Carville Highlights Vilsack In Clinton Veepstakes

Long-time Clinton ally James Carville hinted during a keynote panel this morning that former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack could well be tabbed as the running mate of the presumptive Democratic nominee. Carville made his comments during the ASI Show Chicago, while joined on stage by his wife, former GOP strategist Mary Matalin.

Vilsack, who has decades-long ties to Hillary Clinton, has publicly credited her with helping him win the 1999 Iowa governorship. Vilsack has served as Agriculture Secretary since 2009. Until recently, he has been considered a dark-horse VP candidate, although he seemingly checks several boxes in Clinton’s search. Vilsack could help Clinton secure Iowa, which voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

When asked by a session attendee who Hillary Clinton would choose for the VP slot, Carville named Vilsack as a strong choice. He then said: “I don't know anything of course. I don't know that for sure.” Immediately, Matalin threw up her arms clearly implying to the crowd that her husband was downplaying his knowledge of the potential choice.

Of note, Carville did not mention another veepstakes front runner, Tim Kaine.

Carville spent the bulk of the session attempting to unwind the recent presidential primaries, arguing Trump's popularity was at least in part born out of his appeal to older white men. “If you’re a white guy that’s 55 years old without a college degree, let’s face it, you’ve probably had a pretty bad life. You’ve been clobbered financially. Now, Trump comes along and he blames your plight on stupid politicians and immigrants. He gives an explanation. Then, he cuts through the primaries like a hot knife through butter,” said Carville.

Later, Carville predicted Clinton would easily defeat Trump, saying “it's hard for a Democrat to lose a presidential race nowadays.” He hailed Clinton for her toughness, her steadiness and studious preparation. “When she was senator of New York, she knew more about dairy farmers than anybody except dairy farmers,” he said.

Matalin, meanwhile - now a Libertarian - panned Clinton, mockingly calling her “the H-Bomb.” She chided her “for being behind Trump in the polls of swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania and tied in Ohio,” while widely outspending the GOP nominee on ads. “I’m flummoxed by that,” she said. “Her worst negative is her practice of shady business in the public eye.”

Both Carville and Matalin greeted a handful of attendees following the session before walking the ASI trade show floor.