The Issue Is: George Clooney, Alex Padilla, Katie Porter

This week, on The Issue Isa potential preview at California’s 2025 Senate delegation.

First, Elex Michaelson speaks with Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

Tuesday, just days after being sworn in for her third term in the House of Representatives, Porter announced her 2024 candidacy to the upper Congressional chamber - running for the seat currently held by six-term Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Porter’s announcement met with criticism. First, despite questions about her mental stability and political future, 89-year-old Feinstein has yet to announce her intentions for 2024, a fact that has caused other potential candidates, such as Burbank Congressman Adam Schiff, to hold back from his own campaign launches. Porter also garnering criticism for announcing her candidacy from Washington, on the same day that California was in the midst of a deadly storm.

Porter addresses that criticism and lays out the reason, and urgency, for her run. She also addresses viral photos from last week’s historic Speaker of the House battle.

Next, Michaelson speaks with current California Senator Alex Padilla.

In November, Padilla was elected to his first full term in the Senate, this after being appointed to serve out the final two years of Vice President Harris’s term.

Padilla describes the feeling of being elected and the "tremendous opportunity" of being California’s first Latino Senator. He also discusses the big issues of the day, including this week’s storms, the impending end of Title 42, and the Special Counsel investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents from his time as Vice President.


REP. PORTER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think Washington is increasingly struggling to deliver for Americans. I hear that from constituents across this district and across California - I think they understand that we are dealing with a Washington that is increasingly beholden to special interests and is working on behalf of a handful of incredibly wealthy Americans and global super corporations rather than working on behalf of families and workers…

"So for me, this race is an opportunity to take the work I've done standing up to Big oil, to Big banks, to Big Pharma, making sure that we're calling for a government that really works for families and to take that kind of fight and that courage to the US Senate…"


REP. PORTER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I have incredible respect for Senator Feinstein. She has been such a trailblazer here and has made a path for women in politics to follow. And I'm really grateful to be following in her footsteps in my own career. Senator Feinstein will make her decision in her own time - I think that's right. But I think the urgency of this race, the urgency of the challenges facing our democracy and our planet, with regard to climate change and others, means that there's simply no time to begin to address the problems that we're seeing in Washington and the degree to which the Senate and the Congress is not functioning for the American people…

"I’m very concerned about the flooding, and I think it really illustrates, again, the urgency of the matter. California is not facing just one extreme weather event once in a decade. We are seeing extreme weather over and over and over again from the wildfires now to this flooding, and so I think it's really, really important that we elect a Senator who's able to both be listening back home - I'm back in California now, touring some storm damage tomorrow in SEAL Beach - but we have to elect a senator who can both be responsive to the problems that we're having and home while they're pushing folks in Washington to do better. So, as a U.S. senator, like we're going to be dealing with challenging times, and that is exactly, at this moment, it really illustrates that…."


SENATOR PADILLA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We actually work pretty closely together, not just because we're the two California senators. She's also a member of the Judiciary Committee, so we see each other a couple times a week in committee, you know, between floor votes in the Senate or caucus lunches and what have you. She's got an impressive office, they are continuing to represent California well... I know there's a lot of questions or speculation about whether or not she'll seek another term next year. I respect her so much and her service so much, she deserves the timetable she chooses, and I'll respect whatever decision she makes…"


SENATOR PADILLA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Look, I think the the main observation to make here is Attorney General Merrick Garland is playing it straight. Whether it's Trump, whether it's Biden, he's going to be objective. They're going to investigate and get to the bottom of it and treat each of the cases accordingly. I don't know what it is, where the investigations play out, but already can't help but observe the difference between how Trump has responded to it - denial, denial, denial - and how President Biden has responded to it, saying, you know what, you know, we're going to answer every question, we're going to cooperate and figure out what happened…."


SENATOR PADILLA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Immigration policy is complex. Number one, Title 42, it is not immigration policy. The Trump administration put Title 42 in place as a matter of public health at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, what's really odd, I got to say, for Republicans who said 'COVID's hoax, COVID's hoax, we don't need masks, we don't need vaccines,' Oh, but when it comes to Title 42, to be able to say no to asylum seekers, then it's okay? That's just fundamentally wrong. And even the courts have said Title 42 has got to go. We're in a very different place today when it comes to COVID than we were two, three years ago. The Biden administration supports that, it's trying to transition to a new system at the border, but now trying to expand upon it. That seems a little weird to me. More than a little weird...

"An individual, a family who approaches the southern border seeking asylum is a very different universe of people than the millions of immigrants who have been in the United States for years and years and years, if not decades, working, paying taxes, raising families. I'm talking farmworkers. I'm talking dreamers. We're talking all types of essential workers who deserve better than to live in fear of deportation. So we've got to be able to separate, you know, how do we better handle the border but do right by people who have been making America great for a long, long time?…"

The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to