Harkin: Carville’s an entertainer & Bill should “chill”

Senator Tom Harkin held a weekly conference call with reporters this morning.  Mike Meyers of the Cedar Rapids Gazette asked about James Carville, the former aide to Bill Clinton.  The "jist" of the question was whether Harkin believed Carville to be an unofficial spokesman for Bill & Hillary Clinton when Carville accused former Clinton Administration official Bill Richardson of being a "Judas" by endorsing Barack Obama.

"As long as I’ve known Carville, he is the most uncontrollable person I’ve ever met in my life," Harkin said, laughing.  Meyers didn’t hear one of the words Harkin said and asked for clarification.

"Carville shoots off all the time, you know, and let’s face it.  What’s Carville’s business?  His business is giving speeches and writing books and the more provocative he is, the more he’s in demand.  It’s just like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. I mean, you put him in with all of those and so he loves to be provocative, loves to say things like that so take that for what it’s worth, but I’ve never heard that come out of Clinton," Harkin said.

Meyers asked about Bill Clinton’s behavior on the campaign trail, specifically the reported "meltdown" in a private meeting with super delegates in California. "Is (Bill Clinton) doing more harm than good for Senator Clinton’s campaign?" Meyers asked.

"I’m not going to judge that, Mike," Harkin replied.  "I did say before he ought to chill out a little bit and from what I’ve seen I think he has, but again this recent thing in California, I don’t know."

Meyers started to follow-up, but Harkin continued.  "I’d just as soon not get drawn into that, you know," Harkin said.  "I think the campaigns ought to stick to their issues.  I think it’s very good, like I said earlier, I don’t think this is hurting my party as long as it doesn’t get real personal."

Harkin’s wife, Ruth, backed Hillary Clinton and campaigned on her behalf in Iowa before the Caucuses.  Harkin is one of those "super delegates" and he has not endorsed a candidate.

UPDATE after jump, with audio.

Meyers followed up on that point.  "Is (Ruth Harkin) exerting some influence here?"

"Well, I don’t know how that I need to discuss discussions between me and my wife," Harkin said, laughing. 

"Oh, you can’t?" Meyers said.

"Well, look, you all know Ruth is a Hillary supporter.  I mean, come on, she campaigned for her and stuff so she is a big Hillary supporter."

"Yes?" Meyers followed up.

"Well, so, that’s that.  That’s just where it is," Harkin said.

Here’s the three-minute-long mp3 of the exchange between Harkin and Meyers.


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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Tom, We’re patiently waiting for you to join us in the Obama Camp… based upon these comments, you won’t keep us waiting long. One candidate is about the issues, the other is only about electibility at this point, after she’s lost 30 contests and can’t pay down debts. it’s time for unity, please, join Obama Camp soon and take the entire Iowa delegation with you.

  2. tiredofit says

    Tom, We are patiently waiting for you to join the Hillary camp based on the fact that your wife believes her to be the better candidate and it has been said that behind every good man is a better woman. Listen to your wife Tom, she knows best.

  3. The Clinton campaign needs to focus on issues and not Bill Richardson. It’s not Presidential to spend two weeks attacking someone who disagrees with you. It’s not even grown up.

  4. Carthage says

    Dear Senator,
    for the sake of the party’s chances in November as well as its future, please do not wait any longer to endorse Senator Obama. We need to start focusing on the critical campaign against Sen. McCain. Whereas Sen. Clinton has the RIGHT to stay in the race as long as she wants, she has the DUTY to the dem. party and the voters she claims to care deeply about, to position the nominee as best as possible. The kind of campaign she is running is not the way to do that, and they longer this goes on, the harder it will become to unite us all. Thank you.