Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett & Tommy Vietor - Tapping Into Trump-Era Activism with "Pod Save America" - Extended Interview

May 1, 2017 - Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett & Tommy Vietor 05/01/2017 Views: 13,028

"Pod Save America" cohosts Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor talk about their efforts to turn anti-Trump outrage into electoral victory for the Democratic Party. (6:27)

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- Please welcome John Favreau, John Lovett, and Tommy Vito


(dramatic music)

- This is fun.

- Yeah.

- I've never had threecups on the desk before.

It looks like we're gonna play one of those games.

Let's get straight into it.

First of all, big fan of what you guys do on the podcast

Pod Save America.

A lot of people don't knowthis, but the two of you started

off as, or recently worked as speech writers for president

Barack Obama.

- Yes.


- So let me ask you this.

So when you saw 400,000 dollarsfor a speech, were you guys

like "Oh, are you gonna..."

- Didn't get that when we were in the White House.

- Did that hurt a little bit?

Were you like "We wantedsome of that cash?"

- Yeah, yeah, I wanted some of that cash.

That's what I thought when I saw it.

- But how does it feel?

How does it feel seeing president Obama out there on his own

without you guys?

- It's not like a baby cub.

I mean, he's...

- But I mean, emotionally, there must be some connection


You guys rolled together for so long.

- I miss him.

I miss working with him.

- Yeah, that's what I'm looking for.

- Yeah.

- That's what I'm looking for!

- From now on I'll fake it.

You guys go, I'll catch up. - You guys gotta fake it.

You gotta fake the emotion.

- You miss seeing someone leading the country that

is a good person.

That loves family and cares deeply about what he's doing

and takes it seriously.

I miss that everyday when you see Trump who just, doesn't.

I mean, that's the hardest thing.

- I like how you justended on "who doesn't."

Normally, you'd be like "who doesn't exhibit the..."

Who doesn't.

He just doesn't.

Let's talk about the podcast because...

Normally, podcasts that are on politics try to be like

"Hey, we are in the middle, we do not lean in a particular


You guys started off yourpodcast but then you moved it to

you know, your mediacompany, Crooked Media.

Great name.

And now it really is...

There's a sort of level of activism that's involved

in the podcast.

- Right.

- Why did you make that decision?

- We thought it's an important time to...

There's a lot of people out there who are scared of

the Trump presidency and maybe they haven't paid attention

to politics in a long time and they're saying "How can we

get involved, what canwe do, how can we help?"

That's the question we always got in the podcast before,

and so we want to help people answer that question.

- I mean, the political conversation is broken, right?

I mean, you see it on TV everyday.

You see it on cable.

You want to be a help, then figure out what is going on,

what's important, and how can they get involved.

Because so many times, you watchcable news and you think...

You're depressed, you feel like...

You feel lost when it's over.

And you want to do something in your own life.

- Now, you don't just criticize.

I mean, the democrats are also in an interesting situation

where many people are sayingthe party isn't where it should

have been after a president who was as strong as

Barack Obama was.

The president himself said thathe didn't do a great job of

keeping the grassroots I guess mobilized.

Keith Ellison complainedabout that as well.

If you're looking at that going forward and you were

strategizing, what would you think the democrats need to do

to I guess begin a game plan for the next election?

- I think that's the hardest question.

That's the question everybody'sgot to figure out how to

answer, because we lost.

We lost the presidency, we lost the senate, we lost

the house, we lost the governorships, we lost

state legislatures.

It's not great, right?

So it's a rebuilding year.

I'm sorry, it sucks, but we're in really bad shape, guys.

But the good news is, I think, that it is a wakeup call.

I think people were complacent and now Trump is president.

We are feeling the consequencesof that, there's never been

this much energy of people marching.

You have people going to protests, you have people showing

up at airports, climate marches, women's marches, and

I think the fundamentalquestion is "How do you harness

that energy and turn it into votes?"

Right, turn it into people knocking on doors and going to

the polls not just on a presidential year...

When we won by three millionvotes, right, but in off years.

- Plus, I think we've got the opposition part down

and now we need to figure out what we stand for,

have a positive message that connects with people.

An economic agenda that will help change people's lives and

just give people something to vote for.

That's something we learned from the last election.

- It's interesting...

Yeah, you can applaud for that, you can applaud.


It's interesting that you say you've got the opposition

party down, because during the campaign, a lot of people

felt like Hillary shifted her focus too much to being

against Trump and not enough to being for her platform.

You were asked to write on the Hillary campaign and I

believe you said "No, I can't write for this, I cannot

carry on writing for Hillary because it feels like this is

speech by committee."

What does that mean?

- It's a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

Which happens a lot in speech writing processes with a lot

of different politicians.

With Obama it was different, because he had a good sense

always of what his vision was, what he wanted to say, and

we were there to sort of figureout how to help him say it.

But he knew it was he wanted to say.

And I think Hillary, policy genius, cares deeply about

the issues, she never really figured out

what's the vision of why I'm running for president?

Why me, why now?

That was what she sort of struggled with, I think.

- And that's totally true.

But at the same time, there's a lot of Monday morning


Like, we've talkedabout this, that like...

Everything went wrong.

There's a lot of decisions she made that could have

made the difference.

She lost by too few votes for that not to be true.

But she was out there talking about economic issues.

It wouldn't get covered because everybody was talking

about Trump.

Which is a challenge we should learn from.

I'm not doing that to make excuses for Hillary Clinton.

I'll go after Hillary Clinton, I don't care, what's she

gonna do to me?




She's just a woman in Chappaqua.



- [Favreau] Come on our show, Hillary.

- We're gonna get Hillary.

We're gonna get Hillary on this show.

This show, our show, all the shows.

- After that, she'sdefinitely on the show.

- We'll get her on both shows.

- She's gonna come to yourshow so you can come after her,

I can feel it.

- But I think it's important to learn that it's really

hard to get the media to focus on an economic policy speech

when the only part they're gonna put on television is the

one minute where you go after Trump.

That was a big problem for their campaign, which

is something we should learn from right now.


- I honestly could spend hours talking to you guys.

Your podcast is fascinating.

The three of youare fascinating.

Unfortunately, I do not have the time and that's why we

listen to the podcast.

Thank you so much for being on the show.

I appreciate it, thank you very much.


Appreciate it too much,be sure to subscribe to

Pod Save America and goto

for more podcasts.

John Favreau, John Lovett, and Tommy Vito, everybody.

(energetic music)

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