Trump caps off a lost summer by golfing and rage-tweeting through a hurricane, and a debate begins about which states are most important in 2020. Then political strategists David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, co-hosts of the Hacks On Tap podcast, talk to Jon F. about the Democratic primary and upcoming debate.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The presenting sponsor POD save America is Ziprecruiter
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once again that zip recruiter, dot com, slash cricket, not yet a mistake inviting Priyanka to come in for the ads. I don't think it's doing great, I think, is going great super cute
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welcome to pod, save America, I'm John Fabbro, I'm John love it a time before we're back hello,
good job love, it love. It adds a lot of pot. Alyssa was fantastic, good job, a lesser value over the plot. I haven't told you person yeah, yes, one of the
mystery with you and Dan was electric electric. He could you could you could boil water on it? I can't pretend I listen.
I was on vacation,
some back guys good to see if we missed you too pods in a dip Lazio. Oh yeah, I was bill, you know he's very
no. We had a great conversation will be out on wins out on Wednesday
later in this pod. My interview with the hosts of the political podcast hacks on tap our friend David Axelrod and republican strategist, MIKE Murphy, what hacks on top on top? What did you say.
But first we're gonna talk about all the
this news, including Donald Trump's last summer, and a deep dive into what the electoral map will look like in two thousand and twenty few quick housekeeping notes
already did the Blazio one remember that's Wednesday.
That part will come out also pods
America and love it or leave. It are on tour. This month, again, some tickets are still available for our shows in New York City San Jose in Portland check out crooked dot com events for details and tickets. Has that house
will ever leave at Radio city show? I don't sold out yet almost sold out and this week we're going to be announcing the guests and guess what
we finally got some yeses. Alright, I don't even know how to get this exciting. We have some very big ass, so get those tickets. Finally, our good friend, audio Barkin is out with an excellent new video series called uncover
where he interviews the democratic presidential candidates about health care, no one better to talk to them about health care.
Hey he's released interviews with Bernie Sanders and Cory, Booker, which you can find a cricket dot com, slash, B,
a hero, all one word be a hero and
to follow Audie on Twitter from or episodes as they're released in the coming weeks. He'll be on this pod talking aboutthe SIRI's and his new book on Thursday. So you don't want to miss that check it out. Um all right. Let's get
news over Labor Day weekend, President Trump canceled a trip to Europe
with other world leaders to commemorate World WAR two, so he could stay home and monitor Hurricane Dorian. A category five storm. That's already caused catastrophic damage to the Bahamas and is still threatening the east coast of the you know:
states, Trump's, hurricane monitoring, included two rounds of golf and more than one hundred and twenty tweets where he attacked the media, Jim Comi, Debra, messing and others
every morning for her. Just
just minding your own business as a whole. New cycle with Debra messing Miss that one.
What did he say she congratulated me when the apprentice got picked up? I don't even remember beyond pair. He saw it on Twitter over over over
vacation. I saw two things on twitter that I was glad. I wasn't a part of something about bed bugs and Brett Stevens and Debra messing popped up, and then I threw my phone in the ocean was
great. I will say one of my one word.
It is a small regret in my life,
but I was at the upfronts. Promoting a little show called six hundred pen and Trump was there promoting the apprentice
and he was like he was on the other side of the room, and I really
did at the moment I'm gonna walk up that motherfucker and basically, you know launch in because of the birther stuff, and you know
just didn't cool story about how you were almost a hero was even close. Listen,
ok, I'll, have conversations at a cocktail party I'll do it. I just didn't do it that day, so he
he's golfing. He said all these trees out, some of Trump's angriest tweets, were in response to a Washington Post story about how the president
own advisors and allies characterize these last few months is a lost summer. That was a quote filled with what they described, as quote: squandered opportunities, self inflicted controversies, self sabotage
and a president who was quote crashed through the remaining guardrails doesn't sound like the trump
now does. It goes now, I'm trying to think of something like rot boy summer.
You know something like that. I don't know
workshop it see if you can get through it sometime during the podcast is cuffing time. Now is not the new thing. Everyone saying I don't know what that means, Google, it okay,
so I want to spend some time on the last summer story, but first
I know that we never liked the media's obsession with optics when Obama was president, but how much should it matter that Trump was playing golf and rage tweeting in the midst of a hurricane threat,
and we haven't talked about yet another mass shooting in Odessa, Texas that left seven people dead
I mean the old rules of politics said it mattered a lot.
No, I mean listen. Can you monitor the track of a hurricane from a golf? Cart? Yes, absolutely! But it's also true
when the president of the United States gets all the relevant people in a room in his barking orders at them and
demanding to know like what what's been done
and to make sure that the people of Florida have taken care of things, get done faster and
obviously not doing that. He also cancelled a trip to come
Marie World WAR. Two and then
congratulated the people of Poland for being invaded. Did you guys see this? So it's like the guys just
banging around through the world, screwing things up left and right and then fucking around on the golf course mean it does speak to the fact that he just doesn't care about the job. Your end, there was him saying that he never heard of a cat
glory five hurricane before multiple times saying, like. Oh we've never seen that one before which is crazy since there's been multiple category five hurricane since he's been president and he also throat false
information about the storm when he said that Alabama was in the path, even though Alabama was about two hundred and fifty miles away, our national Weather service corrected him. These actually was lookout.
