MYRTLE BEACH — One of America’s most famous political couples brought their thoughts on the current election cycle, along with some playful banter, to Myrtle Beach Wednesday night.
Democratic consultant James Carville and his wife, Republican Mary Matalin, warmed up the crowd of more than 300 at Myrtle Beach High School before the debate featuring 7th Congressional District candidates Tom Rice and Gloria Bromell-Tinubu.
Carville, his heavy Louisiana drawl on full display, opened with a joke on the audience by holding up a folder displaying an “LSU Alumni” sticker.
A few days removed from the LSU Tigers defeating the S.C. Gamecocks in a tense football matchup, Carville’s prank elicited some applause, as well as a lot of playful groans.
From there, the couple talked with moderator Charles Bierbauer about the first two presidential debates between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Matalin said her takeaway from Tuesday’s second matchup between the two was that Obama came out to play following what some critics claimed was a lackluster performance during the Oct. 3 debate.
She described the president’s demeanor as passive during the first debate, and more aggressive on Tuesday.
“It’s kind of like mood swings,” Matalin joked.
Carville said his impression of the debates was that Obama didn’t want to be there for the first one.
“He didn’t give me that impression last night (Tuesday),” he said.
Matalin feels the debates have been a success for Romney because it’s allowed him to display his confidence.
“I think this is a race that rewards good moves, punishes bad moves,” Carville said.
The two brought local politics front and center by offering their two cents on the race between GOP Rice and Democrat Tinubu to represent the newly created 7th District.
Matalin voiced her support for fellow party member Rice, but applauded both candidates’ families for their sacrifice during the campaign.
“This state produces some of the best political operatives,” she said.
Carville said he had a chance to meet Tinubu, calling her a “terrific woman” and causing a portion of the crowd to break out into applause.
“They’ll have a good discussion,” Carville said about her and Rice’s upcoming debate.
On the election season in general, Carville mocked the notion that it’s one of the dirtiest campaigns of all time, and that Nov. 6 would be a turning point in the country’s history.
“Have you ever seen one that wasn’t the most negative you’ve ever seen, or one that wasn’t the most important you’ve ever seen?” Carville said to Bierbauer.
Matalin said the country needs to find some type of debt reform, or it’ll find itself at a tipping point.
“We are a resilient country. We’ve been through worse. But we are at a crossroads,” she said.
But it wasn’t all political talk.
The two took a few opportunities to remind the audience they’re a loving couple whose differing political ideologies add an extra spark to their relationship.
“Isn’t she a knockout?” Carville asked the audience.
He then showed an article featuring Matalin that appears in the recent issue of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, “O.”
“He has good taste in women,” Matalin said.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.