WASHINGTON (CNN) – One of Washington’s most prominent political couples weighed in Sunday on the latest sexual scandal to dominate political headlines.
James Carville, a Democratic strategist, and Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist, gave their unique takes on the situation of South Carolina’s embattled Republican Gov. Mark Sanford.
After days when his whereabouts were unknown and during which he was apparently unreachable by both his staff and his wife, Sanford held an emotioal and sometimes rambling press conference last week. Before local and national media, the governor admitted to carrying on an affair with a woman in Argentina, where Sanford had been AWOL for several days prior to the presser.
“I actually thought that his press conference was very, sort of compelling television,” Carville said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. The Democrat also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he hoped Sanford would not have to resign because of the scandal.
The Democratic strategist added that Democrats should not view the scandal as an opportunity to attack Sanford or the GOP.
“I have no idea, but, if I had to guess, there’s going to be some Democrats that are going to get entangled in this kind of stuff because there always is people,” Carville, a longtime ally of former President Bill Clinton, said.
That said, Carville threw down the gauntlet with Republicans in anticipation of the 2010 and 2012 elections.
“If they go back to this what-do-we-tell-the-children, family values stuff, I’ll lead the attack on them,” the Democrat said. “If they just leave it alone, and say, ‘you know, we’re all human beings, we’re all capable of falling, let’s concentrate on policy,’ then that’s fine. Let’s move on to the next thing.”
Carville’s wife said Gov. Sanford should be focused on the personal rather than the political aspects of his situation – particularly the potential impact on the Sanfords’ four young sons.
“He has to make those four boys understand that this God awful betrayal has nothing to do with them,” Matalin said. “That he loves them and he needs to pray that they will forgive him. That’s his number one job.”
The latest scandal also seemed to touch the strategists’ own marriage in a tangential way.
“I make that trip to Argentina all the time,” Carville told King.
“For business, for business,” Matalin quickly interrupted. “Let’s make this clear.”
“Yes, I’m sorry. For business, for business. Absolutely,” Carville said as King chuckled.
“But, I’ll be coming with you on these business trips now,” Matalin said.
“Well, you’ve been with me before,” Carville responded.
Updated: 8:02 p.m.