James Carville and Mary Matalin Out at CNN

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Liberal firebrand and Democratic strategist James Carville and his wife, Republican consultant and conservative pundit Mary Matalin, are the latest to depart CNN, the network confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

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Carville and Matalin had been at CNN for decades, beginning as panelists on the long-running Crossfire, which was canceled in 2005. They appeared on the network frequently during election coverage. Louisiana native Carville and Matalin live in New Orleans. Both also are contributors to ABC’s Sunday public-affairs show This Week, which is taped in New York. Carville told Politico he was “told that [CNN] wanted the contributors to be more available, essentially closer to Washington. I’m not always available; I don’t live there.”

But Carville added that he is “totally cool with it.” He might write another book and will continue to focus on his campaign work.

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“I’ve got enough acts; I’m not out soliciting other TV gigs,” he said. “At some level it makes sense for CNN to move in another direction, and it makes sense for me.”

Carville and Matalin follow CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker out the door. Whitaker sent an e-mail to CNN staffers Tuesday morning announcing that he is resigning two years into a three-year deal with the network. “We have a new leader with his own forceful ideas about where to take CNN’s reporting, programming and brand,” Whitaker wrote in reference to CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker.

Also leaving the network effective immediately are contributors Bill Bennett, Maria Cardona and Erick Erickson, a blogger for Red State and conservative columnist who joined CNN as a political contributor in March 2010. In a statement posted on Tuesday to Red State, Erickson called it a “very, very difficult decision” to leave the network but acknowledged it “was not an easy fit.”

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