous mayor.

Newt Gingrich's Odd And Wonderful 2012 Campaign  

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is one of the most dramatic and divisive political figures in modern U.S. history. And when he ran for president in 2012, he didn't disappoint. In the latest Candidate Confessional, Gingrich recounts all the stumbles and triumphs that he endured on the trail. And he shared some sage advice for this year's White House aspirants.

A Republican Dishes On The Dangers Of Being Bipartisan  

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) got along well with the opposition throughout his career. He had good relations with Democrats and appeared on shows like Bill Maher and The Colbert Report. But when he ran for the Senate in 2014, he quickly realized that being mild-mannered -- and even remotely interested in bipartisanship -- was a serious liability.

Relive One Of The Worst Booings In Political History  

During his campaign for mayor of Toledo in 2009, Ben Konop delivered a speech that became Internet lore. Appearing on the street where his mom grew up, he was booed, mercilessly, by a man sitting on a nearby porch. The video went viral, viewed 850,000 times on YouTube and lampooned by South Park. In the latest episode, Konop details that excruciating moment and how he moved beyond it.

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele On His 2006 Senate Campaign  

Before he became an MSNBC personality; before he became chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. One of the best known African-American Republicans in the country, he nearly won. But he was done in by a terrible cycle for his party (thanks, George W. Bush) and, he argues, some subtle and not-so-subtle racism on the trail.

Tim Pawlenty On His Presidential Run  

Tim Pawlenty had everything a Republican presidential candidate should have. He was a governor with a blue-collar conservative brand and the best operatives in the business. But his campaign for the White House in 2012 is remembered now for a poor showing in a straw poll, a major debate flub, and a swift exit. In this episode, he explains why everything went so wrong, so quickly.

Wendy Davis On Her Run For Governor  

Wendy Davis became an icon in 2013 when she stood on the floor of the Texas Senate for nearly 13 hours to beat back anti-abortion legislation. Although the legislation ultimately passed, the moment catapulted her to national stardom and paved the way for a run for governor. It didn't go as planned. Her campaign proved to be a brutal reality check for those who hoped to turn a deep red state, purple. She tells that story in vivid detail.

Mitt Romney's Top Aide On The White House Run  

Mitt Romney's run for the White House in 2012 featured incredible highs (a bofo debate performance against Barack Obama) and excruciating lows (a widely-panned trip abroad). Behind it all was Stu Stevens, his senior strategist. In this episode, Stevens details those and other episodes as well as the pain Romney's high-profile defeat caused him.

Michele Bachmann On Her Run For The White House  

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was one of most provocative conservative in Congress. She parlayed that reputation into a brief stint as a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. It didn't last long. In this episode, she recounts how her campaign fell apart as well as some of the more unsavory moments of life on the trail.

Howard Dean on His Presidential Campaign  

In the 2004 campaign, Howard Dean went from being a little known governor of Vermont to a leading Democratic presidential candidate, surging on his opposition to the Iraq war. And then, it all came crashing down, culminating in his infamous scream speech in Iowa. Twelve years later, Dean recounts in detail his rise and what precipitated his fall.

Welcome To Candidate Confessional  

Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painfully close margins. Looking back, these candidates give the listener an unvarnished, often-emotional picture of what life is really like on the campaign trail.

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