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Paul Begala

Paul Begala

Overview
Paul Edward Begala is an American political consultant
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 and political commentator. He was an adviser to President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, which carried 33 states and made Clinton the first Democrat to win the White House in sixteen years. As counselor to the President in the Clinton White House, he coordinated policy, politics, and communications.

Along with James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

, Begala gained national prominence as the political consulting
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 team Carville and Begala.
Discussion
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.

Source: The New York Times, July 5, 1998, referring to executive orders.

What he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose.

Source: CNN, May 11, 2006, speaking of Howard Dean and the 50-State Strategy.

Will we lift our sights to meet his vision?

Source: CNN "Larry King Live", January 22, 2009, appearing with Dee Dee Meyers, on America's ability to support President Obama's ultimate success.
Encyclopedia
Paul Edward Begala is an American political consultant
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 and political commentator. He was an adviser to President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, which carried 33 states and made Clinton the first Democrat to win the White House in sixteen years. As counselor to the President in the Clinton White House, he coordinated policy, politics, and communications.

Along with James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

, Begala gained national prominence as the political consulting
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 team Carville and Begala. Until June 2005, Begala was a co-host of CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's political debate program Crossfire
Crossfire (TV series)
Crossfire was a current events debate television program that aired from 1982 to 2005 on CNN. Its format was designed to present and challenge the opinions of a politically liberal pundit and a conservative pundit.-Format:...

. He is Research Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 Public Policy Institute. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Georgia School of Law
University of Georgia School of Law
The University of Georgia School of Law is a graduate school of the University of Georgia. Founded in 1859 and located in Athens, Georgia, USA, Georgia Law was formerly known as the Lumpkin School of Law. The Law School is the second oldest of the University's schools and colleges. The University...

 as a Sanders Political Leadership Scholar.

Early life and education


He was born in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 to a Hungarian American
Hungarian American
Hungarian Americans Hungarian are American citizens of Hungarian descent. The constant influx of Hungarian immigrants was marked by several waves of sharp increase.-History:...

 father and an Irish American
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 mother. He was raised in Missouri City
Missouri City, Texas
Missouri City is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area. The city is mostly in Fort Bend County with a small portion within Harris County. As of the 2000 U.S...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, where his father was an oil-field equipment salesman. In 1979, Begala graduated from Dulles High School
Dulles High School (Sugar Land, Texas)
John Foster Dulles High School is a high school in Sugar Land, Texas. It was the first site purchase and new build, in the 1950s, of the newly formed Fort Bend Independent School District, which held its first graduation in 1960. The first class to graduate from Dulles itself was 1962...

 in Sugar Land, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Sugar Land is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area and Fort Bend County. Sugar Land is one of the most affluent and fastest-growing cities in Texas, having grown more than 158 percent in the last decade. In the time period of 2000–2007, Sugar Land also enjoyed a...

.

He earned both his Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 and Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 from the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, where he taught briefly. While at the University of Texas, Begala was a candidate for student government president. However, he finished second to a write-in campaign for Hank the Hallucination, a character from the campus comic strip Eyebeam
Eyebeam (comic)
Eyebeam was a daily comic strip written and illustrated by Sam Hurt at the University of Texas at Austin. Unlike most college strips, its popularity led to a print life past Hurt's graduation. The strip ran in the college's Daily Texan from 1980–1990, though primeval examples from 1978-1979...

. Following his loss, Begala wrote a tongue-in-cheek
Tongue-in-cheek
Tongue-in-cheek is a phrase used as a figure of speech to imply that a statement or other production is humorously intended and it should not be taken at face value. The facial expression typically indicates that one is joking or making a mental effort. In the past, it may also have indicated...

 complaint for the Daily Texan, arguing "I cannot help but feel Hank's platform is illusory at best... I must say that the candidate himself lacks substance." Begala was declared the human winner, following a ruling that imaginary characters could not hold the position.

Career


Begala, along with business partner James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

, helped then-Governor of Arkansas Clinton win the 1992 presidential election. Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. Clinton carried 33 states and became the first Democrat elected President since 1976. Begala served as a counselor to the President in the Clinton White House, where he coordinated policy, politics, and communications. Begala is a CNN political commentator and a research professor of public policy at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute.

Aside from the 1992 presidential election, Begala and Carville have had other well-known political victories including the 1991 Pennsylvania U.S. Senate victory of Harris Wofford
Harris Wofford
Harris Llewellyn Wofford served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1995 and as the fifth president of Bryn Mawr College, and is a noted advocate of national service and volunteering...

