The inaugural presentation in Indiana University of Pennsylvania's First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture Series will feature political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin.

The program will be Oct. 1, 2008 at 7 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium, part of the newly renovated Performing Arts Center on the IUP campus.

“Our friends at First Commonwealth have provided a significant financial commitment to IUP to establish its first comprehensive, university endowed lecture series, to begin in the fall of 2008,” said Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president.

The program is free and open to the community.

Carville gained recognition as a political consultant in 1986, when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey in Pennsylvania. In 1987, Carville helped Wallace Wilkinson, who commanded less than 1 percent of the vote in the early polls, win a gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky.

The following year brought Carville to New Jersey, where he guided Frank Lautenberg's campaign for U.S. Senate to victory, defeating Rhodes Scholar and Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins. Carville next managed the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Georgia Lt. Gov. Zell Miller, including a primary win over Atlanta mayor Andrew Young.

In 1991, Carville drew national attention when he led Harris Wofford, of Pennsylvania, from 40 points behind in the polls to a victory over former Pennsylvania Gov. and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh in the race for U.S. Senate.

The following year, Carville guided Bill Clinton to the presidency. In 1993, he was honored as Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his leadership of Clinton's “War Room,” the campaign-strategizing hub at Little Rock headquarters. Carville was also the focus, along with George Stephanopoulos, of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The War Room.”

After the Clinton victory, Carville began to focus on foreign consulting.

He is also an author, actor, producer, talk-show host, speaker and restaurateur. With co-author and wife Mary Matalin, he wrote “All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President,” which spent eight weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.
Carville's other books have included “We're Right, They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives,” “And the Horse He Rode In On: The People vs. Kenneth Starr,” “Stickin',” “Buck Up, Suck Up … and Come Back When You Foul Up,” “Had Enough? A Handbook for Fighting Back” and “Take It Back” in 2006. He has also authored a children's book, “Lu and the Swamp Ghost.”

In the fall of 2003, Carville and Matalin starred in the HBO series “K Street,” a political drama based on the working lives of Washington political consultants.

In addition, Carville is a frequent commentator and contributor on CNN and hosts XM Radio's weekly “60/20 Sports” show. Carville also coproduced the remake of the 1949 Oscar-winning movie “All The King's Men,” with a cast that included Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins and Jude Law.

Matalin formerly served as assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, and was the first White House official to hold that double title.

Before joining the Bush-Cheney White House, Matalin hosted CNN's debate show, “Crossfire,” and she is the former founding co-host of the Washington-based political talk show “Equal Time,” which premiered in May 1993 on CNBC. She served as co-host until shortly after the 1996 national political conventions.

Matalin has made frequent television appearances as a political commentator and has written for periodicals including Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times.

Her 2004 book, “Letters to My Daughters,” was named a Book of the Month Club selection, made The New York Times and The Washington Post best-seller lists and was selected for a condensed version by Reader's Digest.

Matalin also has a three-hour afternoon radio program, “The Mary Matalin Show,” on the CBS Talk Radio Network.

Matalin has been active in politics since college, starting at the grass-roots level in local and statewide campaigns in her native Illinois. She came to Washington, D.C., during Ronald Reagan's presidency and served on the Republican National Committee.

After a hiatus from Washington to attend Hofstra Law School, she returned to the committee in 1984 to serve as national voter contact director for the Reagan-Bush campaign. She held senior positions in the George H. W. Bush 1988 presidential campaign and, upon his election, was appointed chief of staff for the Republican National Committee.

In 1992, Bush named her the deputy campaign manager for political operations, responsible for the overview and organization of all 50 state operations. Traveling with President Bush throughout the 1992 campaign, she emerged as a vocal, and occasionally controversial, defender of the president and his policies.

Matalin now runs Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster. She also serves as vice president of the Washington Humane Society and as a board member of the Cheney Cardiovascular Institute.

In addition, she sits on the editorial board of Campaigns and Elections Magazine, which features campaign information and news about political consultants and trends in the industry.

Photo information: Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, left, and John J. Dolan, president and chief executive officer, First Commonwealth Financial Corp.