Look out Missouri the storm is coming for. You don't vaccinate your children. I think that the the tweets are probably
as better or worse than the actual golfing. You know it's it's as usual, with Trump when he actually sometimes when he doing nothing is, is better than doing something
as we did when he does something it's always damaged right I mean I'm, I'm I'm slightly torn here about my own analysis, 'cause, because he could be in a meeting
a demanding that we nuke the hurricane. I know yeah right another stupid controversy that happen. We are gone or he could be tweeting classified satellite images of IRAN's. You know missile program. I don't know it's. Yes,
it may be thinking. You know, acts always talks about this. It talks about this during our interview. Is it's like the exhaustion theory of trump? You know that that it's
point a lot of voters are just going to be. Like you know, however, they. How do they feel about issue
using ideology? There's gonna be like. Can we just wake up to a president when there's a storm coming and there's a mass shooting who is at least quiet about it, tries to bring the country together, tries to talk like a normal person and doesn't just create fifteen other fucking problems? You know just because he's like angry and tweeting yeah it
pretty amazing how not boring he is and how much of this is happening all the time you know there was ah there's a story, we'll talk about it, but that that talked about how bad Trump's summer has been. But one thing that was so surprised just surprising to me is it said you know it's been a long time since Trump's July
Fourth, military parade, and I just sort of sat back- and I realize two years ago that was July. That was eight weeks ago. That feels like a
lifetime ago, there've been so many many scandals since that mini scandal. Yeah I mean the post story captures the fact that when you're elected president, you have four years to accomplish things and put points on the board. Really you have about half that amount of time.
But you know technically a four years, and not only is he not doing smart strategic things in this summer that this August recess period or any other time he's actively upsetting people who might otherwise support him? I mean we shouldn't think of like things he could do. That would make sense.
He could go. Do a whole bunch of events in you know like right, leaning states about all the conservative judges he got through. It seems like he would enjoy that it's something that is base would go
behind or go to some of these swing districts. Where Democrats just got elected and put pressure on them to vote your way, unlike immigration, there's so many obvious things he could
and I'm not even trying to like you know, do the thing where you say President Trump:
he acts like a normal president. These are like basic thing
that he might even enjoy in his little addled brain because he likes getting adulation yet. So, let's get into this piece, I mean I agree. I thought was really smart and well reported, because you know it notes, have this summer and fall before an election year is a critical time for president to notch some legislative and political victories and also build a case for his re election campaign. Um Trump has used the time to go on racist tirades against various members of Congress and the city of Baltimore botched the response to white nationalist terrorism that wasn't
fired in part by his racist talk of an invasion flip flop on gun safety and continue losing a trade war that is now threatening our entire economy.
So the question is: how much does all this matter? The post said that, according to an average of seven polls that they did Trump's approval rating slipped from forty three percent in June to forty one percent in August. But, as you just pointed out, Tommy, it's not just about the things he's done wrong or badly, but it sort of about missed opportunities and opportunity. Cost question. I mean I think that people
don't like the a radic tweeting and they don't like the on presidential behavior and that's just something that we've seen show up in polls for a long time, even while his approval rating has as help pretty steady.
The thing that would really worry me if I were in the White House or in Trump's reelection campaign, is the trade war, because you're seeing real economic indicators that manufacturing might be down that the trade war is impacting like Germany for
people in other countries and that there might be some global repercussions to what's happening. So, if I'm trump- and I think a percentage point could get shaved off of GDP because of this trade war that I've launched for no reason with no end game. That's like an existential threat to his re election, yeah and and look you know this. You can overstate the importance of
you know this summer before an election year, because you know we all remember. In two thousand and eleven the summer before Obama's re elected two thousand and twelve, it was probably Obama's worst summer of his presidency. It was the debt ceiling crisis, um, united US credit was downgraded, partly because of the debt crisis. His fight with the Republicans his approval rating was that it is its lowest um and, of course, he went on to go win reelection, but one of the reasons Obama went on to win is because he began to lay the case for his re election and he basically give you really two things one. We introduced a jobs bill in the fall and we knew that that jobs bill probably wouldn't passed Congress, because the Republicans were obstructing everything, but it looked like Obama was fighting like hell to fix the economy and to help people, and he had that refraining. The job speech passed this bill passed this bill, do something for people you know,
and then we decided to lay out the case for his re election early and said that the defining issue of the election was going to be economic inequality in an economy that still wasn't working for people even before. We knew that Mitt Romney would be the opponent, but we suspected maybe he would be an Obama sort of set the tone for what that campaign will be like by saying this is going to be my message. This is the contrast, I'm going to drive with a nominee, and you do think that some barely competent set of advisors in the Trump White House and barely competent president would at least be thinking. Okay, let's use the summer and this fall. While all the Democrats are fighting each other in a primary to set up what the message is going to be for the trunk
game going into two thousand and twenty, and they just don't seem like they're able to do this. Well, I don't even if they wanted to, they, don't have the ability to do it with Trump. I think there's two things happening one. You know there's a flip side of the coin, to what happened in two thousand and sixteen, and that Donald Trump takes all the oxygen out of the room. So Hillary Clinton gives a long speech about the economy, but what they take is the fight she had with Trump over whatever the crisis of the week is, you know, Trump does go on these rallies and gives a a very lengthy speech, and he does mention judges. He does issue. I think what is the kind of thirty thousand foot message for his campaign, which is love me or hate me. You have to vote for me because of the economy because of all these things, I did because these other side is crazy. The other side is the squad like. There is a kind of message he's trying to put out there, but he stands at that podium and speaks for two hours and five
or six of the things he says whether they're semi, prepared or off the cuff are so controversial that they become the story for for a couple of days. That's the first image, never breaks the message. Never breaks through and then the second part is court of his message is the fact that you know, even if you can't stand me, look how good the economy is doing, but in part because of the trade war in part because of larger
dynamics in the economy. He may not have that. He may not be able to make that argument successfully.
I think those are the two political problems at anyone. Trying to get trump to campaign is going to face, even if they did have some master plan study. You mentioned a few things he could do or could have done to make the summer better. What are some other
steps that Trump could have taken on some of these issues that would have made us even more nervous than we are heading in
twenty twenty or or what might he stilled? I mean we go sit through some of the issues like just on guns, for example, I am going to yes, the guns is a guy. I think a signal example of what has been kind of a rip.
