The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with Sean Illing takes a philosophy-minded look at culture, technology, politics, and the world of ideas. Each week, we invite a guest to explore a question or topic that matters. From the the state of democracy, to the struggle with depression and anxiety, to the nature of identity in the digital age, each episode looks for nuance and honesty in the most important conversations of our time. New episodes drop every Monday.


episode 10: Neera Tanden on what it's like to work for Hillary Clinton

Neera Tanden is CEO of the Center for American Progress — perhaps the most influential left-leaning think tank in Washington. Before that, though, she was the policy director for both Hillary Clinton's Senate office and 2008 campaign, as well as a senior advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services during the drafting of Obamacare. She’s also someone many of you requested to hear on the program.Neera Tanden has had a unique vantage point on the Democratic frontrunner. Tanden is a Hillary supporter and a strong one, but she's worked for Clinton for a long time, and so has a perspective on her former boss that most people don't get to see. And that's something I'm interested in. There is, I think it's fair to say, a wide gap between Clinton's reputation as a campaigner as a politician and her reputation as a boss and colleague. And it's that gap that I Tanden is able to shine some light on. Among the topic we cover are:- What it was like for Tanden growing up on welfare, and whether she thinks welfare reform was good for the poor- How she met Hillary Clinton, and why she initially thought of herself as "a Bill Clinton person." - Why Clinton's public reputation confuses Tanden- Whether Washington is governed more by individuals or structural forces- What she thinks of criticisms of Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs- Why she thinks money has a more poisonous influence in Congress than in the White House- What her favorite think tank papers on both the left and the right are- What policy books she thinks everyone should readTanden is a Hillary Clinton supporter, and a proud one. And in this podcast, she talks about what it's like to actually work for and with Clinton. This episode is brought to you by The Great The Great Courses Plus is offering listeners a chance to stream hundreds of their courses-including The Fundamentals of Photography-free when you visit

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 April 5, 2016  1h11m