Thursday, September 30, 2004
Carville and Matalin share political insight at OU
By Dawn Pauli, contributing writer
On the eve of the first 2004 presidential debate, Mary Matalin and James Carville spoke to an audience of more than 1,300 at Oakland University’s Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion.
They’re called the political odd couple — Matalin, a conservative Republican, and Carville, a liberal Democrat. The couple married more than 10 years ago and co-wrote “All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President.”
Matalin talked about the significance of the upcoming election, but not before poking fun at her husband and revealing she “hasn’t read half of the book we wrote together,” and he’s a “wonderful husband in off years.”
“It’s an important time to restate the obvious, a historical time we live in. It’s a transformation age,” Matalin said. “There are new challenges in the 21st century, and this is the most important election in our lifetime.”
Carville shared an insider’s view on how to watch the debate.
“There’s a lot at stake,” he said. “But the likely outcome is they’ll both do fine. How will you know who won? Who’s the most nervous? And early points count more. Counterpunching is better than punching. Consistency counts for a lot.”
When talking about his unlikely marriage to a woman whose politics are as far to the right as his are to the left, Carville said, "It's easier for me to be married to someone who is passionate.”
He noted the young people in the audience and shared his wisdom. “Do you want to go through life making rain, or being rained on? A better choice is to have a passion, about what happens in the community, the country, the world. Take something that’s bigger than yourself and attach yourself to it and you’ll be surprised how big you become. At least you’ll have the satisfaction of doing something that matters.”
OU freshman Bradley Butterworth, a music major, enjoyed the lecture and will earn extra credit for writing a paper about one of the topics discussed at the lecture.
“It’s cool that they came to OU,” he said. “I’m going to watch the debate and watch the candidates using Carville’s advice.”
Matalin is a former assistant to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. She was a founding co-host of CNBC's Washington-based political debate show, “Equal Time,” and hosted CNN's critically acclaimed debate show “Crossfire.” Carville gained national attention for his work as chief strategist in the successful 1992 presidential campaign of then-governor Bill Clinton. He is the current co-host of “Crossfire.”
Sponsored by Oakland University’s Alumni Association, the Student Life Lecture Board and Starr Commonwealth, the lecture was part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Celebrating the Liberal Arts Presidential Leadership theme. Other sponsors include The Oakland Press, WJR AM-760, the Royal Park Hotel and FOX 2 WJBK-Detroit.
Detroit news anchor Huel Perkins from FOX 2 was the master of ceremonies for the evening.
“Through books, classes, lectures and events, OU students, alumni and friends – such as all of you here tonight – have the chance to examine how presidential leadership affects society and democracy,” Perkins said. “The Presidential Leadership theme celebrates the liberal arts and the value it provides for students across the university.”