NEWS

Washington Insiders Carville and Matalin Dissect the Presidential Campaign

By Stephanie Berrong

The battle of the sexes met the battle for the White House in Tuesday’s opening session as political gurus Mary Matalin and James Carville stepped to separate podiums. The husband-and-wife team, who epitomize the axiom “politics make strange bedfellows” with their famously divergent political persuasions, entertained seminar-goers with personal anecdotes and insights on the presidential campaign.   

“You are living in the midst of stunning political history!” exclaimed Carville, a Democratic strategist who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. In his signature Louisiana drawl, Carville pointed to the “breathtaking diversity in the field” of candidates and the robust television ratings for political events so far in the campaign. “You’ve never seen anything like that ever, ever, ever,” he said. “So much for the fact that Americans don’t care about politics.”

Matalin is well-known as a Republican campaign advisor who has served as counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney and directed President George Bush’s 1992 re-election campaign. She explained where Democratic nominee Barack Obama has gone wrong in recent weeks and what Republican candidate John McCain has done well. She said Obama should have spent more time unifying his base after a long, hard-fought primary battle with Hillary Clinton. McCain, on the other hand, started unifying his party immediately, Matalin said.

She called McCain’s surprise choice of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick “the big game changer,” but warned that “it’s not over. In the end, this is a 50/50 country,” Matalin said. “Each side knows what they have to do.”

Carville spoke about the election more generally than his wife, touching only briefly on the candidates. The strategist called Obama “a little prickly” and cited one of the 72-year-old McCain’s biggest weaknesses – his age. “McCain, he’s old, there’s no other way to put it,” Carville said, “and he gets confused.”

Both he and Matalin said the election likely would depend on something that hasn’t yet happened. “It is impossible to have four people running for major public office…with this kind of pressure, this kind of intensity, this kind of coverage, where they don’t say stupid things,” Carville said.

Matalin explained the unlikely union between herself and Carville saying they have separate TV-watching rooms. She alternated between loosing her sharp wit on her husband (“He has the attention span of a hummingbird,” she said.) and calling him “brilliant.” Carville, clearly enjoying the healthy repartee, entertained the audience with his own anecdotes from their personal lives.

Security professionals who recently earned the Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Professional Certified Investigator (PCI), and Physical Security Professional (PSP) designations were also recognized during the session. Darryl R. Branham, vice president of the ASIS Professional Certification Board, also honored Robin C. Brown and Per A. Lundkvist who are board certified in all three designations.

Caterpillar Global Security and Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. received Special Recognition Awards, which salutes individuals and organizations that play an instrumental role in the promotion and advancement of the society’s certification programs. Michael E. Buckley, CPP, for Caterpillar and Rocco L. DeFelice, CPP, for Securitas accepted the awards.

The ASIS Organizational Award of Merit was presented to COL Keith C. Blowe, CPP, Command Provost Marshal, U.S. Army and to Marilyn W. Hollier, CPP, the director of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers’ Security Services Dept. for supporting the improvement of skills for security professionals through industry-standard credentialing.

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