5 things to know about paul begala and tucker carlson

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Two well-known political pundits, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, will be onstage to deliver a keynote presentation during the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference. It’s very appropriate that these two presenters—who hold very different, if not opposing, views—will be speaking to the HR leaders gathered in the nation’s capital less than six months before the next presidential election.

Here are five things you need to know about Begala and Carlson before they take the stage:

1. Begala leans left; Carlson leans right.

Take a look at the last two Democratic presidents, and you’ll find that Begala played instrumental roles in both of their campaigns. He was a senior adviser for the pro-Obama Super Political Action Committee (PAC) and also worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. He later served as one of the president’s closest aides while he was in the White House.

On the other side of the aisle, you’ll find Carlson, who supports a more conservative political agenda. He’s shared his opinions as a journalist for various editorial outlets, including FOX, MSNBC, New York Magazine, and Reader’s Digest.

2. They were co-hosts of CNN’s Crossfire.

When they take the SHRM stage, it won’t be the first time that Begala and Carlson have worked together. For about three years they were co-hosts of Crossfire—a nightly news debate television program that aired on CNN. One of their most well-known episodes was one in which John Stewart was a guest and openly criticized the show’s format as well as the argumentative style of the hosts.

3. Carlson and Begala have many talents.

In 2006, Carlson accepted ABC’s invitation to participate in the Dancing with the Stars reality show. When asked why he took on the challenge, Carlson told The Washington Post it wasn’t the smartest choice.

“I think if you sat back and tried to plan my career, you might not choose this. But my only criterion is the interest level. I want to lead an interesting life…I don’t do things that I’m not good at very often. I’m psyched to get to do that,” he said.

Begala appeared on NPR’s weekly radio panel game show, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. As part of the “Not My Job” segment, Begala took a three-question multiple-choice quiz. In Begala’s case, the questions focused on random events that happened in 1998—including the ban on socks in South Padre, Texas. Spoiler alert: Begala won.

4. You’ll find their books in a bookstore near you.

Carlson’s autobiography, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, was published in 2003.

Begala has published several books including three on the topic of President George W. Bush:

  • Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush
  • It’s Still the Economy, Stupid: George W. Bush, The GOP’s CEO
  • Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain

5. They have political insights to share.

As for what they will discuss during their presentation, Begala and Carlson are planning to examine today’s issues, including an “up-to-the-minute analysis” of politics in America and the upcoming 2016 elections. For HR leaders tasked with addressing an ever-changing political landscape with new legislation that impacts day-to-day business operations around the nation, these presenters will share a perspective based on their examination of how the system works.

If the lively banter they shared as co-hosts on Crossfire is an example of how these presenters will work together on stage, Begala and Carlson’s presentation promises to be an informative—and engaging—keynote session.

By liz sheffield
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Comments (1)
Sarah Greesonbach

Great summary, Liz, I didn’t know any of this before I clicked through! I won’t catch the presentation, but I’ll know what people are talking about at the expo now, haha.

June 16, 2016   |   Reply
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