March 4th, 2009
06:08 PM ET
5 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. Ralph Il

    I know who Rush Limbaugh is, but I never listen to him.

    I do in fact think about him and the GOP while I'm picking up after my dog in the yard.

    He is as relevent to me as the little man that ran Germany into the ground during WWII.

    March 4, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Marty

    Fat Limbo and Lier Rove look like twin evils.

    March 4, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Nancy - Houston

    2012 would be great for the Republicans if their nominee for president is Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter as his VP. What a ticket!

    March 4, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. GALEN

    RUSH IS A REAL AMERICAN PATRIOT.(NOT)
    SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. DA

    Please take Rush OUT!!! Rush started it and it's time for the Democrats to get some backbone and end it!!! It's time for Rush to be exposed for what he really is!!

    March 4, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Trevor in NC

    So? Who cares what he says, like you you can believe that guy anyway.

    March 4, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Linda from Minnesota

    I'm just saying....the Right is WRONG.

    March 4, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. Lotta muni

    Rush is a clown, and I'm tired of my Democratic party wasting everyone's time with this rather than addressing real issues. They are going to send the country down the tubes.

    March 4, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. NoLeftTurn

    The Clinton hacks are back!! Why are they afraid of Rush. They won!!! Get on with taking care of the economy. Oh, by the way, it's price and earnings ratio, not profit and earnings ratio. If Bush had made that error when talking about the stock market, it would be all over the liberal media. Do I see double standard?? Naaaaa!!

    March 4, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. jumbo

    you people took hook line and sinker ,,, rush is laughing all the way to the bank......................morons.......

    March 4, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    Lets face the facts only republicans are kissing on Limbaughs rear end – good for them they finally have there leader – go for it rushy.

    March 4, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. The leader !

    did he ask Michael Steel, Gov Sanford, Eric Canton, and the all GOP to say SORRY to RUSH the God father of the republican clones.

    March 4, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. simmy

    Bill, LA,

    P.S. When going for the jugular, be sure to drop the "y" from "filthyest" and stick with the "dictionary" version. Peace.

    March 4, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Typical White Person

    Wow – they leave the Ann Coulter post open for over a thousand comments and close the post on the unfairness of the mortgage bailout after 90% of the first 200 agreed that deadbeats shouldn't get their mortgages adjusted while the rest of us don't.

    "Am I my brother's keeper?" This was posted several times as justification by the liberals for doing the mortgage bailout. I want to remind you that bible quotations were considered by liberals to be "narrow" and "bigotted" during the election...

    More hypocracy in action...

    March 4, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. dont drop the soap Rush

    Humpty dumpty had a great fall.

    March 4, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. Just Shut Up!

    "Yes" would be the straight answer James.

    March 4, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. Ashley

    This whole thing blew up when Rahm stated on CBS Sunday Morning that Rush was the leader of the Republican party. Of course that would provoke a response from Steele, who denounced Rush, only to retract under pressure. This all implies of course that Rush is one of the few who do have power in the Republican party - exactly how Rahm wanted it to play out.

    I stay neutral in politics (I don't believe either side has the answers). But I find strategy fascinating, and Rahm is the master. It's exactly why Obama picked him as Chief of Staff.

    Aaron Sorkin couldn't have written it better.

    March 4, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Barbara Campbell

    It was Steele and Limbaugh who attacked each other. It didn't escape anyone's notice that Steele had to back down. The neocons worship Limbaugh and thus they're responsible for all the implications and ramifications of such values.

    They just don't like it when the Democrats point out reality.

    March 4, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. Phoenix

    Rush Limbaugh is the new leader of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh started this with wanting President Obama fail. If any Republican attempt to work with Obama Administration, Rush will reign them in. Rush Limbaugh is the new Rev. Jerry Falwell.

    The Republican Party is "No back bone for old men"

    March 4, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Noel

    Socialism should fail in America that's what Rush Limbaugh is saying, and yes he is angry that the GOP lost but so were you when Bush was in their for eight years, you cried the same tune, I hope he (Bush) fails, well he did, before careful what you ask for, because sometimes you might just get it.

    Don't be so narrow minded, President or not, this is still America and God bless us we can still speak our minds. I don't love everyone one of you out their, some of you I hate and I don't even know you, tough!

    Racism and hate will always exist, you cannot and will not ever be rid of it, we are just after all human beings not machines. Don't force it, just live with it.

    March 4, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  21. Astounded

    Before I finished the first paragraph of this article, I was thinking 'you've gotta be kidding me!' Rush should get AALLLLL the credit for this. He hasn't needed any help looking like he's the big cheese. He's pretty much stood up to shake the banner, and the rest of the RNC has bowed down to approve it. They don't need any help from any other party.

    March 4, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  22. garty

    Republican Party into a Limbaughesque caricature.

    March 4, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  23. Kelly

    Republicans only care about one thing... their pockets.... oh wait... they care about two things: their pockets and winning in politics. Nevermind if it goes against the well being of this nation.

    March 4, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. arsham

    Rusho is living in stone age. The debates are over with McCain, the party
    lost.
    Obama is the president now and he is certainly not going to invite you into the Lincoln bedroom. so, get over it.
    if you want to self debate, go ahead , debate yourself as crazy lunatic.

    March 4, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  25. worriedmom

    James Carville and friends got caught and now who is back tracking. Maybe Rahm can "dance" his way out of this one! heh,heh
    All this has done is added more listeners to Rush in a time when people are starting to doubt the Leadership of our country.
    More power to Rush!!!

    March 4, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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