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Playbook Deep Dive

Author: POLITICO

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Welcome to Playbook Deep Dive, the stories behind the power. From Congress and the White House to bar stools and back rooms, POLITICO Playbook’s Ryan Lizza brings you interviews with the most compelling and important figures who explain what’s really going on in Washington.
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South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn is often considered the single most important person in helping Joe Biden win the Democratic nomination in 2020. Now, in 2024, Clyburn is one of Biden’s six campaign co-chairs.  On this episode of Deep Dive, Clyburn joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss: Biden’s weakness with Black and Latino voters; the rebellion on the left over Israel’s war in Gaza; the continued Democratic carping about the Biden campaign’s messaging; Biden’s dismal approval ratings; who will be the post-Biden leaders of the Democratic Party; what side he’s taking in that New York Democratic primary that’s pitting the likes of Hakeem Jeffries against Hillary Clinton; and more. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Jim Clyburn is a U.S. Congressman from South Carolina.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), one of President Joe Biden’s closest foreign policy advisors, gives his assessment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial upcoming address in front of Congress, the politics of the Hunter Biden trial, why Coons thinks the president’s executive order on asylum is hollow, how our allies around the world are bracing themselves for the coming election, what would happen if China invaded Taiwan in a Trump versus a Biden administration, and his honest assessment of what’s changed about Biden as he’s aged,. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Chris Coons is a U.S. senator from Delaware.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
POLITICO’s senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney and legal columnist Ankush Khardori debrief on what happened at the Hush Money trial, how Trump’s team may have hurt its own case, and what their best plan is to win an appeal after Thursday’s massive guilty verdict.  Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Kyle Cheney is a senior legal affairs reporter for POLITICO. Ankush Khardori is a columnist and senior writer for POLITICO Magazine. Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss his entry into the Senate GOP leadership race to succeed Mitch McConnell. They discuss why Sen. Scott is running, what Donald Trump told him about his decision, his relationship with key Republicans such as McConnell and Susie Wiles, his policy agenda on foreign aid, abortion, entitlements, and Israel if he’s elected leader, Trump’s running mate choices, and the importance of having a purpose in life. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Rick Scott is the junior U.S. senator from Florida.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
On Wednesday morning, Frank Fahrenkopf received a letter from the Biden presidential campaign that ruined his day. Fahrenkopf is co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has produced 33 debates since 1988, the first election year it was in business. He was planning on four more this year: three with Biden and Trump as well as the quadrennial vice presidential debate. But the Biden campaign told Fahrenkopf that the president would not be participating in any of them. Instead, the Biden campaign announced that it would negotiate with the Trump campaign and individual media organizations to plan two debates outside of the Commission’s process. By the end of the day Biden and Trump were set to debate in June on CNN and in September on ABC. On this episode of Deep Dive, Fahrenkopf joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss the fall-out from this decision, including the roles of Biden, Trump, and Anita Dunn; why he thinks RFK Jr. may have grounds for a lawsuit against CNN and what some of his favorite behind-the-scenes stories are from his decades of producing debates.  Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Frank Fahrenkopf is the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Fresh off fending off a hard-right coup attempt, the House speaker opens up about his strategy and his future plans for the GOP Conference. Topics in this lengthy interview include: Johnson’s victory over the GOP radicals; Israel; Ukraine; January 6th; the Trump trials; abortion; and his relationships with key Washington leaders, such as Joe Biden, Hakeem Jeffries, Kevin McCarthy and, of course, Donald Trump. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Rachael Bade is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Mike Johnson is the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, who has represented a big piece of Manhattan since 1992, is one of the longest-serving Jewish members of the House.  He’s also a Columbia University alumnus: he was on campus in 1968 when police cleared Hamilton Hall of anti-Vietnam war protesters. Nadler is a close observer of the Middle East and the politics of Israel in the U.S. And he’s the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, where he’s long seen himself as a champion of civil liberties. All of this background helped put Nadler at the center of a swirl of events this week as pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia were ejected from Hamilton Hall, as President Biden made his first public remarks about campus protests, as a ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel seemed tantalizingly close and as the House passed, by an overwhelming majority of 320 to 91, the Antisemitism Awareness Act — a bill against which Nadler led the opposition. On this week’s episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talked talks with Nadler about all of this and about Trump’s interview in Time Magazine, the potential for disruption at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the vote Nadler most regrets in his long career and the nature of truth. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Jerry Nadler is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
