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Neera Tanden on what it's like working for Hillary Clinton

Center For American Progress Hosts 10th Anniversary Conference
Jon Podesta and Hillary Clinton stand with Neera Tanden.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"You think history is made of broad forces in the world, and that's how we get significant change. But the reality is that policy is determined by a bunch of people, sitting around a table, making decisions." — Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress, arguably the most influential liberal think tank in the country. She has also worked extensively with Hillary Clinton, serving as policy director both in Clinton's Senate office and her presidential campaign.

On the latest episode of The Ezra Klein Show, I sat down with Tanden, who supports Clinton, to learn more about a side of the candidate that will be important if she wins the White House but is mostly opaque to those of us watching the campaign: What is Hillary Clinton like to work for? What is her management style? How does she choose the people around her? How does her approach to the day-to-day work of politics differ from that of other leading Democratic politicians?

You can listen to our discussion by downloading the podcast or streaming it on SoundCloud.

Here are a few of the other topics I cover with Tanden:

  • How growing up on welfare and in a Section 8 apartment influenced Tanden's political philosophy today
  • Why Tanden initially thought she was a "Bill Clinton person," not a Hillary Clinton person
  • The reason internal disagreements among Clinton advisers so often spill out into the open
  • Tanden's view of the ways that sexism and gender stereotypes have hurt Clinton's reputation over time
  • Why Tanden thinks criticisms of Clinton's speaking fees, which I echo in the podcast, are unfair
  • How the role of think tanks like CAP has evolved
  • Tanden's favorite policy papers from both sides of the aisle
  • Which policy questions get less attention than they should

For more podcast conversations — including episodes with Rachel Maddow, Bill Gates, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, US Sen. Cory Booker, chef David Chang, and conservative activist Michael Needham — subscribe to The Ezra Klein Show.

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