August 25th, 2008
11:45 PM ET
14 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. BK

    Yes it was a wast of time. Michelle- Leona Hemsley Jr. [Queen of Mean]. That is not her, just like Obama, scripted. She hates Hillary. Remember when she said. 'If you can't clean up your own house how do you expect to clean up the White House?' With such hatred. She threw the first punch at the beginning of the primarys. What a fraud, just like Obama.

    August 25, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  2. Phil Rizzo

    I noted that James Carville is moving to New Orleans, It's to bad he doesnt just keep going south while he's at it. They could [robably use his negativity in Cuba or Dominican republic, etc.

    August 25, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  3. bill m

    Carville is wasting air. They dont need to go hostile the very first nite, relax!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. Evelyn

    I guess he didn't hear the same speeches I did. I know Nancy Pelosi said McCain was wrong at least 8 times on each of the issues he said weren't mentioned. I thought the speeches were a perfect way to open the convention. I also agree that we need to drive home the attacks over the next two nights. I was suitably impressed. I am not sure I've ever heard Carville be positive about much. He needs a happy pill.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. martie

    I disagree with Carville, we had to do several things tonight, Michelle had to show very clearly who she was and show us Obama through her eyes, tonight was also about beginning to bring the Hillary supporters together, by the time the night ended there was not one dry eye. We needed this tonight, Carville, we needed it! Now, now we can move forward!

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  6. Jessica

    Well, luckily we don't do everything the republicans do Carville. I like that we didn't go in attacking. Why is it so wrong to not go negative immediately and to have a positive first night instead. I mean this was mostly Kennedy and Michelle, what did you want them to do, start trashing McCain when one is really sick and the other is supposed to be the first lady? That would be kind of weird and totally off message. And the message anyway, is supposed to be about hope not about attacking McCain.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. Jim Wolff

    I've been watching National conventions since 1952 and this evenings events have been the most boring ever. No wonder the Networks quit gavel to gavel coverage.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    Why would anyone care what Carville has to say? How about getting some democrats to comment on the convention?

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. MikeH

    Maybe you're right James, or maybe its best to save the main message for last, so that people remember.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  10. HFS

    oh shush Carville. There was enough McCain critique and it will continue, but we Democrats are not attack dogs continually like the Republicans. Just wait for Joe to set the record straight. He will do it strong enough.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. Mr C

    This is what a convention first night should be!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. Adam, Colorado

    The Democrats have so much ammunition to unleash on the Republican party. It's almost too easy for them, but alas they didn't pull out the big guns. Maybe tomorrow I hope.


    August 25, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  13. Bert

    We heard Michelle Obama,

    Comes now, Cindy Mc Who?

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. ginger

    Don't worry James it's coming.

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  15. Keith

    What do you know Carville?

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Carville and Jeff Toobin need to get a grip. Republicans are better at negative crap and lies and that's what makes Democrats better than them. Unlike the white man McCain and his geriatric Barbie Doll, Obama has to take two steps for every one McCain takes because this is a country where a white man doesn't have to define himself or get called on his gaffes whereas Obama is over-analyzed to the point of media stalking.
    This first night was a "get to know Obama and his family" nite so that potential voters can decide for themselves whether they liked what they saw or not. With their minds set by tonite, nothing McCain says or does will change their minds. They are NOT here to make the ratings for CNN or it's pundits. The Convention will handle its bidness starting tomorrow nite.

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

    I was very upset with the comments made after Michelle Obama's speech regarding the fact that the first night of the convention was wasted due to the fact that no one was negative toward the Republicans. Seems that reporters love the negativity that has so ruined our political process. We are all Americans!

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Allen O.

    However mild the convention may seem to be, it does seem to go along with the theme of cutting out partisan bickering by just not addressing the other party. Though negative campaigning definitely works, if the American people want us to stop fighting then we have to stop biting at people...

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. swalker3237

    Carville is a joke - he looks like one of the characters on "I am Legend" - give me a break!!

    August 25, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  20. Stone Mtn, GA

    I don't think the convention has to "remind" us about the near recession, War in Iraq, etc. We know...believe me, we know!

    August 25, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  21. Bob Stephens


    Weren't you an adviser for Hillary during the primary?

    August 25, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  22. Linda

    I don't feel that the evening was wasted at all. Why does the media feel that the only way to people is through negativity and bashing of others. Frankly, I am quite sick of hearing that. Tonight was very refreshing and interesting. The only thing that spoiled it was the constant request by the media that they (the Democrats) bring out criticism of others.

    August 25, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  23. Teresa

    I too felt that there was no attack on Bush tonight, but maybe it is to be saved for Sen. Obama and Sen Biden to address, instead of showing one's hand on the first night.

    Democrats have 3 more nights to pull this off.

    August 25, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  24. Z

    No....They are playing hide the joker that thinks he can be president.

    McCain 2008/2012

    August 25, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  25. Adam

    Yup! Dems blew it! Wasted an entire night and put everyone to sleep after Ted spoke. Micheal missed her chance to relate. The best part of the Obama's portion of the evening was when his little girls kept interupting him, at least that was cute.

    August 25, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
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