He did Trump pattern from the beginning. I think that there was a fear. A lot of us had in the early days of the administration, which is what happens if he really does deliver on this idea of
an unorthodox, populous republican president right. What if he
comes in and doesn't infrastructure bill? What, if he comes in and does make a grand bargain on immigration and what's been fascinating, is I think he
change the republican orthodoxy on immigration. He has bucked the republican orthodoxy on trade, but otherwise he's been pretty long step. So what happens is there's a terrible shooting trump start talking about background checks. He starts sounding like he's going to pursue some kind of moderate deal with Democrats and he's going to buck the NRA, but of course that doesn't last and he ends up walking it back.
He's done on a host of issues I mean fundamentally. Trump has never been willing to block the conservative base of the party to get a win and I think we are from camp politically. I think that that has been valuable. It sat for the country on issues like guns, but I think politically it is put him in a box yeah. I think I mean the two issues you just were you just said he has blocked republican Party orthodoxy, his book to the moderate part of the orthodoxy on both immigration and and Trey,
He hasn't blocked it in a way that would lead him towards getting something done with Democrats. You know on immigration like he's gone further to the right than a lot of the Republicans were on immigration during the Obama era, or at least maybe half the party. At that point, and on trade I mean you
right now he's trying to negotiate with Pelosi in the Democrats, the NAFTA to deal right and like you could see him getting some trade deal, and that would help him out, but I don't know that that's
going to happen right I mean the trade is in trouble. I mean he. He ran around saying that NAFTA was the worst deal ever negotiated and that he alone could fix it and they they
negotiated some like really minor changes to the bill. That might help like dairy dairy
summers, or you know, change the way auto manufacturing standards are in Mexico, but then now we didn't seem to give a shit about the thing he's not pushing forward to get passed in Congress is not pressuring Democrat
fix it and the China Trade WAR is the same thing. I mean the things that I
zoom were fighting for when it comes to our trade. Relations with China are like protecting intellectual property for corporations that doesn't help some guy in Wisconsin that helps like apple. It help
major corporations and shareholders and other rich people, so the things
he's doing are misaligned with the priorities of working people who might have actually been hurt by the policies of the past when it comes to trade, but he's not doing for that. Yeah feels like we've zoomed past, that exit on the highway of their like dealing. You know haggling over intellectual property issues and treated worse. You know, like a. I mean he could I I suppose he could still back down from this trade war with China, but I don't even know if he has that could
to do that his own anymore, because the Chinese are probably thinking well where we're winning this thing and we're winning the politics in the United States. So why would the Chinese back down at this point? No,
I don't think I mean, I think that they are. I think, they've walked away from some of these negotiations and are actively
you like giving him the finger and making it clear that they're not going to they're, not gonna, do in Mexico did, which is be seen as pliant when it comes to the man.
The other thing that I think, Nat, Iglesias and Ezra Klein pointed out that a lot of the things trump is fighting for when it comes to rule, changes with China would actually
are likely to lead to more jobs, being outsourced in sent abroad, not fewer because they're just helping corporations. So in
it's what he's fighting forward likely harm workers yeah, that's, I think part of it.
Yeah that as long as the trade war is on going, the trade war is the source of all of these ills. That's the source of job losses, it's the source of economic dislocation, it's the source of your misery, it as a scapegoat for him to two along with immigrants, and if he does back down or achieve any kind of a deal. All of a sudden that
The victory and who's the victory for all of a sudden, the thing you claimed was a solution turns out to not have been one, so he
he really is stuck in that as long as
I'm going he's in his comfort zone, which is attacking China claiming he's fighting but to Tommy's point others point it's it's it's not possible for him to win, because he's promised a bunch of different things that are actually in contradiction like you know, keeping jobs, the United States in achieving a victory, and I p right. These are things that are. I don't help everybody well. I think he's also that, ultimately, I think its whole goal is just to
look tough and look like he's attacking somebody, but when the when looking tough leads to the economy, faltering and people actually getting hurt, I don't think that's going to work and then
and then you're to come around on the back and say well. Actually it's Jay Powell, the chairman of the feds fault here, like no one knows what the hell he's talking about yeah, so we've talked about this before, but it almost seems like Trump in his campaign, has sort of given up on trying to improve the president's political standing and they're just hoping to win by disqualifying his opponent and Maggie Haberman reported this weekend that a Trump advisor recently told her. That Trump wants voters to feel negatively not just about his opponents but about longstanding institutions like the media, and you know, most of his rage tweets over the
past couple days have been directed towards the media. What do you think about that strategy? Yeah I mean I can't I can't win, but you can lose strategy. Basically is what he's do
right and you know I think this is, if you're inside a trump campaign and you're trying to figure out how to be useful. It's not going to be making trump different. It's not going to be outright making trump more popular. It's going to
about tearing down your opponents me about dragging everybody down to his level, because that's that's what I did two thousand and sixteen it's the only path form is the only way because the other option is for Trump to become a different person and that's been promised for a long time, yeah that tweet about attacking institutions
rang very true to me, but it also didn't seem particularly new. You know, I mean they're literally funding
organizations, apparently the Trump people to dig up things. Journalist said and feed them to fucking bright Bart, so they can try to take
Washington post down a peg, and you know they know. This is an asymmetric fight, because then you have a bunch of journalists on Twitter
planning that Bed O'Rourke didn't let Breit Bart into one of them is if it's sort of like a you know, is if there act
all news gathering organization and not just an arm of the Republican Party like that, the trunk people are are telling us Misty Bend work there. It doesn't it doesn't matter, but the the broader fight against institutions is basically been republicans have done for decades right they would. They want to undercut our faith in government, they want to make it harder, participating, Democ
mercy and in so doing they can win with a smaller and smaller group of people actually voting for them yeah. I do think that, within this strategy of trying to disqualify
his opponents and the media and saying don't believe anything bad that you hear about me is basically his strategy. There's a clue for how Democrats need to take him on which is like this is not about whether what
Trump is saying is true or not whether the media is lying about or not just forget about what you believe your own eyes.
