Season 2, Episode 1: West Wingers- Then and Now

February 14, 2019

About This Episode

Listen to this episode on SoundCloud.

The West Wing has been portrayed in popular culture from TV shows including The West Wing and House of Cards, or on the big screen in films like The American President. But what is working in the White House really like? Listen to this week’s episode where we learn more about the early days of President Kennedy’s West Wing from a staffer who was there. We'll also interview former Obama administration staffers who say they felt echoes of Kennedy in their West Wing more than half a century later.

Special thanks to this week's guests, Dan Fenn, Fredrik Logevall, and West Wingers Ned Price, Gautam Raghavan, and Raina Thiele.

View the transcript for this episode.

What We Talked About

Dan Fenn (right) served as Special Assistant to President Kennedy from 1961-1963, and later served as the JFK Library's first director.

See more photos.

Ned Price (left) served in the Obama administration as a special assistant to the president and as a National Security Council spokesperson.

Photograph by Christine Lee

Gautam Raghavan (right), editor of the book West Winger, directed LGBTQ outreach for President Obama at the White House. 

Photograph by Christine Lee

Raina Thiele (right) served in the Obama administration as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, focusing on tribal governments and advising on climate change, arctic, and energy issues.

Photograph by Christine Lee

Learn More

Read Dan Fenn's 1968 Oral History on Massachusetts politics in the 1950s, the 1960 presidential election, and more.

If you have a story idea or want to let us know how we're doing, email us at