Presidential

Presidential

The Washington Post's Presidential podcast explores how each former American president reached office, made decisions, handled crises and redefined the role of commander-in-chief. It was released leading up to up to Election Day 2016, starting with George Washington in week one and ending on week 44 with the president-elect. New special episodes in the countdown to the 2020 presidential election highlight other stories from U.S. presidential history that can help illuminate our current moment. Hosted by Lillian Cunningham, the series features Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers like David McCullough and Washington Post journalists like Bob Woodward. [When you're done, listen to Lillian's other historical podcasts: Constitutional and Moonrise]... Show More

Episodes

October 23, 2020 30 min
Books published in the Trump era reveal the battles over, and changes in, the American presidency today. In this special episode of “Presidential,” Post nonfiction book critic Carlos Lozada shares what he’s learned from reading more than 150 of them.
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The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more than 675,000 Americans, but President Woodrow Wilson never made a single public statement about it. Why? Here’s what happens when efforts to promote patriotism and suppress free speech collide with a deadly virus.
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Geraldine Ferraro broke a major barrier in American politics in 1984, when she became the first woman nominated for the vice presidency by a major party. It was a historic decision by Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Walter Mondale. And it did more than pave the way to the White House for more diverse candidates — it also fundamentally changed the way all future presidential campaign teams would approach ...
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The famous black contralto singer Marian Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being denied the ability to perform down the street at Constitution Hall. And when she did, she transformed the monument into something more than a stone temple to Abraham Lincoln. She ushered in its new life as an active place for generations of Americans to continue the work to“bind up the nation’s wounds.”
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Four years after making Presidential, host Lillian Cunningham led a panel examining what's really unprecedented--or not--about Donald Trump's presidency. Historians Alexis Coe, Drew Gilpin Faust and Julian Zelizer joined for this live event in Boston.
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November 9, 2016 56 min
In this final episode of the podcast, Library of Congress historians Michelle Krowl and Julie Miller return--along with Washington Post journalist Dan Balz--to reflect on the changing nature of the American presidency.
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October 30, 2016 56 min
Political strategist David Axelrod and biographer David Maraniss discuss Barack Obama's search for identity -- and how that quest has paralleled America's own complex reckoning with race.
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October 23, 2016 46 min
Peter Baker, author of "Days of Fire" and a journalist with the New York Times, joins historian Mark Updegrove to examine how George W. Bush's presidency marked the beginning of a new era in American history.
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October 16, 2016 48 min
David Maraniss, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Bill Clinton, explores how Clinton's core character traits had both a bright and a dark side. And Post reporter Jim Tankersley examines a similar duality in his policy legacy.
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October 9, 2016 51 min
Historians Jon Meacham and Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush's unique form of presidential leadership--a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint--and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.
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October 2, 2016 43 min
Lou Cannon, biographer and senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post during President Reagan's administration, helps us separate the fact from fiction about who Ronald Reagan really was.
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September 25, 2016 57 min
Longtime Carter political adviser Pat Caddell, theologian and biographer Randall Balmer, and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa examine how Jimmy Carter's faith has shaped his leadership in and out of the White House.
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September 18, 2016 55 min
The president's son Steven Ford joins White House photographer David Hume Kennerly and Berkeley professor Daniel Sargent to talk about how Gerald Ford's experience working across the aisle in Congress affected his leadership style as president.
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September 11, 2016 42 min
Bob Woodward, one of the Washington Post investigative reporters who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, examines what was at the heart of Richard Nixon's presidential downfall. The Washington Post's current executive editor, Marty Baron, joins as well.
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September 4, 2016 39 min
The LBJ Presidential Library's director, Mark Updegrove, helps us examine how Johnson worked his will--at times darkly--to get some of the most transformative legislation of the 20th century through Congress.
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August 28, 2016 47 min
Robert Dallek, Michael Beschloss and Fredrik Logevall--three major Kennedy historians and biographers--join us on this week's episode to talk about JFK and death. But not his assassination...
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August 21, 2016 51 min
Stephen Kinzer, author of "The Brothers," and historian Will Hitchcock explore President Eisenhower's predilection for covert action--both in foreign affairs and in his own leadership style.
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Biographer David McCullough looks at some of the most difficult decisions President Truman made during his time in the White House, and Washington Post polling manager Scott Clement examines the biggest polling failure in presidential history.
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Allida Black, editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt papers, along with FDR Library Director Paul Sparrow and White House speechwriter Sarada Peri, examine Franklin Roosevelt's leadership through the lens of the first lady's own contributions to his presidency.
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Herbert Hoover entered the White House with an array of high-profile experiences leading disaster relief. So why was his handling of the Great Depression considered a failure? Biographer Charles Rappleye guest stars.
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