Right and what is your life like right? You know it in this trade war and we we know we saw this when we were testing messages in Wisconsin and are changeable like talking about Trump Starting, a trade war with China losing it and then trying to bail out big Agra businesses, including some in foreign countries, because he's up this trade were so badly and hurting dairy farmers.
Wisconsin was one of the most powerful messages, because you know it whatever Trump says, whatever he's lying about, whatever is yelling about. Whatever other people are saying about Trump, he can't avoid what people are feeling in their own lives and what people have seen in their own lives, and so people know that he hasn't gotten anything done on guns, even though you know, ninety percent of the country wants background checks. People are going to know if the economy
starts turning south because they're going to feel it right. People are gonna know when they read stories about um, some of the more extreme things he's done on immigration, that those things are happening right like it's some point. He ca
Keep telling us that everything the media is saying about. Him is a lie, but he can't fully avoid the effects of his policies on actual people.
Yeah- and you can tell you you can tell he knows that- he's a little bit worried about it yet is he will for
sample tweet a lie about the
my negotiations to briefly juice the stock market and try to you know fix the general impression about the state of the economy
so, like you, their little windows into his psyche, yeah, but I think it it's it's incumbent upon Democrats to continue to draw the lines between what Trump is saying and doing with the actual effects on people's lives. What we were talking with us before the pod, but you know that whole situation last week about
Trump promising, pardons to AIDS right who get whatever it, who do do whatever it takes to get the border well built. I mean my frustration with yes, this is another impeachable offence. Yes, the pardons are outrageous, but I think was probably most politically effective. Anti
about this is Trump wants to go steal your land like
if you illegally, he really was a daily land and pardon anyone who does the crime rate, but we we sort of get into these like it's impeachable and and and that's bad confidence. The parts all this kind of stuff, which is all important. I agree, but we've got to start talking about the real effects on people's lives like you, live by the border and you're just going about your business, the federal government, under don't from I just wanna, come and steal your land with no due process, nothing whatsoever, but does the connections.
I think the Democrats have to keep young if we, if we hope to be successful,
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All right. Let's talk about two thousand and twenty. The Washington Post Dan Balls had an excellent piece over the weekend about the electoral map
in which states matter most he writes quote. Just four states are likely to determine the outcome in two thousand and twenty each flip to the Republicans in two thousand and sixteen, but President Trump, one, each by only
percentage point or less the four or Pennsylvania Michigan was constant in Florida. Many analyst point: it was constant as the single state upon which the election could turn so. The peace quotes. Former Obama campaign manager, Jim Messina, who we all worked with saying quote because of the partisanship of the country and the president were now looking at the smallest map in modern political history. First was actually just so people know when people are talking about the map in which states campaigns are going to play in what is that
in to sort of play in estate? Just so people people now, oh, like actually go there, spend time, spend money. Put up tv ads, have have a full field staff in the state like yeah, it's a sin,
inefficient expenditure resources. Basically yeah. I think
what people might not realize is you know a campaign has finite resource is right. You can't just look at a map and say: oh yeah, all these states look good. So I want to compete in all of these states. You have to decide
where we to put our organization where we're going to put our candidate and then how much money we going to spend on television ads- and you know in certain states, in certain media markets, it's very expensive to run television ads and in other states it's relatively inexpensive. So it's not like you get to choose everything you do have to make decisions on a campaign about which states you want to bet on to win. But
do you think, do you agree with with Jim's assessment that we are? We are down to these four states? I I actually was thinking about it. Actually, just philosophically don't totally understand what it means in this sense,
it is true that there will be of maximal campaigns in Michigan Wisconsin
in Pennsylvania, probably also Arizona right. There will be huge amounts of resources devoted to those. The candidates will
go there and then the question is what will happen in other states and that will play out in part because the campaigns will do a day
with each other about where they put money where they match each other. So you know if, if, if it is
quite possible, that will boil down to a very small number of states, but it is also quite possible depend
on what each campaign decides to do.
We will end up with tens hundreds of
millions of dollars spent across twelve thirteen fourteen states. I think we just don't
so. The the field of competition will be based on a kind of game theory,
ah version of game theory that plays out over the course of the next year, head fakes, trips, things like that and over time we will come to the sea based on polls where candidates will go where they
don't wear their money will go where it won't go right.
I think it is certainly safe to say they won't start that narrow, which is why it was surprising to me to see people predicting with such confidence that it will be this tiny map.
It's also surprised that that Dan,
who is one of the smartest records out there, didn't have Arizona higher up the details. Discussion of what the democratic strategy will be like I, you know, I'm also look it's it's a tough the pill to swallow that Florida is potential.
The centerpiece of this whole thing is Florida's. Where you can see Trump has actual.
We had a pretty clear, concerted, an probably smart strategy to peel off democratic voters. Right I mean they're trying to scare the shit out of older jewish voters, they're trying to be tough on Maduro to appeal,
so the venezuelan population they're, even considering giving them as
voters, are temporary protected status. They don't get deported, so they're
undoing everything. Obama did on Cuba to reach the older hardline cuban population so, like I can see what they're doing in Florida. If you were to tell
what he's done to improve his chances of winning.
