United States

Leading up to Election Day 2016, The Washington Post's Presidential podcast explores how each former American president reached office, made decisions, handled crises and redefined the role of commander-in-chief, starting with George Washington in week one and ending on week 44 with the president-elect. Hosted by Lillian Cunningham, the series features Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers like David McCullough and Washington Post journalists like Bob Woodward. New episodes are released on Sundays.


George W. Bush: Changing course  

Peter Baker, author of "Days of Fire" and a journalist with the New York Times, joins historian Mark Updegrove to examine how George W. Bush's presidency marked the beginning of a new era in American history.

Bill Clinton: The good and the bad  

David Maraniss, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Bill Clinton, explores how his core character traits had both a bright and a dark side. And Washington Post reporter Jim Tankersley examines how his policy legacy has had a similar duality.

George H. W. Bush: Restraint  

Historians Jon Meacham and Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush's unique form of presidential leadership--a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint--and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.

Ronald Reagan: Myths and truths  

Lou Cannon, biographer and senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post during President Reagan's administration, helps us separate the fact from fiction about who Ronald Reagan really was.

Jimmy Carter: Keeping the faith  

Longtime Carter political adviser Pat Caddell, theologian and biographer Randall Balmer, and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa examine how Jimmy Carter's faith has shaped his leadership in and out of the White House.

Gerald Ford: It's personal  

The president's son Steven Ford joins White House photographer David Hume Kennerly and Berkeley professor Daniel Sargent to talk about how Gerald Ford's experience working across the aisle in Congress affected his leadership style as president.

Richard Nixon: Looking inward  

Bob Woodward, one of the Washington Post investigative reporters who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, examines what was at the heart of Richard Nixon's presidential downfall. The Washington Post's current executive editor, Marty Baron, joins as well.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Power  

The LBJ Presidential Library's director, Mark Updegrove, helps us examine how Johnson worked his will--at times darkly--to get some of the most transformative legislation of the 20th century through Congress.

John F. Kennedy: We are all mortal  

Robert Dallek, Michael Beschloss and Fredrik Logevall--three major Kennedy historians and biographers--join us on this week's episode to talk about JFK and death. But not his assassination...

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Covert action  

Stephen Kinzer, author of "The Brothers," and historian Will Hitchcock explore President Eisenhower's predilection for covert action--both in foreign affairs and in his own leadership style.

Harry S. Truman: Trying to make the right call  

Biographer David McCullough looks at some of the most difficult decisions President Truman made during his time in the White House, and Washington Post polling manager Scott Clement examines the biggest polling failure in presidential history.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Through Eleanor's eyes  

Allida Black, editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt papers, along with FDR Library Director Paul Sparrow and White Ho use speechwriter Sarada Peri, examine Franklin Roosevelt's leadership through the lens of the first lady's own contributions to his presidency.

Herbert Hoover: Dealing with disaster  

Herbert Hoover entered the White House with an array of high-profile experience leading disaster relief. So why was his handling of the Great Depression considered a failure? Biographer Charles Rappleye guest stars.

Calvin Coolidge: A tale of two Coolidges  

Former politician Michael Dukakis, biographer Amity Shlaes and political scientist Robert Gilbert join Washington Post economics reporter Steven Pearlstein to offer alternative reads on Calvin Coolidge's legacy.

Warren G. Harding: Love and scandal  

Steamy love letters. Jazz. Scandal. Psychics. Newspapers. The Hope Diamond. Historian Nicole Hemmer helps guide us through the wild life and presidency of Warren G. Harding.

Woodrow Wilson: A complicated legacy  

Racism, diplomacy, women's rights...historian John Milton Cooper and Woodrow Wilson House executive director Robert Enholm lead us through Wilson's complicated personal and presidential legacy.

William Howard Taft: This chief, not that chief  

Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'The Bully Pulpit,' along with historian Michelle Krowl and Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes discuss why President Taft made a better chief justice than commander-in-chief.

Theodore Roosevelt: Exuberance  

Biographer David McCullough and historian Michelle Krowl take us inside the wild, unstoppable dynamism of Teddy Roosevelt, whose energy and activism redefined the role of American president.

William McKinley: The modern campaign  

Republican political strategist Karl Rove dissects what was so transformative about William McKinley's 1896 presidential campaign. And Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig discusses how his assassination modernized the Secret Service.

Benjamin Harrison: The president as conservationist  

Benjamin Harrison was the first U.S. president to use his position to try to save a species, the fur seal. He also set aside more than 13 million acres of forest reserves. This episode looks at the roots of conservation as a presidential responsibility. Michelle Krowl of the Library of Congress, Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post and Will Gartshore of the World Wildlife Fund guest star.

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