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|What does Carville know that the rest of us don't?|
James Carville is living the fat life these days.
Affectionately known as the granddaddy of Democratic political consultants, Carville and his wonderful wife, conservative strategist Mary Matalin, and their two children now call New Orleans home.
Besides dabbling as an instructor at that bastion of liberalism, Tulane, Carville is under contract to make appearances on CNN to talk about politics and current events. He recently made waves on CNN for criticizing President Obama's response to the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf. He got Obama's attention, to say the least.
Carville earns his keep, though, by flying all over the world to deliver speeches. His speech-making gigs pay him a significant six figure income every month. Not bad money if you can get it.
Never dressed in anything nicer than blue jeans, tennis shoes and a sport coat -- except when he makes an appearance on CNN -- Carville is known for long lunches with friends, old and new. It's a laid back, lucrative life. The fat life.
Though he's not known to be impressed with the Uptown New Orleans crowd, Carville lives amongst them. Go figure. Or who would have ever thought it?
What's a bit more difficult to figure out is how Carville decides when to come to the aid of Democratic candidates. It doesn't happen often, but when he lends a hand he does it because he believes the Democrat can win.
We saw it recently here in Louisiana when Carville penned a fundraising email for Congressman Charlie Melancon's campaign for the U.S. Senate. The email that arrived last week wasn't the first time Carville signed off on a fundraising plea for Melancon. It was the first time, however, that Carville's call to arms, so to speak, could point to some good news for Melancon and his fledgling efforts to unseat Sen. David Vitter.
The good news was the Cook Political Report's recent evaluation of the Senate race in Louisiana. Long considered a slam dunk for Vitter, Cook Political Report now describes the Senate race here as "competitive."
The nod from Cook was significant. At the very least, it was significant in political circles in light of Cook Political Report's reputation. Remember, Shreveport native Charlie Cook, who owns and publishes Cook Political Report, was the first handicapper to predict the Republican Revolution in 1994.
It's not certain why Cook now believes the Louisiana Senate race is in play. After all, Melancon's campaign and Vitter's campaign each have released polling results that vary greatly. The Melancon camp claims the race is a dead heat. Vitter's poll says he has a 20-point lead.
Who's telling the truth?
We'll learn the answer to that question in the coming days when noted pollster Verne Kennedy completes a thorough poll for former Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor, who is challenging Vitter in the Aug. 28 Republican primary election. Kennedy was instructed to shoot the poll "straight up," meaning Traylor and his consultant Roy Fletcher want to know exactly where Traylor stands. They also want to know who's being less than honest about their standing in the race-- Melancon or Vitter.
Where has Traylor been, you may ask?
He's been raising money for his campaign. He's having a good bit of success on that front in Acadiana, in Vitter's home parish of Jefferson and on the Northshore.
The money is a must for Traylor, whose campaign will begin airing television commercials on or about Monday, Aug. 9. Word is they're hard-hitting.
They'll need to be for Traylor to convince enough Republicans to pull his lever on election day later this month, forcing an October run-off. It's possible.
If Traylor pulled off the unthinkable and snatched the GOP nomination from Vitter, it would mark the biggest upset in the 2010 mid-term elections. By far.
Just a few weeks ago, we could say the same about Melancon's bid to unseat Vitter. That appears to have changed.
It changed enough for Carville to take a quick break from the fat life to lend a hand to a Democrat in need.
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