« Back to all speakers

Paul Begala

Paul Begala

Political Analyst for CNN and Columnist for Newsweek

Former President Bill Clinton described his longtime friend and former aide Paul Begala as, "a witty dynamo from Sugar Land, Texas...who brought energy, focus and credibility to our efforts." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Begala, "embodies a passion for populism with a commitment to civility, no easy feat."

And radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has said of Begala, "He's a lightweight.... If you don't know who The Forehead is, Paul Begala, he's the guy, the kid that played the banjo on the bridge in the movie Deliverance."

Begala is a political analyst for CNN, where he is part of the political team that won an Emmy for its coverage of the 2006 elections and a Peabody Award for its coverage of the 2008 Presidential election. He is also a columnist for Newsweek magazine.

Begala served as counselor to President Clinton in the White House, where he helped define and defend the Administration's agenda, from the State of the Union Address to the economic, domestic and international issues the White House faces each day. He has consulted for political campaigns across the country and around the world, including advising politicians in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

He helped his friend John F. Kennedy, Jr. launch the political magazine George and wrote the "Capitol Hillbilly" column, and is the author of several New York Times best-selling political books. Begala is an affiliated professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He has also taught at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Board of Visitors of the University of Georgia. Along with his partner, James Carville and GOP strategist Karl Rove he was a 2012 inductee to the American Association of Political Consultants' Hall of Fame.

Begala received his Bachelor's Degree in Government and his Law Degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was also the student body president.