Paul Begala is a Democratic strategist who serves as a political contributor for CNN, appearing frequently on CNN’s The Situation Room as well as other programs on all CNN networks.
Begala was formerly co-host of Crossfire, CNN’s political debate program. Begala first entered the national political scene after the consulting firm he and fellow Democratic strategist James Carville started, Carville & Begala, helped President Bill Clinton get elected in 1992. Serving in the Clinton administration as counselor to the president, he was a close adviser to Clinton and helped define and defend the administration’s agenda, serving as a principal public spokesman.
After leaving the Clinton administration, Begala joined Georgetown University as a research professor of government and public policy. In 2007, he served as Carl E. Sanders Political Leadership Scholar at the University of Georgia School of Law. He is currently an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. Begala is not a paid political consultant for any politicians or candidates for office.
Carville & Begala’s other well-known electoral successes as a political strategist include the 1986 gubernatorial victory of Bob Casey Sr., in Pennsylvania, the 1991 Senate victory of Harris Wofford, also in Pennsylvania, the 1990 gubernatorial victory of Georgia’s Zell Miller and the 1998 re-election of Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. In 2006, he served as a senior strategist for U.S. Senate campaign of Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) who defeated Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
Begala is the author of several best-selling books, including Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush, and It’s Still the Economy, Stupid. He also co-authored the best-seller Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up with Carville, as well as Take it Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Third Term: Why George W. Bush Loves John McCain. Begala helped John F. Kennedy Jr. launch George magazine, where he served as a contributing editor and wrote the “Capital Hillbilly” column. He has also written articles and opinion pieces for numerous other publications.
Begala earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas, where he taught before his work at the White House.