Mary Matalin

Mary Matalin
This is about the political professional. For the actress, see Marlee Matlin.
Mary Matalin
Born Mary Joe Matalin
August 19, 1953 (1953-08-19) (age 58)
Calumet City, Illinois, United States
Residence New Orleans, Louisiana
Nationality American
Education Western Illinois University
Occupation Political consultant
Spouse James Carville

Mary Joe Matalin (born August 19, 1953) is an American political consultant, well known for her work with the Republican Party. She was an assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney until 2003. Matalin has been chief editor of Threshold Editions, a conservative publishing imprint at Simon & Schuster, since March 2005. She is married to Democratic political consultant James Carville. She appears in the award-winning documentary film Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story and also played herself, opposite her husband, James Carville, John Slattery, and Mary McCormack in the short lived, HBO series "K Street."


Early life

Matalin grew up in the Chicago suburb of Calumet City, Illinois, the daughter of Eileen, who ran beauty salons, and Steven Matalin, a steel mill worker.[1] Her paternal grandparents were Croatian immigrants and her mother was of Irish descent.[2][3] Matalin attended Thornton Fractional North High School and attended Western Illinois University for college and Hofstra University School of Law, where she was enrolled for one year before dropping out. She was homecoming queen her junior year of high school.[citation needed]


Matalin's first campaign was Illinois Lieutenant Governor Dave O'Neal's bid for the U.S. Senate in 1980, a race O'Neal lost to Alan Dixon.[citation needed] After O'Neal's loss, Matalin began her career with the Republican National Committee, where she would remain for nearly two decades as a key Republican strategist. Leaving briefly to attend Hofstra University School of Law, Matalin dropped out after just one year, and in 1984 returned to the RNC. She rose quickly, as an aide to Richard Bond and Chief of Staff to RNC co-Chairperson Betty Heitman in 1985. A year later, Matalin gained national notoriety when she joined the George H. W. Bush for President Campaign, working as both Deputy Political Director and Midwest Regional Political Director in the primaries. After the election, Matalin was appointed Chief of Staff to then RNC Chairman Lee Atwater. In that capacity, she would in effect run the RNC for nearly a year, as Atwater—his health declining due to an inoperable brain tumor—spent 170 days in the hospital between his diagnosis in early March 1990 and eventual death on March 29, 1991.[4]

In 1992, Matalin served as the deputy campaign manager for political operations on George Bush's reelection campaign. She oversaw operations in all 50 states in this role, and defended the Bush administration.[citation needed] Notably, she served in this role while dating her future husband, James Carville, who was chief strategist for the Clinton campaign.[citation needed]

Matalin was a host of CNN's Crossfire political debate show, and in 1993, she co-hosted Equal Time, which aired on the CNBC business television channel.[citation needed] Matalin was also the host of her own talk radio show in the 1990s, "The Mary Matalin Show", which was carried on the CBS Radio Network.[5]

Matalin, a colleague of Karl Rove, worked for Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House. She attended meetings of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), an internal White House task force convened in August 2002 (seven months before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq).[citation needed] WHIG was the group that presented to the US public of the threat of Saddam Hussein's violations of international law in his refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

Matalin resigned her responsibilities as of December 31, 2002.[6]

Matalin also appeared alongside her husband James Carville in HBO's 2003 television show K Street where she and her husband played versions of themselves as they lobbied real and fictional politicians. The show was directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh and featured a cast of fictional and real characters working in the political sphere.

In March 2005, Matalin was hired as chief editor of a new conservative publishing imprint, Threshold Editions, for CBS-owned Simon & Schuster.[7][8] On August 1, 2008, this division released The Obama Nation, written by Jerome Corsi who co-authored Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.[9]

In April 2006, she was appointed Treasurer of Virginia Republican Senator George Allen's re-election committee.[citation needed] She worked on the presidential campaign of Fred Thompson until January 2008, when Thompson dropped out of the race.[citation needed]

In 2008, Matalin joined the Board of Directors at The George Washington University's Cheney Cardiovascular Institute.[10]

Matalin appears in the 2008 award-winning documentary on Lee Atwater, Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story. Speaking about Lee, she says, "They had to kill the messenger because they couldn’t kill the message. They had to turn him into the Boogie Man. Satan incarnate.”[citation needed]

On April 26, 2009, Matalin returned to CNN as a political contributor, joining her husband, James Carville on a special "First 100 Days" edition of State of the Union with John King.[11][12]

Personal life

In October, 1993, she married James Carville, a political strategist for candidates of the Democratic Party. It is Matalin's third marriage, following a long relationship with Washington attorney Michael Carvin, and Carville's first.[citation needed] They were married in New Orleans. Matalin and Carville have two daughters, Matalin Mary "Matty" Carville and Emerson Normand "Emma" Carville.[citation needed] Both Matalin and Carville have gone on record saying that they do not talk politics at home.[citation needed] The best example of contention between the two, aside from appearances on talk shows, is the 1993 movie The War Room. In the 1992 political campaign, Matalin and Carville were staffing opposing campaigns. Matalin wrote the best-selling book All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President with Carville and co-author Peter Knobler. In April 2004, she published the book Letters to My Daughters.[citation needed] In 2008, Carville and Matalin — at the urging of Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University, where Carville now teaches — moved their family to New Orleans.[13] On April 26, 2009, the Times-Picayune carried a joint op-ed "Point of View" by Mary Matalin and James Carville on their reasons for settling in New Orleans.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "Undivided Loyalty" by Bill Hewitt, People, June 01, 1992, Vol. 37, No. 21
  2. ^ "All's fair in love & politics", Texas Banking, January 1, 2006
  3. ^ "From Political Rivals to Marital Partners". The New York Times. November 26, 1993. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ Brady, John Joseph. "Bad Boy: The Life and Politics of Lee Atwater." New York: Perseus, 1996.
  5. ^ Archive - Mary Matalin Show
  6. ^ Catherine Martin is Named Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs, Mary Matalin, Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President Resigns
  7. ^ [1] Threshold Editions
  8. ^ The Office of Mary Matalin
  9. ^ "New Swift Boat Book Tops Charts" Taegan Goddard's Political Wire 13 August 2008
  10. ^ "Board of Directors" Cheney Cardiovascular Institute, The George Washington University 14 June 2009
  11. ^ [ 1005396.aspx "CNN Adds Conservative Voice to Pundit Lineup"]. 1005396.aspx. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  12. ^ "Interview With Valerie Jarrett; Interviews With Senators Feinstein, Lieberman, Graham", CNN website (Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.: CNN), April 26, 2009,, retrieved November 11, 2009, "And joining us now from New Orleans, our newest CNN political contributor, Republican Mary Matalin, alongside our longtime contributor Democrat James Carville." 
  13. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (2008-03-27). "His Family Is Following the Ragin' Cajun Home". The Reliable Source (The Washington Post): pp. C03. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  Daniel Monteverde, Political odd couple takes stage at Tulane graduation, Times-Picayune, 2008 May 18 (accessed 2009 May 1).
  14. ^ Mary Matalin & James Carville, "Issues in mayoral election transcend race" in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 2009 April 26, Metro Edition, p. B5. In the print version Matalin's name comes first; in the web version, Carville's name is first. Accessed 2009 April 26.

External links

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