Duo joins impressive list of international and national figures to keynote Presidential Lecture Series

The 2012 Murray State University Presidential Lecture Series will feature a duo for the first time this year with political super-couple James Carville and Mary Matalin. Their lecture is aptly named All’s Fair in Love, War and Politics.

Their visit to Murray is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m., in Murray State’s Lovett Auditorium. The lecture is free and MSU students, faculty and staff, as well the general public are encouraged to attend.

Carville’s and Matalin’s political work is extensive, but they are perhaps best known to the public for what happened after they began dating in January 1991. The following December Matalin was named director of President George H. W. Bush’s 1992 re-election campaign, and Carville was chosen as chief strategist for the Clinton presidential campaign. The couple brought new meaning to the old saying that politics make strange bedfellows; they married in 1993, and have remained together in spite of their opposing political views.

Each is not only a champion of their party’s convictions but a leading voice in creating and advocating strategies and tactics, and each has become renowned for extraordinary intelligence and uncanny political perceptions.

James Carville was born and raised in Louisiana. The eldest of eight children, he was heavily influenced by his mother, a former school teacher, who sold encyclopedias door to door with him in tow.

Mary Matalin was born South Chicago and is the eldest of three children. Like her husband, she was also greatly influenced by her mother, who was a successful owner of a hair salon.

In 1980, after graduating from Western Illinois University, Mary went to work as a beautician, but at the request of a former professor joined a re-election campaign for Illinois Lt. Gov. David O’Neal.

She was so successful that she was shortly hired by the Republican National Committee and went to work in Washington, D.C.

By 1988, she had risen to chief of staff to Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater, described as an aggressive “no holds barred” practitioner of hardball politics. They became close friends, and when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, Mary increasingly took on his duties for the Republican Party.

She was hooked on campaign adrenaline, 20-hour workdays and non-stop troubleshooting in a chaotic world of constantly breaking news stories. During that same period James went to work for a political consulting firm and found an equal home he loved in the world of political campaign strategy.

By 1986, he had cemented his stature as a foremost strategist when he masterminded the “no-chance, come from behind” gubernatorial victory of Pennsylvania Democrat Robert Casey.

Like Mary, he too was hooked on the campaign rush, long workdays and, of course, non-stop troubleshooting in a chaotic world of constantly breaking news stories.

After their marriage, they continued with their divergent political careers.

In addition to serving as an assistant to President George W. Bush, Matalin served as counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. She was also a founding co-host of the Washington-based political show Equal Time and hosted CNN’s critically acclaimed TV debate show Crossfire.

Carville went on to manage more political campaigns worldwide than anyone else in U.S. history. He has also served as host on CNN’s Crossfire and can currently be seen on CNN as a political contributor, as can Matalin.

She is the author of the national bestseller Letters to My Daughters and currently serves as editor-at-large for Simon and Schuster’s conservative book imprint, Threshold Editions. Matalin also co-host’s a weekly radio show, Both Sides Now, with Arianna Huffington and Mark Green.

Carville has written six New York Times bestsellers. His most recent work, 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, can be found in bookstores.

Together, they wrote one of the nation’s best-selling political memoirs All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President.

They have two daughters, four dogs and three cats.

The Presidential Lecture Series is presented by the MSU president’s office, the MSU Foundation, Murray State’s Student Government Association and Racer Live Productions.

Former keynote speakers in Murray State’s prestigious Presidential Lecture Series include Ben Stein, Desmond Tutu, Richard Norton Smith, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Benazir Bhutto, Lech Walesa and F.W. deKlerk.

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