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Speakeasy with John Harwood
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Speakeasy with John Harwood

Author: CNBC

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CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood sits down with 2020 election candidates, top political decision makers, and key influencers, from Elizabeth Warren to Gary Cohn to John Legend, in their favorite hangouts for relaxed, in-depth conversations that reveal who they are and what drives them.

23 Episodes
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Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders

2019-10-2900:29:38

As the only self-described socialist in the U.S. Senate and the Democratic presidential race, Bernie Sanders represents a unique figure in American political life. Four years ago, his message of dramatic change to remedy income inequality and other economic ills won a large following in his fight against Hillary Clinton for the nomination of a party he does not even formally embrace. The results encouraged him enough to try again for 2020, even at age 78. This race poses different and perhaps more formidable challenges. The political independent faces not only a moderate, conventional front-runner in former Vice President Joe Biden, but also a powerful fellow liberal in Sen. Elizabeth Warren brandishing ideas nearly as ambitious as his. In debates and on the campaign trail, Warren has expanded her support this year; polls suggest Sanders has not. Then, on Oct. 1, he suffered a heart attack. After surgeons inserted two stents to relieve coronary artery blockages, Sanders returned home to rest in Vermont as political observers wondered whether he could resume full-bore campaigning. He ended that speculation quickly. The gruff, rumpled candidate – memorably depicted by the comedian Larry David on Saturday Night Live - returned to engage his rivals in a televised debate two weeks later. Like many patients who undergo successful catherization, Sanders says he has actually benefitted from renewed energy. Moreover, campaign finance reports show that Sanders out-raised all his rivals in the third quarter of the year, and has more cash-on-hand than anyone else. Over healthful green smoothies in a Des Moines coffee shops, Sanders sat down with Editor-at-Large John Harwood to discuss his health, his economic agenda, and his hope to become a 21st century version of the president of his infancy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

2019-10-0200:18:50

The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has a long way to go, but it already has at least one winner. That’s Andrew Yang, and it’s not because he will end up as his party’s candidate. Yang, an affable 44-year-old who eschews neckties and traditional rhetoric, trails front-running candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. But he has demonstrated sufficient appeal to outpace governors, senators, and House members to grab and hold his place on Democratic debate stages. A former lawyer who became wealthy as an entrepreneur, Yang entered the race without familiar presidential credentials. He had spent recent years boosting business start-ups through Venture for America, a non-profit he founded. Yang has built his campaign around what he calls The Freedom Dividend – a $1,000 per month “universal basic income” intended to cushion the impact of technological advances that have begun to supplant large swaths of the American workforce. Americans of every income level would receive it, with the enormous cost financed by a value-added tax under which the bottom 94% of earners would come out ahead. Over bubble tea in Manhattan, Yang sits down with Editor-at-Large John Harwood to discuss his campaign. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke

2019-07-0500:30:09

The Democratic sensation of 2018 has struggled so far in the 2020 presidential race. Over tacos in an El Paso Tex-Mex haunt, he filled in some blanks about his economic policies, explained how immigrants can help pay for Baby Boom retirements, and explained what he learned about business and gentrification in his hometown.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sen. Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker

2019-06-1300:22:27

Of all the Democratic presidential candidates, none delivers a speech any better than Cory Booker. The New Jersey senator declares his commitment to the disadvantaged with the passion of a preacher, the intellect of a Rhodes Scholar, the street-smarts of a former Newark mayor. At 50, he retains the imposing presence of his days playing top-level college football at Stanford. Those gifts marked this African-American politician as a rising star before Barack Obama smashed racial barriers to win the White House. Now Booker seeks to leverage them in the jampacked race for his party’s 2020 nomination. He faces big challenges - from better-known veterans Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, , to formidable female colleagues Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, to emerging young contender Pete Buttigieg. Polls show him mired in single digits. But Booker’s strengths mean no one can write him off yet, fewer than two weeks before the first televised debates. He has assembled an extensive on-the-ground campaign team in Iowa, whose caucuses kick off the nominating process next February. I caught up with him in a Des Moines coffee shop on June 8 to discuss his ideas for expanding the reach of American prosperity. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Geoff Dills Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rep. Jerry Nadler

Rep. Jerry Nadler

2019-05-1500:26:35

After a quarter-century in Congress, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York stands on the brink of an outsize role in American political life. As Judiciary Committee chairman in the Democratic-controlled House, Nadler leads his party’s efforts to exercise oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration. If Democrats pursue the fourth serious presidential impeachment effort in American history, Nadler would wield the gavel when it starts. Nadler, now 71, first took on the future president as a New York assemblyman in the 1980s when he joined the resistance to a massive Trump development project on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Trump won that battle, though his development got downsized. In today’s confrontation, the entire country holds a stake. Nadler and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California face difficult political choices. Trump drew less than 20% of the 2016 vote in both their districts, but some Democratic colleagues fear a 2020 backlash from impeachment. So party leaders have moved cautiously in the wake of the Trump-Russia special counsel report. Over scrambled eggs at Westville Hudson in the lawmaker’s New York City district, Nadler sat down to discuss the challenge.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

