By The Washington Post

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Category: History

Open in Apple Podcasts

Open RSS feed

Open Website

Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 2430
Reviews: 10

 Jan 19, 2023

David H
 Feb 1, 2022
I love Presidential! It's so fun and interesting. I just finished Millard Fillmore but I can't wait for the next one. 🤩 Thanks for all the hard work and keep up the awesomeness😎 Thanks

David B
 Jan 17, 2022
The Trump (and Biden) episodes should be redone from the point of view at the end of their terms rather than immediately after their election, but before they have been inaugurated. Trump is not even mentioned until about 22 minutes in. All other episodes seen from after their terms of office.

 Apr 10, 2021

 Oct 25, 2020
So engaging and well done!


The Washington Post's Presidential podcast explores how each former American president reached office, made decisions, handled crises and redefined the role of commander-in-chief. It was released leading up to up to Election Day 2016, starting with George Washington in week one and ending on week 44 with the president-elect. New special episodes in the countdown to the 2020 presidential election highlight other stories from U.S. presidential history that can help illuminate our current moment. Hosted by Lillian Cunningham, the series features Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers like David McCullough and Washington Post journalists like Bob Woodward. [When you're done, listen to Lillian's other historical podcasts: Constitutional and Moonrise]

Episode Date
BONUS | Happy Presidents’ Day! Or … not?
Students, teachers and historians reflect on what has changed — and should change — about the way we teach presidential history today. This special episode features presidential experts Barbara Perry and Julian Zelizer, “How the Word Is Passed” author Clint Smith, and the AP government and politics class of teacher Michael Martirone.
Feb 21, 2022
Joe Biden: Triumph, tragedy and the fate of the center
Four years later, the “Presidential” podcast adds a new biography to its cadre of American presidents. This special episode explores Joe Biden's decades-long, hard-fought personal and political path to the White House, with the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos.
Nov 08, 2020
BONUS | What books about Trump say about America
Books published in the Trump era reveal the battles over, and changes in, the American presidency today. In this special episode of “Presidential,” Post nonfiction book critic Carlos Lozada shares what he’s learned from reading more than 150 of them.
Oct 23, 2020
BONUS | Pandemic, propaganda and the presidency
The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more than 675,000 Americans, but President Woodrow Wilson never made a single public statement about it. Why? Here’s what happens when efforts to promote patriotism and suppress free speech collide with a deadly virus.
Sep 24, 2020
BONUS | When a VP pick changes history
Geraldine Ferraro broke a major barrier in American politics in 1984, when she became the first woman nominated for the vice presidency by a major party. It was a historic decision by Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Walter Mondale. And it did more than pave the way to the White House for more diverse candidates — it also fundamentally changed the way all future presidential campaign teams would approach vice-presidential announcements and conventions.

Hosted by Washington Post journalist Lillian Cunningham, this podcast episode features former vice president and ’84presidential candidate Walter Mondale; Mondale’s former campaign press secretary, Maxine Isaacs; and vice-presidential historian Joel Goldstein.

This is a special episode of the “Presidential” podcast series. In 44 chronological episodes, the “Presidential” podcast took listeners on an epic historical journey through the personality and legacy of each of the American presidents. Created and hosted by Lillian Cunningham, “Presidential” features interviews with the country’s greatest experts on the presidency, including Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers, historians and journalists. 

The full “Presidential” series is available to listen to here. Start listening at the very beginning, with the life of George Washington, or jump ahead to any president whose story you want to better understand.

Photo credit: Associated Press
Aug 07, 2020
BONUS | Binding up the nation's wounds
The famous black contralto singer Marian Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being denied the ability to perform down the street at Constitution Hall. And when she did, she transformed the monument into something more than a stone temple to Abraham Lincoln. She ushered in its new life as an active place for generations of Americans to continue the work to“bind up the nation’s wounds.”

