November 5, 2017 - 7:00 PM

Campaign ’92


by Joseph Murgida

A discussion with some of the top strategists of the 1992 Clinton campaign. Panelists examined the message and strategy that propelled Bill Clinton to the presidency, redefined the modern Democratic Party, and revolutionized the way modern political campaigns operate.

Panelists:

  • James Carville
  • Paul Begala, Senior Strategist, ’92 Clinton/Gore Campaign
  • Mandy Grunwald, Media Advisor and Director of Advertising, ’92 Clinton/Gore Campaign
  • Rodney Slater, Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Travel Advisor, ’92 Clinton/Gore Campaign
  • Mo Elleithee, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service (Moderator)

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At the first panel for GU Politics’ Clinton 25 symposium, Executive Director Mo Elleithee moderated a lively, light-hearted, and engaging discussion on the legacy of the 1992 Clinton Campaign. The 1992 Clinton Campaign’s Lead Strategist James Carville, Senior Strategist Paul Begala, Media Advisor and Director of Advertising Mandy Grunwald and Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Travel Advisor Rodney Slater participated in the panel and displayed the same chemistry they had shared during their days working on the campaign.

The four esteemed panelists were genuine and candid in their reflections on electing Bill Clinton. They were unanimous in their opinions that Clinton was one of the greatest politicians to ever live. Carville compared meeting Clinton for the first time to watching Babe Ruth play baseball for the first time – praising his firm grasp of communication skills and natural political instincts. Begala remembered how he told Carville the first time he met Clinton that he was far too good to be true. Slater also reflected on how he was most impressed by Clinton’s desire to find a third way – taking a moderate approach to campaigning and governance that was avoided by many similar political figures of the day. The panel’s devotion to Clinton twenty-five years after the campaign showed the undeniable dynamic and charismatic presence of Bill Clinton that set the tone for reflecting on his legacy.

All the panelists acknowledged that Georgetown was clearly a prominent part of Clinton’s development to become the presidential figure that they all admired so much. Elleithee, Begala, and Grunewald looked to Clinton’s New Covenant speeches at Georgetown as the foundation of his laying the vision for his presidency. Carville and Slater also looked at the values that were engrained into Clinton at Georgetown through his focus on the individual needs of students and his frequent repetition of Carroll Quigley’s lectures.

The impact of Georgetown on the life of Bill Clinton highlights how Georgetown was a key venue for the commemoration of Bill Clinton’s legacy. This event reminded all in attendance that Georgetown is a university where presidential values can be developed in a way that leaves a distinguishable impact on the world.

 

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