Just days before the Arkansas Razorbacks’ big game against the LSU Tigers, James “The Ragin’ Cajun” Carville reared his head Monday night at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall for the Public Appearances series.
Musical strings played over the speakers as Carville’s introductory video popped up on the big screen. It featured various comedy sketches of people poking fun at him. The jokesters included George Clooney and Tom Hanks.
Carville greeted the crowd, reported to be around 700, with a smile. He said Conway should be called the “city of colleges.” Acknowledging the presence of the governor, Carville reminded everyone of the Friday “tussel in Baton Rouge.” Of course the Hogs and Tigers will battling for The Golden Boot.
Carville.67, opened by letting everyone know he has two daughters, one 16, the other 13. Recently, he said, his 16-year-old needed a ride to a literary festival in the New Orleans French Quarter. He was talking on his cell phone when he noticed he would probably be getting a ticket soon since he saw a police officer. He told his daughter not to tell on him. “I was scratching my ear with the phone,” he told her. When the officer finally pulled Carville over. He said his daughter spoke up. “Mom said never argue with daddy when he’s been drinking.”
Concerning the Republican candidates for president, Carville said his favorite one was the first one, Donald Trump. “His hair is worse than mine and I don’t have any.”
In addition to being a political strategist, CNN contributor, best-selling author, actor, producer, talk show/sports host, speaker and restaurateur, Carville is also a Professor of Practice at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Focusing on the students present, Carville urged them to get involved in politics and told them they can make a difference. “You can change things,” he said. “Follow your heart. It’s fun to do something that matters to peoples lives.” He said he was proud of his work in politics and that he “loves it.” “I even like politicians, “he said. “They dare to fail public.”
UCA received a big compliment from Carville. “It’s a first class education and one heck of a bargain in Central Arkansas,” he said.
Carville fielded questions on several topics, including the Occupy Wall Street movement. He said this movement and the Tea Party were bred out of a sense of frustration.
Two of the biggest issues facing America, according to Carville, are the rise of health care cost and the rising cost of education. The” struggle of the middle class” was also mentioned by Carville.
A gender historian asked Carville about the importance of gender in politics. He said today’s young people are more open and accepting of different types of people.
In response to a question about Bill Clinton’s real feelings when things got tough, Carville said Clinton had the “stamina of an athlete.” He compared him to the Timex commercial. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Clinton’s ability to “connect with people” was also noted by Carville.
Carville said the difficult situtation our country is going through with the economy and political gridlock will not last forever. “Will it get better next year? Three years? Five years? This is going to pass,” he said.
Carville lives in New Orleans with his wife Mary Matalin and his two daughters.
The next Public Appearances event is “Hoiday Celebration”with Pat Boone and The Central Arkansas Children’s Choir, December 12 at 2:00 p.m. For information: uca.edu/reynolds or call 501-450-3265.