Politicos Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Favreau take their political podcast to The Concert Hall.

Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau and Political Science Professor Phil Mundo
Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau and Political Science Professor Phil Mundo

November 2016 – With frankness and humor, politicos Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Favreau cut through the spin of the 2016 presidential race during a memorable night at Drew University.

Pfeiffer and Favreau, former key players in the Obama administration and co-hosts of the podcast Keepin’ It 1600, fielded questions from Political Science Professor Phil Mundo and an animated audience at The Concert Hall. As guests of the Drew Forum speaker series, the duo tackled everything from voter anxiety and the tightening of polls to the negativity around Hillary Clinton. The event, sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, was even recorded for a Keepin’ It 1600 podcast. Here are the seven best Q’s and A’s.

Should I panic?

Pfeiffer: “The answer to that question is never yes!”

Favreau: “It’s not should you be panicked, it’s, what should you do about your panic? And what you should do about your panic is not keep scrolling through Twitter and refreshing 538 every five seconds—like I do [laughs]. So, do that but do that on your way to a phone bank.”

What about the media coverage?

Pfeiffer: “It has not been so good. Here’s, to me, the perfect example: Politifact, a non-partisan fact-checking site, has determined that something like 78 percent of the things that Trump says [is] false. Yet, despite that fact, many more voters believe that Hillary Clinton is less honest than Donald Trump.”

Critical of media coverage
Critical of media coverage

Favreau: “The media devoted more minutes to Hillary’s emails than all other policy issues combined. … Hillary can give many policy speeches. She has through the campaign. And those that get covered—the speeches of hers that get covered—are when she attacks Trump.”

What would a Donald Trump presidency look like?

Favreau: “A lot of pundits and commentators and people in the Republican Party have been waiting now for almost two years for Trump to change, to mature, to learn, to grow, to pivot—none of that has happened. So what do we think happens once the man gains absolute power? Do you think that’s when he tones it down? What incentive does Trump, does President Trump have to somehow be more an adult than he has been over the course of the last two years?”

Would a President Hillary Clinton be as inspiring as Obama?

Favreau: (Pauses) “Look, I think she would admit herself that she’s not Barack Obama, she’s not Bill Clinton—both of whom communicate in very different ways. Bill Clinton is very conversational and tells stories and Barack Obama can be very inspiring.”

Pfeiffer: “She has other skills. She’s very good conversationally. She’s very good when she lets her guard down. I can see in her White House one of her go-to moves being a more informal online poll or conversation. I bet town hall is the go-to message [platform] for the Hillary Clinton administration. I think she will be very good at that.”

What does Trump’s candidacy say about American culture?

Favreau: “Forty percent [of Trump’s supporters] support Donald Trump because they really like Donald Trump. And the rest—especially Republicans who are coming home now—they have a very unfavorable view of Donald Trump. But they have come to believe that Hillary Clinton is a criminal.”

With President MaryAnn Baenninger before the event
With President MaryAnn Baenninger before the event

Would the Senate become more cooperative under a President Clinton?

Pfeiffer: “Short answer? No.”

Favreau: “No. I mean, look, there are Senators who are now running in elections—Senator Burr in North Carolina and others—who are saying, ‘I hope the Supreme Court vacancy is still open four years from now.’ There are Congressmen and some Senators and certainly everyone on talk radio already talking about impeachment hearings before she gets in.”

Melania Trump gave a speech today—who writes this stuff?

Pfeiffer: “Michelle Obama!”