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Prologue

Ira and producer Robyn Semien go behind the scenes with some of the Obama staffers to hear what it felt like in the days leading up to the infamous Beer Summit of 2009.

Wannabes Two

Host Ira Glass follows presidential hopeful Julián Castro as he prepares for the first debate of the Democratic primary. His goal is just to let people know he’s in the race! By, possibly, interrupting somebody onstage.

Prologue

Vice News producer Reid Cherlin tells Ira about a party he attended in Washington in 2014. At the time he thought everyone there was on the fringe of the right wing, largely irrelevant.

Act Two: Who Tells Your Story?

For years Pat Buchanan ran on many of the same ideas that Donald Trump would later run on. Buchanan lost — three times.

Act Four: A Matter of Principal

The anti-government protests last month in Russia were surprising for a few reasons – including the fact that they included tons of young people. After the protests, teenagers started posting videos to the internet of their teachers lecturing them about the protests and the kids arguing back.

Prologue

The Department of Homeland Security’s new policies on deportation have sown fear and confusion among undocumented immigrants. Ira Glass and Lilly Sullivan go to Chicago and meet a family trying to navigate the situation.

Prologue

There’s a political parable about Hillary Clinton that’s made the rounds this year. Host Ira Glass interviews contributor Jack Hitt, who says that in this parable you can see almost every version of Hillary that exists in the popular imagination: the A student, the opportunist, the mastermind, the rat fink, the pragmatist, the truth-twister.

Prologue

There’s a seismic, historic change going on in the Republican party this year. Producer Zoe Chace tells Ira about a place you can eavesdrop on a group of Republican friends as they fret and argue about that change week after week: a podcast called Ricochet.

Prologue

A year ago, we did a story about a study that found that a simple 20-minute conversation could change someone’s mind about controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion. But a few weeks after we aired the story, the study was discredited.

Act Two: Dream Come True

Perhaps the biggest proponent of smaller government in the United States is lobbyist and activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. He envisions a government reduced in size by half, and has compelled scores of conservative politicians take pledges to never raise taxes.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass speaks with Columbia University professor Peter Coleman, who shares some surprising details about the battle surrounding the abortion debate in Boston during the 1990s. We learn what secret meetings between the warring groups could accomplish, and what they couldn't.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass speaks with Jim McManus, whose book Positively Fifth Street inspired Ira to start playing poker. Jim talks about holding and folding, why a poker novice is sometimes the toughest player to beat...and the Cuban Missile Crisis.