The biggest movie in the country right now is about a civil war — in America. If you see the film “Civil War” at a theater in downtown Washington, the scenes of the Lincoln Memorial exploding and the White House being attacked are jarring when you exit into the D.C. air.  The movie is writer and director Alex Garland’s very in-your-face attempt to imagine the unimaginable in America — an authoritarian leader in the White House, intractable political differences being resolved through violence and the very specific horrors of modern warfare — urban fighting, refugee camps, mass atrocities, the collapse of the currency — all the things that we associate with stuff that can happen over there happening right here in the United States. “Civil War” is also a movie about journalism. It follows four reporters traveling from New York to Washington, D.C., via a circuitous route through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.  The movie takes on a lot of the weighty issues we talk about on shows like this one: media ethics, political polarization, disinformation polluting our media ecosystem and the potential threat from an autocratic leader. Wagner Moura plays a hardened war correspondent addicted to the battlefield. He also provides some much needed levity in the movie. Moura is best-known for his role as Pablo Escobar in “Narcos.” But he’s also a former journalist, a political activist and a writer and director himself. His 2019 movie “Marighella” about the coup and counter-revolution in Brazil in the 1960s incurred the wrath of then-president Jair Bolsonaro in Moura’s home country of Brazil.  Deep Dive host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talked with Moura on Thursday just as Washington’s annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner festivities were getting under way. It’s the time of year when the relationship between journalists, politicians and Hollywood is at its peak in this town.  They had a fascinating conversation about how making a movie about a new civil war changed Moura’s own personal thinking about politics, how his experience with Bolsonaro in Brazil is a warning for Americans and the role of art in politics. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Wagner Moura is a star of A24's film "Civil War". Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
After months of delay, this week House Speaker Mike Johnson advanced his much awaited version of the Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan foreign aid package. Standing between that legislation and the House floor: two very powerful committees.  First, the House Appropriations Committee, which controls about a third of federal spending. And second, the Rules Committee, which controls access to the House floor, and which has become a problem for GOP leaders in this Congress. Johnson needed to pick the lock on both of these committees. And there is one Member of Congress who has chaired them both. Not just in the past year — but in the past month: Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole. Deep Dive host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza caught up with Cole on Thursday afternoon after he’d just testified in support of the foreign aid bill in front of his old committee.  They got deep into the weeds of why the Rules Committee has been such a trouble spot for recent GOP speakers; and they discussed Johnson’s tenure so far and whether Cole thinks the Speaker can hang on as members threaten to oust him.  Cole also previewed how he will run the Appropriations Committee, including how he’ll handle the controversial earmarks process. And Cole answered some prying questions from some of his favorite historians on the subject of Donald Trump. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Tom Cole is the chair of the House Appropriations committee.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Michael Cohen may be the only person standing between Donald Trump and jail. Three of Trump’s four criminal trials — the ones in Washington, Florida and Georgia — seem hopelessly stalled. But on this coming Monday in New York, the hush money case is set to begin. Deep Dive guest and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is the star witness in the case. On this episode, he joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss how he will defend the assault on his credibility at the trial, why Alvin Bragg’s case is stronger than analysts believe, the legal tactics he’s expecting from Trump’s team and whether he ever regrets breaking with Trump. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Michael Cohen is Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer. Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
On April 1, the Florida Supreme Court issued a pair of decisions on abortion that led the Biden campaign to declare that Florida, which Democrats have lost twice to Donald Trump, was now “winnable.” The only problem with that? Some of Florida’s abortion rights advocates want the president to stay away. At issue is Amendment 4, a measure on November’s ballot that would enshrine abortion in the state constitution — and will also need Republican and independent votes to pass.  On this episode of Deep Dive, Anna Hochkammer, the executive director of the Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition and one of the architects of Florida’s abortion ballot initiative, joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss the delicate politics of building a bipartisan coalition around abortion rights in a red state like Florida. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Anna Hochkammer is the executive director of the Florida Women's Freedom Coalition.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
A year ago today, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia and charged with espionage, an allegation he and the Journal said was absurd. The State Department declared that Gershkovich was “wrongfully detained,” an official status that commits the Biden administration to work for his release. Journal publisher Almar Latour has played a key role in the legal and diplomatic effort to free Gershkovich. On this episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks with Latour to learn the inside story of this effort.  They discuss: how the shadow of basketball star Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia is influencing talks to bring Evan home; why a Russian hitman serving a life sentence in Germany may be the key to unlocking a deal with Putin; and how the 2024 election may affect Gershkovich’s fate.  Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Almar Latour is CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
The politics of the Israel-Hamas war have become one of the most divisive issues in the Democratic Party. Mark Mellman, the president of Democratic Majority for Israel – and a longtime pollster – joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to get into the weeds on the new politics of Israel within the Democratic Party.  Other subjects covered include the polling data behind Biden’s age, Trump’s hold on the GOP, double doubters, abortion, the fate of Nikki Haley voters, and whether you should bother paying attention to polls in the first place.  Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Mark Mellman is the president of Democratic Majority for Israel. Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