Hosted by Washington Post journalist Lillian Cunningham, the podcast episode features experts Molefi Kete Asante, head of the African American Studies Department at Temple University; Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”; and Post architecture critic Philip Kennicott.

This is a special episode of the “Presidential” podcast series. In 44 chronological episodes, the “Presidential” podcast took listeners on an epic historical journey through the personality and legacy of each of the American presidents. Created and hosted by Lillian Cunningham, “Presidential” features interviews with the country’s greatest experts on the presidency, including Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers, historians and journalists. 

The full “Presidential” series is available to listen to here. Start listening at the very beginning, with the life of George Washington, or jump ahead to any president whose story you want to better understand.
Jun 19, 2020
LIVE EVENT | 'Unprecedented Presidents' live from WBUR CitySpace
Four years after making Presidential, host Lillian Cunningham led a panel examining what's really unprecedented--or not--about Donald Trump's presidency. Historians Alexis Coe, Drew Gilpin Faust and Julian Zelizer joined for this live event in Boston.
Mar 06, 2020
Donald Trump: Division and union
In this final episode of the podcast, Library of Congress historians Michelle Krowl and Julie Miller return--along with Washington Post journalist Dan Balz--to reflect on the changing nature of the American presidency.
Nov 09, 2016
Barack Obama: The pursuit of identity
Political strategist David Axelrod and biographer David Maraniss discuss Barack Obama's search for identity -- and how that quest has paralleled America's own complex reckoning with race.
Oct 30, 2016
George W. Bush: Changing course
Peter Baker, author of "Days of Fire" and a journalist with the New York Times, joins historian Mark Updegrove to examine how George W. Bush's presidency marked the beginning of a new era in American history.
Oct 23, 2016
Bill Clinton: The good and the bad
David Maraniss, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Bill Clinton, explores how Clinton's core character traits had both a bright and a dark side. And Post reporter Jim Tankersley examines a similar duality in his policy legacy.
Oct 16, 2016
George H. W. Bush: Restraint
Historians Jon Meacham and Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush's unique form of presidential leadership--a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint--and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.
Oct 09, 2016
Ronald Reagan: Myths and truths
Lou Cannon, biographer and senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post during President Reagan's administration, helps us separate the fact from fiction about who Ronald Reagan really was.
Oct 02, 2016
Jimmy Carter: Keeping the faith
Longtime Carter political adviser Pat Caddell, theologian and biographer Randall Balmer, and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa examine how Jimmy Carter's faith has shaped his leadership in and out of the White House.
Sep 25, 2016
Gerald Ford: It's personal
The president's son Steven Ford joins White House photographer David Hume Kennerly and Berkeley professor Daniel Sargent to talk about how Gerald Ford's experience working across the aisle in Congress affected his leadership style as president.
Sep 18, 2016
Richard Nixon: Looking inward
Bob Woodward, one of the Washington Post investigative reporters who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, examines what was at the heart of Richard Nixon's presidential downfall. The Washington Post's current executive editor, Marty Baron, joins as well.
Sep 11, 2016
Lyndon B. Johnson: Power
The LBJ Presidential Library's director, Mark Updegrove, helps us examine how Johnson worked his will--at times darkly--to get some of the most transformative legislation of the 20th century through Congress.
Sep 04, 2016
John F. Kennedy: We are all mortal
Robert Dallek, Michael Beschloss and Fredrik Logevall--three major Kennedy historians and biographers--join us on this week's episode to talk about JFK and death. But not his assassination...
Aug 28, 2016
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Covert action
Stephen Kinzer, author of "The Brothers," and historian Will Hitchcock explore President Eisenhower's predilection for covert action--both in foreign affairs and in his own leadership style.
Aug 21, 2016
Harry S. Truman: Trying to make the right call
