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Paul Bugala

Paul Begala, 2005
Born Paul Edward Begala
May 12, 1961 (1961-05-12) (age 48)
New Jersey
Nationality American
Education University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Political consultant, Political commentator
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Diane Friday

Paul Edward Begala[1] (born May 12, 1961) is a Democratic political consultant, a political commentator, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton. He gained national prominence as half of the political consulting team Carville and Begala. Until June 2005, Begala was a co-host of CNN's political debate program, Crossfire. He is Research Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Georgia School of Law as a Sanders Political Leadership Scholar.


Personal life and education

Begala was born in New Jersey to a Hungarian American father and an Irish American mother.[2] He was raised in Missouri City, Texas, where his father was an oil-field equipment salesman.[3] Begala is married to Diane Friday, with whom he has four sons.[4] He is a practicing Catholic.[2]

Begala graduated from John Foster Dulles High School (Sugar Land, Texas)in 1979. He earned both his B.A. and Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught briefly before going to work for Bill Clinton. 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". Following his loss, Begala wrote a tongue-in-cheek 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.[5]

Political career

Begala, along with business partner James Carville, helped then-governor of Arkansas Clinton win the 1992 presidential election. After working on Clinton's campaign, Begala served as a consultant to the President. As an aide to the President, Begala helped defend the Clinton-Gore agenda and served as a public spokesperson.

Aside from the 1992 presidential election, Begala and Carville have had other well-known political victories which include the 1991 Senate victory of Harris Wofford, the 1988 re-election campaign of incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg, and the gubernatorial victories of Robert Casey in 1986 and Zell Miller in 1990.

Before becoming a co-host of Crossfire, Begala co-hosted a show, Equal Time, with Oliver North on MSNBC. He also was a contributor to John F. Kennedy Jr.'s political magazine George in the late 1990s.

As an author and co-author, Begala has written a handful of bestselling political books. His writings include: Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush; Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up; and It's Still the Economy Stupid. Begala still keeps on hand a pocket New Testament he received from Brother Jed in the 1970s.



He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. However, after she dropped out of the race, he became a strong backer of Barack Obama.

His latest book is Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain.

On January 12, 2008, Begala appeared on NPR's radio show Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me..., playing the game "Not My Job." He won by answering two out of three questions correctly.

On September 25, 2008, while appearing on CNN, Begala characterized George W. Bush as "a high-functioning moron."[6]

Begala was also a paid consultant to mortgage lender Freddie Mac, an arrangement that ended in September 2008.[7]


  • Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000 ISBN 0-7432-1478-1.
  • It's Still the Economy, Stupid: George W. Bush, The GOP's CEO, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002 ISBN 0-7432-4647-0.
  • Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN 1439102139.

Co-authored with James Carville

  • Buck Up, Suck Up... and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002 ISBN 0-7432-2422-1.
  • Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006 ISBN 0-7432-7752-X.


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Paul Begala (born 12 May 1961) is a political consultant, commentator and was an advisor to President Bill Clinton.


  • I am actually pro-cursing. I think it's good. I think we should teach kids to curse, so they don't use drugs. It doesn't rot your brain. It doesn't get you pregnant. It doesn't kill you, like tobacco.
    • Source: CNN Crossfire, December 8, 2003.
  • 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.

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