Mary Matalin, a prominent Republican, and her husband of ten years, James Carville, a long-time Democratic political consultant, shared their values and implored people to get involved in politics during a speech Tuesday night at Moby Arena.
CSU President Albert C. Yates originally introduced the pair as a “political odd-couple,” but after the speeches he revised his opinion.
“One thing I learned is there’s nothing odd about Mary Matalin and James Carville,” Yates said in his closing remarks.
Matalin, a former assistant to President Bush and a counselor to Vice President Cheney, has in the past hosted CNN’s debate show, “Crossfire.”
“People with different beliefs can live together and keep a sense of humor,” Yates said. “It’s important to discuss and debate and find a common ground. Tonight the challenge is passed to you…to continue the dialogue and seek ways to build bridges.”
Matalin discussed the values she learned from her parents that have influenced her, noting that she never saw a Republican until college.
“I was a liberal until I started thinking and reading,” she said.
From her father Matalin said she learned “core American values” such as ambition, self-sufficiency, a sense of family and a sense of freedom, and from her mother she learned to be honest with everyone and to be honest with herself.
“Her most abiding value was love. She loved her family, she loved her husband and most of all she loved her kids,” Matalin said. “If they write on my tombstone that I loved my husband and my kids I’ll be satisfied.”
Often believed to be a couple with big differences to gap in their household, Matalin said that was a misconception.
“How do we bridge our gaps in our household?” she asked. “We don’t have gaps, we have the same values.”
Introducing her husband as “the original shock and awe” and a bona fide, card-carrying movie star from such movies as “Old School” and “The People vs. Larry Flint,” Matalin gave the stage to Carville.
A political consultant to many clients over the years, Carville helped lead the campaign in 1992 that ended with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Recently he has worked with foreign clientele including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and in 1999 he led Ehud Barak to the same position in Israel.
Carville discussed his ideas for bridging gaps and some of his own values and also informed the audience of what he called the biggest lie.
“The biggest lie was when Ralph Nader said it doesn’t matter who is president,” he said. “Just get involved, find something bigger than yourself and get involved.”
Getting involved was something both speakers discussed, but with getting involved, Carville warned that failure must be expected. Reading from his book, Carville read several failures that former President Abraham Lincoln encountered.
This was one sentiment that caught Michael Quashigah’s ear.
“I think it’s great,” said Quashigah, a second bachelor’s student studying philosophy. “I love James Carville and what he said about if you fail to keep trying.”
Sarah Hamilton, a junior studying technical journalism, was impressed with the speakers.
“I thought they were both inspirational especially for students today,” Hamilton said.