, the 1988 re-election campaign of incumbent New Jersey US Senator Frank Lautenberg
Frank Lautenberg
Frank Raleigh Lautenberg is the senior United States Senator from New Jersey and a member of the Democratic Party. Previously, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automatic Data Processing, Inc.-Early life, career, and family:...

, and the gubernatorial victories of Robert Casey
Robert P. Casey
Robert Patrick "Bob" Casey, Sr. was an American politician from Pennsylvania. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 42nd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995...

 in Pennsylvania in 1986, Wallace G. Wilkinson
Wallace G. Wilkinson
Wallace Glenn Wilkinson was an American businessman and politician from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. From 1987 to 1991, he served as the state's fifty-seventh governor. Wilkinson dropped out of college at the University of Kentucky in 1962 to attend to a book retail business he started...

 in Kentucky in 1987, and Zell Miller
Zell Miller
Zell Bryan Miller is an American politician from the US state of Georgia. A Democrat, Miller served as Lieutenant Governor from 1975 to 1991, 79th Governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, and as United States Senator from 2000 to 2005....

 in Georgia in 1990.

Before becoming a co-host of Crossfire, Begala co-hosted a show, Equal Time, with Oliver North
Oliver North
Oliver Laurence North is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, political commentator, host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel, a military historian, and a New York Times best-selling author....

 on MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

. He also was a contributor to John F. Kennedy Jr.'s political magazine George
George (magazine)
George was a glossy monthly magazine centered on the theme of politics-as-lifestyle co-founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Michael J. Berman with publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in New York City in September 1995...

in the late 1990s.

As an author and co-author, Begala has written five political books: Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush; Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up (with James Carville); It's Still the Economy Stupid; and "Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain. Begala still keeps on hand a pocket New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 he received from Brother Jed
Brother Jed
George Edward Smock , better known as Brother Jed, or Jed Smock, is an American evangelist whose ministry is concentrated on college campuses. In his autobiography, he states that he has preached at most major universities in all fifty states...

 in the 1970s.

He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential primaries. However, after she dropped out of the race, he became a backer of Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

.

On January 12, 2008, Begala appeared on NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

's radio show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is an hour-long weekly radio news panel game show produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio. It is distributed by NPR in the United States, internationally on NPR Worldwide and on the Internet via podcast, and typically broadcast on weekends by member...

, playing the game Not My Job. He won by answering two out of three questions correctly.

Begala was a consultant in the service of mortgage lender Freddie Mac, an arrangement that ended in September 2008.

Looking back at his career and the U.S. political scene, Begala has remarked that a "presidential campaign is like a film. It never comes together until it’s scored and tracked."

Criticism


Paul Begala has an over-the-top style of commentary that has led him to be parodied on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, where Begala has been a repeated guest, in an on-going skit of Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews is a talk show on MSNBC, broadcast weekdays at 5 and 7 PM hosted by Chris Matthews. It originally aired on now-defunct America's Talking and later CNBC. The current title was derived from a book Matthews wrote in 1988, Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who...

. Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Michael Sullivan is an English author, editor, political commentator and blogger. He describes himself as a political conservative. He has focused on American political life....

 also gives out a Begala Award for "extreme liberal hyperbole". Many conservative
American conservatism
Conservatism in the United States has played an important role in American politics since the 1950s. Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and...

 radio personalities including Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III is an American radio talk show host, conservative political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism. He hosts The Rush Limbaugh Show which is aired throughout the U.S. on Premiere Radio Networks and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United...

 have nicknamed Begala "the forehead", highlighting his receding hairline.

Also critically, he is considered (with James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

) to argue that Howard Dean
Howard Dean
Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician and physician from Vermont. He served six terms as the 79th Governor of Vermont and ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Although his U.S...

's 50-State Strategy was not effectively run, and a waste of money. While many grassroots Democrats disagreed, there is a similar belief among grassroots Democrats about the lack of success of Organizing for America
Organizing for America
Organizing for America is a community organizing project of the Democratic National Committee. Founded after the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, the group seeks to mobilize supporters in favor of Obama's legislative priorities.-History:...

 which is in many ways a better funded, better staffed and more effectively run version of Dean's 50-State Strategy.

Personal life


Begala and his wife, Diane Friday, have four sons. He is a practicing Roman Catholic.

External links


  • Paul Begala at the Huffington Post
  • Paul Begala at the group blog
    Blog
    A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

     TPMCafe