Democratic strategist James Carville
On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, Randolph-Macon College hosted Democratic strategist
James Carville as he presented a look at “Politics – Today and Tomorrow,” as part
of the Paul and Lois Watkins Lecture Series. Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC’s Center
for the Performing Arts, was filled to capacity with students, faculty and staff,
as well as local and state politicians from both parties. Carville shared his thoughts
on current events, the divided Congress, the administration of President Barack
Obama, the 2012 elections and the challenges facing the major political parties
and players. Before the lecture, Carville spent time with students and answered
their questions about politics and his career.
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Carville, “The Ragin’ Cajun,” has a long list of electoral successes as a political
consultant. He is credited with having a knack for steering overlooked campaigns
to unexpected landslide victories and for re-making political underdogs into upset
winners. His electoral success dates back to 1986 and his most prominent victory
came in 1992 when he helped William Jefferson Clinton win the election for President
of the United States.
Carville is a frequent political commentator and contributor on CNN and serves as
a Professor of Practice at Tulane University in New Orleans. He and pollster Stanley
Greenberg founded Democracy Corps, an independent, non-profit polling organization
dedicated to making government more responsive to the American people. Democracy
Corps has conducted more than 200 national, congressional and local surveys, interviewing
more than 220,000 American voters during the past 10 years. In recent years, Carville
has shifted his focus from domestic to consulting international campaigns in more
than 20 countries. His most notable victory was leading Ehud Barak to become Prime
Minister of Israel in 1999.
A best-selling author, Carville has written several books based on his political
experience and has also written a children’s book. His books include 40 More Years:
How the Democrats will Rule the Next Generation (Simon & Schuster, 2009) and
All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President (Simon & Schuster, 1995), which
he co-wrote with his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
In 1999, Dr. George Watkins ’44 and his sister Marion Watkins Herget endowed the
Paul and Lois Watkins Lecture Series to bring to the College high-profile speakers
on contemporary issues such as human rights, international politics and national
policy issues. The program has hosted a number of notable speakers including NPR
legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Civil Rights Activist Julian Bond, journalists
Bob Woodward and David Gergen and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.