Political consultant James Carville and political pundit Ann Coulter drew a large crowd of students to the Loyola Marymount University Burns Recreation Center Thursday, January 19th, as headliners for the fourth annual First Amendment Week.
First Amendment Week, sponsored by the LMU student newspaper Los Angeles Loyolan, is designed to show the public that LMU students care about politics.
“Many people say that this is a politically apathetic campus,” said the newspaper’s editor in chief Stephen Murphy and managing editor Natalie Nordseth in a written statement. “They say LMU students don’t care about worldly issues. They don’t think that this university is ready to join the elites.”
More than 300 students listened to Carville and Coulter in the recreation center as a long line of students waited outside for their chance to get inside.
Carville, a Democrat, managed former president Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign.
Other clients have included British Prime Minister Tony Blair and more than 20 other political leaders.
He co-hosted CNN’s Crossfire and appeared in numerous movies, including The People vs. Larry Flynt, Old School, and Wedding Crashers.
Before becoming a political consultant, Carville was a Baton Rouge litigator, a high school teacher, and a U.S. Marine.
In 2005, he returned to the teaching profession and is now associated with Northern Virginia Community College.
His style of debate, which is described as fast-paced and animated, has brought him the nickname “Ragin’ Cajun,” which is also the name of the mascot of his alma mater, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“The best way to honor the First Amendment is to take advantage of it,” Carville said.
He told the audience that he spent nine years as an undergraduate student and sharply criticized the Bush Administration.
“Bush keeps telling us we knew everything that he knew about intelligence before the Iraq war,” Carville said. “This is not true because he did not tell us what he knew.
“And every time someone tries to ask hard questions, here comes the Patriot Act Police.”
Coulter, a Republican, is the author of four books that were on the New York Times bestseller list.
She currently writes a weekly Universal Press Syndicate column, is a legal correspondent for Human Events, and travels the country on speaking tours.
She previously worked as a legal correspondent for MSNBC and as a writer for National Review Online and USA Today.
As an undergraduate, Coulter helped launch The Cornell Review newspaper at Cornell University.
At the University of Michigan Law School, where she received a Juris Doctorate, she founded the Federalist Society local chapter and served as the Michigan Law Review editor.
In 1994, she worked in Washington, D.C. as a congressional aide and with Senator Spencer Abraham, a Republican from Michigan.
Coulter appeared on VH1’s My Coolest Years to discuss rock music and being a “Deadhead” fan of the The Grateful Dead.
“Liberal journalists set the agenda and this is not a fair debate,” Coulter said of freedom for the press. “Dan Rather is down and now we have 16 more to go.
“Liberals are always accusing us of repressing their speech and I say let’s do it, let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment.”
Carville said the belief that liberals control the media is false.
“Republicans now have their own network on Fox [cable’s Fox News Channel], so guys who don’t like to answer questions, like Trent Lott, have a place to go to hit softballs,” Carville said.
Coulter said the Democratic Party has been weak for several years and 2005 election results are meaningless because Democratic governors in New Jersey and Virginia replaced Democrats.
She said Clinton was elected president in 1992 only because a third party candidate [Ross Perot] split Republicans and took votes away from George H.W. Bush.
Tom Nelson, director of student media at LMU, said Carville and Coulter were paid for their appearances at the university.