POLITICO's Off Message

POLITICO takes you behind the scenes with Washington's power players to uncover what's really driving politics and policy in the nation’s capital.

Rahm Emanuel weighs in on 2020
The former Chicago mayor and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama — talks to POLITICO founding editor John Harris about his new book, "The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World," his "toy phone" in Bill Clinton's White House and his thoughts on the 2020 field.
20 min
A new tone from some in GOP on climate change -...
Some senior Republicans are showing a willingness to consider incremental legislation
34 min
Which 2020 Democrat should Donald Trump most be...
We talked shop with the strategists from four losing 2016 GOP primary campaigns in a Washington cigar bar -- a literal smoke-filled room.
39 min
This is what Kirsten Gillibrand hates about run...
24 min
Is John Hickenlooper too normal to be president?
In a crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper makes an impression on voters as a genuine candidate, even if he's a bit quirky.
22 min
How it feels to win (and lose) a House majority
For our post-midterms edition of Off Message, we talk to Corry Bliss and Charlie Kelly, the two men who led the largest House campaign organizations in 2018, about what just happened.
55 min
David Axelrod: Voters don't want a ‘Democratic ...
The strategist behind Obama's presidential campaigns gives his midterms predictions, shares his lightning-round thoughts on 2020 candidates and tells Tim whether he thinks any politician can recapture the Obama magic.
56 min
Meet the next Ted Cruz
Chip Roy, Cruz's former chief of staff, is likely to be elected to the House in Nov. Top Republicans worry that he'll be to the right of the Freedom Caucus.
45 min
Steve Scalise thinks he knows who'll be the nex...
Steve Scalise on Trump, returning to the scene of his summer 2017 shooting, and who he thinks will be the next GOP House speaker.
48 min
John Kerry on 2020, Trump and why we need to as...
The former secretary of state has led a Forrest Gump-like life. He went to high school with Bob Mueller. He introduced John Lennon at a Vietnam protest. He ran for president and almost won. Will he run again in 2020?
46 min
Elijah Cummings is ready to investigate Trump
If Democrats retake the House, the Maryland congressman will likely become the new chair of the Oversight committee. Here, a preview of what to expect from their coming investigations of the Trump administration.
47 min
Ken Starr: If I was Trump's lawyer, ‘I would be...
The Clinton-era independent counsel weighs in on Brett Kavanaugh, why Trump has an obligation to answer Mueller's questions and whether he plans to support Trump in 2020.
45 min
Mazie Hirono: Brett Kavanaugh is fudging the truth
The Hawaii senator gets candid about why she believes Kavanaugh's accuser, what it's like being the only immigrant in the Senate and her own #MeToo story.
58 min
Ben Jealous: ‘Americans are suffering under the...
Ben Jealous is a venture capitalist. Opponents call him a socialist. He says that’s the cost of wanting “people to be treated in a way that’s just.”
55 min
Seth Meyers: Trump wanted me to apologize for m...
A reprise episode: The “Late Night” host talks about President Trump and the time Michael Cohen tried to negotiate a mea culpa from the comedian.
42 min
Tony Perkins: Trump gets ‘a mulligan’ on Stormy...
A reprise episode: The head of the Family Research Council says that evangelical conservatives are willing to overlook Trump’s past behavior so long as he delivers for them on policy.
45 min
Why Michael Hayden says Trump is helping Russia...
A reprise episode: Former CIA Director Michael Hayden doesn’t know whether Donald Trump colluded with the Russian attack on the 2016 election—but he’s sure the president helped the Kremlin and is continuing to do so every day.
40 min
Randi Weingarten: For unions, this is a ‘which ...
The president of the American Federation of Teachers says that union members haven’t just cooled on Trump—they’ve turned on him.
49 min
Shannon Watts: How to create an ‘army of angry ...
The founder of Moms Demand Action talks about how she created one of the most successful gun control groups in the country—and where they go from here.
50 min
John Dean: Nixon ‘might have survived if there'...
