Exclusive - James Carville Extended Interview

June 13, 2016 - James Carville 06/13/2016 Views: 4,457

Democratic strategist James Carville weighs in on how presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton can unite her party and discusses the bipartisan convention Politicon. (6:42)

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My guest tonight isa Democratic strategist

and will be speakerand panelist at Politicon.

Please welcome James Carville.

(applause and cheering)

Yes. Yeah, hi.

-Welcome, sir.-Thank you. Thank you.

You know how we say itin Louisiana, "Oh, Trevah."

-Is that how they say it?-Oh, yeah. "Trevah."

-Trevah. Trevah.-Oh, hey, yeah. Yeah, Trevah.

I should start saying itlike that from now on.

-Trevah. It sounds good. -As wesay in South Africa, "James."

-James.-Uh... -(laughter)

Welcome to the show.Good to see you again.

Thank you, sir. Thank you.

Democratic strategist.

-Let's get straight into that.-All right.

How do you strategizeto go up against Donald Trump?

Because everything that you'dthink hurts Trump does not.

Yeah. I thinkit doesn't hurt him

within a significant portionof the Republican party,

but I think it hurts himvery much

with people who are not thatportion of the Republican party.

I think there's a sense thathe's getting away with this.

I don't think he is,and I don't think that he will.

Right now a lot of peoplewould argue, though,

that this seems like a race tothe bottom and not to the top.

-Oh... -Because Hillary Clintonand Donald Trump

have recordunfavorability numbers...

Well, well, sure, HillaryClinton's had the press on her,

Bernie Sanders attacking her,Trump attacking her.

I think nowthat the primary's over,

the party's starting to unify.

I think that you're gonna seeher ratings go up.

And I think she's been-- in herdefense, and I'm glad to do it--

has been very specific aboutthe things she wants to do,

laid out things.

She's not used anything closeto any irresponsible language.

And every other day,

sort of Trump comes outwith something like that.

But I am very confident

that what has worked for halfthe Republican party

is not gonna workfor the rest of America.

I really am. I think we'rea better country than that.

-I'm very confident of that.-Well, I'm glad.

-A lot of people don't shareyour optimism. -Right.

A lot of people say,"Donald Trump represents

the other half of the country."

-But that's not true, though.-No, no. His roughly...

He represents the other 42%of the country.

But, you know, right now,we're in a country

that you need 50 plus oneto win,

and 42 is a long wayfrom 50 plus one.

So, I don't think so.

I don't meanto be overly confident.

I don't mean to be cockyor anything like that,

but I don't think Donald Trumpcomes anywhere close

to representing a majorityof what American's feel.

I really don't.

(cheering, applause)

In terms of...in terms of the Democratic race,

-Right. -Bernie Sanders,still fighting on,

-Right. -gettinghis message out there,

and honestly,a message that is needed.

-Right.-The question is,

when it gets down to it,when it boils down to it...

is the rift betweenBernie Sanders supporters

and Hillary Clinton supporters

so large thatit cannot be unified?

-Well... -Is that somethingthat we'll see, or...

first of all, I thinkPresident Obama's helped a lot.

And I think sometimes when,you know, he...

You go through a lotin a campaign.

These are very,very emotional things

on the part of the candidate,the supporters, the-the staff,

and you... sometimes it takes...you got to... you got to unwind,

you got to come down,you got to de-leverage,

you got to dosomething like that,

and I think it's gonna takea period of time.

But I-I think that the party--look, will it totally unify?

No, it never does.But I think by and large

we're gonna have a unifiedDemocratic Party in-in November.

I would be really shockedif we don't.

It's gonna take some skill,it's gonna take some patience.

And so far Secretary Clintonhas demonstrated that,

I think the president's beenenormously beneficial,

and I think a lot of peoplearound Senator Sanders,

and Senator Sanders himselfis appalled by the prospect

-of Donald Trumpbeing president. -Yeah.

So, but you just,you can't rush these things.

It takes a little bit of a time,

and I thinkwe got to understand that.

As a strategist,you've worked for the Democrats

for a very long time, or withthe Democrats, I should say.

Uh, what would your strategy beto go up against Donald Trump?

The guy, nothing sticks to him.

Well, I think my strategywould be, no matter who...

I think peopleare watching Trump.

This is not happeningin a vacuum.

-People are seeingwhat Trump is doing. -Yeah.

I think the strategy should be--and I'm confident it will be--

that, you know,right now in America

it's an uneven playing field--some people have

a much better chanceto get ahead than other people.

I want to be a presidentthat sees that...

that by and large everybody...a chance in America...

has the same chance to succeed,

-Right. -and that's the kindof presidency I want to have.

Trump is doing his own thing.

I think if you respondto all of Trump's...

God knows what they are--like, he's... like accus...

-(laughter) -I mean,how do you fight a guy like...

The president, like, knew... youknow, had some reason to know

that this was gonna happen.

You-you can't,and once you start going down

to everything that Trump does,you can't get around it.

I think the parties,her Super PAC,

my friend Paul Begala,

the spot showing himmocking a disabled person--

I think that that's devastating.

I-I saw some stuffthat the campaigns put up,

and all you have to dowith Trump is,

you don't have tomake anything up,

you can just put himin his own words.

And I think thatthey're doing that.

I give 'em a lot of creditfor that, I really do.

You're gonna be talking aboutthis at Politicon as well.

-Right.-Uh... what is Politicon?

For people who hear aboutPoliticon, they go...

it sounds like Comic-Con,where people dress up

-like cartoon characters...-It-it does. A hefty...

So, basically, it's gonna bean event where people dress up

like Ted Cruz. Is that, like...that's what Politicon is?

They have these-these guysthat have this crazy idea--

if they put on, in essence,a political festival--

and, literally, a...God knows how many

different political peoplethey have.

I'm gonna be interviewingSarah Palin out there.

Uh... Absolutely, uh...Gary Johnson...

How do you...how do you do that?

How do you interview somebody

whose speech is made up of,like, alphabet soup?

How do you...Like, how do you...

Well, she doesn'thave complete sentences

and I don't speak English,

so I suspect we can communicatepretty good together.

(cheering, applause)

I'll tell you this-- it's gonnabe an exciting matchup.

Oh, i-it...Yeah, we gonna have a lot of...

we gonna have a lot of fun.Gary Johnson, uh, you know,

-the weed guy, the Libertarianguy. -Yes, yes, yes.

-He's gonna kick the thing off.-The weed guy.

-I love these descriptions.-And it's gonna be in Pasadena,

and-and these guys have...

they've done it,they got this crazy idea,

it's actually pretty successful.

It's, uh,all the big political names

and speakers from both partiesare gonna be there.

And so I, you know,it's gonna be a blast.

And then, the Thursday nightbefore I leave,

and we're going... part ofthe Washington DC comedy fest.

They're roasting meat the Kennedy Center.

-Oh, very nice.-Oh, yeah,

we're gonna havea good time there, too.

Uh, Bob Saget is gonnabe the chief roastmaster.

-Well, good luck to you.-So I think I'm in for

a rough time, I got Bob Sagetand Sarah Palin and got...

got Trevor Noah, how do you...

Life is good. How do youget any better than that?

Well, thank you very muchfor joining me here on the show.

-Thank you.-Thank you so much, James.

Have a good time. Politiconwill be held in Los Angeles

on June 25 and 26, and you canget tickets at politicon.com.

-James Carville, everybody.-Thank you.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)