James Carville
Wildcat Online

Carville offers UA political humor, insight

Political heavyweight James Carville, known for fierce loyalty to the Democratic party, ripped into Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and Republican leadership at the state capitol yesterday during a speech to university student leaders.

Carville, who ran President Clinton's campaign in 1992, accused Republicans of not acting in the country's best interest by being "more concerned about getting the president."

He said that while the impeachment attempt caused minimal damage, it would linger in the public psyche.

"I hardly think it's over," said Carville, who added he would constantly remind the public of the Republicans' conduct during the trial.

"You mess with a friend of mine, I'll mess back with you," he said to student leaders from across the state at the Arizona Students' Association-sponsored speech.

But Carville had some more serious wisdom to impart to the university students gathered at the state capitol.

"You're going to go through life and people are going to disappoint you," Carville said of Clinton, his close friend.

Carville went on to express dislike for Starr, the independent prosecutor who investigated the nature of Clinton's relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"I don't like one damn thing about him," he said "I wouldn't want to have a beer with him, and if I did, he'd probably subpoena the waitress."

Carville went on to entertain the audience with a story about the time former Vice President Dan Quayle visited Venezuela. Quayle, Carville said, shared with the Latin American audience his regret about not learning Latin.

Carville joked that Quayle may be the man opposing Democrats in the presidential election in the year 2000.

"I hope he is the Republican presidential nominee," Carville said.

Carville did not predict who the next president would be, but he said he likes the chances of Gov. George W. Bush, R-Texas, and Vice President Al Gore to emerge victorious from next year's primary races. But, Carville added that it is far too early to pick the winner.

"The only thing I like to pick is my nose," the 54-year-old said.

One candidate Carville urged not to run for office was first lady Hillary Clinton, who is reportedly interested in pursuing a Senate seat as a New York democrat. Carville said he would like to see her take a "two-year victory lap after everything she has been through."

As a political consultant who has never shied away from expressing his eccentric views, Carville is well-known for his highly publicized marriage to Mary Matalin, the deputy campaign manager during former President George Bush's reelection bid in 1992.

The two shared their opposing political opinions on many subjects throughout their marriage, which began in 1994. After working for opposing camps for the 1992 election, they co-wrote "All's Fair : Love, War, and Running for President."

Even now, Carville said they each face humorous criticism from their colleagues. In 1994, Carville was listed by Spy Magazine as the 22nd most annoying person in the world.

Carville said one of his wife's friends asked her, "how in God's green earth did Spy Magazine find 21 more annoying people than your husband?"

Carville said he is disturbed by a trend to attack politics, including late-night TV shows and newspaper columns.

"There is a tremendous cultural assault on all things political," he said. "Everyone blames politicians for everything. Would it be too much to ask if we give (politicians) half the credit when something goes right?"

He said the media fail to give both sides of a political argument because they, unlike politicians, have the luxury of avoiding the spotlight.

"They (commentators) never have to live with the consequences of an editorial," Carville said.

Carville, who said he'd rather associate with politicians than "a bunch of college professors," said he has no intentions of running for public office.

"The only thing I've ever ran for is the state line," said Carville, who added he did not have the patience necessary to be a politician.

University of Arizona Associated Students President Tara Taylor was one of about 45 UA students to attend the 20-minute speech. She said the $15,000 that ASA paid Carville for his appearance was justified, considering the going rate for a speaker of Carville's magnitude.

"He was as colorful and inviting as we expected," she said.

Lacey Jones, a history junior, said Carville's point about media mistakes stood out to her as the most intriguing message.

"He's not like most politicians," she said.

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