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He Said, She Said

James Carville and Mary Matalin made their names as the nation's most combative couple.

Cajun liberal James Carville, 53, and salty conservative Mary Matalin, 43, made their names as the nation's most combative couple. After duking it out on opposite sides of the 1992 presidential campaign, they got married, had a baby girl, settled into a cozy home, and made millions by agreeing to disagree — on anything, nearly everywhere. Carville and Matalin gave Fast Company their "he says/she says" account of the challenges of living with your archrival.

He says:

"There are a few downsides to the situation. You have to go to a lot of events by yourself. And when you're really under siege it would be nice to have your wife on your side."

She says:

"He's the opposition. I really don't like his politics and he really doesn't like mine. There are so few things on which we agree."

He says:

"We know not to bring up political issues. It's like some people's mother-in-law. The subject comes up and generally you're worse off for having the conversation."

She says:

"He doesn't like confrontation. He can't stand pouting, shouting, and all the other stuff that I try not to bring to our politics but can't help sometimes."

He says:

"I get less heat than Mary because it would be considered very un-PC to criticize someone for a spouse. No Democrat would ever say, 'Can't you control your wife?'"

She says:

"The Republican party is full of sexist pigs. They thought I would give it all away. Amazing, because if I ever wanted to get information out of James I would definitely have the upper hand."

A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.