TikTok, abortion, and IVF: three of the biggest issues in American politics right now and Kellyanne Conway is in the middle of all of them.   Conway has been advising Donald Trump and Mike Pence for years and lately she’s best known for urging the GOP to leave TikTok alone and moderate the party’s message on reproductive rights. On this episode of Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza has a spirited conversation with Conway at POLITICO’s Health Care Summit, where they recorded Deep Dive’s first-ever live show. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Kellyanne Conway is a GOP strategist and former Trump adviser.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
First ladies are among the most powerful advisers in any White House and Jill Biden is no exception. On this episode of Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza is joined by NYT White House correspondent Katie Rogers, who recently published  “American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden,” an authoritative account of how this century’s first ladies have influenced the nation.  Ryan and Katie discuss Jill Biden and Melania Trump’s roles in staffing, campaigning, and policy decisions; sensitive items from their times in the White House, such as Melania and Donald’s prenup; and whether or not Jill Biden has ever forgiven Kamala Harris for what she said about Joe in 2020. Additionally, Katie opened up about the time her editors at the New York Times sent her to Arkansas and forced her to report a story about the Bidens that she didn’t want to cover — and how it ended up forcing Jill and Joe to confront an uncomfortable truth about their family. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Katie Rogers is a White House correspondent for The New York Times.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Carlos Lozada is a columnist for The New York Times, and before that, the longtime nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post.  In 2019, Lozada won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism for a series of pieces that judges described as “trenchant and searching reviews and essays that joined warm emotion and careful analysis in examining a broad range of books addressing government and the American experience.” Well, he's now collected nearly a decade of such reviews in what he calls “The Washington Book: How to Read Politics and Politicians,” which was released this week.  “If the art of politics can be to subtract meaning from language to produce more and more words that say less and less,” he writes, “then it is my purpose as a journalist to try to find that meaning and put it back.” He reads a lot of books by politicians. As he likes to say, he reads all those books so that you don't have to.  But he's found a way to use those books to say something interesting about those same politicians.  So what does Carlos's close reading of the likes of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis and many others reveal about our politics in 2024? It turns out quite a lot. On this week’s episode of Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza sits down with Carlos in POLITICO's offices to find out more. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Carlos Lozada is an opinion columnist and co-host of the weekly “Matter of Opinion” podcast for The New York Times.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) has a way of being in the middle of things, whether it’s standing up to Trump after Jan. 6 when many in her party kept quiet, helping overthrow House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, or warning Republicans about how they were wrong when it comes to the politics of abortion.  But some of that drama is catching up with Mace back home in South Carolina, which on Saturday will be the center of the political world as voters head to the polls in the state’s presidential primary. Mace is now back in Trump’s corner and facing a primary which features not one but two candidates at least partly motivated by revenge: a candidate backed by McCarthy and Mace’s own former chief of staff. On this episode of Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks to Rep. Mace about her on-again, off-again history with Trump; the revenge plots playing out in her primary; her prediction about Trump’s margin of victory on Saturday; and the backstory to that time she wore a giant scarlet “A” on the House floor. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Nancy Mace is the representative for South Carolina's 1st district.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to discuss everything you might want to know about Russian space weapons, Section 702 reforms, and the behind-the-scenes action at the Intelligence Committee during a week of extraordinary volatility.  Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Jim Himes is the representative for Connecticut's 4th district.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was the Democratic lead on the much anticipated bipartisan border legislation that was supposed to sail through the Senate and unlock funding for the war in Ukraine. But everything went sideways this week when Republicans, at Donald Trump’s insistence, abruptly turned against the bill. On this episode of Deep Dive, Sen. Murphy tells host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza what really happened behind the scenes in the negotiations that assembled the bill and how things unraveled so fast. Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Sen. Chris Murphy is the junior senator from Connecticut. Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) discusses the unique role she plays as one of President Joe Biden’s campaign co-chairs who is also opposed to some of the key policies he is pursuing on immigration and in the Middle East.   On this episode, she tells Deep Dive host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza: - Her views on Biden’s border policies and the senate bill  - Her own ideas of what a winning immigration policy looks like  - Her concerns about Biden’s policies in the Middle East — and what she fears is the potential political fallout for his re-election - What might be on the agenda at the next secret meeting of Biden’s campaign co-chairs - Whether she’d rather Biden run against Nikki Haley or Donald Trump Ryan Lizza is a Playbook co-author for POLITICO. Veronica Escobar is the representative for Texas's 16th district.  Kara Tabor is a producer for POLITICO audio.  Alex Keeney is a senior producer for POLITICO audio.
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Comments (22)