An encore of our first interview of 2018. John Dean — the Nixon aide who flipped, became the Watergate prosecution’s star witness and brought down a president — gets real about the Trump-Russia scandal and the differences between it and Watergate.
43 min
Marty Walsh: Working-class Trump voters ‘forgot...
The progressive Boston mayor fits the profile of a Trump voter. And if Democrats want to win them back, he says they need to stop with the abstract talk and get real.
45 min
Francis Suarez: Miami's almost-millennial, Lati...
He's a registered Republican, but he didn't vote for Trump.
40 min
Kate Andersen Brower: Making sense of the Trump...
How does Mike Pence keep his boss happy? By staying out of the spotlight, for starters, says journalist Kate Andersen Brower, whose new book looks at the relationships between presidents and vice presidents.
38 min
Tom Arnold: 'Donald Trump is a D-list president...
49 min
Seth Moulton: ‘We have a commander in chief tha...
Rep. Seth Moulton is amassing an army of service-oriented Dem candidates. His goal isn’t simply to defeat Trump; it’s to change politics — and maybe form his own national campaign in the process.
53 min
Kirsten Gillibrand: Trump is pushing the ‘devil...
The New York senator has a different word for the family separation policy which the attorney general and White House press secretary call “Biblical.” Her word is “evil.” In the Biblical sense.
49 min
Jenny Durkan: ‘The baton got dropped,’ and Obam...
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was the first Obama appointee to win a major election after his presidency. She's part of a network of Obama-era officials running for office to beat Trump and usher in the progressive era that was promised.
39 min
John Delaney: The 2020 long-shot candidate who’...
For Congressman John Delaney, the 2020 campaign is already underway. The money is there. So is the commitment. And people in are starting to pay attention.
39 min
Steyer: Pelosi is ‘normalizing’ Trump by not ta...
The billionaire California activist says Democratic leaders who don’t take up the cause are writing off millions of potential voters.
46 min
Jimmy Carter: ‘Democracy has reached its peak a...
Former President Jimmy Carter joins us to talk about the lack of moral leadership in the White House, faith, and what it would take for Donald Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
21 min
Benjamin: ‘I don’t know exactly what the presid...
Donald Trump the first president to live his whole life in a city. So why does he have such an adversarial relationship with mayors? Steve Benjamin, the head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, joins us to discuss.
41 min
Seth Meyers: Trump wanted me to apologize for m...
The “Late Night” host talks about President Trump, the White House Correspondents Dinner, and the time Trump sent Michael Cohen to negotiate a mea culpa from the comedian.
42 min
Chris Matthews: ‘I’m not sure trust is what peo...
The host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and sharp observer of politics talks about 2020, why the Trump Show "is wearing surprisingly well," what Trump understands about white ethnic politics and what you don't understand about cable news.
51 min
The millennial mayor who could make universal b...
Michael Tubbs is the 27-year-old leader of one of California’s biggest cities. And he’s using that position to try out some truly radical policy ideas.
41 min
Rubin: Trump’s GOP ‘has become the caricature t...
Jennifer Rubin is a leading voice for conservative intellectuals who don’t fit comfortably in either political party—and sees the party she left behind as ‘immoral’ and ‘anti-American.’
43 min
Inside Puerto Rico’s Plan to Influence the Midt...
Frustrated by Congress’s response to Hurricane Maria, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is preparing to drop a ‘hammer’ in targeted states in 2018.
37 min
Should Sessions wrap up the Mueller probe?
Rep. Matt Gaetz on what he's learned as Trump's apprentice in Congress, and why he thinks it's time to end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
41 min
Pete Buttigieg gets closer to a 2020 campaign
The 36-year-old South Bend mayor is an Afghanistan veteran, Rhodes Scholar, out gay man and plain-spoken Midwesterner. Could he be the next president?
53 min
Beto O'Rourke doesn’t want to be Democrats' nex...
The Texas congressman talks Ted Cruz, the lyrics he wrote in his old punk band, and the ways he wishes he was more like his dad.
54 min
Schwarzenegger lets loose on Trump, Big Oil and...
