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Political science department spends $17,500 to bring CNN contributor Paul Begala to campus Oct. 25

Political consultant and CNN contributor Paul Begala will be paid $17,500 for his appearance at Central Michigan University next week.

The political science department picked up the $17,500 tab to bring Begala to campus, said Jim Hill, professor of political science. Begala’s lecture, “2012 Elections: Today’s Issues and Tomorrow’s Ramifications,” will take place Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in Anspach 161. The event is free.

Begala appears frequently on “The Situation Room” and was formerly co-host of the political debate program “Crossfire” on CNN. He was also an adviser to President Bill Clinton and the chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign.

Hill said in an email the cost to bring Begala to campus was reasonable compared to other political speakers, because they are in great demand in today’s market, especially so close to the Nov. 6 election.

“I do not think there is a more experienced and active political analyst who can better explain the internal politics of a presidential campaign than Mr. Begala,” Hill said.

Political science Chairman Orlando Perez said the department decided to bring Begala to campus because they wanted someone who had been active in political campaigns and who had lectured at the university level on the subject. Perez said Begala has been involved in politics and written books about politics for many years, and was most recently on CNN commentating on the vice presidential debate.

“(Begala is) going to be talking about the value of political participation, particularly for young adults, and how important it is for citizens to be engaged in the political process,” Perez said.

Perez said Begala will be talking about important political issues, but in a way that regular people will relate to.

“They’re serious issues, but he can make them very interesting and funny,” he said.

The event is not just aimed at political science students. Anyone who wants to learn about the political process is encouraged to attend.

“Anyone that’s interested about being an informed citizen would be interested in Mr. Begala’s talk,” Perez said.

Perez said Begala will speak for about 45 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session for another 45 minutes.  A book signing will be held after the lecture.

Hill said if students want to get an insider’s look at the campaigns and understand the significance of the presidential race, this is the event to attend.

“It beats the heck out of talking heads on TV,” he said.


  1. Let me get this straight. CMU is giving a guy $17,500 to come and speak. This guy just happens to be a paid political operative who is working for a Democratic Party aligned political action committee to re-elect President Barack Obama. He was invited by the political science department, which doesn’t contain a single conservative or Republican professor. His speech is only weeks away from the election in what is shaping up to be a swing state, based on recent polling and news reports. To top it off, this guy is going to hack his books and make even more money. This is just absurd. Plain and simple. How about bringing in a Democratic congressman (say Gary Peters) and a Republican congressman (say Bill Huizenga) to do a back-and-forth debate on the election? This wouldn’t cost a darn thing, as congressmen can’t accept speaking honorariums. Plus, it would be fair-and-balanced, unlike the partisan dribble that this guy will spew when he comes to campus. This is just absurd. I cannot believe it.

  2. chipskeptic says:

    …and is the PSC department going to bring a CONSERVATIVE to campus? No, they will only bring those who agree with them……

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