Again again, I couldn't tell you really anything and one other just small point about this too. Is that states move together? You know Florida to Tommy's boy
if, if the results are coming in- and it looks like the Democrat is winning Florida, I think that augers really well for a bunch of other states, think wow we're performing better than we expected or we're performing well. If it starts to look like we're, not winning Florida, that doesn't necessarily mean the election is over. So I think that it is true that, because of geographic polarization over the last several years, there are far fewer states that are decided by just a couple points than there used to be. There used to be a lot more states that were like
I points, are lesser, ten points or less and now there's fewer of those states, so that I understand that said, you know we all remember that at the beginning of the general election in two thousand, eight David plus sat down are Obama's campaign manager and said we are not going to be up on election night waiting for one or two states to come. It we're gonna, have multiple paths to two seventy and try to add up as many states as pop. You know the plane's. Many states as possible to get to two seventy, and I think that still wise advice right now and I think partly because look there's many different demigod a we've been having this debate in the primary you know, which, which demographic groups to Democrats need to win. Do they need to win back the Non College, educated white voters in the Midwest and the Obama Trump voters? They need to increase african American turned out. Some of these men were
stern states, or should they look to the southwest in the sun belt and you know, rely on more college, educated white voters and former Republicans and independents and more Latinos. So we've been having this debate about. You know which groups Democrats should go after, and I think the only way to solve that debate is to try to plain as many states as you can that are still within. You know the realistic scenarios here, so I do think Arizona which Hillary only lost by three and one slash two points in two thousand and sixteen and Kiersten Cinema, just flipped in two thousand and eighteen has to be in that map. Florida, like you said, which has been his only
been within one point over the last. Maybe three or four elections obviously is still in that map as well. But look we were disappointed in Florida in two thousand and eighteen Gilman Nelson, both lost, so I don't think we could be. You know, I think, there's a good argument to be made. Dave Wasserman made this argument on Twitter the other day that Democrats win Arizona before they went
Florida. I think North Carolina is another one in there two Obama one N Carolina in two thousand and eight. We know there's more college, educated white voters and african american voters, especially around the research triangle. That state had been trending blue for awhile, democrat
compete in that state as well right and then I think, all of this all this also boils down to re sources and part of what will determine how big the map is for the Democrat and where the Democrat is competing is how much money they have and how much resource is. They could devote two states outside of the there'll. Be the you know the core few states where everybody will be playing and playing really hard, but then it'll be you know: can we devote money to North Carolina? Should we develop money to Georgia, what other states
people decide to reach out to and that will be based on how people are donating? What outside groups are doing, how much money that the the ah billionaires, like the coke's air, dropping into states across the country there's just a lot of things that will determine where Democrats are competing, yeah and obviously,
the candidate right I mean like a Castro or better work. They might have a better chance of competing in Texas than some of the other candidates, but you know so that will go into consideration, for you dropped twenty million to be up on every media market in Texas result. You know the article is interesting. It's an important way to think about the challenge we have ahead of us. I do think it's just too early to know the strategy. I do think my ranking of states in order a state that we could probably flip back, would be Michigan Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida North Carolina. I think the more interesting decisions for Democrats are going to be. Do you still play seriously in Ohio and Iowa?
which have swung pretty hard against us and very big questions. Do you compete in Texas and Georgia now? If Texas and Georgia were smaller states with the populations, they have you'd say yeah. Of course you do, but
The Atlanta media market is very expensive and Texas is the most expensive of all.
So those are really big bets if you're going to compete seriously there and then the other interesting thing about that piece is that Democrats will have to play defense or the Trump campaign is going to try to make them play defense in four states. The Democrats won in two thousand and sixteen New Hampshire, Minnesota Nevada in New Mexico. I think New Mexico is a little ridiculous here, because Hillary
and wanted by eight points, but new, Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada were all decided by a closer margin. So you could see you could see Democrats playing there as well yeah, I hope they spent. I hope the Trump speech
spend mightily in all those other states, because they have a big financial advantage and it makes me work yeah. There is also by the way and Dan Pfeiffer brought this out of the other day. There
such a nightmare scenario where we went back Michigan Pennsylvania, we don't win Wisconsin, there is on or anything else Trump wins that one district in Maine again through the get the electoral vote. We, when that one district in Nebraska near my how to get that across
and it's two hundred and sixty nine thousand two hundred and sixty nine. I can stop by the way. There's other scenario there's other scenarios to right. Where now the Senate hinges on a runoff out of Georgia right 'cause, I Zic sends
uh, so there's all there's all kinds of worst case scenarios out there for you to ponder their falling asleep, but I think that's, I think it goes back to the answer. Is you know, Democrats and the candidate, and the party need as many resources as possible to play and as many states as possible and have organizations on the ground and as many of these dates as possible, so we are not dependent on one or two states, but at least at the outset, we're playing on a very big map in a big field.
Okay, when we come back, my interview with David Axelrod and MIKE Murphy
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there you bet and please welcome to the show, the host of the excellence and
probably new political podcast hacks on tap republican strategist, MIKE Murphy and my good friend and former by
David Axelrod, thanks for being here guys
good to be with you bro. Thank you I'll, come back to the USA, it's good to be back, it's good to be back. It doesn't seem like I missed two too much.
We were just talking about that Trump's lost
summer story in the Washington Post from over the weekend axe. You remember
very well how poorly the summer of two thousand and eleven went for Obama do uh. What do you guys think the difference is here with Trump and what options do you think the Trump campaign has Thio strengthen the president's position ahead of two thousand and twenty?
You know back, you remember, fastback. In the summer two thousand and eleven I mean it was the it was the debt ceiling debacle that really pitched Obama
to the Navy are of his present.
