Senate Runoffs In Georgia : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders Georgia's Senate runoffs have become national races as control of the Senate depends on who wins. Sam asks Tia Mitchell, Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if Georgia voters are looking at the runoffs the way the rest of the country is. Then, Sam chats with comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, hosts of the podcast "Politically Re-Active", about how the Left is processing the results of the 2020 election.
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Georgia's Senate Runoffs, Plus W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Talk Politics

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Georgia's Senate Runoffs, Plus W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Talk Politics

Georgia's Senate Runoffs, Plus W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Talk Politics

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As someone who covers Georgia politics, did you ever expect it to be like this right now?

TIA MITCHELL: I've only been doing this job for about a year.


MITCHELL: And it's been crazy from the beginning.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: You know, I went from impeachment to coronavirus to elections, so it's just been crazy.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: I don't know not crazy.

AUNT BETTY, BYLINE: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, the runoffs in Georgia and why they've become a national race. All right, let's start the show.


SANDERS: From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. You are listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE.

Happy weekend. We are - what? - two weeks or so removed from Election Day 2020. I would say we made it, but as you know, election 2020 is not over yet. Donald Trump's campaign is still contesting vote tallies across the country. But we're not going to talk about that this episode. What we are going to talk about is another piece of election 2020 that is not over yet - two runoffs for the U.S. Senate both happening in Georgia this January.


JOHN KING: Right, two Republican incumbents. Here's the math heading into them - 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, meaning Democrats need to win them both; 50-50 means Vice President Harris would break the tie in the Senate.

SANDERS: To figure out what's really at stake, I called up a reporter covering both of these races, Tia Mitchell. Tia is the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And to start, I asked her to break down who the candidates are.


SANDERS: In one runoff, there's incumbent Senator David Perdue, a Republican.

MITCHELL: He was one of those outside candidates who had never run for office before.

SANDERS: He is facing off against Jon Ossoff, a Democrat.

MITCHELL: A lot of you guys remember him because he ran for Congress in 2017 in a special election, and he lost then in a runoff.

SANDERS: In the other runoff, there is incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler. She's a Republican, and she was appointed to the role after an unexpected Senate vacancy.

MITCHELL: She's only been serving for almost a year.

SANDERS: She is up against Raphael Warnock, a Democrat.

MITCHELL: Even though this is his first time running for office, he's been an activist on progressive issues.

SANDERS: So with all eyes on Georgia right now, I had a lot of questions for Tia.


SANDERS: So I was reading the other day that already in these two races, more than $120 million has been spent, and that number will only grow between now and the actual runoff, which is - what? - early January. How big of a deal is that amount of money in these races? And what does that look and feel like if you're just a person in Georgia? Is it just bombarding you everywhere you go?

MITCHELL: Absolutely.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: That's what it looks like, especially if you're, you know, one of those super voters. You're getting mail or...

SANDERS: Wait; who's a super voter? Not me.

MITCHELL: You know, somebody who, like, votes all the time. I might not be using the right language for it, but...

SANDERS: Sounds good to me. I like it. I like it.

MITCHELL: ...A frequent voter who, you know, can be counted on to show up.

SANDERS: Gotcha.

MITCHELL: But just in general on TV, you're seeing these four individuals - Ossoff, Warnock, Perdue and Loeffler - at every commercial break. And when you turn on YouTube, you're seeing digital ads. But it also means that there's a lot of attention on Georgia. You have a lot of national media sending their reporters to Georgia to cover the race. And so, I mean, in some ways, I think Georgia finds it cool to be the center of attention.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: It's something that Democrats in Georgia have been saying, like, pay attention to us.


MITCHELL: We can make a difference. And it's finally coming true.

SANDERS: Yeah. I've been hearing about a lot of progressive activists just flocking to the state right now, the GOP also just sending folks down as well. Do Southerners like all that outside influence when they're getting ready to vote in a very important race - two very important races?

MITCHELL: So I think it's interesting because, you know, Republicans usually point the finger at Democrats and say, look; you're raising all this money in California and New York for Georgia races, and you're bringing all your carpetbagger friends in, you know, to try to influence our Georgia races. But now Republicans are doing the same thing. You know, they have a 50-state fundraising strategy that they just launched.

SANDERS: Oh, wow.

MITCHELL: And, you know, they're sending folks to Georgia, too, because it's so crucial. I think for Georgia, for, like, the residents of Georgia, it's not so much about who's saying what at this point. You're not changing a lot of minds. It's turnout.


MITCHELL: It's getting people to show up, to cast their ballots. We haven't even talked about the whole attack on Georgia's election process and how that may or may not influence people to participate because if you're a Republican, for the past few weeks, you've had the leaders of your party tell you that Georgia doesn't know how to run an election.

SANDERS: There's also this conundrum that Republicans face on trying to maintain excitement from Trump voters until this runoff. And for that reason, some folks believe Republicans have been slow to tell Trump he lost his election 'cause they don't want to upset Trump because that might mean upsetting his supporters. From what you can tell, which side seems more juiced up right now in Georgia, Democrats or Republicans?

MITCHELL: So that's what - you hit the nail on the head. It's a very delicate balance on the Republican side. As much money that is already being spent and as much attention that's already on Georgia, I still think we aren't at premium juice levels yet. You know what I mean?

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

MITCHELL: Like, everything is going to ratchet up once absentee ballots start getting mailed out and once early voting starts and things like that. But right now, the Democrats have a much more cohesive message in this buildup period, whereas...

SANDERS: Really?

MITCHELL: ...Republicans are split. Again, like you mentioned, Senator Loeffler and Senator Perdue are very clearly falling in line behind President Trump. So they've called for the secretary of state to resign, even though he's a fellow Republican. And they've cast doubt on the validity of the election process in Georgia in ways that other Republicans worry could depress turnout. But Perdue and Loeffler don't want to lose Trump's support, and they don't want to turn off Trump supporters. So they're kind of clinging to what President Trump's talking points are right now.

SANDERS: You know, at least nationally, Democrats in Georgia seem to have a more unified face. You know, everyone on the left has fallen in line behind Stacey Abrams and her work to mobilize potential progressive voters and Black voters. Is that portrayal of solidarity actually true for Democrats in Georgia?

MITCHELL: Yes. For right now, Democrats are much more unified because the stakes are very clear for Democrats. Either you win both seats, and you help President Biden with his, you know, new administration, or you lose either one or both, and that makes it much more difficult for this president that Georgia already helped deliver, you know?

So Stacey Abrams is such a high-profile voice not only because she has this playbook that everyone's crediting with, you know, providing a blueprint for how Democrats can compete in Georgia, and she's turned out to be right in a lot of ways, but she also has her own credibility she built up when she ran for governor in 2018. And the thing that made her really special then was she campaigned statewide. Georgia has 159 counties.

SANDERS: That's a lot.

MITCHELL: Yes, a lot.

SANDERS: Wow (laughter).

MITCHELL: Stacey Abrams visited every county when she was running for governor because her philosophy was, I might not be able to win a majority of voters in this county, but there are some votes I can get.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, there are so many interesting data points in the Georgia results this November and possibly more interesting data points to come in this runoff in January. You know, we saw Black voter turnout increase almost exponentially in some instances in the state. What, in your mind, are the biggest demographic stories come out of Georgia right now when it comes to these votes?

MITCHELL: So Georgia's demographics are changing, particularly in the Atlanta suburbs, becoming more diverse, more people of color, younger voters, making the state more Democratic. You know, right now, Republicans still control the Legislature, the governor's office and all statewide elected offices. But you have this one recent bright spot for Democrats with Joe Biden carrying the state. And they're hoping that this trend will continue.

But the other thing that really helped Joe Biden win Georgia was college-educated white people who, particularly in Atlanta suburbs, but all across the state, you know, they had soured on President Trump and were willing to give Joe Biden a chance.

So that's, again, something that is going to be a data point we look at in this runoff because, you know, in one race, we have Perdue versus Ossoff. There's a age difference, but they're both white men. But in the Loeffler-Warnock race, there is a different racial dynamic there with Warnock, a Black man who's a pastor of a Black church and who has championed very progressive issues very publicly in a way that Republicans are using to, you know, paint him as a radical progressive, whereas Kelly Loeffler is a white woman, a wealthy white woman, who lives in Buckhead, the posh Atlanta suburb. The question is where white people fall in these races can help determine whether Democrats can win.