Biographer David McCullough looks at some of the most difficult decisions President Truman made during his time in the White House, and Washington Post polling manager Scott Clement examines the biggest polling failure in presidential history.
Aug 15, 2016
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Through Eleanor's eyes
Allida Black, editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt papers, along with FDR Library Director Paul Sparrow and White House speechwriter Sarada Peri, examine Franklin Roosevelt's leadership through the lens of the first lady's own contributions to his presidency.
Aug 07, 2016
Herbert Hoover: Dealing with disaster
Herbert Hoover entered the White House with an array of high-profile experiences leading disaster relief. So why was his handling of the Great Depression considered a failure? Biographer Charles Rappleye guest stars.
Jul 31, 2016
Calvin Coolidge: A tale of two Coolidges
Former politician Michael Dukakis, biographer Amity Shlaes and political scientist Robert Gilbert join Washington Post economics reporter Steven Pearlstein to offer a version of Calvin Coolidge's legacy that doesn't follow the standard story.
Jul 25, 2016
Warren G. Harding: Love and scandal
Steamy love letters. Jazz. Scandal. Psychics. Newspapers. The Hope Diamond. Historian Nicole Hemmer helps guide us through the wild life and presidency of Warren G. Harding.
Jul 18, 2016
Woodrow Wilson: A complicated legacy
Racism, diplomacy, women's suffrage...historian John Milton Cooper and Woodrow Wilson House executive director Robert Enholm lead us through Wilson's complicated personal and presidential legacy.
Jul 11, 2016
William Howard Taft: This chief, not that chief
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'The Bully Pulpit,' along with historian Michelle Krowl and Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes discuss why President Taft made a better chief justice than commander-in-chief.
Jul 03, 2016
Theodore Roosevelt: Exuberance
Biographer David McCullough and historian Michelle Krowl take us inside the wild, unstoppable dynamism of Teddy Roosevelt, whose energy and activism redefined the role of American president.
Jun 26, 2016
William McKinley: The modern campaign
Republican political strategist Karl Rove dissects what was so transformative about William McKinley's 1896 presidential campaign. And Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig discusses how his assassination modernized the Secret Service.
Jun 20, 2016
Benjamin Harrison: The president as conservationist
Benjamin Harrison was the first U.S. president to use his position to try to save a species, the fur seal. He also set aside more than 13 million acres of forest reserves. This episode looks at the roots of conservation as a presidential responsibility.
Jun 12, 2016
Grover Cleveland: Tell the truth
Known for his forthrightness, Cleveland came clean when news broke that he had fathered an illegitimate child; yet he later covered up a cancer surgery at sea. Guests Matthew Algeo, Michelle Krowl and Roman Mars explore candor and the presidency.
Jun 05, 2016
Chester A. Arthur: Redemption
How does one of the greatest beneficiaries of the spoils system end up being the president who passes civil service reform? Post reporter David Fahrenthold and Stateline editor Scott Greenberger tell the amazing story of Arthur's personal transformation.
May 29, 2016
James A. Garfield: Shot down
Only 100 days into office, President Garfield was shot down in a train station by a disturbed office seeker. 'Destiny of the Republic' author Candice Millard, along with Michelle Krowl of the Library of Congress, examine the life cut short.
May 23, 2016
Rutherford B. Hayes: The most contested election
How does a vicious, close and disputed election spill over into a presidency? We examine the razor-thin election results for Rutherford B. Hayes, and the equally fine line he then had to tread as president during the end of Reconstruction.
May 15, 2016
Ulysses S. Grant: Lover, fighter, writer
Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs are considered the best ever written by a president. In this episode, Washington Post nonfiction book critic Carlos Lozada and biographer David Maraniss discuss what they found funny, touching and illuminating about the work.
May 08, 2016
Andrew Johnson: Stitching up a torn country
What kind of president can repair America's deepest divisions? Michelle Krowl of the Library of Congress walks us through Andrew Johnson's time in office right after the Civil War and sheds light on why he struggled to bring the country together.
