Matalin and Carville Trade Barbs Over Election at FPA Conference

Presentation punctuated with stats, humor from political power duo

James Carville and Mary Matalin at a Tulane commencement ceremony. (Photo: AP) James Carville and Mary Matalin at a Tulane commencement ceremony. (Photo: AP)

“I think he’s hot,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin said of her husband and fellow political player James Carville on Saturday at the FPA Experience 2012 in San Antonio.

Matalin was describing how the two work and live together despite being on opposite sides of the political aisle.

“We share faith and family, not politics. I’m right, he’s very wrong,” she added to laughter and applause from the audience.

She related the story of her involvement in the aftermath of then Vice President Dick Cheney’s famed hunting accident, in which he accidently shot a companion.

“I saw Hillary Clinton, or H-bomb as she’s referred to in our house, on TV calling for a Senate investigation into the shooting,” Matalin said. “I got on the phone to James and said no-way was that going to happen, and it didn’t, so that’s one way we work together.”

The reason for the particularly high emotions surrounding this year’s election is the “clash of ideas” which routinely happens at “pivot points” throughout history.

“Anyone who makes predictions about the outcome of this year’s race is either a fool or a liar,” she claimed. “In politics, perception is reality and perception is meant to drive the reality. Obama got a ‘dead-cat’ bounce after the convention, which was simply the result of the base getting focused finally since they didn’t have a primary fight.”

Despite some polls showing Obama with a commanding campaign lead, Matalin said the number is closer to three points in favor of the president.

“Obama is not surging, and Romney is not tanking,” she concluded.

Carville then took the podium, and bid welcome “to all the democrats in the audience, both of you.”

Referring to the recent controversy over the NFL’s use of replacement referee, he said everyone was glad to see them go except Congress, who was “happy to have someone around with lower approval ratings.”

He then countered Matalin by saying the polls showing Obama with a commanding lead are accurate, pointing to the website RealClearPolitics.com that averages the major polls.

“You have to take the average, just like in investing,” he said in a nod to the audience. “You don’t take one stock, you have an average of 30 the the Dow Jones Industrial Average or 500 for the S&P.”

Likening politics to the football game, he said the four quarters are the nomination to the convention, the convention, the post-convention to the debates and lastly the debates.

“We’re about to start the fourth quarter with Obama in the lead by about four points,” he explained. “Now if Romney’s only down by a little more than a field goal, you don’t turn off the TV and say it’s over, but something has to change and that will be difficult because so many people have already made up their minds.”

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