March 4th, 2009
06:08 PM ET
6 years ago

Carville, Begala deny White House 'conspiracy' on Limbaugh

James Carville said he and Stan Greenberg have polled Limbaugh's name for 'a long time.'
James Carville said he and Stan Greenberg have polled Limbaugh's name for 'a long time.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic strategist James Carville avoided saying Wednesday if he had been in contact with the White House over ongoing efforts to portray talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party.

Carville was asked on CNN’s The Situation Room about a report in Politico that said Carville and his longtime friend, CNN contributor Paul Begala, pushed the idea of attacking Limbaugh in their daily conversations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Carville said it was Limbaugh who started the war of the words.

“I think that honestly I don’t want to take credit away from the great Rush Limbaugh who did it on January 16 when he said he wanted the president’s policies to fail, and that’s what started the whole thing,” Carville said. “So don’t give Paul and I, or Rahm credit.  Credit is due to the great Rush Limbaugh. So my hat’s off to you, Rush.”

The Politico piece noted that Carville and his partner, pollster Stan Greenberg, began polling Limbaugh’s popularity last year during the presidential campaign.

Carville said he and Greenberg have included Limbaugh in their polls “for a long time,” and said they were working on a new poll to be released soon.

“He’s been unpopular in every one,” he said. “In fact, we’re in the field right now with a poll on Rush Limbaugh, and we’ll be releasing those results. I don’t what those are. Maybe he’s gotten more popular. We’ll find out. I don’t know if it’s a plot or a conspiracy or what. We poll all the time."

UPDATE: Begala, asked in a separate interview whether he was coordinating an anti-Limbaugh strategy with the White House, said: “ I don’t take orders from anybody, except CNN. I don't work for any politicians. I work for the network.”

“My strong suspicion is that the White House has bigger fish to fry,” Begala told CNN.

The former Clinton administration official said he has “been speaking out against Rush Limbaugh for as long as I can remember.”

“I do what I do out loud,” he said. “I’m a cheerleader and not a drum major, so if I’m saying something and people repeat it, I think it's great.”


Filed under: James Carville • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Brian Crooks

    James Carville is the best thing to come out of Louisiana since gumbo! Get 'em James!

    March 4, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Chris from NY

    I agree with Carville. Limbaugh started the whole thing when he said he wanted the President to fail. And he hasn't gone back on his word. Neither did his other Republican fellows. You don't start a fight and blame somone else for it. That's childish. A man should do what a man should do and that's take responsibility for his own actions.

    March 4, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Chris from NY

    I agree with Carville. Limbaugh started the whole thing when he said he wanted the President to fail. And he hasn't gone back on his word. Neither did his other Republican fellows. You don't start a fight and blame somone else for it. That's childish. A man should do what a man should do and that's take responsibility for his own actions.

    March 4, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Cdog

    Who else is to blame?

    Limbaugh has been spouting his mouth (for money, I might add), for years. His tone, which his followers appear to love wholeheartedly, is anything but tempered, judicious, and prudent. I don't blame any politician for defending themselves, including Steele (though his name appears to not reflect his disposition in disagreements!).

    One thing about Limbaugh (and every other talk show host for that matter) is that he speaks for money. Isn't he gonna tell people what they want to here, in the most colorful way possible? What is the difference between Limbaugh and a "gangster" rapper? They have about the same education, though Limbaugh trades prescription meds for the 8-ball.

    March 4, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Jon in CA

    Carville – the same partisan hack hired by Bill Clinton to fend off critics calling for impeachment.

    Gosh, glad to see there is HOPE and CHANGE with Obama's administration!!!

    March 4, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. laughing

    old news.. time to move on and back to the job of fixing American and watching our Great President.

    Time to buy stocks and spend dollars.. time to take advantage of stocks down

    Thank you .. wall street..

    now we are in control

    March 4, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. J.S

    Limbaugh is right on many issues and Poliitco may have hit the nail on the head.

    March 4, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. jb

    Carville..C C C Clinton...CCCCarville. CCCChange???? CCCmon'

    March 4, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. NYHillary

    He's right, Rush stated he wanted Obama to fail.

