Feb 192014

In this episode of the Wait Wait… In September we played the Not My Job game with , a laconic, Cajun from Louisiana and lifelong Democrat. And now we play the game with his exact opposite — a high-intensity Chicagoan and lifelong Republican named Mary Matalin. The best part is: they’re married. Matalin, a political consultant, has just co-authored a memoir with her husband called

Matalin’s quiz is called “If I ever made an error, I would regret it.” It’s a new year, which is always a good time to look back on the mistakes made in the prior year. We’re going to ask her about the best media errors of 2013, .

And now, the game where we let smart people speak their mind, though not about what they are smart about. So a few months ago, we hosted James Carville, a laconic Cajun from Louisiana and a lifelong, passionate Democrat.
Today, we’re proud to welcome his exact opposite: a high intensity Chicagoan and lifelong, passionate Republican. The trick is, it’s his wife. Mary Matalin is the co-author, with her husband, of the new book “Love and War.” We’re delighted to have her with us today. Mary Matalin, welcome to WAIT WAIT…DON’T TELL ME!
MARY MATALIN: Well, thank you for having me…
SAGAL: It’s a great pleasure.
MATALIN: …and thank you for teaching me a lot. We’ve been married 20 years, and I would like to ask you a question before we begin.
SAGAL: Please, please.
MATALIN: I believe it was Paula who said there’s such a thing as an Orgasmatron. And after 20 years of marriage, where can I get one of those, Paula?
SAGAL: So we interviewed your husband a few months ago, and we want to get your story. You got involved in politics at a fairly young age, right?
MATALIN: In Chicago, as a matter of fact. And I grew up with Democrats, and when I went to college, a campus of 17,000 people, there were 11 college Republicans. So…
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Wait a minute, do you remember those other Republicans, Mary? Were you involved in like, a Republican college group, then, with those?
MATALIN: Well, my first political job – this is absolutely true – was to be the butt end of an elephant; the elephant being, for reasons I still don’t understand, the symbol of the Republican Party. And I got to be the elephant’s ass, and I was hooked.
POUNDSTONE: And you were hooked. That’s all it took.
SAGAL: Who was the front of the elephant?
MATALIN: Thank God, it was somebody with good hygiene.
SAGAL: We were all hoping you were going to say: And that’s how I met Dick Cheney. But now you went on from that august beginning to serve in a senior position in two different Republican White Houses; first for George H.W. Bush, who you refer to in your book as Poppy.
MATALIN: You’ve read the book, great.
SAGAL: I did, yeah, and then of course, you served in the George W. Bush White House. But what was interesting, I thought, was that you had known George W. Bush before he was president.
MATALIN: He was my office mate in – I guess in the first campaign in…
POUNDSTONE: In the elephant suit?
MATALIN: No – many, many years later, during the tobacco-chawin’days.
SAGAL: You had a former relationship with him. And what did you call him?
MATALIN: Um – I’m not allowed to say. That would be classified.
SAGAL: But you wrote it in your book, Mary. It’s on bookshelves now.
MATALIN: Oh (BLEEP) I forgot about that.

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