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Carville pulls no punches about Obama's plight

Memo from political strategist and pundit James Carville to President Obama:

Fire people, indict Wall Street "banksters" and fight for traditional Democratic values.

Carville talked with The Buffalo News about the need for Obama to right what he sees as a sinking ship before speaking Monday to the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. The event was a community dinner kickoff for the 2012 United Jewish Fund Campaign.

Carville, who was then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton's campaign strategist in 1992 and a trusted adviser, amplified remarks he made last week on CNN's website, for which he is a political commentator.

"I think Obama must realize, because he is a bright man, that what's happening here now isn't working. In '94, a lot of people lost their jobs as a consequence of [damaging midterm elections]. It's kind of natural, like snow in Buffalo or rain in Louisiana; it's part of the deal here," Carville said.

"How many generals did Lincoln use during the Civil War? Five or six generals? It wasn't going well. But he won the war."

Carville said Obama has not held Wall Street accountable for ruining the economy.

"People's lives have been wrecked, and [Wall Street] comes in, gets bailed out and does the same thing again. This is not acceptable to people. They're not scratching anybody's itch here. There's supposed to be accountability in this country," Carville said.

The saving grace for the current occupant of the White House, he said, could be the caliber of challengers being considered, but he said their numbers could yet change. Carville said he has been told by "prominent Republicans" that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will throw their hats in the ring.

"The Republicans don't like [Mitt] Romney. They don't like the cut of his jib. And [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry's crony capitalism is a problem. I think the dissatisfaction is going to really manifest itself. Things are going to happen we can't even imagine. I really think so," Carville said.

In 2009, Carville wrote the book "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." The premise was that younger voters have been voting decidedly Democratic, and the electorate is becoming less white, also working to the Democrats' advantage.

Despite overwhelming Republican success in the 2010 midterm elections, and current polling that shows a fairly divided electorate, Carville is still standing behind his political prophecy.

"I think the premise of the book is going to be completely validated over the next 40 years. You may have an off-year election [such as 2009] in which the electorate is 78 percent white and 12 percent under 30. It won't be in 2012," he said.

Last week, a Bloomberg News poll found Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with a 64 percent approval rating, to be the most popular national political figure in the country. Also, 34 percent thought the United States would be in better shape if she, and not Obama, had been elected president in 2008. Carville, who will forever be linked to the Clintons, said she has benefited from not being held responsible for the poor economy.

"This was a wonderful time to be in charge of foreign policy and not economic policy. And she's a really talented woman," Carville said.

Carville said he had no inside information on whether she would try again for the White House in 2016, but he thought the chances were good.

"My general view is once someone runs for president, they want to do it again, and that applies to everyone, her as well," he said of Clinton. " But we'll see in 2016."

email: msommer@buffnews.com