political-theater-podcast

K Street doesn’t need just any old retired lawmakers
Political Theater, Episode 92

Gone are the days when retired lawmakers had a glide path to K Street and trade association gigs. These days, lawmakers need to show more than just a résumé to have a lucrative career in advocacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbying firms on K Street and trade associations used to be a sure bet for retiring members of Congress. Not anymore.

Julian Ha, a recruiter on K Street and an adviser to FiscalNote, the company that owns CQ Roll Call, joins the podcast along with CQ Roll Call senior writer Kate Ackley to talk about the current state of lobbying positions for former lawmakers.

In our podcast, we’re gone to Carolina
Political Theater, Episode 91

Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate in North Carolina’s 9th District, campaigns in Pembroke, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s September 2019, but we’re only just now wrapping up the 2018 election. Voters in North Carolina’s 9th District will finish it all off on when they decide on Sept. 10 whether Democrat Dan McCready or Republican Dan Bishop will represent them in Congress. 

The lagging special election was necessary because the North Carolina State Board of Elections threw out last fall’s initial results because of election fraud tied to the Republican effort and its nominee, Mark Harris. 

Stage-managing ‘The Trump Show on the Road’ in Biarritz
Political Theater, Episode 90

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump pose for the media as they meet with other world leaders Sunday for the first working session of the G-7 Summit in Biarritz, France. (Jeff J Mitchell - Pool /Getty Images)

How do you plan for the unplanned? That was the challenge for advance teams paving the way for the recent G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, and for President Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Poland and, until recently, Denmark. That includes CQ Roll Call White House correspondent John T.  Bennett, who helped plan press logistics for the trips, and was as surprised as anyone at the way things worked out. 

From French President Emmanuel Macron keeping the camera-attentive Trump off guard all weekend at the G-7 to the planning for the president’s trip to Copenhagen going all for naught (because, as has been noted, Trump was miffed Denmark would not sell Greenland to the United States) to working with different countries on their own expectations for press access, an advance team’s work is never done, with this president or any other. 

Why do you have to come to Iowa if you want to be president?
CQ on Congress, Episode 166

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa on Thursday August 15, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A conversation with the Senate historian: Duels, bathtubs and other mysteries
Political Theater, Episode 89

The Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda is among the many places where the chamber’s unique history is on display. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians and pundits are fond of saying that Washington has never been more polarized and that the Senate, in particular, may never recover from contemporary hyper-partisanship and rule-bending.

But it is assistant Senate historian Daniel S. Holt’s job to remind us all that disputes in the chamber used to result in pistols at dawn instead of dueling tweets.

So much Iowa, so little time
Snapshots of a state that will be a big deal politically for a while

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with attendees at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — It is difficult for some people to accept that Iowa, a relatively small state in the middle of the country, has such an outsize role in determining the next president. But the Hawkeye State is more of a microcosm of U.S. politics and the country than it might first appear.

Iowa’s population of roughly 3 million people is tiny compared to mega-states like California, Texas and Florida, and it has a lack of racial diversity (it is about 87 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But its voting patterns and political infrastructure make it a valuable barometer. 

The Iowa State Fair: Our hits, misses and lessons learned
Political Theater, Episode 88

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, says a quick hello to her son, Gunnar, as he works at a corn dog booth at the Iowa State Fair on Monday August 12, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — For all its quaintness and fun, the Iowa State Fair does a pretty good job of approximating politics at the national level, be it questions about electability and charisma or trade and agricultural policy.

“The debate within the party that is happening right now, is happening right in front of me at the Iowa State Fair between these two people,” CQ Roll Call senior politics writer Bridget Bowman says, recounting a conversation between a couple after hearing South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox on Aug. 13. The couple, both of whom told Bridget they were impressed with Buttigieg, were torn between what was more important for a Democratic candidate: offering bold ideas or being more likely to beat President Donald Trump.

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

The Iowa State Fair: A day in the deep-fried life
Political Theater, Episode 86

People wait in the rain Sunday to hear Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, speak at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Yes, there are a lot of politicians who attend the Iowa State Fair to court voters. But there is so much else to this unique event, from the almost 70 fried foods on a stick, to giant slides, sea lions, butter cows and butter Big Birds; even arm-wrestling. A day in the life of the Iowa State Fair with Political Theater. 

The Iowa State Fair: Our proactive primer on politics, pork and public officials
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 85

Politicians love to hang out at the Iowa State Fair, so that is where Political Theater will relocate next week to cover all the political races — for president, Senate and House — as well as various foods served on a stick. Here, Republican Rep. Steve King and future Sen. Joni Ernst hang out amid the pork at the Pork Tent in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political Theater is heading to the Iowa State Fair to check out how the 2020 races for president and Senate and four competitive House contests are shaping up in this bellwether state. Why Iowa? Because that’s where the candidates are.

Bridget Bowman, our senior political writer, and Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections lay it all out for us on the latest episode of Political Theater.