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Sep 11, 2023, 9:42pm EDT
politics

Candidate Ramaswamy gets further into the media business

Bryan Snyder / Reuters
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The Scoop

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy isn’t settling for invites onto shows hosted by conservative media personalities to promote his presidential campaign. He’s inviting them onto his.

On Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate will roll out what his campaign dubbed the second season of his podcast, titled “The Truth with Vivek Ramaswamy.”

Throughout the campaign, Ramaswamy has embraced a flood-the-zone media strategy, pushing for appearances on cable news networks and saying yes to virtually every media invite, no matter how controversial.

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His podcast flips the formula, with Ramaswamy serving as the host, questioning a roster of well-known conservative figures. The first guests for this season of the podcast include John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s pizza, Chaya Raichik, creator of “Libs of TikTok,” and James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas who was recently ousted for alleged lavish overspending. The campaign told Semafor that it expects to announce additional guests for later in the season including professional athletes and figures from the entertainment world.

A spokesperson for the campaign pointed to several positive metrics showing that the podcast has been successful in raising awareness for Ramaswamy: The candidate’s interview with former Trump attorney general Bill Barr got nearly 250,000 views on YouTube, while his interview with conservative media personality Megyn Kelly got more than 190,000. The campaign said the average watch time on YouTube was nearly 16 minutes.

“In season 2, we’re leveling up: The discussions will extend beyond the realm of conventional politics, delving into culture, entertainment, and even sports. We’ll engage with thought leaders, cultural icons, professional athletes, and a diverse range of individuals to explore their life stories and discover areas of common ground,” Ramaswamy said in an emailed statement.

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Max’s view

While Ramaswamy is not the first presidential candidate to host a podcast, he is the first one to do so while actively running for the highest political office in the country. It’s an outgrowth of his strategy to appear everywhere, and a continuation of Ramaswamy’s decision to run his campaign like a media operation.

The campaign refers to the podcast in the form of “seasons.” And as Axios previously noted, Ramaswamy pledged to invest $10 million in building a production studio within his campaign which they said will continue to operate even if he drops out of the race.

It’s a wise strategy for a candidate who embraces attention, though it’s unclear whether Republican primary voters will continue to reward Ramaswamy as he receives additional scrutiny. His poll numbers dropped after he was the main attraction at the first Republican presidential debate last month.

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And while the Republican candidate likely would not admit it, it also serves as a fairly expansive audition reel for a potential deal with a conservative network or media company if (and perhaps when) the campaign comes to an end.

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