The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Axe Files with David Axelrod

United States

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings 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. 30 - Joe Trippi  

Joe Trippi, Democratic campaign strategist, media consultant, and FOX News contributor, chats with David about his work on the tech-savvy Howard Dean campaign of 2004, his assessment of the 2016 Democratic and Republican primaries, and more.

Ep. 29 - Joel Benenson  

Joel Benenson, senior strategist for Hillary Clinton, chats with David in Manchester, New Hampshire, about his journey from working for a beer distributor in New York to being a top campaign strategist, Clinton’s chances in the Feb. 9 primary, the art of polling, and more.

Ep. 28 - Jonathan Martin  

New York Times chief political correspondent Jonathan Martin sits down with David in Manchester, New Hampshire, to discuss his journalism career and the upcoming Granite State primary, including Donald Trump's vulnerability, Bernie Sanders' appeal, and more.

Ep. 27 - Juliet Macur  

Juliet Macur, a Sports of the Times columnist at The New York Times, chats with David about her father’s amazing journey from a Nazi concentration camp to New Jersey, her widely acclaimed book on Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall, and hot-button issues such as the NFL’s concussion crisis, the recent accusations of match-fixing in tennis, and the FIFA corruption scandal.

Ep. 26 - Jennifer Jacobs  

Jennifer Jacobs, the chief political reporter for The Des Moines Register, speaks with David about the uniqueness of the Iowa caucus process, how candidates on both sides of the aisle are faring heading into Monday’s voting, and who might be rethinking their candidacies once the votes are tallied.

Ep. 25 - Patti Solis Doyle  

Patti Solis Doyle, the first Hispanic woman to lead a presidential campaign, chats with David about her family’s immigration to the U.S. from Mexico, the 17 years she spent working for Hillary Clinton both in the White House and on the campaign trail, and why she thinks Clinton is a better candidate this time around and will ultimately win the Democratic nomination.

Ep. 24 - Sen. Dick Durbin  

Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, speaks with David about his start in politics, his toughest votes in Congress, his support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and the legacy that President Obama will leave behind.

Ep. 23 - Stuart Stevens  

Republican political strategist, media consultant, and writer Stuart Stevens, currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, chats with David about his upbringing in Mississippi, his work for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, and his opposition to Donald Trump.

Ep. 22 - Arne Duncan  

Arne Duncan, who stepped down as U.S. Secretary of Education at the start of this year, chats with David about his childhood in Hyde Park, his tenure as a member of the president’s cabinet, and the gun violence and education problems facing the city of Chicago.

Ep. 21 - Mary Kay Henry  

Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), sits down with David to discuss her leadership of the 2.1 million member union, her concerns about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the future of labor unions in this country, and more.

Ep. 20 - Aneesh Chopra  

Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, chats with David about his work for the Obama Administration, his run for lieutenant governor of Virginia, the importance of innovation, and more.

Ep. 19 - Sec. Thomas Perez  

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez talks with David about his work with the Obama administration, the Department's efforts to help disabled workers, and more.

Ep. 18 - Husain Haqqani  

Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, talks with David about the U.S. foreign policy struggles in Pakistan, his imprisonment at the hands of the Pakistani army, his views on dealing with ISIS, and his take on the 2016 race for the White House.

Ep. 17 - Joakim Noah  

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah sits down with David to discuss Chicago's gun violence problems, race relations in America, and his Noah's Arc Foundation, helping children through arts and sports.

Ep. 16 - Sen. Claire McCaskill  

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, chats with David about her time on Capitol Hill, the Laquan McDonald case in Chicago, and her thoughts on the 2016 presidential candidates.

Ep. 15 - Reihan Salam  

Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, chats with David about the future of the Republican Party, the debate over immigration reform, and more.

Ep. 14 - Sheriff Tom Dart  

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who oversees the nation's largest single site jail, speaks with David about his path to public service, Chicago's reaction to the Laquan McDonald shooting, the current state of our criminal justice system, and more.

Ep. 13 - Spike Lee  

Spike Lee, one of the leading African-American filmmakers of all time, speaks with David about his new movie on Chicago gun violence “CHI-RAQ,” race relations in the U.S., and his love of the New York Knicks. Warning: This episode contains some explicit language.

Ep. 12 - David Maraniss  

David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of six best-selling books, sits down with David Axelrod to discuss his acclaimed new book “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story,” his coverage of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton that won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize, and how he views the state of political journalism today.

Ep. 11 - Jon Favreau  

Jon Favreau, former Director of Speechwriting for President Obama, speaks with David about his nerve-racking first meeting with his future boss, what it was like writing speeches in the White House, and the state of political speech-making today.

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