POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing



POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.

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1158 episodes

Title: September 29, 2023: The final countdown (to shutdown)

Barring something genuinely surprising, the federal government will shut down in a little more than 24 hours’ time, as House Republicans show no sign of being able to pass the appropriations bills that have vexed them for weeks. Now, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy takes the blame, there are growing whispers that conservative hard-liners will launch an audacious gambit to oust him and replace him with Majority Whip Tom Emmer. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade walks us through the state of play behind the scenes — including the central role played by Trumpy Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Sep 29
September 28, 2023: The GOP primary debate enters its flop era

As the 2024 GOP hopefuls gathered in California to debate, the barbs aimed at Donald Trump were more pointed, the elbows thrown at one another were sharper, and all in all, the moderators let the exchanges careen out of control. And yet, for all of that, the debate largely fell flat: Nobody’s performance was strong enough to touch Trump’s massive polling lead. What exactly happened? Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks it all through with national politics correspondent Adam Wren, who covered the debate in person, and takes us behind the camera to reveal how it played in the room. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews national politics correspondent Adam Wren.

Sep 28
September 27, 2023: Will any candidate close the Trump gap after the second Republican debate?

Candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president will once again take the stage to debate tonight, this time in California. But Donald Trump, whose lead continues to grow, says he once again will not attend. Electrifying performances in August did not translate to bumps in poll numbers; could that change this round?Plus, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is still trying to keep the government open, and Senator Chuck Schumer is now also trying to keep the government open.

Sep 27
September 26, 2023: Silence is golden for Sen. Bob Menendez

After a press conference that provided few answers about the federal charges leveled against him, Sen. Bob Menendez now must face a jury of his peers. Only three of his Democratic colleagues in Washington have called for his resignation, but as New Jersey Playbook author Matthew Friedman tells Ryan Lizza, it's a whole different story back home in New Jersey. We'll be on Cory Booker watch. Plus, President Joe Biden will join the picket line in Michigan, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy is still trying to avoid a shutdown. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews New Jersey Playbook author Matthew Friedman.

Sep 26
September 25, 2023: Kevin McCarthy girds for battle with the hard right

As the clock ticks down, Kevin McCarthy is still trying to wrangle his fellow Republicans toward avoiding a government shutdown. But there seems to be no straightforward solution for the House speaker. Even if a shutdown is avoided, Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, something else seems inevitable: a challenge to McCarthy’s gavel. Plus, on the schedule for this week: the first Biden impeachment hearings and the second Republican debate.

Sep 25
September 22, 2023: The incredible shrinking House speaker

A government shutdown appears inevitable as the clock winds down with little progress evident on the bills necessary to keep the government open. It’s so dire that Speaker Kevin McCarthy is seemingly unable to rally House Republicans on even the smallest necessary procedural matters. Where do we go from here? Congress reporter Daniella Diaz talks to Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza about the road ahead — and what to expect as the most unlikely of characters steps in to try to get things moving. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews Congress reporter Daniella Diaz.

Sep 22
September 21, 2023: Mr. Zelenskyy goes to Washington

Republicans emerged from a meeting on Capitol Hill last night confident in their ability to move forward on critical spending bills that would keep the government funded and open. But, as Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, that optimism may be short-lived as GOP infighting is likely to derail the legislation. Plus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Washington tomorrow to present his case for more aid to his country.

Sep 21
September 20, 2023: The White House isn’t saving Kevin McCarthy

As the clock ticks closer to a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to pass a bill that would keep the government open, and the White House is not going to come to his rescue, reporter Jennifer Haberkorn tells Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels. Plus, a preview of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments to the House Judiciary Committee. That, and all of the news you need to know today.

Sep 20
September 19, 2023: What we’re watching at UNGA

With a number of other world leaders skipping the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, President Joe Biden has the opportunity to take the spotlight. He is expected to push a message of democracy and encourage more funding for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. But, as senior foreign correspondent Nahal Toosi tells Playbook co-author Rachael Bade, there is plenty more to keep an eye on at UNGA. Plus, all the latest on the spending showdown tearing House Republicans apart.  Playbook co-author Rachael Bade interviews Senior Foreign Correspondent Nahal Toosi.

