Ivy Leaf - Spring 2010
Penn State Altoona Speaker Series
Thursday, October 21, 2010
James Carville is one of America's best-known political consultants. His long list of electoral successes evidences a knack for steering overlooked campaigns to unexpected landslide victories and for remaking political underdogs into upset winners.
Carville's winning streak began in 1986 when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey in Pennsylvania. A loser in three previous attempts and dubbed the "Three-Time-Loss from Holy Cross" by the media, Casey defeated popular Lieutenant Governor William Scranton, Jr., in a remarkable come-from-behind win. In 1987, Carville helped Wallace Wilkinson, who commanded less than 1 percent of the vote in the early polls, win a hard-fought gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky.
The following year brought Carville to New Jersey where he guided Frank Lautenberg's campaign for U.S. Senate to victory, defeating Rhodes Scholar and Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins. Carville next managed the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Georgia's Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller, including a tough primary win over Atlanta mayor Andrew Young.
In 1991, Carville—who had already become prominent in political circles—drew national attention when he led Senator Harris Wofford from forty points behind in the polls to an upset landslide victory over former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. With the startling and unpredicted Wofford win, Carville exposed the political vulnerability of George Bush and guided William Jefferson Clinton to the Presidency in 1992. In 1993, Carville was honored as Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his leadership of Clinton's fearsome and intense "War Room" at campaign headquarters in Little Rock.
After the Clinton victory, Carville began to focus on foreign consulting. Since that time, Carville's political clients have included the following: Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis; Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Honduran Prime Minister Carlos Flores; President Jamil Mahuad of Ecuador; the Liberal Party of Canada; Sao Paolo Mayor Celso Pitta; Argentine Economic Minister Domingo Cavallo; Francisco Labastida of Mexico; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday; Hipolito Meija of the Dominican Republic; and many others spread across the globe. In 1999, Carville led Ehud Barak to victory in his campaign to become the Prime Minister of Israel.
Proceeds from the Speaker Series benefit the Penn State Altoona Future Fund.