The Return of the War Room


"The Return of the War Room" (2008)
  • Fifteen years after making the 1993 Academy Award-nominated documentary The War Room, following Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, the filmmakers reunite with James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Mary Matalin, Paul Begala, Stan Greenberg, Bob Boorstin, Dee Dee Myers, and others to reflect on the changes in American politics and political campaigns, and to look back on the 1992 election that launched them all into the national political spotlight.  The result is an entertaining, thought-provoking look at the American election cycle, then and now.


    The Return of the War Room begins its portrait of the Clinton campaign with the New Hampshire primary, and the back-to-back allegations that threatened to quash the Arkansas governor’s presidential bid.  An unusual election season grew stranger still with the sudden emergence of Texas billionaire Ross Perot as a third party candidate.  With his folksy delivery and fondness for bizarre analogies, Perot tapped into public dissatisfaction with Washington and, at one point, led Clinton and incumbent President George H.W. Bush in national polls.  Meanwhile, personal dramas were playing out in the lives of Clinton staffers—not the least of which was Carville’s romantic relationship with his political opposite, Mary Matalin, the irreverent, take-no-prisoners, Republican who served as Bush’s Deputy Campaign Manager for Political Operations.


    Expanding its scope to recent presidential races, The Return of the War Room considers how campaigning has changed since 1992—and what those changes have meant for such candidates as John Kerry, Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.  Joining the returning cast of The War Room for this discussion are several political professionals with their own experience of modern campaigning, including Republican consultant Frank Luntz, who worked as Ross Perot’s pollster in the 1992 campaign; Mark McKinnon, the former Media Advisor for John McCain’s 2008 campaign and the Media Director for the Bush 2000 and 2004 campaigns; and Kevin Madden, press secretary for the ‘08 Romney campaign.

  • A film by Chris Hegedus & D A Pennebaker Directed by Chris Hegedus D A Pennebaker Executive Producers: R.J. Cutler Wendy Ettinger Frazer Pennebaker Producers: R.J. Cutler Wendy Ettinger Frazer Pennebaker Editor: Aaron Soffin Camera & Sound: Chris Hegedus Assistant Producer: Rebecca Lando Featuring: Paul Begala Bob Boorstin Lisa Caputo James Carville Rahm Emanuel Stan Greenberg Mandy Grunwald Mickey Kantor Frank Luntz Kevin Madden Mary Matalin Mark McKinnon Mark Miller Dee Dee Myers Ricki Seidman George Stephanopoulos