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Political commentator Paul Begala, senior presidential aide in the Clinton Administration, will speak on “Politics in the 2002 Congressional Election Season” 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Sponsored by the government and law department, the talk is free and open to the public. It is presented under the auspices of the Fred Morgan Kirby Program Fund. The Kirby family has been prominent in the life of Lafayette for nearly a century. Seven family members are alumni, four have served as trustees, and three received honorary doctorates from Lafayette.

Begala gained national prominence with partner James Carville as the lead political consulting team for the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992. A commentator for both NBC and MSNBC, Begala has joined Carville as the two alternating liberal co-hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire,” squaring off against conservative alternating co-hosts Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

According to the Washington Post, Begala’s service in the Clinton Administration was the inspiration for the character Josh Lyman on NBC’s West Wing. After leaving the White House, Begala co-hosted MSNBC’s political talk show “Equal Time” with Oliver North. He also helped the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. launch George magazine, for which he wrote a column called “Capital Hillbilly.” He has also written for Esquire, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Washington Monthly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He is a regular on shows such as the nationally syndicated radio program Imus in the Morning and TV shows Meet the Press, Crossfire and Today.

Carville helped direct the political strategy of Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, and Dominican Republic President Hipolito Mejia.

Begala also served as senior vice president of the communications strategy firm Public Strategies, Inc., where his clients included such industry leaders as Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, and the San Antonio Spurs.

Author of the best-selling Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush, and co-author with Carville of a new book on political strategy, Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up, Begala is a research professor of government and public policy at Georgetown University. He received his bachelor’s degree in government and his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was student body president. He has taught at the University of Texas, lectured at Oxford University, and participated in symposia at schools including Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia universities.

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