May 02, 2016
Abraham Lincoln: His hand and his pen
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'Team of Rivals,' and Michelle Krowl of the Library of Congress guide us through Lincoln's love for language--and how his gift for writing and oratory became one of his greatest presidential leadership tools.
Apr 24, 2016
James Buchanan: The bachelor and the bloodshed
America is on the eve of civil war, and James Buchanan is alone in the White House as our first and only bachelor president. Historians Jean Baker and Jim Loewen, and The Washington Post's Jim Tankersley, explore the lack of personal and political union.
Apr 18, 2016
Franklin Pierce: Rolling off the tracks
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer James McPherson and historian Edna Greene Medford discuss Franklin Pierce's role in the country's progression toward civil war, as well as the personal tragedy that unfolded right before he took office.
Apr 10, 2016
Millard Fillmore: Teaching the obscure presidents
Should we teach the presidency of Millard Fillmore? What do we lose if we don't? Historians Jean Baker and James McPherson, along with Washington Post education reporter T. Rees Shapiro, tackle these questions in our 13th episode.
Apr 03, 2016
Zachary Taylor: War heroes and conspiracy theory
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank joins historians Catherine Clinton and Joseph Uscinski to talk about military hero Zachary Taylor and the assassination theories that swirled around his death in the White House.
Mar 27, 2016
James K. Polk: Getting it done
They Might Be Giants singer John Linnell and historian Amy Greenberg are guests on this episode. Through hard work and strategic lying, the 11th president managed to accomplish everything on his agenda. But is being effective the same as being great?
Mar 20, 2016
John Tyler: Ghosts and the vice presidency
When Vice President Tyler took over the White House, he set a precedent that would forever shape the office. This episode features experts Barbara Bair and Joel Goldstein, as well as descendants who talk about the ghost who haunts the Tyler home.
Mar 13, 2016
William Henry Harrison: Great song, horrible death
Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri, along with Barbara Bair and Dr. Philip Mackowiak, deconstruct Harrison's transformative presidential campaign and debunk the myth of what killed him after only 32 days in office.
Mar 06, 2016
Martin Van Buren: The story of our two-party system
Martin Van Buren did much to create the political party establishments we have today. Experts Barbara Bair and Mark Cheathem, along with Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza, examine his mark on modern politics.
Feb 29, 2016
Andrew Jackson: The violence, the fight
Barbara Bair, Steve Inskeep and Jon Meacham examine the tragedy of Andrew Jackson's personal life, the brutality of his battles and his policies against Native Americans, and the conflict that makes up a dynamic democracy.
Feb 21, 2016
John Quincy Adams: The trait that broke a presidency
We're about to witness how the inability to compromise can tank any hope of being an effective president.
Feb 14, 2016
James Monroe: The Forrest Gump of presidents
In the latest episode of Presidential, we look at our fifth president's knack for being present at famous moments in history.
Feb 07, 2016
James Madison: Burning down the house
Though he's our first wartime president, James Madison is usually better remembered for his work on the Constitution rather than his time as commander-in-chief while the White House went up in flames. But maybe that's the wrong way to look at it.
Jan 31, 2016
Thomas Jefferson: On food and freedom
Jon Meacham and Annette Gordon-Reed are among the experts who take us through the best and worst of our third president's complex and controversial legacy.
Jan 25, 2016
John Adams: The case of the missing monument
In the second episode of Presidential, biographer David McCullough as well as noted art and architecture experts explore why there's no monument to John Adams in Washington, DC -- and how that omission shapes our sense of his legacy.
Jan 18, 2016
George Washington: The man, the myth, the legend
Who exactly was our first president? Bob Woodward, Joel Achenbach and Julie Miller kick off our first episode of Presidential.
Jan 10, 2016
Introduction: Welcome to Presidential
Preview the Washington Post podcast, with clips from upcoming episodes and an overview of the series by host Lillian Cunningham.
Jan 05, 2016