Entries in James Carville (7)


George Will: ‘Quite Literally, The Opposition to Gay Marriage Is Dying’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- While Supreme Court watchers ponder how justices will come down in the debate over gay marriage, ABC’s George Will said Sunday on ABC News “This Week” it’s clear where public opinion is headed.

“There is something like an emerging consensus,” Will said, noting voters in three states recently endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives. “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying.  It’s old people.”

Democratic strategist James Carville agreed the 2012 election marked a “profound” shift on the controversial issue.

“Look in Salt Lake City, the 12 Apostles.  The Mormon Church after the election says, well, ‘Maybe we’re going to change our position on homosexuality is a choice. You’re not born that way,’” he said. “I mean, the effects of an election reverberate all the way through society.”

On the table is a case challenging Proposition 8, the hot-button 2008 California ballot measure restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The Court will also hear a challenge to a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the Court’s decision to take on gay marriage could have a major impact on upcoming elections.

“It’s actually a positive [for Democrats],” Krugman said. “This is a significant bloc of voters that will make a decision based on which party they see as being favorable to equal rights.”

But Republican strategist Mary Matalin said there are other issues at play.

“There are important constitutional, biological, theological, ontological questions relative to homosexual marriage, but people who live in the real world say the greatest threat to civil order is heterosexuals who don’t get married and are making babies,” Matalin said.

“That’s an epidemic in crisis proportions. That is irrefutably more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married,” she added.

Currently, gay marriage is legal in just nine states and in the District of Columbia — but polls suggest support is growing. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, while a recent Pew poll shows national support at 48 percent — up from 35 percent in 2001.

“To me, the consensus has already emerged on this issue,” said ABC News’ Matthew Dowd. “It’s just a question of … is the Supreme Court going to catch up and follow that wind of the pack, or get ahead of it or put a block in the path of it?”

Watch George Will’s comments here:

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Carville: 90% of Dems Want Hillary Clinton

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision about whether to run for president in 2016 will be key to the makeup of the Democratic and Republican fields in 2016, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”

And James Carville – former strategist for President Bill Clinton – said Democrats are relishing the possibility that she’ll enter the race.

“I think that, whether or not other Democrats run, it’s all going to pivot off of her.  And even the Republicans to a degree are going to pivot off what she does.” Dowd said.

With Clinton’s popularity across the board surging in the four years after her first run for the presidency, Carville says that the consensus among Democrats is that Hillary Clinton would give the party its best chance to win.

“I don’t know what she’s going to do, but I do know this:  The Democrats want her to run.  And I don’t just mean a lot of Democrats.  I mean a whole lot of Democrats, like 90 percent across the country,” Carville said. “We just want to win.  We think she’s the best person and shut it down.  And that’s across the board.”

But Republican political adviser – and Carville’s wife- Mary Matalin said it’s unlikely the Secretary of State would be able to clear the field.

“I wish she would run. But it defies human nature to think that Democrats, even though they are redistributionist and utopians, would not be competitive, that [Virginia Senator Mark] Warner or all these other Democrats who’ve been waiting in the wings are going to have a dynasty, since Democrats are always complaining about these dynasties, they’re going to have another Clinton step up, and everyone’s going to go, yeah, step back?  I don’t think so,” Matalin said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Despite Scrutiny of Democratic Strategists, Obama Sticks to Script on Stump

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- As some high-profile Democrats question the focus of his pitch for a second term, President Obama Tuesday stuck closely to his well-worn script, telling a group of 500 donors here that the economy is moving in the right direction and that his policies will accelerate the recovery.

“With grit, resilience and innovation, we’re fighting our way back,” Obama said, citing a resurgence of the U.S. manufacturing sector and creation of 4.3 million private sector jobs over the last 27 months.

“Does this make us satisfied? No,” he said, “…not when so many folks who are out there looking for work, not when so many homes are still underwater, not when so many states laying off so many teachers and first responders."

“This crisis did not happen overnight, it will be solved overnight,” he added.

The message, which Obama has been pushing for months, faces new scrutiny from Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg, among others, who insist it isn’t resonating with voters in key states.  Several recent focus groups found that voters don’t see signs of economic recovery, putting Obama at risk of seeming out of touch.