SANDERS: Thanks again to Tia Mitchell. She is the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All right, coming up, what's next for the left after election 2020?


SANDERS: So my next guests - I brought them on to talk politics, but we had to start the same way all conversations start these days - a discussion of COVID. And I wondered with them when, if ever, things will feel normal again.

W KAMAU BELL: The question isn't the vaccine. It's when do you feel comfortable going to see your favorite band...

SANDERS: Exactly.

BELL: ...Next to 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden?

SANDERS: When is Coachella back?

BELL: Yeah, when is Coachella back?


BELL: Yeah. When can Kevin Hart tour not in his living room?


BELL: That's mostly what I'm worried about.

SANDERS: Those are comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. Kamau is the host of the CNN series "United Shades Of America." And Hari created and starred in the 2017 documentary "The Problem With Apu." On top of that work, Hari and Kamau host a podcast together. It is called "Politically Re-Active." On the show, they react to politics from a progressive point of view. So I brought Hari and Kamau on to talk about what this year's election results mean for the left, for progressives and for the Democratic Party going forward.


SANDERS: I think, honestly, first question - what does it say about the state of the left that it wasn't a clean sweep, which many Democrats thought they might get going into Election Day this month?

HARI KONDABOLU: Says a lot about the infrastructure of the Democratic Party. I mean, I feel like this constant desire to look for the middle, like, try to - it's like, you had Clinton, and you had Obama, and you're still going towards the Clinton model. Like, that's what I find so strange. It's like instead of a really charismatic figure that is going to mobilize, you know, the progressive left, as Obama did, it's like, well, let's try to get these moderate Republicans.

And so we won this election, but it didn't win over, you know, and activate a lot of the left. I mean, I think a lot of the progressive left was activated by our hatred of Donald Trump but not our love of Joe Biden.


BELL: I think it's also about when the left is like, we didn't - it wasn't a clean sweep, often, I think it's about who was running, not about the ideals 'cause in Florida that Trump won, they also got $15 minimum wage. I mean, I think we haven't said enough. Oklahoma elected a nonbinary Muslim millennial - Oklahoma. So, like, it's like - I think...


BELL: ...If you find the right people who have the right ideals, then you can have success. And I think a lot of times, there's sort of a negotiation for the middle. So, like, I don't - I think that's - it's the people who lost, not the ideals.

SANDERS: I - one of the questions I've been grappling with since Election Day is, which flank of the left "won," quote-unquote? And I say - and I'm using left and progressives and Democrats interchangeably. I know some listeners won't like that, but bear with me. You know, but all of the things y'all have said - I still have questions. Like, Joe Biden was this candidate who couldn't help lead Democrats to a clean sweep, but he also got more votes for president than any other candidate in the history of America.

BELL: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Was it, like - so, like, what does it all say? Is there one clear message for the left/progressives/Democrats in this aftermath? Is it go more to the left? Is it go more to the center? Is it get more charismatic candidates? Or is it kind of a grab bag of, like, lessons to be pulled from this?

KONDABOLU: Definitely a grab bag of lessons. I mean, I think - like, look; Donald Trump also got a lot of votes as well. So this is less about, I think, motivation as much as access to voting. I mean, the mail-in ballots made a huge difference. So I think it's a victory kind of for everybody in some way 'cause we stopped the bleeding. You know, this election was I was pro-tourniquet. You know, who's going to stop the bleeding? A Democrat will stop the bleeding. OK, that's a step. From here, we can build.

BELL: So I think that maybe we haven't stopped the bleeding yet. We think we have a chance to stop the bleeding. I think right now, Biden's like the surgeon. He's like, I'm ready to go in to operate. And they're like, you can't come in the room yet. Like, we're not ready.


BELL: Meanwhile, Trump's in there like every kid who plays Operation - (imitating buzzing sound) - you know? So I think there's a...

KONDABOLU: Leaving his forceps in there.

BELL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think there's an opportunity to stop the bleeding. So I don't think we're there yet. I do think that it is a victory for acknowledging the fact that, once again, Black women at the core of the Democratic Party are the ones who did this.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, when you talk about Black women, Black voters in the Democratic Party, it leads to this larger conversation about the way race is working for Democrats right now. I think for a long time, there has been this assumption in Democratic politics that, quote-unquote, "demographics is destiny." And as the nation gets Blacker and browner, of course, Democrats win in that formula.