Sep 19
September 18, 2023: A slim chance for shutdown stopgap bill

House Republicans spent the weekend trying to find common ground on a stopgap spending bill that could unite them against Democrats ahead of a potential government shutdown on Oct. 1. But with multiple Republican lawmakers already voicing their opposition, its chances of passing the House are already fading. Plus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Capitol Hill.

Sep 18
September 15, 2023: The UAW is on strike. Here’s why it matters.

At midnight, the UAW’s roughly 150,000 members went on strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — the first time ever that the union has targeted all three companies simultaneously in a labor action that threatens to rattle national politics. Though the more immediate issues at play are higher wages wages and better benefits, the broader implications for President Joe Biden — who has yet to win the UAW’s endorsement — and for the 2024 electoral map are undeniable. Playbook deputy editor Zack Stanton sits down with E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman for the whole story. That, and the latest from Capitol Hill and Hunter Biden’s legal saga, on this morning’s Playbook Daily Briefing. Playbook Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman.

Sep 15
September 14, 2023: What Musk, Gates and Zuck told senators behind closed doors

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg and other of heavy hitters from the tech world joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last night for a closed-door meeting about the future of artificial intelligence — and what the government should do about it. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with Politico Tech host Steven Overly. All that, and the rest of the news you need to know today.   Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews Politico Tech host Steven Overly.

Sep 14
September 13, 2023: Inside McCarthy's impeachment inquiry

Mere hours into the first day members of the House convened after August recess, Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he would be opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. At the center of the investigation are claims that the overseas business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter influenced his political agenda. But, as Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, McCarthy must accomplish a few key tasks before take-off; namely, he must rally his party for enough votes to make it happen.

Sep 13
September 12, 2023: What’s at stake amid House Republican infighting

House Republicans are supposed to be taking up (and are expected to pass) a right-wing defense funding bill this week. But, head butting within the party over spending may throw a wrench in that plan. As Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, the vitriol is starting to get messy and spill over onto social media

Sep 12
September 11, 2023: McCarthy faces tumult as the House returns

When the House reconvenes after August recess tomorrow, Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be greeted in the Capitol by unhappy people, many of whom are members of his own party. McCarthy must navigate conservatives who feel the he has not delivered on promises the Speaker made when seeking the gavel back in January. Playbook editor Mike DeBonis talks with Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.

Sep 11
September 8, 2023: The McConnell-McCarthy relationship faces a key test

As the House returns next week, the relationship between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could face its greatest test yet. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade joins deputy editor Zack Stanton to talk through the road ahead, the unique pressures McCarthy faces, and the battery of issues that threaten to put the House and Senate GOP on very different pages. Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.

Sep 08
September 7, 2023: Biden’s big sales pitch to edge out China

Today, President Joe Biden heads to New Delhi for the G-20 summit. The subtext of the trip? Convince countries that the U.S. is a better bet than China. That’s a complicates sales pitch, but could be coming at exactly the right time. National security reporter Alex Ward joins Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to discuss the potential for a historic breakthrough at the meeting — and what success looks like from the White House’s perspective. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews national security reporter Alex Ward.

Sep 07
September 6, 2023: As Senate returns, McConnell tries to silence doubt

Mitch McConnell is moving as fast as he can to get beyond questions about whether his health will hurt his ability to lead Senate Republicans. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with Senate reporter Ursula Perano. Plus, Jim Messina on why Democrats need to take a third-party threat seriously and what songs the 2024 Republican presidential candidates are listening to.

Sep 06
September 5, 2023: What we learned from a new book on Biden

A new book dropping today offers a rare inside look at Biden’s first two years in office. Franklin Foer’s “The Last Politician” offers in-depth insights into topics such as the president’s approaches to foreign policy and opinion of reproductive rights. Plus, fresh off the holiday weekend, a fight is brewing over fentanyl; and some Republicans are still pushing for an impeachment inquiry. Ryan Lizza breaks down the news you need to know today.

Sep 05
August 25, 2023: Trump? Booked. Debate? Over. Has anything changed?

Playbook deputy editor Zack Stanton talks with senior columnist and politics bureau chief Jonathan Martin about this week in politics and his new column on why you should be paying attention to Virginia, where Sen. Mark Warner is sounding the alarm about the Virginia legislative elections — which Gov. Glenn Youngkin hopes to use to catapult himself into the national conversation. Playbook Deputy Editor Zack Stanton talks with Senior Columnist and Politics Bureau Chief Jonathan Martin.

