Graduate Speaker: Paul Begala
Born in New Jersey and raised in Missouri City, Texas, Paul Begala is a well-respected American political consultant and a commentator for CNN, where he is part of the political team that has won both an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Begala served as a senior adviser for the pro-Obama Super PAC, making him one of only a few individuals to play a critical role in electing two different presidents.
After helping to engineer Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign with his partner, James Carville, Begala served as counselor to the president, becoming one of Clinton’s closest aides. He also has consulted for political campaigns across the country and around the world, including advising politicians in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Former President Bill Clinton described his longtime friend and former aide as, “a witty dynamo from Sugar Land, Texas … who brought energy, focus, and credibility to our efforts.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Begala “embodies a passion for populism with a commitment to civility, no easy feat.”
Begala helped his friend, the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., launch the political magazine George, for which he wrote the “Capitol Hillbilly” column. He is the author of several New York Times bestselling political books, and is an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown University. He also has taught at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. Along with Carville and GOP strategist Karl Rove, Begala was recently inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame.
Begala earned a bachelor’s degree in government and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was the student body president.