But we've seen in these election results in some parts of the country, 1 in 3 Latino men voted for Trump. Almost 20% of Black men voted for Trump. There are parts of the country in which people that Democrats expected to get on their side went for Donald Trump, even after years of really harsh rhetoric on race. What is the lesson there for Democrats/the left/progressives?

KONDABOLU: Just because you speak the same language doesn't mean you agree on everything.

BELL: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: I mean, like, that's obvious. But like, how come everyone's like, I don't understand; we expect the Latino vote to go this way, but in Florida, the Cubans voted that way, and the Mexicans voted this way, and the Puerto Ricans voted - yeah, because they're not from the same place...

SANDERS: 'Cause they're different.

KONDABOLU: They're different.


KONDABOLU: They speak the same language, but that doesn't mean they're the same. And, you know, one way we can explain that to people is that, hey, you know how America - a lot of us speak English and we don't agree on everything? Yeah.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: A language is a way to communicate. It doesn't mean that you have a set of values that are ingrained in the language.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

BELL: I also think there's really a misunderstanding about how some immigrant groups come into this country and what they're looking for, and I think - and what their history means. Natalie Morales on Twitter put this great Twitter thread together about why she believes that Latino immigrants coming to this country often vote Republican, and it's because the ways in which democracy has been framed in the country they come from, they're afraid that that means socialism, and the way in which the right in this country has said the Democrats want socialism.

SANDERS: Yeah. In the aftermath of this election and all these issues that we've just laid out being very clear and present for Democratic Party leadership, what should those party leaders be doing differently going forward - those mostly coastal, mostly white Democratic Party leaders?

KONDABOLU: Maybe they should travel to the rest of the country. Maybe they should actually...

BELL: I think they should be packing their bags and getting out of the way (laughter).

KONDABOLU: Or that. That would be - I guess I was thinking realistically, as opposed to what I would prefer. And I just like...

SANDERS: What would you prefer?

BELL: They had a good run.

KONDABOLU: I think it's time to pass the baton.

BELL: Yeah.

KONDABOLU: You know, there was an interview with AOC in - by the way, which is another example about how out of it - like, no one's using NP for Nancy Pelosi or CS for Chuck Schumer. Nobody's - you know what I mean?

SANDERS: You could start that. You could start that here.

KONDABOLU: Nobody's going to know what we're - NP - oh, no problem.


KONDABOLU: But AOC had this interview in the Times, and she's like, people are blaming progressives for losing - you know, losing seats and stuff like that and this kind of discussion of what is viewed as socialist policies, and she's like, that's not why y'all lost seats. The Democratic institution lost seats 'cause none of you have, like, working social media and webpages and didn't use any of the infrastructure that Barack Obama built in 2008. And you know what? The Trump people - they're using social media. They're using Facebook.

You know, there is something to be said about, like, this, you know, generation's a lot quicker. Like, I already feel like my brother, who's 2 1/2 years younger than me, he almost feels like another generation 'cause he had the Internet two years longer. Now, you take 20 years of the Internet, new technology, a bunch of things have happened that change the way different, like, groups five years apart see the world, and then you got, like, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi...

SANDERS: You know, NP and CS.

BELL: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: My apologies to NP and CS. Some intern has to, I'm sure, show them how to use Twitter.

SANDERS: So I hear this critique of the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. Do y'all, in the aftermath of this election, have any critiques for the more progressive wing of the left? I mean, I'm already seeing so many stories where Democrats of all stripes are kind of saying, did we need to call it defund the police?

BELL: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Like, do you have any critiques of the left flank, the hard left flank?

BELL: My only critique is they didn't start calling it defund the police during Jim Crow. That's my major critique. And I've heard - I was in a conversation about this this week. And I go, I know some white people. (Unintelligible).


BELL: And the thing about...

KONDABOLU: Sam, did you lose your NPR funding 'cause Kamau said that?

BELL: (Laughter).

SANDERS: I think we'll make it. Stay tuned.