    Dems are doing the right game plan. Keep Rush in the spot light and Rush is loving it too. The Modern and Inpendence don't like Rush, the more he keeps talking the more the ratings drop for the Republicans. Obama and he's office are smart. Why aren't we hearing more from the Republican Senators? They scare of Rush.

    March 4, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. LindaJ

    Good for Carville! He's not afraid of Rushbo like the wimpy repubs.

    March 4, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. ebsubman

    ANOTHER IDIOT WHO DID NOT READ WHAT RUSH SAID...

    March 4, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. RobertW

    Maybe the mainstream media should be forced to give the whole story for once. Yes, Rush stated that he wanted Obama's policies to faile, but they should have to play the rest of the comment that stated if Obama was going to turn this into a Socialist country, then he wanted him to fail. I have to fully agree with Rush on that point. This country was founded on capitalism and the route Obama is trying to take things will kill what we stand for.

    March 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. confused, FL

    What happen to this country? People saying they hope the govemrnt fails, people saying if we used torture no big deal. Is this the sort of things we whent to war ? is this what we whant to teach the rest of the world? do you really think anybody has respect for us anymore?

    March 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. scott oneill

    who in the world cares what that rediculous bald guy thinks or says. He is beyond ugly and is a complete fool.

    March 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Max

    That's what it comes down to, realistically. People employing broad-based anti-Republican rhetoric are the dancing puppets for political "strategists" like Carville. Rove attained much-deserved disdain, so it's interesting to watch people embrace his Democrat counterpart.

    March 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Once you vote Black

    Its like the Rope A Dope, and Rush is the Dope. He takes it and he is it. Its like they are just swarming his cuddly fat body. Poor guy, they are useing his streanth against him. He has resurted to blaming others for his short falls.

    March 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Mart

    I'm pretty sure the "simpleton druggie Rush", feels sooo important at all the media coverage his rants are recieving !
    Why is he so popular with the so called "Right", when they claim to be such good christians ?? Is he their poster boy of goodness ??

    No wonder the GOP is in trouble .

    March 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. stephanie

    He is the leader of the Republican Party.

    March 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Cynthia

    I agree with James Carville all the credit goes to the great Rush, the official leader of the Republican party. Someone needs to slap him back to reality the President doesn't participate in childish things.

    March 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Alicia

    At least Mr. Carville is not kissing Rush's ring. LOL NOW, the great Rush is blaming the economic mess on the six weeks of President Obama.

    I wonder if he is on drugs? Oh wait, yeah he is and I forgot that news flash. This is America! An uneducated druggie challenges the President of the United States. God Bless America!

    March 4, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Mike

    In good dramatic theater there are usually intertwined plots at different levels.

    What the Republican philosophy has done to the world is the tragedy, to be reflected upon by experts and thinking people at great depth. It is the real substance that underlies the "tragic play."

    The Rush subplot and all the fun discussion it has stimulated is just the "side play", the comic relief and entertainment for the folks who can not fathom the depth of the main plot, the tragedy. It is just the fun side of the play. By all means we can all embrace that too and enjoy it, but let's remember it is only that: the minor part of the play, the entertainment that amounts to little, should not be taken too seriously, and will not last long.

    March 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Lisa P

    Ah, James Carville, the Random Chaotic of Democratic strategists. I had been thinking that it was Rahm Emanuel that picked up Limbaugh's clumsily thrown gauntlet, but if James Carville is involved? I can hardly wait to see how he trips up Rush next :-D

    March 4, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. D

    So...Carville DOES wear hats.

    I knew it.

    I'm also glad he realized popularity is the only thing that really matters, finally.

    March 4, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. josh

    Mr. Rush is simply an american version of Bin Laden!!!!

    How could you say you want the president to fail????? Don't you know if he fails the whole nation fails???? A man like you make me sick!!!

    March 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Bill, LA

    James Carville is the filthyest, most disgusting form of human garbage I have ever had the pleasure of seeingHe is pure unadulterated fecal material, as is Paul Begala and Rahm Emanual.

    March 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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