[More on the Carville/Greenberg memo HERE]

Still, Obama insisted that a recovery is well under way and argued it’s “stronger than the one following the last recession.”

“We recovered more effectively than most other advanced nations,” he said. “But the hole we have to fill is deeper. And global aftershocks are great.”

It’s an argument that would seem to be an increasingly hard sell to Americans without jobs and facing other financial pressures.

“We’ve got more work to do. We know that,” Obama conceded. “We also understand that the last thing we can do is return to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place,” he added, referring to rival Mitt Romney.

Obama spent much of his stump outlining reasons why Romney should be feared, suggesting the Republican nominee would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond a planned 2014 withdrawal, raise taxes on the middle class, outlaw abortion, and reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

He spoke broadly about a forward-looking vision for his second term, suggesting he would advocate comprehensive immigration reform, push for greater government investment in infrastructure projects and boost access to higher education.

“If you’re willing to stick with me and fight with me,” he said, “I guarantee we will move this country forward.”

President Obama is expected to give his first public campaign policy speech on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, when he will seek to re-frame the economic debate between him and Romney, while speaking broadly about his plans to boost jobs and the middle class.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Carville, Greenberg to Obama: Talk More about the Next Four Years

Scott Halleran/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg have a message for the Obama campaign: Stop trying to convince voters that the last four years have been good for them, and start talking about what you are going to do in the next four years to make the economy and their lives better.

In a memo for the think-tank Democracy Corps, Carville and Greenberg write: “We will face an impossible headwind in November if we do not move to a new narrative, one that contextualizes the recovery but, more importantly, focuses on what we will do to make a better future for the middle class.”

Carville and Greenberg were both members of the 1992 Bill Clinton presidential campaign that made the phrases “war room” and “it’s the economy stupid” famous.

In focus groups of Pennsylvania and Ohio voters, the Democracy Corps found an American public that is struggling to pay for everyday items and racking up student debt. Regardless of their education or economic status, these folks haven’t seen signs of an economy recovery – and don’t expect to see one anytime soon.

“These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction.  They are living in a new economy – and there is no conceivable recovery in the year ahead that will change the view of the new state of the country.”

Even so, write the authors, these voters don’t know all that much about Mitt Romney. And, what they do know about him isn’t all that positive.

“Respondents immediately volunteer that Romney is rich, out of touch, and in the pocket for Wall Street and big finance.”

Carville and Greenberg say Obama shouldn’t try and beat Romney on the “are you better off than you were four years ago” argument. Instead, they should try to beat him at the “how are you going to make things better over the next four years.”

“It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction.  They are wrong, and that will fail.  The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the president talk about the future. ”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Carville: Cain Staffer 'Was Drunk or Stoned' When Approving Smoking Ad

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) - People have called it both postmodern genius or amateur hour but Democratic strategist James Carville doesn’t think Herman Cain’s campaign manager was in the right state of mind when he taped that now viral ad that features the staffer smoking a cigarette.

During and interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos Carville said, “If that guy wasn’t drunk I haven’t taken a drink in my life…I mean he was drunk or stoned. It was some kind of chemical in him I guarantee you that.”

“Herman Cain is not going to be the Republican nomination for president. I mean, what he is is a national distraction and maybe not a bad one in the middle of this horrific recession,” he added.

Carville dismissed Cain’s candidacy but the latest polls show that Cain is right behind Romney in the early primary states and according to Wednesday’s NY Times/ CBS national poll Cain has an edge on Romney, 25% to 21%.

“Every time you see these polls Romney can’t get above 25%. They don’t want to be for Romney. It is perfectly clear. Everybody goes up, everybody goes down, Romney stays the same,” Carville said.

The flip-flop charges are back against Romney, something he also went thru during the 2008 campaign. 

But still Carville said he “can’t imagine” anything standing between Romney and the nomination.
Stealing a line from Sherlock Holmes via a New York Times’ Ross Douthat column, Carville said “When you eliminate the impossible all you’re left with is the improbable. Hello Mitt!”

“I mean Rick Perry has completely blown himself up, there is zero chance that Herman Cain is going to be the nominee. Unless -- the only thing that I can see is the Republicans just don’t like [Romney] enough that he can’t accumulate half the delegates as he goes through this,” he said.
And what about a Rick Perry comeback?

