Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State, and renowned BlackBerry enthusiast, now has one more job to add to her resume: podcast host.
Today, Clinton launched With Her, an official campaign podcast co-hosted by Max Linsky. In addition to Clinton and the Longform co-founder, the show will feature VP nominee Tim Kaine, Clinton supporters, and staff along the campaign trail. It will be released irregularly until election day. (The campaign has not responded to a request for comment from WIRED.)
For Clinton, the intimacy of the podcast format provides a much-needed opportunity to be personable and casual with American voters. She is often criticized as being stilted and rehearsed. The podcast format encourages the opposite: off-the-cuff chattiness. And Clinton’s thrived in the intimate format before. In October 2015, Clinton appeared on BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast, and on that episode the candidate often maligned for her lack of likability came across as at-ease, even funny. It’s clear from the first episode of With Her that the campaign hopes it will help portray the candidate as someone who an average American could commiserate with about waking up early or brag to about family photos. In it, Clinton and Linsky chat about her most emotional moments on the campaign trail and how she manages to be “on” all the time. The first thing she says is, “You can call me whatever you want, you can call me ‘Hillary,’ ‘Madam Secretary,’ you can call me ‘Hey You,’ you can call me whatever you want.” She shares that the last thing she thinks about her grandkids before she goes to sleep at night.
The podcast also provides Clinton with a platform to have substantive conversations with the electorate about nuanced issues in a thoughtful, uninterrupted way. On Another Round, hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton asked her tough questions about Black Lives Matter, reparations, and her experiences with sexism. Clinton fielded them honestly, and she came across as likable and authentic for it.
Linsky is a pioneer of the sponsored content podcast: he hosted Brownscast, the insider podcast of the Cleveland Browns, and co-founded Pineapple Street Media in May to develop shows in partnership with organizations including The New York Times, Lena Dunham’s Lennyletter, and now the Clinton campaign.
In the first episode of With Her, Linsky self-identifies as a Hillary supporter and a small business owner rather than a journalist, which informs the chatty, complimentary tone of their exchange. If it works, it will provide Clinton with something she sorely needs: a way to showcase her real personality–a thing her Republican counterpart has done so successfully on Twitter.