Ed Kelley, News Executive

Episode 13: Ed Kelley

December 14, 2014

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Ed Kelley is a veteran news executive who is currently a Senior Contributing Editor at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Previously, Ed was editor at The Washington Times and The Oklahoman. In this episode of The 202, Ed discusses notable events from his 36 years at The Oklahoman, including coverage of the Oklahoma City Bombing, his experiences during the 2012 elections, and about his time in his current position.

Jim Arkedis, Co-Author, Political Mercenaries

Episode 12: Jim Arkedis

December 01, 2014

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Jim Arkedis is the co-author of the book Political Mercenaries: The Inside Story of How Fundraisers Allowed Billionaires to Take Over Politics and a political consultant whose work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others. In this episode of The 202, Jim shares notable anecdotes from the book ranging from the rise of Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean to financial political scandals affecting both parties.

Mort Kondracke, Political Commentator and Journalist

Episode 11: Morton Kondracke

October 19, 2014

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Mort Kondracke is a political commentator and journalist who is most notable for his role as a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and as co-host of The Beltway Boys on the Fox News Channel. This episode of The 202 has Mort talking to Randy about his early career and start before delving into the details of his almost 50 years in Washington. Outside of political commentary, Mort is a strong advocate of increased funding for Parkinson’s research and is a Board Member of the Parkinson’s Action Network.

Craig Shirley, Author

Episode 10: Craig Shirley

October 5, 2014

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Craig Shirley is a public affairs consultant and author of two best-selling books about President Ronald Reagan. In this episode of The 202, Craig talks about how he first became interested in Ronald Reagan, recounting pivotal events around the President such as his pick of Vice President and his attempted assassination. You can purchase Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America (2014) and Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (2005) from Amazon.

Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, The Weekly Standard

Episode 09: Fred Barnes

September 28, 2014

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Fred Barnes is the Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard and was the co-host of The Beltway Boys on the Fox News Channel. In this episode of The 202, Fred discusses how he got his start in journalism at The Charleston News and Courier and Baltimore Sun. He also goes into extensive detail about his time as a panelist during the first Mondale-Reagan debate and his opinion on President Barack Obama.

David Mark and Chuck McCutcheon, Authors, Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes

Episode 08: David Mark and Chuck McCutcheon

September 18, 2014

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David Mark is editor-in-chief of Politix and former senior editor at Politico and Chuck McCutcheon is co-author of National Journal’s Almanac of American Politics and was co-editor of CQ’s Politics in America 2010. In this episode of The 202, Mark and Chuck discuss their new book, Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes. They talk about the meaning of the book’s title and how the title can be linked to prominent political figures like Senator Bob Dole and Vice President Joe Biden. They also both reminisce about their starts in journalism and some of their favorite interactions during their time as journalists. Their book can be purchased on Amazon or at their website,

Kim Meltzer, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

Episode 07: Kim Meltzer

September 15, 2014

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Kim Meltzer is a former journalist and has worked for establishments including CNN, NBC, and Discovery Communications. Her expertise and teaching role at Georgetown University is on political communication and historical news trends. In this episode of The 202, Kim discusses her time at CNN during the 2000 election and working for Greta van Susteren and Katie Couric. She also goes in-depth on her opinions regarding the increase in news commentary and the level of today’s political discourse.

Jimmy Kemp, President, Jack Kemp Foundation

Episode 06: Remembering Jack Kemp – A Conversation with His Son Jimmy

August 25, 2014

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Jack Kemp was a Congressman from 1971 to 1989 and was Bob Dole’s Vice Presidential nominee in the 1996 election. Jimmy Kemp serves as President of the Jack Kemp Foundation. The Foundation has launched the Kemp Leadership Academy and the Kemp Forum in order to develop and engage exceptional leaders. In this episode of The 202, Jimmy reminisces about growing up as the son of Jack Kemp, discussing his dad’s “life after football” and his eventual foray into politics, including the 1988 Republican Presidential primary and serving as President George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Jimmy also discusses his involvement with the Jack Kemp Foundation and who he believes are the future torchbearers of the Republican Party.

Richard Benedetto, Founding Member, USA Today

Episode 05: Richard Benedetto

June 05, 2014

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As a founding member of USA Today, Richard Benedetto has covered every national political convention since 1972 and every Presidential campaign since 1984. In this episode of The 202, Richard discusses everything from writing USA Today’s first cover story, “New Suburb, Old Pains in the Sun Belt,” to his interview with Governor George Wallace — an interview that later turned out to be one of Wallace’s last.

Two books mentioned in the episode are Confessions of an SOB by Allen Neuharth and Politicians are People, Too by Richard Benedetto.

Paul Tully

Episode 04: A Dedication to Paul Tully

May 09, 2014

Download Part 1:
Mark Steitz, Former DNC Director of Communications and Research
Bernard Craighead, President Bill Clinton 1992 Georgia Primary Campaign Manager
Donna Brazile, DNC Vice Chairwoman

Download Part 2:
Will Robinson, Former DNC Campaign Director
Susan Estrich, Governor Michael Dukakis 1988 Presidential Campaign Manager
Teresa Vilmain, Former DNC Director of Training
Joe Trippi, Senator Howard Dean 2004 Presidential Campaign Manager

Paul Tully was the former Political Director for the Democratic National Committee, quickly becoming one of the party’s most prominent strategists. Having worked in every Presidential election from 1968 to 1992, Paul died shortly before the 1992 election at the age of 48. In this episode of The 202, split into seven separate interviews spanning two parts, several of Paul’s closest friends discuss their fondest memories — both political and personal — of the late and great Paul Raymond Tully.

Paula Cruickshank

Episode 03: Paula Cruickshank

May 07, 2014

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Paula Cruickshank covered domestic policy issues at the White House under six administrations, from 1978 to 2012. In this episode of The 202, Paula reminisces about her first and last days working at the White House and vividly describes some of her favorite stories and anecdotes during her time there. She also discusses her one-on-one encounters and expeiences with everyone from President Barack Obama to Secretary Hillary Clinton to NBC newscaster Brian Williams.

Josh Gross, Special Events Producer, CBS

Episode 02: Josh Gross

May 05, 2014

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Josh Gross is an Emmy-award winning Special Events Producer for CBS. In this episode of The 202, Josh talks about his start in 1999 as a CBS intern and how CBS News has evolved over the years. Josh also shares some of his favorite experiences as a CBS producer, from trying to question Vice President Dick Cheney while on Air Force Two to keeping up with President Obama’s motorcade through the streets of Vatican City.

Tom DeFrank, Contributing Editor, National Journal

Episode 01: Tom DeFrank

May 01, 2014

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Described by President Gerald Ford as “fair, trustworthy, and professional,” Tom DeFrank, Contributing Editor at the National Journal, is a reporter who has been covering Washington politics for over 40 years. As a former President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Tom has reported on politics through 8 presidents and 11 presidential campaigns. In this inaugural episode of The 202, Tom recounts his experiences of major moments in modern American history, from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster to the Gulf War. He also goes into detail about his extensive journalism background, notably his publishing of Write It When I’m Gone, an intimate memoir about President Ford published shortly after the president’s death.