August 25th, 2008
11:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Carville: Dems wasting first night

Carville says the Democrats are hiding the party's message.
Carville says the Democrats are hiding the party's message.

(CNN) - Have the Democrats wasted the first night of the convention?

Yes, says Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor James Carville.

Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night - the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.

"The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal - Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech," Carville said. "But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."

"You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush - I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy - I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville also says. "Maybe we are going to look better Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But right now, we're playing hide the message."

Carville also said the party needs to do a better job of communicating its message to the American people.

“If this party has a message it's done a hell of a job hiding it tonight, I promise you that," he said.

soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Beverly Richard

    The night was not wasted!!!!! I wasn't sure about voting for
    Obama but now I am sure!!! I felt we were pumped up by
    Kennedy and Michele. Also the others, you could see excitement
    and felt it. I am just an average American, not a news person,
    but a retired teacher who is now t eaching refugees
    coming in our country. I think our country willl be a much better
    place with Obama at the helm.

    August 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. OPO

    Take a deep breath and relax! Tonight was the first night and Jesse Jackson, Jr., Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama all gave great speechs. We still have 3 days to hit the Republicans hard. Just make sure your boy Bill Clinton and your girl Hillary do their part over the next two days. Thanks.

    August 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. Tom Wash

    The commentators completely missed the point of tonight's theme at the DNC. Speaking as a midwest democrat, I was greatlly moved by Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama creating a vision for the future. Vicious attacks on the Republicans would have been highly disrespectful of Senator Kennedy and Michelle Obama. I expect to get to the issues tomorrow night.

    August 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  4. RBS

    Of course Carville knows the GOP will come out nasty.

    Carville and his wife Mary Matalin - Cheney's advisor - are the king and queen of nasty. They've made an industry of playing both sides, so that no matter which party takes the White House, they win - and political discourse in America loses.

    August 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. muffy

    Absolutely not, they did not waste tonight. Michelle Obama's Speech was eloquent and priceless, the daughters any mother could adore, pretty and bright.

    We are not the Repugs and don't want to start off our convention with hateful comments as they will do.

    I feel so wonderful after the wonderful first night of our darling Obama's convention. I am a 75 year old white woman who has adored him for 4 years.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  6. John

    Very boring and no zip.Ya gotta wonder why are we here?

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  7. Kevin - Jonesboro, GA

    The only thing wasted tonight is anytime spent listening to Carville!!! That is exactly the reason why I watched C-Span instead of CNN so that I could hear the convention without unnecessary dribble!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  8. Michael

    Also, I learned plenty that I didn't know about Michelle Obama. I learned about her family and her work experience and in general, I learned about her values. I've also learned that some folks won't be happy with anything the democrats do. I've learned that some folks don't understand what a civil presidential campaign looks like and it frightens them so they act like poor sports : (

    And I don't understand why folks like Carville are so blood-thirsty. Same old media, same old politics. You folks aren't happy unless our candidates are tearing into each other. In the context of Obama's historic campaign, I would say that folks like Carville have missed the forest for the trees.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  9. Jena

    This speech was very impressive and made me feel a way I haven't felt in a while.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  10. Nik Kripalani

    Don't worry I am sure that when the Republican Convention comes, Democrats are not going to be very happy. I am a proud and Loud Democrat, The Speech was great at the Beginning and End.

    James Carville youre the one that is too soft, I don't know why you couldn't you be a speaker on Thrusday at Invesco Field? If it was up to me, I would do it by skype and Yell at the Democrats what happened to the fire power? I would fire up the Democrat bloggers!

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. A2Dem

    Sorry James, you're off the track, once again. Everything you didn't hear, I heard. Where were you??

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  12. Quinn

    Maybe if CNN actually covered the convention and folks like Nancy Pelosi and Clare McCaskill, people would've heard the message loud and clear.

    Gergen and Carville are obviously too busy listening to each other's gums flap.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. Chikk On Lit - 30 yrs old - Chicago

    I thought it was AWESOME!!! and I did hear talk about gas prices, forclosures, hurricane katrina ect. Maybe if CNN would have waited/listened to everything instead of trying to be the first network with something negative to say, they would have witnessed this too.

    I thought it was a great first night and Michelle Obama was nothing short of what I expected. She's great and very smart......

    P.S. I also think it's aweful to encourage people to be negative. We (Dems) do not need negativity to win. We have already won.

    Peace

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. Erfan

    Thank you Carville for your valuable tips on how to run an election.
    Were these the same tips you gave Hillary during her election?

