Childhood & Early Life
Mary Matalin was born on August 19, 1953, in Chicago, Illinois, to Eileen Emerson and Steven Matalin. Her mother, Eileen, ran beauty salons, and her father worked at the local steel mill. Her grandparents from her father’s side were Croatian immigrants. Her mother was of Irish descent.
She studied at the ‘Thornton Fractional North High School’ in Calumet City, Illinois. Her initial plan was to join her mother’s beauty salon business. However, she chose to go to the ‘Western Illinois University’ where she studied political science. On the insistence of a former professor, Matalin joined the re-election campaign of Lt. Governor David O’Neal in 1980. Though O’Neal lost the campaign to ‘Democratic’ candidate Alan Dixon, Matalin had found her calling.
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Soon after the O’Neal campaign she moved to Washington, DC and joined the ‘RNC.’ She left the committee briefly for a year to attend ‘The Maurice A. Deane School of Law’ at the ‘Hofstra University’ in New York. She dropped out of law college within a year and returned to the ‘RNC’ in 1984. She worked as the National Voter Contact Director for the Reagan–Bush campaign.
By 1985, Matalin had started working in close quarters with Richard Bond and was appointed as the Chief-of-Staff to Betty Heitman, co-chairperson of the ‘RNC.’ She joined the George HW Bush presidential campaign in 1988, in the dual role of the Deputy Political Director and the Midwest Regional Political Director.
After the success of the George HW Bush presidential campaign, Matalin was appointed the Chief-of -Staff to ‘RNC’ chairperson Lee Atwater. However, Matalin, in her capacity of Chief-of-Staff, single-handedly ran the ‘RNC’ for a year, in the wake Chairperson Lee Atwater’s declining health caused by an inoperable brain tumor.
George Bush Sr. appointed her as the Deputy Campaign Manager, Political Operations, for his re-election campaign in 1992. She was responsible for all the 50 states and worked as the on-board planner for the president throughout the campaign. She voiced her strong political views and defended his policies.
The 1992 presidential campaign made her a popular political commentator on TV and radio. In 1993, she became one of the founding co-hosts of ‘CNBC’s political talk show ‘Equal Time,’ which was aimed at giving a legitimate voice to women in politics. Her sharp and witty presentation skills, paired with her astute political commentary, made the show one of the channel’s most popular talk shows to date.
She started her own 3-hour afternoon talk show, ‘The Mary Matalin Show,’ on ‘CBS Radio Network/CBS News Radio.’ Her energy and open views took the airwaves by storm. She was listed as one of ‘The 100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts in America’ for 3 consecutive years, 1996, 1997, and 1998, by the magazine ‘Talkers.’ The show was also awarded with ‘Talk Daily’s ‘Great Web Site Award.’
In 1999, she started hosting the critically acclaimed nightly political debate show ‘Crossfire’ on ‘CNN.’ In 2001, she joined the Bush–Cheney administration at the ‘White House’ as Vice President Dick Cheney’s special aide and political advisor. She left the ‘White House’ on December 31, 2002, after resigning from her responsibilities.
In 2003, she and her husband appeared on ‘HBO’s ‘K-Street,’ a series based on the lives of political lobbyists. She was appointed the Editor-in-Chief for a conservative publication imprint named ‘Threshold Editions’ by ‘Simon & Schuster’ in 2005. The publishing company released ‘The Obama Nation,’ written by Jerome Corsi in 2008.
Matalin was the treasurer in the re-election committee of Virginia senator George Allen in 2006. She also worked for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign till he dropped out of the race in January 2008. The same year, she joined the ‘Cheney Cardiovascular Institute’ as a board member. She serves on the board of ‘Tulane University's President's Council,’ ‘The Water Institute of the Gulf,’ ‘Conscience Cause,’ ‘The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra,’ and ‘The Louisiana Nature Conservancy.’
Right before the Trump presidential campaign in 2016, she changed her allegiance and registered herself as a ‘Libertarian.’ Though she declared that the change was not due to Trump being the probable presidential candidate for GOP, her criticism of "his high school boy antics with women" was not unnoticed.
Matalin appears on TV regularly as a political commentator. She is also a co-host on the nationally syndicated radio program ‘Both Sides Now,’ which is broadcast over 100 radio stations in America.
She is the bestselling author of ‘All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President with Carville’ and ‘Letters to My Daughters.’
Family & Personal Life
Matalin was dating political strategist James Carville during the re-election campaign of George HW Bush. James was the chief strategist for Clinton at the time. The couple got married on November 25, 1993, in New Orleans. They have two daughters, Matalin Mary "Matty" Carville and Emerson Normand "Emma" Carville.
Due to their diverse political affiliations, the couple is considered ideal for many in politics.