“The best thing that Rick Perry can do for himself, and his family, and his friends is just get out of the race and go back to Texas. This man is evidently not up to this. He had plenty of chances to do it, he can’t debate, he can’t give a speech, he can’t poll a position paper, he can’t go on television,” Carville said.

Critics -- including Conservative superstar -- Rush Limbaugh have found the flap over the smoking ad in Democrat circles nothing short of ironic, seeing as President Obama smoked, although his camp says he's quit. "They elected a smoker!" Limbaugh laughed Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


‘Fire a Lot of People’? Carville Advice for Obama Has Risks, Rewards

Scott Halleran/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic strategist James Carville’s brash advice for President Obama -- “fire a lot of people” -- has raised some eyebrows in Washington, and with it the question of whether he could be right.

“It’s not going to work with the same team, the same strategy and the same excuses,” Carville said in an open letter to Obama posted on “It’s time to show them the exit. Wake up -- show us you are doing something.”

Carville, who has advised the presidential campaigns of Bill and Hilary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry, hasn’t been bashful about criticizing the Obama White House.  But his latest prescription -- “panic!” -- ups the ante just a little bit more.

Obama needs to take a page from the playbooks of Clinton and Reagan, who both revitalized their political standing at points during their presidencies by shuffling their staffs and throwing some members out the door, Carville said.

But history also offers examples of presidential purges gone awry.

Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer said Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both deeply undermined their credibility to govern after making similar moves.

When Ford shook up his cabinet and rearranged his staff in 1975, “it backfired,” Zelizer said. “It looked like Ford was losing control and not gaining control.”

Four years later, Jimmy Carter’s “great purge” -- ousting 34 cabinet members and staff aides -- met a similar fate.

“It looked like he was out of control and didn’t know what he was doing, as it were,” Zelizer said.

“I think it’s very hard to play out politically what’s the public going to think of a shake-up. So I don’t know if Carville is right about the political consequences,” he said.

One potential concern for Obama could be that cleaning house would publicly confirm that something is wrong with his approach on the economy -- an admission neither he nor his aides have been willing to make.

Obama has devoutly affirmed his policy, while asking for patience -- and an end to partisanship -- to see it through.

“We are going through extraordinary times,” Obama told a crowd of donors at a private Washington, D.C., fundraiser Thursday night. “Historically, after financial recessions, it is a challenge and a struggle.  And over the last two and a half years what we’ve been able to do is stabilize an economy, but at a level where unemployment remains way too high.”

That fact won’t disappear soon, staff shake-up or not. And it’s something many Democrats point to in suggesting Obama’s strategy has got to change.

“I think it’s up to the president right now … to make clear what he stated the other day -- that he’s going to get up and think about jobs, [that] there’s a sense of urgency and commitment,” said Andy Stern, the former president of Service Employees International Union, “and he’s not going to just sit around and referee, you know, disagreement between the two political parties.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


James Carville: White House ‘Out of Bounds’ for Scheduling Speech During GOP Debate

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Democratic strategist James Carville says the White House was in the wrong when it requested that the president address Congress on the same night and time as a Republican presidential debate.

"I do think this is a really big debate and I think the White House was out of trying to schedule a speech during a debate," Carville told George Stephanopoulos Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

This will be Gov. Rick Perry’s first debate and, as Carville said Thursday morning, the stakes are high.

"Given a choice between watching a debate and the speech I would have watched the debate and I’m not even a Republican or even close to being a Republican," he said, adding that it will be a "barn burner."

The administration agreed to move the speech to Thursday, possibly competing with the kick off of the NFL season instead. The White House has been touting this jobs plan telling ABC News that President Obama will propose tax relief, infrastructure investment and assistance for the long term unemployed.

Obama has received advice from both sides with some arguing for an ambitious proposal and others recommending finding middle ground.

Carville, an ABC News consultant, told Stephanopoulos it doesn’t matter what Obama proposes: it won’t get through Congress.

“Just go out and just document it, it’s not so much that the speech is important George, it’s the follow up after the speech,” he said. "And this is going to have to be what they are going to run the 2012 campaign on...this Congress is not going to pass anything that the president proposes, that is pretty clear.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio