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Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up

12 Winning Secrets from the War Room

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The political strategists who directed the
Clinton campaign's War Room
reveal the lessons and secrets from
their hard-fought battles -- and how to
use these highly effective
strategies for success in everyday life.
James Carville and Paul Begala have waged political war all across America and on three continents. They've won some of the most spectacular political victories of the twentieth century and lost a few campaigns too. Along the way, they've learned a few lessons. Some sound simple, like "Never Quit," some comic, like "Kiss Ass," and some are more complicated and nuanced, like "Strategy Ain't Tactics." But each lesson contains tried-and-true wisdom, illustrated with colorful stories from long political experience -- many never told before:

  • Find out how Carville's mother, Miz Nippy, used a bass boat to "frame the debate" in selling encyclopedias.
  • Discover what success secret Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tom DeLay share.
  • Learn the War Room tricks for sharpening your message and delivering the perfect sound bite.
  • And much more.

Whether you are a senior executive or a secretary, a political junkie or the president of the United States, the rules to live by can be found in Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up.

Kelly Campbell

James Carville, formerly an adviser to President Clinton, is a political consultant. He is the author of the bestselling..And The Horse He Rode In On and Were Right, They're wrong co-author, with his wife Mary Matalin, of All's Fair: Love, War, and Running For President. They live in Virginia with their two daughters.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Butler

Paul Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. He served as counselor to the president in the Clinton White House, where he coordinated policy, politics, and communications. He was senior adviser to the pro-Obama Super PAC that played a critical role in reelecting Obama in 2012. He is the author of five books, including Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush; It’s Still the Economy, Stupid; Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up (with James Carville); Third Term: Why George W. Bush Loves John McCain; and Take it Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (with James Carville). Begala is a CNN political commentator and an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Paul earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas. He and his wife live quietly in Virginia with their four sons and a German shepherd. (Okay, so they don’t live too quietly.)

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 25, 2002)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743228794

USA Today Compelling, instructive and funny.

Houston Chronicle Disarmingly entertaining...a breezy, colloquial discussion on what it takes to get ahead. These two very colorful characters are decidedly Democratic ...but their advice is useful no matter what your political inclination may be.