BELL: But, like, the idea that, like, defund the police is too harsh, I was like, yeah, but you guys didn't listen every other time we tried to say, please stop beating us, stop killing us. You didn't listen. So guess what. The critique gets harder. And I was somebody who heard defund the police and at first was like (shuddering). And I was like, what am I afraid of? And so for me, it's like if you're afraid of this idea of defund the police, what you're telling me is you haven't Googled it. So I don't think - I think the - whatever, whatever. The progressive wing - they're going to keep raising the stakes the more that the moderates don't listen.

KONDABOLU: I mean, ultimately, what we're asking for is what you're going to eventually allow us to do, which is have a level of equality and equity and justice. It's going to happen. We don't want to wait a hundred years 'cause especially now, we don't even know if the world has a hundred years. So, like, give it to us now. Enough is enough. You've had the country, the planet for too long.

SANDERS: That's a good campaign slogan. Give it to us now.

BELL: I don't know. I think that's a little bit aggressive.

SANDERS: Put that on bumper stickers.

KONDABOLU: (Laughter).

BELL: I think I would say, can we borrow it for a little while? Can we do that?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: May I have it now? May I borrow it?

BELL: Can I have it for a week or so, and then I'll give it back. And if it's in good condition...

KONDABOLU: Can I have a test drive of democracy?

SANDERS: NP, CS, hope y'all are listening.

KONDABOLU: They have no idea that's them, though.


BELL: Neil Patrick Harris is like, you talking about me?


SANDERS: All right, you two, this was fun. Will y'all stick around through the break because afterwards, we're going to play my favorite game, which is called Who Said That?

BELL: Sorry, I can't do it. But thanks for asking.

KONDABOLU: Goodbye, Kamau.

SANDERS: Oh, you can't?

BELL: Of course I can, Sam.

SANDERS: Oh, you - OK.


SANDERS: I was really scared for a second.

KONDABOLU: Like, no, this is the fun part.

SANDERS: All right.


SANDERS: We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm your host, Sam Sanders, joined by, gosh, two great guests who I'm going to allow to introduce themselves. Go ahead. Tell our listeners who you are.

KONDABOLU: I'm Hari Kondabolu.

BELL: And I'm three-time Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer W. Kamau Bell.


KONDABOLU: That's why you didn't want to go first. You wanted to drop that on me. OK, I'll see your nothing, and here's three Emmys.


SANDERS: And together, the two of you host a podcast called...

KONDABOLU: "Politically Re-Active."

SANDERS: ...All about...

KONDABOLU: Politics and reacting to it.


SANDERS: There we go. There we go. All right, so every week on the show, I play a little game called Who Said That?


KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: I share three quotes from the week of news, and you got to tell me who said it. Will y'all play?

BELL: Yeah.

SANDERS: Y'all are going to face off against each other. Is that going to be weird, two guys who are friends and host a podcast together having to compete against each other?

BELL: No, we're basically in competition with each other, so it's not a problem.

SANDERS: (Laughter) OK, OK. Well, then let's just get to it. Here is the first quote from this week of news. Tell me who said it. "Hey, guys. I'm here at 'American Idol' confessional. I met Ryan Seacrest today, and I have my audition soon, so stay tuned for that. Very, very nervous, but very excited." She's a child who has two parents that are involved in politics. Both of her parents are on different sides of Donald Trump, but they're still both Republican.



BELL: Oh, it's - she's on TikTok.

KONDABOLU: Yeah, Conway...

BELL: Conway's daughter.

SANDERS: Which - and her name is?

BELL: Loraline Conway (ph).


SANDERS: No, no. Starts with a C.

BELL: Claudia Conway.


BELL: Claudia Conway, Claudia Conway.

SANDERS: Claudia Conway. So Claudia Conway, the teenage daughter of Kellyanne Conway, former adviser to President Trump, and George Conway. He is a lawyer who has been opposed to Trump very publicly for years. Their daughter, Claudia, after really making a name for herself on TikTok trashing her mother, basically, for working for Trump, she's now trying out for "American Idol."


CLAUDIA CONWAY: Hey, guys. I'm here at "American Idol" confessional.


CONWAY: I met Ryan Seacrest today. And...

SANDERS: How surprising is this development for you two?

KONDABOLU: Not at all.


KONDABOLU: This is America. What are you talking about? Yeah.

SANDERS: I got to say, when Kellyanne Conway announced that she was leaving the Trump White House to spend more time with her family after Claudia was ranting and raving on TikTok, I said - you know what? - this is not over. I said, they're not going to go quietly into their home. All three of them, I think, want to be famous.

BELL: Yeah.

SANDERS: All right, who got that point?

BELL: I did. I did. I did.

KONDABOLU: Kamau. Kamau got that point.

SANDERS: Oh, whoa, OK. You did. You did. You did.

All right, next quote - "you not ready for this trailer. You couldn't be ready for this trailer. Happy Thanksgiving." It's a '90s sitcom coming back to streaming.

KONDABOLU: "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air."



KONDABOLU: Yes, yes.

BELL: Will Smith. Will Smith.

SANDERS: So Will...

BELL: He didn't say Will Smith. I said...

KONDABOLU: Oh, no. No.

BELL: How game shows work, everybody.

SANDERS: Jordana and Anjuli, my colleagues, are the judge on this call. Who gets that point, y'all? Tell me. Uh-oh, uh-oh. They're typing. Hari gets it.

BELL: How did he get it? He didn't say Will Smith.

KONDABOLU: 'Cause they want tension for the third question.


SANDERS: Well, actually, it was a split vote. One of them said Kamau. One of them said Hari. We're going to give you both half.

BELL: We're in Wayne County now. Is that how we're doing it?

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yes, yes, yes. So anyways, that quote comes from Will Smith. He's been all over the place the last few weeks promoting "Fresh Prince" coming to the streaming platform HBO Max.


WILL SMITH: You not ready for this trailer. You couldn't be ready for this trailer. Happy Thanksgiving.


SMITH: (Rapping) Now, this is a story all about how...

SANDERS: It actually hits HBO Max on November 19. That is Thursday of this week. And I got to say I'm excited that it's coming back. I love "Fresh Prince." I loved "Fresh Prince" as a kid. But I'm not sure I'm going to sit down this weekend and watch a bunch of "Fresh Prince" reruns. Are y'all?


SANDERS: You might, OK.

KONDABOLU: I mean, I've always said that, like, the thing that can get me through a six-hour flight is whatever airline has, like, all the "Fresh Prince" episodes - just stack, like, six or seven of those in a row, and then you're good. But Uncle Phil's not there, so it just feels a little weird.

SANDERS: Uncle Phil is dead. But for this reboot, they brought back both women who played Aunt Viv.

KONDABOLU: For real?

SANDERS: Light-skinned Aunt Viv and dark-skinned Aunt Viv back in the house.


SANDERS: They got both the Aunt Vivs together. They seem to be on good terms. But honestly, what I want to watch is the next chapter of "Fresh Prince" where the dueling Aunt Vivs come face to face.


BELL: So now it's...

SANDERS: That's what I want.

BELL: Now it's directed by Jordan Peele, OK.


SANDERS: All right, last quote - no hints for this one. You've just got to guess it. "I just held up a map, and I just pointed to all the places I got to go in the world and all the things I've gotten to see because of them. And I said, how do you repay people like that? And I said, oh, well, how about a million bucks?" Who said that?

BELL: George Clooney.


SANDERS: All right.

BELL: Thank you. I win.


BELL: Game over.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BELL: I have a Google alert for George Clooney, so I know this story.

SANDERS: Wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

KONDABOLU: Hold on a second. Hold on a second.

SANDERS: Why do you have a Google alert for George Clooney?

BELL: OK, I don't really have a Google alert for George Clooney. But my wife is a huge George Clooney fan...


BELL: ...So I think I probably read enough George Clooney stories that Google sent me this story.


KONDABOLU: Can we edit this into a tie? George Clooney.


KONDABOLU: Man, it's a tie.

SANDERS: I'm going to let - because I don't like to make hard decisions myself, it's up to my colleagues. And they'll let me know at the end of this who won. But first...

KONDABOLU: Anjuli - come on, Anjuli.

BELL: Oh, my God. Oh, this is - I'm a Black voter in Detroit right now.


SANDERS: Well, you know what it was, Kamau? The signature on your last answer didn't match the signature on your driver's license.