    Didn't seem to work too well her for buddy.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. Tracy

    MSNBC knows what's what. I think CNN doesn't anymore.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. VOICE OF REASON

    THEY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT ISSUES PERTAINING TO THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. THEIR TOKEN CANDIDATE MUST WIN. ITS ABOUT THE KENNEDY'S AND SUCH ELITISTS WHO WANT THIS STORY BOOK CANDIDATE. HAD TO MAKE THE MICHELLE OBAMA PILL EASIER TO SWALLOW. HAD TO HAVE A DREAM OF SOME SORT AND LOVE HER COUNTRY TOO. WHAT ABOUT THOSE OF US WHO WERE TOO BUSY WITH THIS CRASHED ECONOMY TO CARE WHICH MILLIONARE IS PRESIDENT. WHAT ABOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO WILL WAKE UP TOMORROW AND FIND THEIR JOB IN CHINA. WHAT ABOUT FEAR FUEL AND FOOD WILL ONLY GET HIGHER. TELL ME AGAIN HOW MANY MILLIONS OF PUBLIC TAX DOLLARS PAID FOR THIS IDIOTIC RAIN DANCE. THE DNC IS LIKE OPEC. DIDNT KNOW THERE WAS A SHORT SUPPLY OF OPPORTUNISTS. NO WONDER THE PARTY COST SO MUCH.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. Gayle Pelkey

    Absolutely wrong, the DNC team got it right tonight! Why is the media pushing so hard for the negative campaigning. We get enough of that and it is coming don't worry. They came out tonight and introduced the Obamas to the common American family and showed how their values are our values. A great opening, meet the Obamas, the fight is coming. Settle down media, you'll have the fireworks to cover soon enough. IT WAS VERY REFRESHING!

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  18. KATHLEEN

    No, they are not wasting the first night. It got real good with Ted
    Kennedy, Caroline, Craig R. Michelle. Michelle was the highlight.
    Beautiful woman, she shined. When CNN cast the cameras around
    the room, the women were in awe and some were crying and the
    rest were in full attention mode. Michelle was brilliant.
    And can I say, I think Biden is a great looking man for his age.
    He's a handsome man.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. Richard Mckee

    How can anyone even think of voting for a person with only three years of national political experience? It's like running to the mail room, and appointing the mail clerk CEO. Give me a break! I'm voting McCain.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Lynn E

    I think this Democratic Party has cooked its own goose. They plainly stated that if you aren't an Obama fan, you are not getting anything out of this party. Not only are these people not running for the government of everyone in the United States, they aren't even running for the the entire party. How many people are going to have to leave to make room for – it's Obama's party now! Republicans are evil according to their statements so why would they vote for Obama? People who supported HIllary Clinton are babies or shrill, so why would they want to vote for Obama and the Democrats. The party of unity has alienated everyone except their most ardent fans.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. shawn ratcliffe

    Please stop! It's a show, not unlike the one that you are on. The Dems will deliver their platform in a way that suits them and the times that we live in. At this point, you are treating this political race like a NASCAR event, looking for the crashes and ignoring the race. The GOP is and has always been the bashing party. It's in their nature. I know many GOP folks that wish in their heart of hearts that they hadn't voted for the current Bush. But soon, that will be in the past. How long can you beat a dead horse?

    So. I ask you. Can you please take a moment and back up and just let this unfold without putting the 'take off the gloves' spin? Please!

    Go Barack!
    Go Cubs!

    August 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  22. Sean

    You are unbelievable CNN!
    You didn't actually cover this convention. I had to watch CSpan to see what was going on. You didn't show most of the speeches or the videos (although you showed more than the other nets)
    SO of course it was a wasted night; it wasn't actually shown!
    You spent the whole day looking for controversy that didn't exist.
    How about shutting up and let the American viewers watch the convention?
    Idiots! Of course when your analyist are all Clinton lovers (Begala, Carville, Gergon, Rosen) that's the best you can do.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  23. ALLAN USA

    No HRC - NO obama. PUMA>

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  24. Sue in MI

    I agree with the poster who asked about Cindy McCain's trip to Georgia. What is that about? Is she with Cheney? is Cheney going to be VP again? This does not bode well, folks. The repugs are up to no good, per usual.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  25. J0 - MO

    You idiots!!!!!! While Carville was carping and Blitzer was blathering about the Dem. convention not having a theme and not whacking the Bush and the Republicans for the mess they put us in, you completely ignored Sen. McCaskill's speech in which she did exactly that! We had to go to C-Span to be able to listen to it.

    And how about that Michelle?!? She totally wowed the convention and connected with the television viewers. Think maybe she should be running instead of Barack – but I'll still vote for him.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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