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Whistlestop: Presidential History and Trivia

History • News • Government

John Dickerson of Slate’s Political Gabfest revisits a moment from the American carnival of politics. Hear about the grand speeches, emergency strategies, baby kissing, and backstabbing that make each presidential cycle so fascinating.

Popular episodes

The Presidency as a Consumer Experience (Part 2)

Aug 28 • 45:49

This episode of Whistlestop travels to October 19, 2016 as Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the defeated GOP aspirant for the presidency, is asking his party not to play by the modern rules of politics....

The Presidency as a Consumer Experience (Part 1)

Jun 6 • 29:56

This episode of Whistlestop travels to October 12, 2012 when Democratic candidate Barack Obama was declared the loser at the first Presidential debate against Mitt Romney and Twitter won....

Avoiding A Great Re-Recession

May 23 • 44:06

This episode of Whistlestop travels to March 12, 2008 as President George W. Bush goes over the text of his speech to address the financial crisis in the housing market and Treasury Secretary Paulson makes a warning that becomes an unfortunately accurate prediction....

Introducing Charged: A True Punishment Story

Apr 18 • 29:58

For two and a half years, Emily Bazelon has been following people through a special court in New York designed to be a speedy machine for the harsh punishment of illegal gun possession. Along the way, a strange thing happened — the politics outside the courtroom started to change when a new generation of activists and insiders began challenging the old system the gun court...

The Making of the American Presidency (Part 4)

Mar 27 • 01:01:37

This episode of Whistlestop travels to December 23, 1783 when the commander in chief of the Continental Army sat before the president of the Confederation Congress and prepared to step away from the job.  ...

The Making of the American Presidency (Part 3)

Mar 13 • 40:16

This episode of Whistlestop travels to March 4, 2019 when Senator Rand Paul quoted from Montesquieu on Twitter: “When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty.” A statement that helped guide the founders towards a valuable separation of power....

The Making of the American Presidency (Part 2)

Feb 27 • 36:52

This episode of Whistlestop travels to June 1st, 1787 when America’s founders faced a challenge: the nation couldn’t depend on the good will of the states to keep itself unified but there wasn’t a mandate for new rules to be made either. ...

The Making of the American Presidency (Part 1)

Feb 14 • 26:41

This episode of Whistlestop travels to the spring of 1787 when fifty-five men of property and elite status argued in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention for what President John Adams called  "the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen,” and soon the American Presidency was born....

A ’90s-Style Government Shutdown (Part 2)

Jan 30 • 31:03

This episode of Whistlestop travels to November 7, 1995, when a long and uncomfortable plane ride helped fire up Speaker Gingrich to deliver a dramatic set of budget demands that President Bill Clinton did not expect....

A ‘90’s Style Government Shutdown (Part 1)

Jan 16 • 33:13

This episode of Whistlestop travels to April 1995 as President Bill Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich battle to define American democracy....

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