Live from SXSW, Arnold Schwarzenegger joins us for a wide-ranging conversation on politics, the environment — and even the upcoming "Terminator" movie.
58 min
Democrats Vow to Go After GOP Governors ‘Kowtow...
Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington and DGA head, wants gubernatorial races to become a battlefield for the anti-Trump resistance.
40 min
Michael Hayden on Trump, Russia and why you can...
Retired General and former CIA Director Michael Hayden sees a "convergence" between the Trump campaign and Russia. He's ‘very concerned’ about it—and thinks you should be, too.
41 min
BONUS: Utah Gov. on Romney’s Trump Endorsement ...
Utah Governor Gary Herbert explains why he doesn't mind Romney's flip-flop on taking Trump's endorsement, the gun law changes he'd like to see, and why Utah is chasing another shot at hosting the Olympics.
30 min
Yes to “thoughts and prayers,” but why not acti...
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy talks about gun violence, what he has in common with Donald Trump, and his time working as a textbook salesman.
42 min
‘Black women are realizing the power of their v...
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on the political rise of black women, what it would take for Democrats to win Georgia in 2020, and how it feels to visit your father in prison while you're just a child.
36 min
Joe Kennedy could be the Democrats’ best hope. ...
Kennedy on why Democrats need a “big, messy” primary in 2020, the reason he thinks Joe Biden would've defeated Trump, his time as Elizabeth Warren's student at Harvard, and what it's like to learn about your family members in history class.
38 min
House Republicans struggle with what to do abou...
Steve Stivers heads up the House GOP's campaign arm. And that means that, among other things, he's faced with figuring out where—and how—President Trump can be helpful to Republican candidates.
44 min
Evangelicals give Trump a ‘mulligan’ on life pr...
Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, says that evangelical conservatives are willing to overlook Trump’s past behavior so long as he delivers for them on policy.
45 min
‘Washington was about to explode’: The Clinton ...
An all-star panel discusses how #MeToo changes the way we think about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, how the scandals of 1998 would play out in today's media environment, and what Trump learned from Clinton's example.
51 min
Perez: GOP must answer for "appalling silence" ...
DNC chair Tom Perez talks about Trump's 'shithole countries' remark, and shares why he thinks the "party of Lincoln" is dead — despite the fact it controls the White House, Congress, Judiciary, and most states.
41 min
Jordan Klepper: Is what we're living through fu...
Comedy Central host Jordan Klepper discusses satire, conspiracy theorists (including Donald Trump), and working on a fake news show in the "fake news" era.
31 min
John Dean: Trump's inner circle has no idea wha...
John Dean, Nixon's White House counsel, has a warning for Trump's team: they're repeating the mistakes of Watergate, this isn't going to end any time soon, and nobody should assume they're prepared.
44 min
Bill de Blasio says he isn’t running for presid...
In Des Moines, de Blasio talks about the New Yorkers who could run in 2020, and the direction progressives should head.
40 min
Joe Manchin: How Trump is losing red-state Demo...
Manchin talks about moonshine, the ‘chickenshit’ attacks on him, and what he sees as the 'atrocious’ treatment of Al Franken.
54 min
PREVIEW: Why Sen. Joe Manchin thinks Al Franken...
“What they did to Al, the Democrats, was the most hypocritical thing I've ever seen done to a human being,” says Manchin.
2 min
Petraeus: ‘Life is not full of high-five moments’
The retired general and former CIA director explains why he thinks Trump’s foreign policy is more continuation than change, what he knows about Mike Flynn, and
65 min
Trump’s threat to take down the GOP still stands
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie don’t know if Donald Trump will remain a Republican, but they believe Republicans owe him their loyalty.
47 min
Capitol Hill braces for a wave of sexual harass...
Isaac talks with Politico congressional reporters Rachael Bade and Elana Schor about Al Franken, John Conyers, Roy Moore, why Hill staffers fear what leadership will do if they speak out and what it will take for the ‘dam to break.’
36 min
Garry Kasparov on whether Trump could beat Puti...
