Carville, Myers, Others Reflect on War Room

By SteveK 

Sometime this morning, CNN contributor James Carville and ABC’s This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos will be talking on the phone, as they do every morning.

That piece of information, that Carville and Stephanopoulos still talk every day “between 6:15 and 7:45am,” is one of the revelations in the new documentary from DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, the team that brought “The War Room” to the screen 15 years ago.

Their upcoming film, “Return of the War Room,” looks back at the film that documented Gov. Bill Clinton becoming President. And from that ’92 team came many media figures today. In addition to Stephanopoulos and Carville, Paul Begala (CNN) and Dee Dee Myers (CBS) are now TV News talking heads.


At the film’s premiere at the Paley Center for Media on Monday night, Carville and Myers, as well as the filmmakers and others featured in the film, took part in a panel discussion of the political scene then and now.

A question was asked during the Q&A how Stephanopoulos could remain fair in his role as moderate of ABC’s This Week. Myers said the fact Republicans appear on the show every Sunday is proof enough. “They think he’s fair or they wouldn’t go on,” she said.

In “Return of the War Room,” the filmmakers talk with strategists from the other side of the political spectrum too — FNC contributor Frank Luntz, who worked on the ’92 Perot campaign, and Carville’s wife Mary Matalin, Bush Sr.’s (“Poppy” as she calls him) deputy campaign manager. Matalin’s zingers had the crowd in stitches. What did she think when her then-boyfriend Carville told her he was joining the Clinton campaign? “I really thought I was going to throw up,” she said.

Below, TVNewser talks to Carville about Obama-Clinton comparison, media bias and who may be the media stars who may emerge from these campaigns. And click continued to see which journalist Myers thinks is the “breakout star,” video of the scene at the premiere and more…

Dee Dee Myers is CBS News’ newest analyst, but she told TVNewser, “Chuck Todd is the breakout star of the media cycle.” Myers described Todd as “In the Tim Russert tradition.”

Myers also talked about the McCain campaign tactic of attacking the press. “The McCain campaign has made running against the mainstream media a strategic component of the campaign,” she said. “So far it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Back to the movie, Stephanopoulos described Carville as “born to run a presidential campaign in 1992.”

Another interesting note, looking back: Nightline was the place to be. The Ted Koppel-anchored program was the spot the Clinton campaign first noticed Mandy Grunwald, and was where Clinton went to refute material that seemed to show him as a draft dodger.

Also, looking back 15 years: Matalin describing a cool Clinton during the town hall debate by saying, “He puts Geraldo to shame.”

During the panel, Carville talked about the push for objectivity in today’s media. “The idea of an objective press is almost uniquely American,” said Carville. “Cable TV has come out now like the foreign press.”

“Return of the War Room,” premieres on Sundance Channel on October 13 at 9pmET/PT.