2019-05-0200:23:04

In some ways, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota boasts an ideal profile to compete for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. She won her third term last November with 60% in a state President Trump nearly captured in 2016. Blending mainstream liberal views, a prosecutor’s experience and a plain-folks common touch, she has built a formidable reputation as the “senator next door.” Yet the crowded, chaotic Democratic race presents challenges that Klobuchar, 58, has never faced before. Former Vice President Joe Biden commands strong early support with the moderate primary voters she covets. Other rivals – including two other Midwesterners, five other senators, five other women, and six non-whites – threaten her ability to make inroads with key Democratic constituencies. Her answer: “I’m running this campaign on grit” - as demonstrated by her February campaign announcement outside in a snowstorm. Klobuchar sat down to discuss the battle over calamari and risotto balls at Casa di Amore, an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas where she had earlier addressed a union gathering. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Stephen Desaulniers Edited by: Shari Rosen & Geoff DillsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

2019-04-1200:19:21

In the sprawling 2020 Democratic field, Pete Buttigieg may be the unlikeliest serious contender of all. He’s just 37 years old. He’s the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of barely more than 100,000 people. If elected, he would become the youngest president in American history, and the first to be openly-gay. Yet Buttigieg has a remarkably broad range of experiences and talents. After graduating from Harvard, he became a Rhodes Scholar. He advised major businesses as a McKinsey and Company management consultant. He won the mayoralty at age 29 and then, while serving, was deployed as a Naval intelligence reserve officer to Afghanistan. He speaks seven languages, and has performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on piano with the South Bend Symphony. Even while officially just “exploring” a Democratic nominate bid, Buttigieg has ridden his millennial appeal past more experienced rivals in some polls and in fund-raising. The $7-million he raised in the first quarter of 2019 exceeded the totals of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuhar and Cory Booker. As he prepares to formally announce on April 14, I sat down with Buttigieg at a veterans service organization in Las Vegas to discuss his approach to economic change. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Shari Rosen & Geoff DillsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Governor Larry Hogan

Governor Larry Hogan

2019-03-0100:19:09

Until very recently, no one thought of Larry Hogan as a candidate for president. His first two campaigns for office ended in defeat. In 2014 he won the Maryland governorship at age 58 - and within months received a diagnosis of Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Four years later, re-elected and cancer-free, the Hogan has turned into a focus of 2020 attention. Dissident members of the GOP, searching for someone to challenge President Trump’s renomination, have turned to him for two reasons. The stout, personable Republican - who this summer will become chairman of the National Governor’s Association - wields immense popularity even in a strongly-Democratic state. And he carries a resonant family legacy of political fortitude. On the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, Rep. Lawrence Hogan Sr. became the only GOP member to vote for all three articles of impeachment against Republican President Richard Nixon. Hogan sat down with me at McGarvey’s, an Annapolis bar near his gubernatorial office, to discuss his concerns about Trump and the possibility he’ll launch a campaign against the incumbent. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Geoff DillsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rep. Maxine Waters

Rep. Maxine Waters

2019-02-0100:21:56

As the House Democratic majority begins wielding power, Rep. Maxine Waters of California is among its tallest lightning rods. In her three decades on Capitol Hill, she has built a reputation for fiery advocacy on behalf of her constituents in a majority-minority Los Angeles district of below-average incomes. Now she will conduct oversight of the titans of Wall Street. The House Financial Services panel - once considered a “juice committee” for its ability to deliver big donations to members - has the first African-American, and the first woman, to wield the gavel of the chair. For years, Waters has clashed energetically with the Republican right, which has made her a target on ideological and ethical grounds. But for all her high-volume rhetoric, Republican lawmakers credit her as a trustworthy colleague with a practical streak that can, at times, produce bipartisan cooperation. A wary business community hopes it can work with her in the same way. Waters, 80, sat down with me in her office on Capitol Hill to discuss her reputation, her legislative agenda, and her determination to unearth the financial secrets of Donald Trump – the president who likes to deride her as a “low-IQ” adversary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Shari Rosen & Geoff DillsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rep. John Delaney

Rep. John Delaney

2018-12-2700:13:48

John Delaney leaves Congress in a few days, but not in defeat like so many of his colleagues. The wealthy former financial executive is leaving to ramp up his campaign for president. Yes, you read that correctly. The outgoing representative from Maryland’s Sixth House District seeks the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Delaney has been the one and only declared Democratic candidate for the last 17 months. After just four years on Capitol Hill, Delaney launched his bid in July 2017 in hopes of overcoming his absence of any national base or profile whatsoever. It hasn’t worked yet; despite frequent visits, Delaney received his 1% support among Iowa Democrats in a recent Des Moines Register poll. Yet Delaney offers the brains and savvy that took him from a blue-collar upbringing to becoming the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995. Now 55, he also brings a checkbook that permits him to finance his campaign at least through the earliest 2020 contests. He brands himself a practical problem-solver, capable of bringing both parties together to deliver on progressive goals such as universal health care and reductions in the carbon emissions that cause climate change. Delaney sat down with CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood in Chevy Chase, MD at Mei-Wah, an Asian restaurant near the offices of the finance firm for mid-sized businesses he ran before first running for Congress in 2012. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Produced by: Mary Catherine Wellons & Pat Anastasi Edited by: Shari Rosen & Geoff DillsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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