The Russian pro-democracy activists on strategy, transparency, and how chess made him interested in politics.
34 min
Perry: The Cabinet won’t stop Trump from launch...
Former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry is America’s nuclear conscience — and he’s worried.
40 min
What Jed Bartlet and Jack Donaghy would say to ...
Interviews with Alec Baldwin and Bradley Whitford
31 min
Eric Holder is done holding his tongue
The former Attorney General talks impeachment, redistricting, and why Jeff Sessions is “racially unaware.”
37 min
Nancy Pelosi isn’t going anywhere
Nancy Pelosi is hated; she’s a hero. She’s the Democrats’ secret weapon; she’s the Republicans’ favorite target. She’s been around politics her entire life...
58 min
Preet Bharara: Trump, indictments and the Godfa...
For years, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was one of the most feared prosecutors in America. Then President Trump asked him to resign...
50 min
Thom Tillis: ‘If they don’t like the process, ...
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis discusses his dream of going to Burning Man and how he sees Breitbart and the Huffington Post as the same...
54 min
Puerto Rico's Jenniffer Gonzalez to Trump: ‘We...
Puerto Rico's delegate in Congress discusses what she made of President Trump’s promise to wipe away the territory’s debt...
40 min
Mark Kelly to lawmakers opposing gun laws: ‘You...
Captain Mark Kelly sits down to discuss gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting...
41 min
Rob Reiner tries to find the truth about Trump ...
Actor and activist Rob Reiner sits down with Isaac Dovere in New York to discuss Russia, Trump, cultural fights sweeping and country and celebrities' role in all of it.
38 min
Jeff Merkley: Meet the leader of the vast left-...
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley discusses what became of the wind turbine he built in his backyard, how an offhand slight in the math-science center in high school got him started in his first race...
46 min
Will Hurd: Everybody needs to stand up
Texas Congressman Will Hurd has a message for Republicans who don’t like the funding deal President Donald Trump made with Democrats: Get yourself together, or quit complaining.
36 min
Dolores Huerta: I think the '60s are back
Dolores Huerta, the famed labor leader who marched with Cesar Chavez and coined his rallying cry, is still mad as hell—and she was spitting fire when I asked her about..
26 min
How Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan became unbeatable
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discusses his unexpected write-in victory, turning around the city's urban decline and turning the street lights back on.
40 min
Al Sharpton & Jerry Nadler on hate in America
Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Jerry Nadler, who battled Donald Trump for years in New York, consider the lasting consequences of his Charlottesville comments and their own experiences with racism and anti-Semitism.
57 min
Cecile Richards and the future of choice politics
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards discusses women senators' role in the health care repeal vote, the resilience of volunteers and clinics, and what the future holds for the abortion fight.
32 min
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on the future of indepe...
Bill Walker sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss the last time he saw Sarah Palin, standing in the middle of a river at age 12 when an earthquake destroyed his hometown and what his meetings during Energy Week at the White House were like.
34 min
Obama’s inner circle is urging Deval Patrick to...
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick sits down with Isaac Dovere at Bain Capital in Boston to discuss his decision to join the investment firm, his tight-knit relationship with President Obama and what's next for his political career.
43 min
Maz Jobrani on Trump protest comedy
Comedian Maz Jobrani reflects back on his own immigrant experience as a child and how that has influenced his perception of the world, especially now that the country is charged by policies like President Trump's travel ban.
28 min
Arnold Schwarzenegger's not done with politics
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss gerrymandering, the similarities between politics and show business, and why he gets under President Trump's skin.
46 min
Debating free journalism in Cuba
One of the most recognizable journalists from Cuba's state television, Cristina Escobar, sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss censorship, the impact of President Obama's historic visit in 2016, and Cubans' take on the Trump White House.
33 min
Can Roy Cooper show Democrats how to win again?
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper talks high school sports highlights, gerrymandering and building up the Democratic party at the state levels.
39 min
How Trump Is changing the Washington game
Playbook co-authors Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman join the show to discuss how they have reworked their lives around an early morning schedule that keeps them both going 365 days per year...
