CNN president Jeff Zucker made news Monday hinting he would consider running for office in a five-year timeframe. The comments came at the end of an hour-long, wide-ranging interview by former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod on his CNN-hosted podcast, “The Axe Files.”
“Look, I still harbor somewhere in my gut that I am interested in politics,” Zucker said. “… it would be something I would consider.”
The 53-year-old veteran television executive has gone on the record several times over the years with his interest in political office – going so far as pondering a bid for the New York’s Mayor’s office in 2015 in an interview with AdWeek, FoxNews reported.
For the moment, however, those aspirations seem to be on hold as he grapples with the sinking ratings of the former leader in cable television news, CNN.
Here is a transcript of the exchange between Zucker and Axelrod, made at 1:06:24 in the podcast:
ZUCKER: And with regard with where I’ll be in five years… umm…
AXELROD: You had a chance to leave to potentially take over at ESPN – which, you’re a big sports guy. The timing wasn’t right for you, but–
ZUCKER: Well to be clear, I was never offered the job.
AXELROD: Yeah, I understand.
ZUCKER: Look, I don’t know for sure where I’ll be. But here’s [sic] the two things that I do know, is, if the Miami Dolphins call, that’s where I’ll be.
Or number two…
AXELROD: You’ve said this twice now, and I know they’re…
ZUCKER: I’m trying to send a message!
AXELROD: I know they’re big listeners to my podcast! You know this could shorten your career…
ZUCKER: And number two – number two… Look, I still harbor somewhere in my gut that I’m still very interested in politics. And I…
AXELROD: Um-hmm – you turned down an opportunity to work for Al Gore in 2000; you’ve talked in the past about potentially running for office–
ZUCKER: So I’m still interested in that. And it’s something that I would consider.
AXELROD: Interesting. (pause) Well, give me a call if you’re thinking about it.
ZUCKER: You know somebody who could help?
AXELROD: I do…
ZUCKER: You could put me in touch with the right people?
AXELROD: I can… yeah.
Jeff Zucker, so good to sit down with you. For you to sit in one place for an hour is an extraordinary accomplishment and I’m so grateful that you did it.
ZUCKER: I would only do it for you.
AXELROD: Thank you. (chuckling)
Listen to the full “Axe Files” podcast here.