Aug 25
August 24, 2023: Inside Playbook’s post-debate group chat

One story looms above all others today: the first Republican debate. (Although a close second is Donald Trump, who is expected to surrender to law enforcement in Georgia later today, after giving a bizarre interview to Tucker Carlson that aired last night.) The Playbook team got together for a post-debate call to talk it all through.

Aug 24
August 23, 2023: What Ronna McDaniel told us about tonight’s debate

We’re just a few hours away from the start of the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle, and the event is already mired in controversy. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade walks through everything you need to know about the main event, and then sits down with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to talk about the sideshows.

Aug 23
August 22, 2023: The debate stage is set. The mayhem is just beginning.

The debate stage is set. Late last night, the RNC announced that eight candidates will be participating in the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the debate’s most notably absent figure — Donald Trump — announces when he will surrender to an Atlanta court on Thursday. Reporter Zach Montellaro walks Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels through the debate maneuvering in the GOP and the opaque process that frustrated a number of Republican hopefuls. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with reporter Zach Montellaro.

Aug 22
August 21, 2023: What Kamala Harris told us

Vice President Kamala Harris’ political future — and quite possibly the success of the Democratic ticket in 2024 — hinges on a simple question: In modern-day D.C., is it possible to make a second impression? She recently sat down with Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to discuss how her job has changed, what people get wrong about her public profile, and what many insiders see as a major shift in her comfort in recent months. That, plus, a look ahead to a busy week for Donald Trump — and for the GOP presidential candidates he won’t be joining on the debate stage.

Aug 21
August 18, 2023: 2024 hopefuls prep for GOP debate, Newsom wades into debates in S.F.

As Republicans gear up for the big debate in Milwaukee, further west, California Gov. Gavin Newsom injects himself into the debates raging in San Francisco. The city’s myriad challenges — from culture war topics to substance abuse to unaffordable housing to rampant crime — not only pose governing problems, but political ones as the city reemerges as a Republican punching bag. Deputy editor Zack Stanton talks with California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago on how Newsom plans to navigate it. All that and the news you need to know today. Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago.

Aug 18
August 17, 2023: Can Nikki Haley engineer a breakout moment?

Six months into her presidential campaign, Nikki Haley is mired in the single digits and needs a breakout moment. Could next week’s presidential debate offer it? Playbook co-author Rachael Bade joined the former South Carolina governor at the Iowa State Fair to talk through the benefits and drawbacks of being the sole woman in the crowded GOP primary race, what she thinks of her campaign’s trajectory — and Haley cleared the air about the assumptions others make about her candidacy.

Aug 17
August 16, 2023: Why Biden's bully pulpit isn't targeting Trump

Thus far, President Joe Biden’s administration has not used Donald Trump’s multiple indictments as fodder for insult. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels and White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire explore what it will take for the White House to change their approach. Plus, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is unhappy with the situation at the Southern border, and Mark Meadows wants his trial out of Georgia. All that, and the news you need to know today. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire.

Aug 16
August 15, 2023: Late-night indictments for Trump and allies

On Monday night, a Georgia grand jury delivered a 98-page indictment against Donald Trump and many of his close allies on charges of interfering with the 2020 election. Legal Affairs reporter Kyle Cheney joins Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to explore the most wide-ranging indictment against the former president yet. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with reporter Kyle Cheney.

Aug 15
August 14, 2023: Mitch McConnell’s political endgame

Republican Minority Leader McConnell says he is working to preserve the United States’ identity as a strong, visible presence internationally and within NATO. But with Donald Trump now the de facto party leader, that’s no longer a popular position to take. The senator’s declining health only adds further complication to his endeavors. Host Ryan Lizza talks with Politics Bureau Chief Jonathan Martin about his newest piece about McConnell’s political endgame. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks with Senior Columnist and Politics Bureau Chief Jonathan Martin.

Aug 14
August 11, 2023: What we saw and heard at the Iowa State Fair

Nearly every Republican presidential hopeful will be in Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair this weekend. And so will our own Rachael Bade. She joins Ryan to discuss the scene at Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence and Doug Burgum’s campaign stops. That, plus what (and who) we can expect to make headlines in the days ahead. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks with reporter Rachael Bade.

Aug 11