By Desirée Taylor
Two of the country’s best known political analysts, Mary Matalin and her husband James Carville, led a forum last night hosted by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. For Carville, a Democrat who has led a host of successful political campaigns including former President Bill Clinton, New Jersey is where he had a stunning defeat when former Gov. Jim Florio lost his reelection bid in 1993. For Matalin, a Republican, New Jersey is a state with a leader she believes has a bright political future. However, she doesn’t think Chris Christie will get the chance to run for president in 2016.
“I think what his attraction will be, not in 2016 because we’re not going to lose and Mitt Romney will have two terms, is that he will continue to be a thought leader and a policy leader,” said Matalin.
Carville thinks Romney will lose and leave the door open for Christie to run for president in 2016. However, he was critical of Christie’s speech at the Republican National Convention. “He talked a lot about Chris Christie,” said Carville. “He’ll have to answer that when he runs.”
Both Carville and Matalin acknowledged President Barack Obama is leading in the polls. But with the economy still struggling to rebound, Matalin asked the audience of business leaders, “1.3 percent growth … does that excite you to expand your business? No.”
Carvillle had a different opinion. “I think by and large the president’s policy is sound,” he said.
Carville, who also helped U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg get reelected in 1998, said he has fond memories of New Jersey. But he added, “This is a confusing place.” For Matalin, it’s the people here that fascinate her. “They kind of get right in your face and tell you what they think,” she said.
Despite their partisan differences, the couple has been married 18 years and they’re living proof opposites attract.