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The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Institute of Politics & CNN

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.

711 - Ep. 559 — Sen. Mallory McMorrow
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  • 711 - Ep. 559 — Sen. Mallory McMorrow

    Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow always wanted to design cars. While that didn’t quite pan out—although she did spend some time working for Mattel on Hot Wheels—she has made a name for herself as a legislator after a speech she gave on the Michigan Senate floor rebuking GOP culture wars went viral in 2022. Sen. McMorrow joined David to talk about her Catholic upbringing rooted in service, her journey from industrial design to politics, the war in the Middle East and her disgust over politicization of human suffering, Michigan politics, and why she thinks Democrats need to prioritize good candidates at all levels of government. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 30 Nov 2023
  • 710 - Ep. 558 — Walter Massey

    Dr. Walter Massey is a uniquely accomplished and fascinating American. Raised in the segregated South, Walter became one of only a handful of Black physicists in the 1960s and went on to hold leadership roles at laboratories, universities, and briefly Bank of America during the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis. He joined David to talk about his work bringing more minorities into the sciences, his involvement in civil rights as a professor, nuclear energy and scientific research, and Covid-19’s effect on trust in the scientific community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 23 Nov 2023
  • 709 - Ep. 557 — Amb. David Pressman

    Ambassador David Pressman has spent decades working on human rights, from positions at the White House to years as a human rights lawyer and nonprofit leader. He is continuing to fight for human rights and democracy as the current Ambassador to Hungary, but this time with added significance—he serves as a gay man in a country enacting increasingly anti-LGBT legislation. He joined David to talk about supporting LGBT rights in Hungary, how the state-run media has made him a target, and the threat of Vladimir Putin and Russia to democracy is Hungary and around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 16 Nov 2023
  • 708 - Ep. 556 — Obama 15-Year Anniversary Special

    This week, we’re bringing you a special episode of The Axe Files. In honor of the 15th anniversary of President Barack Obama’s historic election, David assembled a group of key players who made the 2008 Obama campaign happen. Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Reggie Love, and Alyssa Mastromonaco joined David to talk about their memories of the campaign, share stories from the trail, and reflect on the historic nature of Nov. 4, 2008.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 09 Nov 2023
  • 707 - Ep. 555 — McKay Coppins

    Journalist McKay Coppins has been linked to Sen. Mitt Romney since he covered Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. As a fellow Mormon from Massachusetts, McKay was seen as a “Mormon whisperer” by his fellow reporters on the trail. Now, with the help of dozens of interviews and access to Romney’s journals and emails, McKay has written “Romney: A Reckoning.” He joined David to talk about his new book, the political evolution of Romney and the Republican Party, the omnipresence of Romney’s father in his life and career decisions, political idealism, Donald Trump, and Romney’s sense of legacy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 02 Nov 2023
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