But even then his his
pulling number was what is
which is basically it was in the low for
he was hovering around four forty, two that that Trump has never broke
fifty percent. So that's why
indifference, which is that was a low point. This is the average for trump. The other thing is what
she just said, which is I mean Trump's, but I
I believe increasingly that the way you
Trump is the Trump exit
question thing. You know everybody talks about martial arts, how who's tough enough to take on Trump, but I I think it's Ju Jitsu that is going to be
trump you using his own negative energy against him, just that
sort of exhaustion. That comes with a president who divides
everyday, who you know for profit who who sent out these crazy ass tweets and gets into these ridiculous tantrums and gratuitous fights that produce nothing.
And you know just the
chaos at range around him and I think that's going to get worse as the election approaches, not better. So the difference
we saw a problem and we did
the strategy to deal with it and we came out that September made a job speech and we never looked back. I don't
trump. Has that capacity I don't think has the capacity to find a rummy
bill strategy and executed yeah. I think.
Did you guys talk about the sun on your podcast, but do you sort of think that the Trump and his campaign has sort of given up on you know improving Trump's political scene
ending and basically they're hoping to just make the campaign all about the Democrat, because their only hope is to
of depressed turnout and disqualify the democratic candidate? That's my best guess I mean the problem.
Looking a Trump strategist is one trump hates his own strategist. He just wants to argue about invoices and to heal,
listen to anybody. So when you're
around Trump Headquarters, watching the cable tv
feed your you're sitting there of a bottle of whiskey and a revolver staring at the screen, knowing you have very little influence to do anything about it and most of the grown ups are gone too. So you do what campaigns always doing? They can't fix the big prob.
You focus on the little stuff, oh new, refrigerator magnets. You know, what's the new negative
we're going to run, so I think they're going to do the easy strategy, which is to try to crush the Democrat and if the
M go on, at least in my view, welcome
joy ride to the progressive left to try to win two things to beat Trump and get a policy agenda. That is
a lot more to lepton. Normally, we've seen presidential elections they're taking a half
a lot of risk is are giving Trump and his campaign something to work with, and one thing republican campaigns,
even ones with no strategy in an insane president know how to do is
scared, the hell out of the working class in the middle class by grow
being a liberal Democrat in the apple sauce. So I think that's exactly what you're.
So I wanted to ask you guys about this too, like how much we know that voters don't choose. You know base
purely on a checklist of issue,
oceans or ideology. You know, I think, to myself, but like the two thousand and eighteen raise, you know Kirsten Cinema,
flips, Arizona, she's, a very moderate candidate, so there's a case there. Okay,
their Democrat can flip a tough state.
Then you see someone like Tammy Baldwin wins in Wisconsin. You know
Hillary lost in and and she's Medicare
for all you know shared Brown's, very progressive. He wins in Ohio. So how much do you think in
end in a presidential the ideology of the Democrat matters too?
Voters, or do you think that person just the candidate just needs to sort of present
themselves as a candidate who can sort of bring the country together?
Presidential races are different than any other kind of race, because you're judged and kind of
dimensional form. You know it's the MRI for the soul thing that I said years ago,
which is people you know, judge, judge you not just on the basis of
policies that you espouse, but also on what they see every day
and so and I think that's good
particularly important in this race
against Trump. I do think I want
answer your question, but I just want to go back one step and say
if you or I or Murphy, were invited advising trump. In all fairness,
I would say you can't win a referendum and- and we would say very few incumbents- do the fact is Barack Obama made
out of one a referendum in two thousand and twelve, but we knew it was a comparative race and we knew Mitt Romney would likely be the nominee and we knew given what happened with Wall Street and everything that we had a comparative advantage and we just uh went at it a relentlessly, and so you know it is not. It is not
precedented for Trump to wanna
demonize, the opponent, so you know, but I do think
if my jiu Jitsu theory is right. It is, I don't think
people are to be looking for
the ideology for more
pugilism. I think they're going to be look
for someone who
who will not do what Trump is done,
be looking for the remedy, someone who can bring some calm and reason and
see and humanity to the presidency, and I think that that made trump all the
no pun intended all the issues stuff yeah.
I think this is one of the problems Warren has who otherwise is quite ascendant and is running the best campaign. Every fifth word of any sentence, she'll, say in front of a television. Camera is a fighter, and I agree with David that there's gonna be a huge market for a huge style contrast to Trump, because it's so damn exhausting. But you know this is still a fundamental presidential race. The country has been trying to fire Trump said
Inauguration Day every special election we Republicans have either done bad or awful the mid term. So if the demo
cramps don't get in the way of that and line up right,
I'm going kind of narcissistic and trying to make a big point about
entity or progressive policy
get out of the way the country will fire trump. But if they get out of the way and give Trump something to work with, it will be like the Romney campaign. It trump may be able to make it a referendum on a challenger
yeah. I guess what do you? What do you think about this? Because you, you know
the voice of restive,
progressivism, yeah and you've been kind of you've been negative on the
on the you know, let's pick the least of
pensive of choices strategy. What do you think about?
