After launching a progressive media startup earlier this month, long-time White House aides Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor scored the last interview with President Barack Obama as the commander-in-chief.
The former staffers waded into the muddy swamp of political punditry this election cycle, hosting the popular "Keepin' It 1600" podcast in the run-up to November. They proved to have an influential voice during the race, as their party struggled to find an identity in the post-Obama era. With a devastating defeat to President Donald Trump, the four started Crooked Media in the hopes that they can communicate a better message for the Democratic Party.
On Wednesday, they had an opportunity to interview their former boss on the new "Pod Save America" podcast.
"It is wonderful to be with you guys. Let me preface this by saying I cannot believe that people actually listen to you," Obama joked to start the interview. "It is shocking, but, you know, it should give everybody hope that they can do something with their lives."
The friendly banter ended rather quickly when Obama started to reflect on his tenure and the future of America. Obama said that he believed his administration got the policy questions mostly right, but he regretted not adapting his communications strategy to accommodate this new, polarized media landscape.
"My instinct is everybody hates the media right now, everybody knows the political culture doesn't work," Obama said. "There has got to be a way we can create a virtual-public square that feels better for people."
Obama touched on a variety of topics in the interview, from the Trump transition to his 2011 speech at the White House Correspondence Dinner. He said that the night of the Iowa Caucus in 2008 was his favorite moment in politics, when he witnessed Americans come together to argue about the issues and the candidates. "If you could duplicate that night and that moment across the country, and around the world, you felt at that time that there wasn't a problem we couldn't solve," Obama said.
Jon Lovett, who was a staffer for the Hillary Clinton campaign at the time, said he was in a half-empty gym with an accordion player on the night of the 2008 Iowa Caucus, so he couldn't empathize with the former president.
Listen to the interview here, courtesy of Crooked Media: