Center for American Progress Action

Michael Pollan and Melissa Robledo on ‘Food, Inc. 2’
Part of a Series

Author Michael Pollan and film producer Melissa Robledo join the show to discuss the sequel to their groundbreaking 2008 documentary, “Food, Inc.” They talk about what’s changed in the food industry, the dangers of extreme attacks on regulation, and what progressive leaders are doing to strengthen our food system. Daniella and Colin also speak about the Biden administration’s new student debt relief plan and Donald Trump’s dangerous and ever-changing positions on abortion.


Daniella Gibbs Léger: Hi everyone. Welcome back to “The Tent,” your place for politics, policy, and progress. I’m Daniella Gibbs Léger.

Colin Seeberger: And I’m Colin Seeberger. Daniella, did you catch the eclipse?

Gibbs Léger: I most certainly did. It was really cool. As you know, I like weather things, and this is a weather thing.

Seeberger: Be weather alert—

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: —Daniella always says.

Gibbs Léger: That is my jam.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: It’s true. I went outside in my alley, had my glasses. And it was awesome. I mean, I’ve seen the eclipse before, but for some reason this one was, like, very cool.

Seeberger: You know, I just appreciate that in our country now, we don’t really come together and do things together, but—

Gibbs Léger: It’s true.

Seeberger: —no matter who you are, everybody was interested in the eclipse.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: So I thought it was fun. Well, I’m glad to be back. I was out last week, but I was super excited to hear about the really cool interview you did this week.

Gibbs Léger: A great episode. I sat down with author Michael Pollan and producer Melissa Robledo to talk about their highly anticipated film “Food, Inc. 2,” which premiered this week. We discussed what’s changed since the first “Food, Inc.”; how extremist attacks on government regulation could impact our food system; and how corporate greed harms American workers, farmers, and consumers.

Seeberger: Well, I know that Michael and Melissa really helped transform our understanding of the food system with their first film, so I’m super stoked to hear about what’s coming in their second movie.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, you will not be disappointed. But we’ve got to get to some news.

Seeberger: We certainly do, Daniella. So, student debt relief is so back.

Gibbs Léger: We’re back, baby.

Seeberger: Yes, we love it. Listeners, you may remember that last year, the extreme MAGA Supreme Court blocked President [Joe] Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers. But nevertheless, the administration kept at it. They fixed some loopholes to make the repayment system work better. They effectively implemented policies that have helped President Biden actually forgive debt for 3.7 million borrowers, to the tune of over $140 billion.

Gibbs Léger: That’s a lot.

Seeberger: Yeah, that is a lot. The administration has also successfully implemented its SAVE repayment plan, which caps interest, eliminates it altogether for borrowers who are making on-time monthly payments, and it also lowers monthly payments. To date, we’ve seen nearly 7 million borrowers have signed up for the plan, and more than half have seen their monthly payments fall to $0.

Gibbs Léger: That’s awesome.

Seeberger: Yeah, it’s amazing. So it’s against this backdrop that we saw President Biden this week announce a new plan to revive his efforts to cancel student debt. The plan would allow borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in interest that has accumulated on their loans. It would also forgive all interest for low- and middle-income borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. If implemented, the plan would help up to 25 million borrowers.

Gibbs Léger: That is really exciting stuff. And one of the coolest parts of this plan is that it would happen automatically. No one would have to worry about getting left out because they didn’t know about the program or they forgot to enroll in time. In fact, some of those debt relief measures that you just mentioned would be automated, meaning 2 million people would receive relief they didn’t have to apply for or may not even have known they qualified for.

Seeberger: Less hoops to jump through, less paperwork—we love to hear it.

Gibbs Léger: We absolutely love it. And it would also forgive that for long-term borrowers—people who took out undergraduate loans before 2005, and people who took out graduate loans before 2000—as well as folks experiencing economic hardships that might cause them to default on their loans. President Biden has been so determined to address the student debt crisis, and his administration’s hard work is literally paying off.

Seeberger: I see what you did there.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, I couldn’t help myself. But listen, in all seriousness, President Biden recognizes that many borrowers have faced crushing college costs and battled predatory student loan institutions for decades, and that confronting those headwinds will improve our nation’s competitiveness and help tackle economic disparities like the racial wealth gap. This is something that he’s been pushing since he ran for the White House in 2020. This is why the MAGA Republicans—who criticize just about everything this administration does—

Seeberger: They certainly do.

Gibbs Léger: —they should save their breath, OK? Extremists like Sen. Bill Cassidy [R-LA] and Sen. Tom Cotton [R-AR]—by the way, if you want my unvarnished thoughts on Tom Cotton, go search his name in my Twitter account—they are already accusing President Biden of trying to “buy votes,” as if he hasn’t been advocating for this the entire time he’s been in the White House. This is the same party that has already voted—unsuccessfully, I might add—to overturn President Biden’s SAVE plan. Having not succeeded legislatively, they are now suing to stop the SAVE plan and make student loan repayment more expensive. They will literally stop at nothing to rip the chances of student debt relief away from tens of millions of Americans and make life harder for those with student debt, particularly young people trying to start their adult lives on entry-level salaries.

Seeberger: I just don’t understand it, Daniella. But something else I don’t understand that we need to talk about is former President [Donald] Trump’s comments about abortion this week.

Gibbs Léger: Oh, yes.

Seeberger: Yeah, we’ve got to talk about it. You may have heard that at the beginning of this week, former President Trump said that abortion should be “left to the states.” But in the same breath, he went on to brag about engineering the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he insisted that whatever abortion ban states come up with “must be enforced as the law of the land.” That includes bans like we’ve seen in places like Texas or Florida or, unfortunately, because of the Arizona Supreme Court this week, even an 1864 ban that includes no exceptions for rape, no exceptions for incest, would go into effect before many women even know that they’re pregnant—that all of those bans must be enforced as the law of the land. It’s outrageous. And it’s just so clear that Trump is clearly lying about what he actually believes and what he’s actually pushing for. But we know that he’s being vague on this issue because he knows that there’s a terrible track record of public opposition against these plans. Time and time again, Americans have gone to the polls in red states, in blue states, in purple states, and made very, very clear that they want their rights and freedoms protected. So I get that he’s worried. He should be worried. Make no mistake: Trump was responsible for Roe v. Wade being overturned. He nominated the radical Supreme Court justices that he promised he would only appoint if they vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Gibbs Léger: That’s right.

Seeberger: And he made it happen. And he’s bragged about it time and time again. He called it a great victory. He literally took credit for it in the video that he released earlier this week. Since then, 22 states have banned or restricted access to abortion. And we know that it’s threatening the lives of women. We know that it is, in many cases, even making their future fertility at risk. And that’s all thanks to Donald Trump. Also, though, we need to be clear: As a candidate, Trump politically wants to distance himself from the toxic notion of a national abortion ban. But as president, he publicly backed an effort to enact a 20-week nationwide abortion ban.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, exactly. His record on reproductive rights is abysmal, and his positions are only getting more extreme. So despite what he said about leaving it up to the states, he recently expressed support for a nationwide 15-week ban in private to donors—an even more radical ban than the one he supported when he was in office that you just mentioned.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: So let’s just not forget, also, how many times over the year Donald Trump has flip-flopped on the issues. When he was in the White House, The Washington Post dubbed him “the king of the flip-flop.” I have no doubt we’ll see Trump’s stance on abortion, if you can call it that, evolve a few more times between now and November. And our recent guest, Imani Gandy, noted Trump and his advisers have plans to manipulate a long-dormant law called the Comstock Act to make it harder for people to access medication abortion if he’s reelected.

Seeberger: Hey, if a law banning abortion from Arizona can be resurrected from before the Civil War happened—

Gibbs Léger: Right.

Seeberger: —why would we think that a law from 1873 that you were just talking about, the Comstock Act, why would we think that our worst fears would not come true?

Gibbs Léger: We need to believe these people when they are showing us what they want to do.

Seeberger: Correct.

Gibbs Léger: And the Biden administration is rightfully slamming Trump’s statements. President Biden called him out for lying and reminded Trump that there’s nothing more un-American than having our personal freedoms ripped away.

A recent Biden campaign ad featured the story of Amanda Zurawski, who was denied care for a miscarriage due to Texas’ abortion ban. This ad made me cry. She nearly died twice. And because of the damage caused by lack of medical care, she and her husband may never be able to have the child that they’ve wanted. It’s a heartbreaking video that, as I said, had me in tears—especially as a mother myself—over how real the consequences of these policies are. These are consequences that Americans understand.

So when you say you think that Trump is worried, Colin, I agree. He’s seen the numbers. This issue is a political death knell for MAGA Republicans. A majority of Americans support a federal right to abortion. And every time it’s been on the ballot, like you said, states have voted to protect abortion rights—even in ruby red states like Kansas and Kentucky. Trump may claim he wants to leave this issue up to the states, but he should listen to the voters in those states who already sent a very clear message.

Seeberger: I hear you loud and clear, Daniella. Unfortunately, I think that message may not be landing with Donald Trump.

Gibbs Léger: Probably not.

Seeberger: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. If there’s anything you’d like us to cover on the pod, hit us up on Twitter @TheTentPod. That’s @TheTentPod.

Gibbs Léger: And stick around for my interview with Michael Pollan and Melissa Robledo in just a beat.

Gibbs Léger: Michael Pollan is a writer, teacher, and activist. He recently produced “Food, Inc. 2,” the sequel to the Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning 2008 film “Food, Inc.,” which he also worked on. He’s written eight books and teaches writing at Harvard and UC Berkeley. Melissa Robledo was one of the producers of “Food, Inc.” and recently co-directed and produced the sequel, “Food, Inc. 2.” She’s previously produced a number of documentaries, including the five-part Netflix series “The Confession Killer”; PBS’ “Command and Control”; and “Merchants of Doubt,” which was nominated for a Producers Guild Award. Michael and Melissa, thank you so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Michael Pollan: Thank you, Daniella.

Melissa Robledo: Thanks for having us.

Gibbs Léger: So Melissa, your new film, “Food, Inc. 2,” hits theaters this week. Why did you all decide to make the second one, and what has changed in the industry since the original came out way back in 2008?

Robledo: So we didn’t set out to make a sequel. We had kind of resisted requests to do so until the pandemic happened. And at that time, [director] Robbie Kenner and I were working. We were making short pieces for New York Times op docs about Amazon workers and were trying to make a short piece about meatpacking workers. And at that time, Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser published articles, and we kind of all came together and felt like this was a moment to look at some of the outrageous things that were happening in the food system and called for a sequel.

Pollan: Yeah, it was kind of spooky, because Eric and I—who had not been in close touch the last couple of years—had both published on virtually the same day two pieces on what essentially what the pandemic was revealing about the food system. And I remember in my piece, I use this famous quote from Warren Buffett, “It’s not until the tide goes out that you realize who’s swimming naked.” And of course, the whole food system was exposed in its nakedness at that moment, because you remember these images, this split screen. You had empty store shelves, and farmers destroying crops and euthanizing hogs. It was quite a remarkable and confounding moment, until you realize that the system had become so specialized and concentrated that we actually had two very distinct food chains, each dominated by a small number of companies. One was supplying institutional food to factories in schools and offices, and the other was supplying supermarkets. And when that first food chain collapsed at the beginning when nobody was going to work anymore or school, all that food could not be rerouted because they didn’t have the right-sized containers—I mean, you remember the eggs in 128 trays, which you couldn’t sell in a supermarket. So it was a very teachable moment.

And we also had this remarkable moment where [Tyson Foods board chairperson] John Tyson—hoping to keep open his production lines in his slaughterhouses in Iowa and elsewhere—took out a full-page ad in The Times, essentially pushing the president to sign an executive order reopening the production lines, even though these plants had become vectors for COVID, and we’re bringing COVID into these rural communities. So it was just this moment where the curtain gets peeled back and you see how power actually operates in a way you don’t normally. And we started speaking on the phone, and we realized the story had changed—and in other ways as well—and that it was time to take another look at the food system.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, that was a remarkable moment in the film. Could you just talk a little bit more about the Defense Production Act—

Pollan: Sure.

Gibbs Léger: —and what exactly that did?

Pollan: So the Defense Production Act has been on the books, I don’t know, since early in the 20th century? I’m not sure exactly when. And the idea is to give the president power to essentially force corporations to do things in the public interest during emergencies. So if you want to force an auto plant to start making tanks or planes, the Defense Production Act gives you the power to do that. And it was used heavily in World War II. The idea of the Defense Production Act, though, is to get companies to do things they don’t want to do.

Gibbs Léger: Right.

Pollan: This was a very novel application, because Trump was invoking it to get Tyson to do exactly what it wanted to do, which is reopen its production lines—despite the fact that local public health authorities, including Tony, the sheriff we profiled in the film, realized they needed to be closed, at least for a period of time. So it was a real abuse of the act. But more importantly, I think it was a demonstration of the dangers of concentrated power and the reason we don’t want monopolies. We often think about that in terms of the damage monopolies do to consumers, but they do other kinds of damage as well. They damage workers because they’re not competing for workers. They damage suppliers because they’re not competing for supplies. And they damage democracy by being too powerful and able to push around the president.

Gibbs Léger: Right now, we’re watching a MAGA extremist Supreme Court attempt to undermine the entire notion of government regulation and strip federal agencies of their power, including the agencies that regulate food safety and production. Regulation is not our enemy, but sometimes it feels that way. Melissa, can you explain why it’s so important to our food system to have this regulation? And in your opinion, do we need more or less of it?

Robledo: Well, I think it’s essential that we have guardrails to protect consumers. We need healthy food. We need to be able to have somebody minding the store. And often, the large corporations argue that they can self-regulate. And we’ve seen that backfire again and again. And so regulations are essential.

Pollan: Boeing is a great example, right? They’ve been given the authority to essentially self-regulate safety, and we see how that’s worked out.

Gibbs Léger: It’s not working out very well right now. The labor movement is gaining a lot of public momentum currently, and your film takes a look at some areas where we’re still lacking in protections for workers, as you discussed, throughout the food system—from agricultural workers to fast-food workers. Michael, have you noted any labor wins for these workers since the first film? And what are some of the challenges that still remain?

Pollan: Well, the federal minimum wage remains what it was, I think, in the ‘70s, which is to say $7.25 an hour. So the buying power of that has been cut in half. There have been some wins. California just, I think, this week or next week, is instituting a $20 minimum wage which will apply to fast-food workers. And that’s a really big deal. And the fast-food companies are up in arms about it. And the franchisees are squeezed by this, because it’s the only cost of their production that they have control over. They have to take prices from McDonald’s or whoever’s bringing in the hamburgers and the French fries. But that’s significant, I think.

And I’m hoping, as so much in California becomes a bellwether, we see some pressure to improve. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers—whose story we tell in the film—is, I think, one of the most encouraging labor-organizing stories. They really came up with a new way to do it that didn’t depend on changes in the law, but really depended on negotiating directly with these companies and shaming them when they refused to come to the table. And I think that’s a great model.

Farmworkers have much less protection than other workers. And the situation in the fields in Florida in Immokalee—where there was sexual abuse, where there was slavery—I mean, it was really, really bad. And they basically issued a pledge that stipulated an increase of a penny per pound of the product but also reporting mechanisms for sexual abuse and an end to slavery. It’s a pretty modest list of gains, but they were huge. And they didn’t negotiate these items. They simply issued a reasonable-sounding pledge and then pushed companies, shamed them, into signing it. And they got buy-in from most—not everybody. I think Wendy’s still hasn’t done it.

Gibbs Léger: Really?

Pollan: But Walmart did it. And McDonald’s and Burger King, finally. And I think their genius was to realize that even though these farmworkers don’t work directly for those companies, they work for packers, who nobody knows and have no public reputation. They went for the ultimate buyer of these tomatoes. These are companies who care deeply about their public image. And they recognize something that I think progressives don’t always recognize clearly enough, which is that the Achilles heel of American capitalist companies is their brand. And they will do anything to protect their brand if they feel it’s threatened. And the coalition went right after that—with help from the media—and it worked.

Gibbs Léger:Yeah. I have to say, I was surprised to see Costco on that list.

Pollan: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: I mean, talk about brands. One of the impacts of corporate greed that you talk about in the film was how it’s made farming less and less profitable for everyday Americans. In the film, you actually talked about it with Sen. Jon Tester [D-MT], whose personal story around farming I found extremely compelling. Melissa, can you talk to us about how did Sen. Tester get involved with the film? And how has our worsening food system impacted rural America and the local economies that depend on the agriculture?

Robledo: Well, we specifically set out to film with Tester. We thought he’s such a great presence on screen. And he’s the only working farmer in the Senate. He seemed like a really important voice. And he talks about how the consolidation has hollowed out his neighborhood. There’s a very funny moment in the film where he says that they had two supermarkets and now they have one, they had two great hardware stores, and the thing that’s probably most upsetting is that they had three bars, and now there’s only one. So it’s a fun moment. But I think, really, we see that there’s less choice and less opportunity in rural communities. There’s less choice for who farmers are selling to, less choice for who they’re buying from, and less economic opportunity. And he’s a really great advocate for bringing some of that back to rural America.

Pollan: And as prices fell—what they could charge for their commodities, whatever they were growing—the only way to stay alive as a farmer was to get much bigger. And that meant buying out your neighbors. And then your neighbors moved. That’s why these communities were just completely hollowed out. And a lot of the anger from rural America is about that. I think it’s often misdirected. But everybody who lives in these places has seen this decline. I remember when I was researching Omnivore’s Dilemma, I was writing about a county in Iowa. To field a single football team, they had to get six towns, because so many of them had lost their high schools or had shrunk their high schools. And the name of this team you just couldn’t ever remember, because it had six towns in it.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, the film is—all of it’s really amazing. But the visualization of this when you talk to the farmers who talk about the grass and what’s needed to produce cows and how, when you move to the desert, what that means. You just don’t think about that as you’re eating your beef, right? It’s all very interesting. In the film, you explore some fascinating innovations that give us hope for the future, despite some of the forces that we’re working against. And one of these bright spots is what you call “weird farming.” So I’d like to get weird, starting first with you, Michael. What are some of the weirdest things you heard about when researching this film? And was there anything so weird that it did not make the cut?

Pollan: Well, Melissa will have to answer that one. Yeah, “farming weird” is a term that Zack Smith uses. And he’s a very innovative farmer in Iowa. And he was farming very conventionally, as his father had been and his grandfather had been. And he was deeply into the industrial chemical model. In fact, he was a salesman for industrial chemicals that he was selling to his neighbors, as a lot of farmers have become. They’re sort of forced to work for Monsanto and Bayer and these companies at this point to earn a little extra money. I mean, it’s very hard to support yourself as a farmer. Most farmers have an off-farm job, working often in the health care sector, which their food is helping to send customers to.

Anyway, Zack understood, I think, that monoculture really is the original sin of American agriculture. I mean, it’s where all the problems begin—the need for fertilizer, the need for pesticides, the need for a certain kind of equipment. And that’s where we’ve moved. We’ve taken animals off the farm, we’ve put them on feedlots, and then we’ve dedicated the farm to growing feed for them somewhere else. As Wendell Berry beautifully put it, we took a brilliant solution in which plants fed animals and animals fed plants, this circular nutrient loop, and we neatly divided it into two problems: a fertility deficit on the farm and a pollution problem on the feedlot. I mean, you just look at it that way and it’s like, why did we think that was a good idea?

So Zack is trying to find a way to bring animals back to the farm. And he’s figured out a very interesting way to do it, which is to say he has a portable barn that actually moves through his fields. It is solar powered and moves very slowly. And at one side of the barn are goats or sheep, and at the other side are pigs. And they’re each performing a different ecosystem service. And they go right through the cornfield or the soybean field, and they eat the crop and manure the land. And the pigs turn the land with their snouts. And he’s raising animals in a very sustainable way. He’s treating his soil with incredible respect. The challenge is, where’s he going to get all these animals slaughtered? Because if you’re going to put animals on farms, you’re going to sell them as food. And that’s very hard at a moment when the big four packing houses, they don’t want a small farmer coming in with a lot of 20 or 40 or 60 pigs. They’re not set up for that. So we need more small slaughterhouses to permit this sort of innovation to go forward. And the Biden administration has allocated money for more small slaughter facilities, which is really one of the more important things they’re doing for small ranchers. So that’s one case. Melissa, why don’t you tell him about the other Smith?

Robledo: We also feature Bren Smith, who’s a kelp farmer. And he had many lives as a cod fisherman. He worked the farm salmon lots, and it wasn’t making sense to him. And so he decided to find a way to farm in the sea that doesn’t require the inputs or the land that we require on conventional land agriculture. In addition to kelp, he grows oysters and clams and mussels. And it’s a beautiful story.

Pollan: And it’s this vertical column, and at each level there’s another crop. Doesn’t have to feed any of them, right?

Gibbs Léger: That’s amazing.

Pollan: Yeah. And kelp sequesters huge amounts of carbon. Very easy to grow. We just have to learn to eat it.

Gibbs Léger: I was going to say, have you had it?

Pollan: Yes.

Robledo: Yes. It’s good, I think.

Pollan: I had kelp burgers from Maine that you sent me.

Robledo: Uh-huh.

Gibbs Léger: Oh, wow.

Pollan: They were OK. They were your basic veggie burger with kelp. But there were some scenes in the film of people using kelp sort of like spinach, right, making a sauteed green. This is a young kelp. This isn’t the big leathery kind you see on the beaches in California.

Gibbs Léger: Well, that is all really great. Folks can see the movie this week in theaters, correct?

Pollan: Yeah, on Friday.

Robledo: On Friday, it’ll be in theaters and video on demand anywhere you can find a movie online.

Gibbs Léger: Fantastic. Well, I highly recommend it. It is wonderful. Michael and Melissa, I want to thank you so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Pollan: Thank you, Daniella.

Robledo: Thanks for having us.

Gibbs Léger: As always, thanks for listening. Be sure to go back and check out previous episodes. Before we go, Colin—March Madness.

Seeberger: Yes. It was madness.

Gibbs Léger: It was madness. It’s over. I have won nothing. But I got to watch some amazing basketball.

Seeberger: Frankly, to me, the women’s game was so much more exciting to me—

Gibbs Léger: It was.

Seeberger: —than the men’s game. Admittedly, I did not catch the men’s game. We have not set up our TV. We moved last week, so we have not set up our TV yet. But—

Gibbs Léger: It also started at 9:00 at night, which is like, come on.

Seeberger: Yeah, you’re killing me here.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: I’m a parent. Come on, I’ve got to get up early for day care drop-off. But I mean, also we saw UConn won again. It was the second year in a row that they won the championship. So really just making clear their dominance in NCAA basketball.

Gibbs Léger: Sure, congrats to them. Whatever. Let’s talk about the women.

Seeberger: Yes, let’s.

Gibbs Léger: Dawn Staley, UVA grad—Wahoowa—always and forever. She’s amazing.

Seeberger: She is a force.

Gibbs Léger: She is such a force, and I just love her. I mean, I’ve loved her before I even went to college. I was like, “Oh my god, Dawn Staley.” But she’s a great coach. It’s clear that her players love her and love playing for her. But just the way that she carries herself, doesn’t take herself too seriously. You see clips of her dancing and making jokes during interviews.

Seeberger: She’s having fun.

Gibbs Léger: She’s having fun, but she’s so good at what she does. Didn’t they lose pretty much all of their starters and went undefeated with a new crop of players? I mean, that is such a testament to her ability to coach these outstanding young women. And her giving props to Caitlin Clark I thought was such a classy move. And Caitlin Clark—I can’t wait to see what she does to the WNBA. I think some of these teams, they play in these stadiums. They’re going to need to, like, figure something out. Because there’s going to be more people showing up to games.

Seeberger: We’re going to need more seats.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. We’re going to need a bigger stadium.

Seeberger: I mean, clearly. I don’t know whether you caught the viewership numbers—

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: —but 19 million people watched the women’s championship game, which is, I mean, incredible. That’s usually the number of people who watch the State of the Union.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah. And it was more than the men’s [final] last year, more than the NBA, definitely more than the NHL finals. Like, that’s incredible.

Seeberger: Yeah. I mean, it will be really exciting to watch. As you mentioned, Caitlin Clark is moving on to the WNBA. But a lot of these players coming out of this March Madness have announced that they’re going to go pro. And it’s going to be really exciting, I think, for all of women’s sports, but especially the WNBA, to really build on the momentum that Caitlin Clark predominantly really has, I think, had a breath of fresh air and new life from this season.

Gibbs Léger: I agree. I love to see it. And my little 7-year-old son who loves soccer, plays soccer—we have explained to him that the women’s soccer team is the national team for the United States. Like, that’s where it’s at. So we’re watching the basketball game and he was like, “When do the women play?” And I’m like, “That’s my boy.”

Seeberger: That’s your boy.

Gibbs Léger: That’s my boy.

Seeberger: You did it right.

Gibbs Léger: That’s right. All right, folks, that’s going to be it for us. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll talk to you next week.

“The Tent” is a podcast from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s hosted by me, Daniella Gibbs Léger, and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Erin Phillips is our lead producer. Kelly McCoy is our supervising producer. Matthew Gossage, Tony Pandolfo, and Kayla-Ajanae Archer-Buckley are our video producers this week. Mishka Espey is our booking producer, and Muggs Leone is our digital producer. You can find us on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Colin Seeberger

Senior Adviser, Communications

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Senior Director of Broadcast Communications

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Senior Manager, Media Relations

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