James Carville

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James Carville

James Carville (born October 25, 1944), is an American political consultant, commentator and pundit. Also known as the Ragin' Cajun1, Carville is considered a highly effective Democratic political operative. He gained national attention for his work as campaign manager in the successful 1992 presidential campaign of then-governor Bill Clinton. Carville was current co-host of CNN's Crossfire until its final broadcast in June 2005.

Born in Louisiana, Carville has a heavy Southern accent, which coupled with his quick and fiery rhetoric made him a charismatic manager of underdog political candidates, and a mediagenic commentator during the Clinton Administration.

Prior to the Clinton campaign, Carville and consulting partner Paul Begala, earned other well-known political victories, including the 1991 Senate victory of Harris Wofford and the 1990 gubernatorial victories of Zell Miller and Robert Casey. Carville has since stopped working on domestic campaigns, fearing that he would bring unneeded publicity, but he has worked on a number of foreign campaigns, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, Ehud Barak of Israel's Labor Party, and the Liberal Party of Canada; although recently, he worked for John Kerry's failed presidential campaign.

In 1992, Carville helped lead Bill Clinton to a win against George H. W. Bush in the presidential election. 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 Clinton headquarters in Little Rock-- documented in the feature-length Academy Award-nominated film of that campaign, The War Room. One of the formulations he used in that campaign has entered the language, derived from a list he posted in the war room to help focus himself and his staff, with these three points:

  1. Change vs. more of the same.
  2. It's the economy, stupid.
  3. Don't forget health care.

Carville is also a best-selling author and co-author. With his wife, Republican Mary Matalin, Carville co-wrote All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President. Later he wrote: We're Right, They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives and The Horse He Rode In On: The People vs. Kenneth Starr and Stickin. Suck Up, Buck Up... and Come Back When You Foul Up, Carville's co-written book with Paul Begala, details strategies for fighting and winning in business, politics, and life. In 2004,Carville released his new political banter book entitled Had Enough?. He enjoys including favorite recipes in his books, in ways that don't always make sense.

Before entering politics, Carville worked as a litigator at a Baton Rouge law firm from 1973-1979 and also had brief stints in the U.S. Marines and as a high school teacher. He was born and raised in Carville, Louisiana. He graduated from Louisiana State University with undergraduate and law degrees.



  1. Ragin' Cajun is the name of the mascot of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly known as University of Southwestern Louisiana ).


  • "Republicans now have their own network on Fox, so guys who don't like to answer questions, like Trent Lott, have a place to go to hit softballs."
  • "But one of Clinton's problems was, the interest groups don't care about the working poor. The Republicans don't care about the working poor — they don't know any. The Op-Ed writers don't care about the working poor. The editorial writers don't care about the working poor. The talking heads don't care about the working poor."
  • "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil."
  • "We did find the key to the electoral lock...we just picked it." - Remarking about the 1992 Election.
  • "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." - referring to Paula Jones and her charge that President Clinton had sexually assaulted her.

Career in Film

In the film Old School, Carville makes a humorous cameo appearing as himself, brought in as a ringer at a college-level debate society meeting. Will Ferrell then inexplicably gives a complex answer regarding US biotechnology policy, and when it came to his rebuttal, Carville only said "...We...(stumbles) have no response. That was perfect...".

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