BELL: OK, that's fair. That's reasonable. That's very reasonable.

SANDERS: All right, so that Clooney quote - that came from an interview he gave to GQ recently when he was telling the story of how he gave 14 friends each a million dollars in cash in a little bag. According to Clooney, he did this in 2013 as a way to thank his closest friends for being his closest friends. So he got $14 million in cash. He found a place in an undisclosed location in downtown Los Angeles. And then he brought a van that said florist on it and loaded it up with the $14 million in cash. But here's where it gets so bougie (ph), not that it wasn't already.

BELL: I know.


SANDERS: Clooney says, quote, "I bought 14 Tumi bags, and then I packed in a million bucks cash, which isn't as much as you think it is weight-wise." He got Tumi bags. Listen; if I get my friends a Tumi bag, that's it.

BELL: That's it. That's it. That's it.

SANDERS: That's it. You got a Tumi bag.

BELL: The other part of the article that was clear - the article I read said that just to be clear, this is before he had his new money from his tequila company.

KONDABOLU: Oh, yeah.

BELL: So he - it was like, don't worry, guys. He's well more - he's made way more than that money back. Like, don't worry about it (laughter).

SANDERS: Have y'all tried his tequila - what's it called? - Casamigos or whatever?

BELL: I'm not a tequila drinker. I had a bad run-in with tequila the first time I ever drink alcohol.

SANDERS: What are the two of you going to name your tequila company or brand? That's my last question for you.

KONDABOLU: I mean, Tequila Mockingbird seems like (unintelligible).


BELL: I can't beat that. He gets that point.

SANDERS: Tequila Mockingbird - I'm into it.

This has been a pleasure. W. Kamau Bell, Hari Kondabolu, hosts of "Politically Re-Active," a podcast you should check out, I'm really glad that we had this time together. I haven't laughed this much since the before times.

BELL: You're welcome.

KONDABOLU: It's been great, Sam.


AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.

THERESA: Hey, Sam. This is Theresa (ph). The best thing that happened to me all week was playing tag with my 3-year-old and my mom. We were all just laughing and laughing and laughing. And it was definitely the most fun that I've had in a while.

HAYLEY: Hey, Sam. My name is Hayley (ph) in Portland, Ore. The best part of my week was that I adopted a little kitten. He's a black fluffball, and his name is Henry (ph), and he is the joy of my life right now.

QUINCY: Hi, Sam. This is Quincy (ph) in St. Petersburg, Fla. The best part of my week is that my new rollerblade wheels and bearings came in the mail. It took me a few months just to find blades in my size, and then I got so excited and I rode them every day, and the wheels got destroyed. So I was anxiously awaiting new ones and bearings to come in the mail, and now I'm able to get back out there in the Florida sunshine and do what I love every day.

TEX: Hey, Sam. This is Tex (ph). I just finished hearing this week's show. And it has been a really tough three months - last three months, and I have been storing so much angst and so much pressure inside me. And just hearing the stories of other people being thankful - I'm in the car, and I just burst into tears all by myself. And it was a really good cry. It was something that I needed to do. My body needed to do it. And I just - I felt really thankful for it. So I just wanted to thank you for that. And I wanted to thank all of the other listeners that give the time of the day to say thanks again.

QUINCY: Thanks for the show, Sam. Bye-bye.

HAYLEY: Thanks, Sam.

THERESA: Love your show. Bye.

SANDERS: Oh, games of tag, kittens, rollerblading, really good cries - all amazing things. Thanks to all of those folks you heard just there for sharing - Tex, Quincy, Hayley and Theresa. You all warmed my heart this week. I appreciate it.

Listeners, you can be a part of this segment as well. At any point throughout any week, just record the sound of your own voice on your phone telling me the best part of your week, and then send that file to me via email at -

This week, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry and Andrea Gutierrez. Our intern is Star McCown. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson. And our big boss, NPR's senior VP of programming, is Anya Grundmann. And very special thanks to my colleague Mathilde Piard. She is our podcasting marketing guru over here at NPR, one of the show's greatest advocates and always trying to find ways to get this show in people's ears. Thank you, Mathilde.

Listeners, till next time, stay safe. Be good to yourselves. We'll talk soon.


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