Well, because I also, I guess, I think there were two parts of the Obama message right there was
you know he would always talk about bringing people together and he would try to inspire the country and call them to try to emphasize unity, but then, at the same
time, we always made sure that he had an economically populist message, because
you know that when you know the people that were trying to reach as places in the Midwest and other places are feel
you know economically disadvantaged and they respond to a mess
message about. You know they respond to economic populism. So in that sense I think warrants messages, giving people something to vote for in step to get excel
about. But I do you know every once in a while. I do
wonder if voters are also going to respond, especially
more of the you know:
suburban voters, some of the independence that have come our way to respond to a message. That's all right,
I'm tired of the division,
the bullshit from Donald Trump. Don't you want someone who can bring us together? You know, I know
it's just suburbanites, but you look at the polling and
Trump has a real weakness with
some of the Non College educated. I always hate that phrase, but it's it's. You know it. It's meaningful women
in rural areas he's you know, he's barely
above water with them now in terms of his approval, and I think it has a lot to do his favor, but I think that's a lot to do with that with just a can of bite him and I'm not his policies that they pretty much like it
policies, but it is him,
and so I think this is a big is a bit
thing, and you will thing I worry about is
is a cultural warrior. Even the economic issues are a surrogate for
for race for other kinds of cues to people, and so you know I do
think some attention needs to be paid. One of the things you mentioned: Obama we never. We were
very careful about navigating the
cultural issues and he was very,
he ran. You know better than many demo
do in some of these areas. You wouldn't expect because he focused on the economy and these larger messages of community and he
navigate around these hot button. Cultural issues, which are you know, very much
the center of a lot of the democratic debate right now, yeah. I guess there's like two groups of voters that I were
about that. I think Democrats have to really think about. One group is the so the Obama Trump voters right who voted for Obama once or twice and then went to Trump in the
other group, is some of these Obama voters who stayed home in two thousand and sixteen or voted third party in sort of
your numbers right and people voted third Party and eight and twelve, and I won, and those p in those voters tend to be younger. They tend to be people of color. Are they tend to be poorer? And
I wonder if you know, uh
cratic candidate, who you know has gives people something to vote for the
exciting and inspiring helps bring some of those people out.
Although I agree with you that you it's a balance right like you need to get both groups of voters, so the question is: don't you think Trump? Does that, though the brings them out,
be my I mean if you got to make a bet that on Trump to drive everybody crazy 'cause, we know is great at that.
The question is: how do you's liberal
voters from Trump who might be populist, who bought into Obama, but not Hillary Clinton, and one way, is not to send the sub to text signal that if you voted for Trump you're racist redneck idiot right cuz, then you just give Trump something to work with. So that's why the Dems need to get better from even how they think about staffing
campaigns at attracting the voters that they have the lowest contempt for the voters. They need people who eat fried food and living
Home county Michigan and like Trump they that woken aren't that green
we've got to go plan. The other sides of the football field and their end zone and shave a few of them, and they can do that, but
not at the campaign messages. So, in turn,
in the in the progress of culture that is off putting yeah my my view on this is, I think, it's less about the actual issue positions. You taken it's more of a tonal message issue. You know it's it's how you speak to the country every single day
this. I just ask you one thing one about. We would talk about this earlier on our own podcast,
Bernie and and Elizabeth who, you know, are very much
contention up here with Biden, but also
in contention with each other, for progressive vote
and for the votes of young people. How does that sort itself out and if it doesn't sort itself out and both of them have the resources to go
into this race?
If they don't sort it out? Doesn't that further strengthen Biden? Yeah? I think it does. I think
I think that's one of the challenges both of them have, and I think that
neither one of them wants to blink on this because they both have you know Bernie sort of has this base of people
is very, very excited about him and obviously he's lost some support from two thousand and sixteen. But you know that was probably a group of people who are just
anti Hillary voters than Pro Bernie voters, but he still has this twenty something percent of of of uh
with him, who I don't know we'll leave him and then the challenge that Warren faces is she's competing people think it's
so she just competing with Bernie for voters, but it's these college educated white liberals that she started competing with with
CALL Harrison, PETE, booted judge and even others in the race as well.
So I wonder if she can sort of enlarge that pie- and I
don't know if they'll I don't know what the difference but like if they you know, if they've talked
the difference between them or they will at this debate I mean she doesn't seem like she wants to draw the contrast at the debate.
She said. Yes, she she wasn't. I said yesterday she or she hinted that she wasn't going to do that. I think their view is that
doesn't have to blood.
Burnish just has to outperform him right and, I suspect
think if she wins. I hope your Bernie it's time to bludgeon her she's, the butter cream
there and your flat lined it going
lately down she's growing everyday with the superior campaign. You cannot let
equation continue on the timeline, but I
the question you guys have talked about this too. I think the question there is not
candidate in this race has drawn a contrast.
Really none of the major candidates with Elizabeth Warren and I won
what Bernie's argument against Warren is
after purity, she's
we've talked about this on hex on tap sheet and started to leave bread crumbs a little bit on. You know, Medicare for all and some of that stuff, I think,
glad around purity she used to be a Republican. Then she was kind of a
kind on some social policy in her book, David books had a good column on this. We talked about today,
so you know, go out on the one thing: Bernie has purity, he believes every word of it does she. I asked on this point I was in Iowa, for my CNN show an I asked them both about me
care for all and she had been roughed up the night before by questioner. Who is unhappy about you know, taking the choice of private insurance away, and I said: does that influence your thinking? She says, of course it does. You know we're going to have to manage this transition carefully. We need all the stakeholders at the table and son. I asked for any of the same sort of question and he said you know I'll tell you what size
like is seismic is four hundred thousand people going to lose their healthcare aura
will bankrupt this year because they healthcare and so on, and you know- and he described his four year- transition to Medicare for all l
getting private insurance, and he said I don't think that's radical at all. So you know, I think that
at the end of the day he's going to try and make the case if he may
he's the real deal and she
you know she is hedging yeah.
So you know we'll see, but I think the people who make the contrast with Elizabeth next week potentially is not bernie.
The other candidates Biden, perhaps but
also a Buddha judge, a Harris people who
looking to carve into the less pop
related lane. That Biden seems to occupy largely by himself, which is this. You know center
sort of moderate lane
and if they, those guys, don't start carving out
I think they to get squeezed because there's not a lot of room on the left. Yeah
in this race, so both of you been in plenty of debate prep would
would you be giving to Joe Biden
right now if you were on his campaign for what to do in the next debate? Well, that's a great question. Um! Well, I think Biden, the Biden campaigns were
this is sometimes they decide. They want to put a wall around Biden, 'cause, they're, afraid of Bidens Biden. This they got nothing else. They ought to be
it's all. They have these all heart and he's all normalcy.