35 min
Is Trump a Conservative? Mike Lee says yes
Here’s where Lee, the junior Republican senator from Utah, has landed: Trump makes sense in the White House, as the head of the Republican Party, and as a leader of the conservative moment because that’s what happened. It’s more deduction than enthusiasm.
26 min
Wrestling with the Trump White House
AP's Julie Pace and NYT's Peter Baker discuss how they approach covering a president and White House that clearly wants a war with the media and looks for every opportunity to pick a fight.
40 min
Gerard Araud: Europeans can't build a future wi...
French Ambassador Gerard Araud gives Isaac Dovere his read on Trump’s personality and the advice he gave Macron on dealing with him before their first encounter.
45 min
Mitch Landrieu: The President of the United May...
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants to turn the Conference of Mayors into a powerful national platform as cities work around, ignore and resist the White House.
34 min
Ben Cardin: America in danger of stumbling into...
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin on how the Trump administration's foreign policy strategy is affecting credibility, his take on Rex Tillerson and what he's prepared to do if Republicans bring a health care bill to the floor without a hearing.
35 min
How Jason Kander won by losing
Jason Kander, who came shockingly close to ousting Missouri’s Republican Sen. Roy Blunt last November despite Hillary Clinton’s blowout loss in the state—has been a man in demand the last seven months.
45 min
Terry McAuliffe looks past the Clintons
The Virginia governor talks skydiving, how he thinks Hillary Clinton needs to step back, taking on Trump, his campaign plans for 2018 and the looming question of whether he'll make his own White House run in 2020.
50 min
Chad Griffin & Paula Vogel
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin assesses the record of Trump White House--and Ivanka Trump--on gay rights and what the Resistance has to learn. Tony-nominated Paula Vogel talks her play "Indecent" and anxieties about art in the age of Trump.
55 min
Linda McMahon complains of White House 'bottlen...
Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon discusses going from bankruptcy to WWE millions, the first time she met Donald Trump, staffing challenges and her mission to introduce more small business owners to the SBA.
35 min
Wyclef Jean: I might run for office someday
Wyclef Jean’s advice for celebrities who want to get political: Don’t be like Kathy Griffin.
27 min
Ben Sasse on Trump and being an adult
Mention President Donald Trump’s name and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse closes his eyes, rocks back and forth on his heels in almost momentary pinched smile meditation, waiting for it to pass.
73 min
Problem Solvers insist it's not too late for ta...
Reed and Gottheimer aren’t crazy—they’re the co-chairs of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and they insist their day has come. The voters who elected Trump demand it.
38 min
Eric Garcetti isn’t running for president (wink...
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss his relationship with Donald Trump, what he learned about politics from his father and what his hopes are for his own political career.
57 min
Rahm Emanuel: 'America’s reliability is now in ...
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes everyone in Washington is too focused on the craze around President Trump and unable to see what’s actually going on—and what’s not.
39 min
Sophia Bush: 'I have a right to take up space'
Actress and political activist Sophia Bush sits down with Isaac Dovere in New Orleans to discuss fighting for what she believes in (even if that means losing followers) and standing up against sexism in the work place.
48 min
Tom Cotton has no problem with Donald Trump
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton sits down with Isaac Dovere to discuss his love of Abraham Lincoln, how he cultivated such a friendly relationship with the Trump White House and what he learned from his time in the military.
49 min
Gov. John Kasich on a "post-truth" America
Ohio Gov. John Kasich sits down with Isaac Dovere this week to discuss the development of his faith, the difficulty of losing both his parents at a young age to a drunk driver and the moment he met President Nixon.
48 min
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ crashes up against Trump
In Donald Trump, author Margaret Atwood and actress Elisabeth Moss see an eerie echo of her novels. Activist Stephanie Schriock is fighting to ensure that she’s wrong.
61 min
Elliott Abrams: Steve Bannon 'not a good influe...
Former Reagan and Bush diplomat Elliott Abrams sounds off on Steve Bannon, President Trump’s about-face on Syria and the boss he almost had.
56 min