Carville and Matalin talk more about love than politics

October 28, 2004|by DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Best known for their partisan bickering on political pundit programs, James Carville and Mary Matalin spoke more about love than war and politics during an appearance Wednesday at Shippensburg University's Heiges Field House.

There was discussion of next Tuesday's presidential election which Matalin, a long-time Republican advisor and conservative commentator, called "the most important election of our lifetimes."

"We are living in historical times. I know it sounds like spin or hyperbole, but it is," Matalin said. "There can be no doubt ... George W. Bush ushered in nothing short of a revolution in national security" similar to that which took place at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, she said.


"Change is certain. Progress is not," said Matalin, who argued that the basis of Democratic candidate John Kerry's campaign is "I'm not Bush."

Pennsylvania appears to be leaning in the direction of Kerry in recent polls, but Matalin told the crowd, "Pennsylvania is a swing state. I don't care what James tells you."

Carville, famous for engineering Bill Clinton's 1992 victory, took a few pokes at President Bush and offered a few tips on what to watch for Tuesday night.

"If Kerry loses Pennsylvania, you can butter him. He's toast," Carville said. If Kerry carries Pennsylvania, however, he said Bush "can't afford to split Ohio and Florida. He has to win both of them."

"If we're at war, why don't we act like it?" Carville asked. "Franklin Roosevelt never gave us a tax cut in World War II."

The couple spent as much time poking fun at themselves and each other and talking about living in a house divided politically.

"My first job in politics was to be the butt-end of an elephant in a Lincoln Day parade," said Matalin.

"He looked to be sired out of a love scene from 'Deliverance,'" Matalin said, quoting a description of her husband in the book "Primary Colors." Nevertheless, she called him "the coolest husband there ever was, despite his politics."

"She's not so hot herself," Carville replied.

Carville made fun of his lack of academic achievement, saying he brought home a report card with four F's and a D. He said his father told him his problem was "you're concentrating too much on one subject."

Several questions from the audience were about their home life and raising two children.

"We took a pre-birth pact that we would not indoctrinate them," Matalin said of their daughters, ages 6 and 9. Before a Middle East trip with Cheney, however, one daughter advised Matalin that Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat "deserves a big time out."

"The biggest looming event on their calendar is not the election, but Halloween ... and it ought to be," said Carville. Of their own relationship, Carville said he and Matalin "don't get home and fight about the minimum wage."

"We don't fight about anything but politics," said Matalin.

"It's easier to be married to someone that hates your politics rather than hates your brother," Carville said.

Matalin said she was concerned about reports of organized voter fraud in several states, but her husband said, "I think we'll get this thing settled pretty good, one way or another."

"They could have talked more about the issues," Shippensburg University senior Lauren Curran said after the event.

"I thought we'd have a little more debate between them," said senior Gwen Nolt. "Students come to something like this to help them decide."

The Herald-Mail Articles