James Carville & Mary Matalin

March 17 , 2008

James Carville & Mary Matalin
Political Consultants & Television Comentators

JAMES CARVILLE
Political Consultant and Television Commentator

James Carville is America’s best-known political consultant.  His long list of electoral successes evidences a knack for steering overlooked campaigns to unexpected landslide victories and for re-making political underdogs into upset winners

Carville’s winning streak began in 1986, when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey in Pennsylvania.  A loser in three previous attempts (dubbed the “Three-Time-Loss from Holy Cross” by the media), Casey – with Carville’s guidance – was able to defeat popular Lieutenant Governor William Scranton, Jr. in a remarkable come-from-behind win.  In 1987, Carville helped Wallace Wilkinson  – a candidate with less than 1% of the vote in early polls – win a hard-fought gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky.

The following year brought Carville to New Jersey, where he guided Frank Lautenberg’s campaign for U.S. Senate to victory, defeating Rhodes Scholar and Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.  Carville next managed the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Georgia’s Lt. Governor, Zell Miller, including a tough primary win over Atlanta mayor Andrew Young.

In 1991, Carville – who had already become prominent in political circles – drew national attention when he managed Senator Harris Wofford from 40 points behind in the polls to an upset landslide over former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.  With the startling and unpredicted Wofford win, Carville had exposed the political vulnerability of George Bush, who had been enjoying 91% approval ratings during the Gulf War.

Having wounded the sitting President in 1991, Carville finished the job the following year, when he guided William Jefferson Clinton to the Presidency in 1992.  In 1993, Carville was honored as Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his leadership of Clinton’s fearsome and intense “War Room” at campaign headquarters in Little Rock.  Carville was also the focus, along with George Stephanopoulos, of the feature-length Academy Award nominated documentary The War Room.

After the Clinton victory, Carville began to focus on foreign consulting.  Since that time, Carville’s political clients have included the following:  Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis; Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardoso; Honduran Prime Minister Carlos Flores; President Jamil Mahuad of Ecuador; the Liberal Party of Canada; British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Sao Paolo Mayor Celso Pitta, Argentine Economic Minister Domingo Cavallo, Francisco Labastida of Mexico, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday; and President Hipolito Mejia of the Dominican Republic.  In 1999, Carville led Ehud Barak to victory in his campaign to become the Prime Minister of Israel.

James Carville is also an author, speaker and television personality.  With his wife Mary Matalin, who is former assistant to President Bush and counselor to Vice-President Cheney, Carville co-wrote All’s Fair:  Love, War, and Running for President, which spent eight weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.  Carville’s next books (We’re Right, They’re Wrong:  A Handbook for Spirited Progressives; And the Horse He Rode In On:  The People vs. Kenneth Starr; Stickin’) earned long-running places on that prestigious list as well.  Carville’s latest literary effort, co-written with Paul Begala, details strategies for fighting and winning in business, politics, and life.  The much anticipated Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up hit bookstores in January 2002.

Carville serves as co-host - along with Paul Begala - on CNN’s Crossfire, where he can be seen doing battle with Bob Novak and Tucker Carlson.  He can also be seen, with Mary Matalin, on HBO’s critically-acclaimed new series K-Street, about the world of powerful political consultants.  A groundbreaking, experimental fusion of reality and fiction, the show offers an entertaining, fly-on-the-wall look at government – combining fictional characters with appearances by real-life political figures, all centered around the biggest political news of the week.  Executive produced and directed by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, the largely improvised ten-episode series is produced on location in Washington, D.C. Each episode is shot within days of its premiere on HBO, guaranteeing a relevance and vitality beyond what any series has attempted before.

MARY MATALIN
Republican Activist and TV Commentator

Mary Matalin formerly served as assistant to President Bush and counselor to Vice President Cheney, and was the first White House official to hold that double title.

Before joining the Bush/Cheney White House, Matalin hosted CNN’s critically acclaimed debate show, Crossfire.  Mary Matalin is the former founding co-host of the Washington-based political weeknight talk show, Equal Time, which premiered in May 1993 on CNBC.  She served as co-host until shortly after the 1996 national political conventions.  Her political astuteness and antics contributed to the show’s being called “the best talk show on television” by Knight Rider News Service.  Matalin’s humor, straightforward discussion, and ability to discuss the hottest political issues in Washington helped to make the show one of the most talked about programs in the network’s history.

Today, Matalin can be seen, with James Carville, on HBO’s critically-acclaimed new series K-Street, about the world of powerful political consultants.  A groundbreaking, experimental fusion of reality and fiction, the show offers an entertaining, fly-on-the-wall look at government – combining fictional characters with appearances by real-life political figures, all centered around the biggest political news of the week.  Executive produced and directed by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, the largely improvised ten-episode series is produced on location in Washington, D.C. Each episode is shot within days of its premiere on HBO, guaranteeing a relevance and vitality beyond what any series has attempted before.

Mary has made frequent television appearances as a political commentator, and has written for various periodicals including Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times.  Matalin also co-authored the best-selling political campaign book All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President with her husband, James Carville, who was the chief campaign strategist for Clinton/Gore in 1992.

Matalin took her sharp wit and free-spirited political repartee to the airwaves during her own three-hour afternoon radio program on the CBS Talk Radio Network.  The Mary Matalin Show highlighted current events, featured distinguished guests and listener calls.  Talkers Magazine listed Matalin as one of The 100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts in America in 1996, 1997, and 1998.  In addition, Talk Daily recognized The Mary Matalin Show with its Great Web Site Award.

Matalin has been active in politics since college, starting at the grassroots level in local and statewide campaigns in her native Illinois.  The Reagan Revolution brought her to Washington, DC where she served the Republican National Committee.

After a hiatus from Washington to attend Hofstra Law School, Mary returned to the RNC in 1984, to serve as national voter contact director for the Reagan-Bush Campaign.  She held senior positions in the George H. W. Bush 1988 campaign and, upon President Bush’s election, was appointed chief of staff for the RNC.

In 1992, President Bush named her the deputy campaign manager for political operations.  As deputy campaign manager, she was responsible for the overview and organization of all 50 state operations.  As the on-board planner who traveled with President Bush throughout the 1992 campaign, she emerged as the vocal, and occasionally controversial, defender of the president and his policies.

<<home


purpose
| non-profit partners | tickets | media sponsors | past seasons | theatre info/maps

copyright Lesher Speaker Series 2007