Paul Edward Begala (born May 12, 1961) is a Democratic political consultant, a political commentator, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton. He gained national prominence as half of the political consulting team Carville and Begala. Until June 2005, Begala was a co-host of CNN's political debate program, Crossfire. He is Research Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Georgia School of Law as a Sanders Political Leadership Scholar.
Begala was born in New Jersey to a Hungarian American father and an Irish American mother. He was raised in Missouri City, Texas, where his father was an oil-field equipment salesman. Begala is married to Diane Friday, with whom he has four sons. He is a practicing Catholic.
Begala graduated from John Foster Dulles High School (Sugar Land, Texas)in 1979. He earned both his B.A. and Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught briefly before going to work for Bill Clinton. While at the University of Texas, Begala was a candidate for student government president. However, he finished second to a write-in campaign for Hank the Hallucination, a character from the campus comic strip "Eyebeam". Following his loss, Begala wrote a tongue-in-cheek complaint for the Daily Texan, arguing "I cannot help but feel Hank's platform is illusory at best... I must say that the candidate himself lacks substance." Begala was declared the human winner, following a ruling that imaginary characters could not hold the position.