So they just need to add a little romance to that and make a thing out of the fact that Biden flies without a net 'cause. He is the most authentic guy in the race lose before
as a step in twenty eight figuring out those clever words, Pizzey Mckinsey consultants,
explain why replacing it for robots, a good idea and tone, so let Biden, sweat, bleed, be Biden
it in and buy all that bad on it, because it's all you head out, and so I think they they need to. You know he needs some discipline and how he speaks and everything, but I
I would I would let Joe do the naked on Iraq strategy and just be be 'cause, it's all they they so be great at it
You know, I I think I think John, that he had
the theory of the case, and it may be right and it may be wrong in that theory- is that
the thing that unifies Democrats is a fundamental desire to replace Donald Trump and to restore a sense of decency, empathy. You know
humanity to the presidency, and you know I think he has to he has to cleave close
to that know. Last time he needed to kind of spyro at every candidate in
to prove that he could after the first debate,
but it wasn't a great look now you know
and if he wants to advance his message that he should leave
into his message and that that is his message, though,
that he represents a return to decency. You know, I don't think normalcy is necessarily the word you want to use, because, because that has a backward
sounding kind of normal, as judge points out,
normal is not necessarily appealing
since he is about
pussy is you know- and I I you know, I would as much as
try and run my debate against Trump against the
he may want to have a cat at with Elizabeth about Medicare for
follow with Bernie, but by and large
I think the more he's debating Trump, the better off he is so on the other.
What advice would you be giving one of the candidates like Warren, who hasn't
it made a real dense in binds frontrunner status? Yet I mean, like you know you know, comma
there's. You could argue that she had sort of a short term gain from you
and the first debate didn't really capitalize like how
no one is really sort of found the message again
find that really works. And then you know you're on Twitter. It's like every gaffe is magnified and I don't know if that's really worked against him either. So what? What is the message against button? For some? If you're a little bit of wind you have a formula, is working because the only thing that happened in the race really is you've gone up other than the early blip to that kind
put Petey in the race.
She knows her message, she's good at it, and I don't think she has to worry about, knocking,
and mountain it about. She has to beat him in Iowa and New Hampshire. What she could be on a tree
free to do so. I would just do more of what I've been doing, which is strength, strength, strength, fighter, fighter
later and trying to do the pivot from the terror of the Harvard Faculty lounge to the fighting grandma from Oklahoma
and maybe add a little of, but but I think, there's not a lot to fix their. She just tactically
to say in the center of the debate and not be. You know, jolted by uh
these other people who wish your ill and she is now in the way to any help. They have. You might see a death rattle thing going on
with some of the
pictures and Corey Bookers who just have
gotten any traction, though chords down a little better, where they're desperately trying to break out 'cause. They know the clocks ticking, so there could be some bizarro fireworks from that, but I don't think, there's a lot she needs to change.
I am you know. I agree with that. I I I all of the the one thing I think she needs to focus on she's been really well, as you point out. Favs with you know, college
educated, very liberal voters, she's done very well with young voters, though she's buying with Bernie for a lot of them she, but she had
broken through with working class whites,
even though her message is very much geared that way and she hasn't broken through with african american voters, and I think she needs to be more. You know, Betsy from Norman Oklahoma than
Sir Warren from Cambridge
and a little more bio,
a little more revealing about herself. I've
think would be really useful here, yeah, which she doesn't a stump very well to last question at
so you were just- and I was talking talking all the candidates for your axe file, special on CNN who or what surprised you there.
You know I knew that Warren was doing well. I was I was
more impressed when I got there
to see just the degree of organization that she
is there. You know she started very early. Even earlier than Obama did in two thousand and seven. You know she
grabbed Emily Parcell, who is someone you probably remember, was our political director in Iowa,
two thousand and seven and eight who is a or a, and I will organizational with, is, and I think she just doing everything right. I was surprised at the. I did a full Elect
focus group with voters and we spoke for an hour and Joe Biden's name didn't come up until I introduced it, and
what I found in Iowa was that people have a great deal of
affection for him, a great deal of respect for him, but there's not a lot of enthusiasm and I think that's a real problem
in a state where you're asking people to come out on a snowy cold night in February
and stand up in front of their neighbors and to clear their preferences. He he needs to find a way to ignite. Some of these voters, Bernie, is has is his his group, but I was
surprised also at the wingding, which is a big event up in Northern Iowa, that all the candidates attended at the
amount of visibility for Kamala and Digits church, which suggests to me that they're beginning to develop organizations there and if there and if they can catch fire,
they may ultimately be able to build the infrastructure. They need to make
a move in Iowa, and you know beyond that. I think the top five
top five and it's gonna be hard for a
Booker. Has a great infrastructure hasn't quite caught fire there
others are lagging behind. I think you're going to
potentially some shifting among those top five,
I would be surprised which one crazy prediction, which is Biden, will
come down. Not I will but New Hampshire. I know
he's going to get hurt and I will probably buy Warren. A lot can happen last few weeks. There's you guys know well, but if, in those eight days between
in our eight or nine days between Iowa and New Hampshire, New Hampshire gives Biden, the dramatic comeback he'll be the nominee
not. I think it will be somebody else where do, but I think he's got a real pricing. Joe Biden in New Hampshire is going to be the moment yeah. I was thinking that too ax Murphy.
Thank you. So much for doing this is really fun everyone. Everyone goes to scribe and listen to hacks on tap. It's fantastic thanks.
I appreciate it with you. Thanks to axe Murphy for for joining us today, and you know, will
will see you on Thursday. Bye guys, bye, bye,
pod, save America is a product of crooked media show is produced by Michael Martinez. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick. Kyle Seguin is our sound engineer, thanks to Caroline Rest, in tiny, summon, Ater Katie long for production support into our digital team, Elijah Cone, no
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Transcript generated on 2019-09-14.