daramola tolulope

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Feb 1st
Reply

Alex De Marco

And we ended with excuses like "worker shortage". What a pathetic rubber stamp.

Apr 15th
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Alex De Marco

Holy shit this guy is living in an illusion. Lots of people who hated Joe voted for him, and he has precistably done NOTHING for working people. Don't expect labor at all

Apr 15th
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Alex De Marco

Lol. This isn't idealism. It's delusion. History males it clear we are teetering the edge of a full authoritarian state.

Apr 11th
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Alex De Marco

Not missing another "moderate." Moderation results in working class stagnation.

Mar 31st
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Alex De Marco

Never has #privilege had more annoying voices. Can't imagine why we have had four surges now.

Mar 29th
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Ouida Hampton-Taylor

Still awaiting the response regarding the letter that Bill Barr. The pivot was nice, but I would still love to know the answer to the question

Feb 19th
Reply

ann conway

I made it 10 min into this. Maybe this reads differently to non Americans such as myself, but I'm with the hypothesis that Biden doesn't want to look like an American imperialist, capitalizing on policies that are harsher than those imposed on the soviet union and which have had devastating effects of the people of Cuba. To argue fore MORE imperialism as a political tactic seems...bad.

Jul 25th
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Joe Leonard

Polls don't mean shit. Move on

Jan 21st
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Bruna Diniz

LAMBDA LAMBDA LAMBDA NERDS

Dec 24th
Reply (1)

radi r.metodiev

no

Aug 30th
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Duke of Bread

Finally unsubscribed. you guys have a clear corporate bias.

Jul 31st
Reply (3)

Duke of Bread

Absolutely full of shit this episode. Claiming that Sanders supporters second choice is Biden is absurd. How much is the DNC paying you to be this blatently full of it?

Jul 12th
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Ethan Blevins

audio kept skipping during the podcast, it was cutting out and sounded warped.

May 31st
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Jack Keovongsa

basically a show of why Biden is their candidate

May 13th
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Carole Bilotta Clark

newbie likes...

Oct 25th
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Michael Haworth

Awesome show! Tells the absolute truth about trump and his many many misdeeds and criminal behavior! If you wish the unfiltered facts about how trump is attempting to remove democracy from the united states listen to this show!

Apr 6th
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Gabriela Camacho

Best Podcast on Washington politcs.

Jan 22nd
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