Political heavyweights James Carville and Mary Matalin opened ASPPA’s 401(k) summit in New Orleans Sunday afternoon with a discussion of the Republican nominating process, the upcoming election and the national debt, among other topics. Although the session was punctuated with one-liners, something for which the couple is known, their comments were frank and at times stark, especially when discussing unemployment and healthcare.
ASPPA executive director and CEO Brian Graff (left), who moderated the session, opened by noting the Republican primary process resembled “the crippled Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.”
Republican Matalin responded that if Carville can be a political science professor after spending 11 years matriculating at Louisiana State University, then Mitt Romney can get elected.
“Large donors are worried about the nominating process in the wake of changes that were made in 2008,” she said. “They’re concerned about the brand and the potential damage done. But history shows that longer nominating processes are actually better for the candidate in the general election. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had long nominating processes, John Kerry and John McCain did not.”
Romney, she asserted, is picking up key constituencies and winning delegates.
Democrat Carville then took over, opening with a trademark joke that “you might be a redneck if you think a 401(k) is your mother-in-law’s bra size” in a nod to comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
GDP growth under Obama is less than the 3% traditional threshold for re-election, he explained.
“He’s a weak incumbent, but he’s going to win,” Carville said. “Romney is an even weaker frontrunner. He keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. He’s too awkward to do town hall style appearances, and his handlers have yanked him off of every network except Fox. And he can’t talk about his religion or his time as governor of Massachusetts.”