Chester James Carville, Jr. is a political consultant who served as the lead strategist for the then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton in his presidential campaign in 1992, successfully helping him win the presidency. He is a well-known media personality and a frequent political contributor for CNN on which he appears regularly. He is a very prominent and active figure in the Democratic Party for which he is also a fundraiser. He has long been associated with CNN and was one of the co-hosts of the channel’s political debate program, ‘Crossfire’. After the program’s final broadcast he began appearing in the news program ‘The Situation Room’. Prior to entering politics he had worked as a litigator and had also served in the United States Marine Corps. He is known for his animated debating style and skillful diplomacy which enabled him to become one of the best known political consultants in America. He began his career as a political consultant during the 1980s. Some of his initial successes include the gubernatorial victories of Pennsylvania’s Robert Casey and Georgia’s Zell Miller, as well as Wallace Wilkinson’s successful run for the governor’s seat in Kentucky. The biggest victory of his career came in 1992 when he served as the lead strategist for Bill Clinton in his triumphant presidential campaign against George Bush.
- He was born as the eldest son of Lucille and Chester James Carville. His mother was a former school teacher and a door-to-door encyclopedia saleswoman while his father was a postmaster who also owned a general store. He has seven younger siblings.He attended Ascension Catholic High School. He went to the Louisiana State University from where he received his undergraduate and Juris Doctor Degrees.Career
- He started his career as a litigator at a Baton Rouge law firm in 1973. He served there for six years till 1979. He served in the United States Marine Corps for two years and achieved the rank of a Corporal.He had received training in consulting from Gus Weill who had founded the first advertising firm which specialized in political campaigns. Carville began managing political campaigns in 1982.He achieved his first big victory in 1986 when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. The very next year he guided Wallace Wilkinson in successfully running for the governor’s seat in Kentucky. In 1990 he helped Zell Miller of Georgia in his triumphant gubernatorial run.The decade of the 1990s brought with it great victories for Carville. He along with his consulting partner Paul Begala helped incumbent Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania to lead back from a 40-point poll deficit over his opponent Dick Thornburgh in 1991. This victory made Carville and Begala much sought after political consultants all over the nation.The year 1992 was the turning point for James Carville. Chosen as the lead strategist for the then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton for his presidential campaign, he successfully led Clinton to presidency through his skillful diplomacy and energetic debating techniques.He used a three-point strategy in the campaign, which included the famous ‘The economy, stupid’ slogan. For his role in the presidential campaign, he was named as the Campaign District Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants in 1993.He stopped working on domestic campaigns after 1992 and started taking on foreign campaigns. Clinton recommended him to work with Ehud Barak of Israel’s Labor Party in the 1999 Knesset election. He managed the campaign of Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the U.K. during the 2001 general elections.He worked as a Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) strategist in 2002 to help Bolivian Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada win the presidency in Bolivia. This campaign was depicted in the documentary ‘Our Brand Is Crisis’.In 2005 he taught a semester of the course ‘Topics in American Politics’ at the Northern Virginia Community College. Many distinguished guests like George Allen, Al Hunt, Stan Greenberg and James Fallows had attended his lectures.He changed his field in a surprising move and became a host on a sports show called ‘60/20 Sports’ on XM Satellite Radio with Luke Russert. The show presented differing viewpoints on sports culture as seen through the eyes of the two hosts, one aged 60 and the other 20.He was hired by the Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani as a campaign advisor in July 2009. He was very excited about this project and claimed it was one of the best ever projects he had worked on.In addition to being a famous political consultant, he is also a famous media personality who has hosted shows on CNN. He has appeared in documentaries and has made cameo appearances in movies and television series as well.Major Works
- His claim to international fame was the U.S. presidential campaign in 1992 in which he led Bill Clinton to victory. Even though he was already an established political consultant and strategist at that time, this achievement helped him reach the pinnacles of glory.Personal Life & Legacy
- He is married to Republican political pundit Mary Matalin whom he wed in 1993. They have two daughters.Trivia
- This famous political consultant is called the ‘Ragin Cajun’ because of his lively debating style.
See the events in life of James Carville in Chronological Order
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Books by James Carville
Books About James Carville
40 More Years- How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation (09) by Carville, James [Hardcover (2009)]
All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President unknown Edition by Mary Matalin, James Carville (1995)
by Mary Matalin
Biography - Carville, James (1944-): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team