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

Carville: Dems wasting first night

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Alex E.

    Carvillie, relax men Obama family needs to introduce thier self to the American people, you just cant start by going after Mcsame. Watch the next 3 days as they go off about Mcsame.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  2. Durelle Freeman

    At 59 and and raised in a conservative family, always voting Republican, I am tired of hearing the chest pounding I've heard from that party. I am glad that at least the Democrat's aren't mudslinging, and I am glad they are using "hope" and "change" messages – positive communication techniques.
    As far as not knowing who Barak Obama is, how many presidential candidates have we thought we've known, only to find out disappointing facts later.
    I believe the Democrats are doing it right, and I'm changing parties this year.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  3. David

    Carville must have been catching only those parts of the convention that were on when there were commercials on whatever else he was watching. The focus was on the personal, and there were efforts towards emphasizing the conviction that Americans have that Obama shares their values and cares more about ordinary Americans than his opponent, but at the same time there were numerous references to McCain, his similarity to Bush on failed policies, etc. If this became the primary focus, people would ask, "Why are the Democrats spending all of their time picking on McCain - do they have nothing to offer of their own?" I think that they are hitting all the right notes and connecting with voters.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  4. Carolyn Edwards

    It was a fabulous, inspirational night for the Democratics. Carville can try to throw cold water on it, but that is just ugly and unfair.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. Upon Further Review

    Some times I think Carville and his wife Mary are both, just plain crazy.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  6. JJC

    Sour grapes. As soon as his ex-bosses the Clintons come on tomorrow, Mr. Carville will suddenly see brilliance from the convention. How predictable.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. Tim, Seattle

    Carville...shut your mouth.
    This was all in the plan. Youre just upset its not your plan. 1 finger salute to you, pal

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. Marcia Schachter

    Really sick and tired of the second guessing and constant comments made this evening! The important speeches by Kennedy and Michelle Obama were fantastic–each set a tone for the future and told their own stories. No Democrat needed to hear any bashing of the miserable Bush years (we call the family Shrubs), his failed war, his despicable team of Rove & Cheney. We know how bad the past eight years have been for our country–we didn't need to hear it again this first evening so it was heartwarming to hear from those who spoke in such positive manners.

    The most annoying part of the evening was the endless chattering of your "REMARKABLE" political team. And it continues as I write this letter.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  9. Ron Pab,San Francisco

    you people are always blaming cnn as not fair but in fact they are
    playing fair politics.........

    you obama people are the cause of troubles not the hilliary faction
    coz hilliary should be the nominee in the first place.

    Dems are now divided........McCain is happy.

    No to Obama

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. Matt in FL

    Carville, I know you're not that much of an idiot. The Democrats, because of the prejudice that's permeated this election cycle and because of the hard-fought primary, have a unique necessity to re-introduce their candidate to America on a personal level and to reaffirm party unity. That's what was scheduled for tonight, and that's what they did. It was not wasted in the least. The rest of the nights are scheduled for policy issues and drawing contrasts between the parties, and that's what they will do. You already know that though. You're just being a disingenuous jerk. CNN should get rid of you.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Lourdes

    Carville represents the politics of old. That's why he has become irrelevant in today's political arena. I find his alliances and intentions questionable at best.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. CM

    Three more days to go and the heat will ramp up on the GOP. Hillary will take it to the next level tomorrow.

    Michelle did a great job re-introducing the country to Sen. Obama. I especially like the shout-out to Hillary.

    Start your negativity now Repubs/PUMA/justsayno whoever.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. ruth

    Who cares what Carvelle think, this is not bills convention. I don't know any event where we come out the box attacking except boxing. So CNN if there is no drama, create some with a Clinton supporter, his viewpoint is old and outdated. Maybe thats why hillary did'nt win they had Carvelle in their corner. I though tonight was very good afterall is was about unity and the Democrate party

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. Carolyn Dallas

    This is surreal. Bill Clinton and James Carville were heroes to me. What has happened to the party? Who are these people now? Is it ego? Is it over achievers who can't stand the loss? Could the Clintons and Carville please stop giving the Republican party fodder? Please? Cam we unify the party and back the Democratic nominee? I would like to see a Supreme Court with a few less moral-conservatives. I would like to see a President, House and Senate all from the same party...just this counteract the last 8 hellish years. Could the Democratic party leaders and strategists get over themselves for a second and back the elected nominee?

    August 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. maramara

    The did just right. They had to introduce themselves and what they stand for before bringing in MaBUSH.
    They did just that. They got my vote

    August 25, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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