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. jr

    Let's just get back to what is important in America. Fixing the economy. I really could care less about who said what and why. Everyone has a right to state their own opinion..You have to decide whether to listen to it or not. This is nothing but a bunch of distractions and sideshows.

    March 4, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. john

    Don't blame it on the White House or Carville. Like the tough guys say in movies WE DID THIS TO YOU .YOU UNDERSTAND ITS THE LITTLE GUYS UNITING!

    March 4, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Anna PA

    it's a brilliant plan Mr. Carville! Keep it up!!

    March 4, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Mike in TX

    Liberal dolts and the coolaid that they drink. Everything taken out of context so they have someone to hate on. Rush does not want the country to fail. He said that he wanted obama to fail IF HIS GOAL WAS SOCIALIST POLICIES. On the flip side, even if he only said that he wanted obama to fail, he is a radio talk show host. Democrat senators..including obama have been saying for years that they wanted Bush to fail with the war in Iraq...which means that they want more soldiers to die........Democrats have a short memory and a lot of nerve. I didn't see all you dolts complaining then about how dare they want the president to fail.

    March 4, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Mike

    They are trying to take the spot light off Obama because they know that impeachment is in the air. Even these 2 bozos don't believe he is a citizen.
    He will be impeached before the year is over.

    March 4, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  6. Irishny

    Still on this Limbaugh thing i see!

    Carville and other democrats cant divert peoples attention forever.

    Sooner or later people will realise that all they're doing is rambling on about a radio talk show host and realise thats theres more important things to talk about!

    March 4, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Where's Al and Jesse

    I think the media is racist. They think Steele is not able to handle being chairman so he needs the white man. Where is the outrage? Where is Jesse? Where is Al?

    March 4, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Slaxc

    The Obama bubble has burst. Obama is Jimmy Carter Jr.. This guy is a junior varsity leader driving the train off the track completely.

    Per Congress, we should start now a movement to throw out all these bums starting in 10 and try getting the good Americans of both parties into Congress.

    March 4, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. redstick

    Any remark remotely critical of Bush was labeled unpatriotic by the same neocons who now want the American President to fail. What happened to all the talk about patriotism and American pride that Rush and others used to bully everyone into silence?

    March 4, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. Joe Green

    It is a brilliant strategy – cast the Republicans as the far-right wacko party of the Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin supporters – you know, those fat guys who drive tiny cars plastered with bumper stickers and complain that "society" has kept them down while they polish their guns. Nutjobs.

    It will work for the Democrats – provided.... provided they can deliver on their promises to improve the economy and turn around the country.

    If the Democrats fail, it will be exposed as merely a smokescreen.

    So, partisan on, friends. Just make sure you don't back yourself into a corner.

    March 4, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  11. Harry

    Carville, Begala and Rahm are idiots. White House is run by idiots. Thye have nothing else tot alk about. They do not know what is happening to our economy. Instead they want to talk about Rush. At least Rush is trying to give them some sense. Thank you Rush.

    March 4, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Todd

    What a joke! Oh, take things out of context, use them to go after a worthless radio guy – anything to take America's eyes off of the crap that Obama is sliding in under our eyes!

    March 4, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. Typical White Person

    Liberals see the poor and minorities as "victims" who must be taken care of by society...

    Conservatives see the poor and minorities as potential contributers to society...

    Whose keeping whom down? Rush was right...

    March 4, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  14. rob

    Politico.com=another right-winged, neo-fascist, organization. What did you expect, honest news.

    March 4, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. Proud American

    Rush Limbaugh is overweight, drug addicted and complete Moron. Anyone who believes it was the White House was responsible for the American public being informed of those facts are bigger Idiots than Rush. Rush Limbaugh is trying to hold on to his job just like the rest of America, and the only way to accomplish that is to make stupied statements and cause some type of reaction through the media. Keep the camera out of his fat face and the Moron would go away.

    March 4, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. texas teacher

    Democrats are so afraid of Limbaugh. That is why they are trying to silence him. It won't work though. Rush still believes in the 1st amendment. Keep on fighting Rush! It is sad when a President makes it a priority to go after a private citizen. Most Republicans want the "socialist" ideas of Obama to fail, including some Democrats in congress who are starting to question the great "O."

    March 4, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. Dan, TX

    Rush wouldn't poll 1% of republicans if he ran for the nomination. What makes him think he's worthy of debating the President of the United States? Rush is CHICKEN!!!!! Run for president Rush, or shut the H up!

    March 4, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. Lush Limprick & Osama bin Laden have the same vision for America - FAILURE!

    “After more failed stints with Missouri radio stations Limbaugh
    moved to Sacramento, CA, where he met and became "friends"
    with Norm Woodruff, a flamboyant, openly gay man with a
    great deal of influence in the local radio scene. Woodruff, who
    mentored Limbaugh in the ways of affluence and elitism (traits
    Rush mocks today), would later die of AIDS Through his ties to Woodruff Limbaugh was given Morton Downey Jr’s spot on KFBK News Talk 1530AM”.

    “In May 2004 Rush's third wife, Marta, grew tired of never
    having sex with her allegedly closeted homosexual of a
    husband, and so asked for a divorce. Limbaugh complied after his
    desperate wife agreed to never reveal the true nature of Rush's
    sexual perversion“.

    So, let's recap,

    3 failed relationships with 3 different women

    Public knowledge due to his drug addictions, he must use Viagra to consummate a relationship with any woman

    Could it be?

    Could Limprick also be tapping out Broadway show tunes in public bathrooms with his shoe when there is a cute young boy toy in the adjoining stall?

    Or does he too, just have a "wide stance" when seated?

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    March 4, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. Kathy

    I know Carville is an idiot.... but I think we have a bigger one in the White House. Drop the Rush stuff and get down to business... The country is in a mess. Maybe this is just a conspiracy to bankrupt the US and give it over to maybe ..... BHO's true home country?

    March 4, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. Proud American

    How can an educated, accomplished man who just so happens to be the leader of the free world demonize a Moron? A Moron who's losing other Idiot followers at record numbers. I think it's safe to say that this overweight village Idiot is using drugs again.

    March 4, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Darren from Dallas.

    Limbaugh is a cancer, corrupting and poisoning everything that was ever good about this country. It's about time someone stood up to him. Goodness knows, the republican party seem to gutless to.

    March 4, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  22. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    There is a difference between crap shooters and sharp shooters like Rush. Give Rush credit alright.

    March 4, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. tess

    we might as well have elected hillary since o'bama is using all the clinton's old henchmen! i really thought he was so much better than she would have been because of all the clinton sleaziness – but alas – he is not only using all of their tactics but the same mean, dishonest, lying scumbags she and bill used to destroy anybody who got too close to the truth about them – way to go o'bama – this is really change!!!!

    March 4, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. Limprick is Light in the Loafers!

    Even if Carville and Emanuel only had one a piece, together they would still have more 'nads than token shepherd Steele and his Sheep.

    March 4, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. Kelly

    Some Republicans believe the Democrats are afraid of Rush and that's why they attack, but I think not. I'm not a Democrat yet I'm outraged by Rush's statement.

    Rush L. speaks to the core of the Republican base, yet a majority of Americans oppose their outdated ideas. Why should anyone be afraid of Rush L.? Rush is simply getting the same type of attention that Palin got. People just love to tear him down.

    Republicans claim the Rush is not the leader of their party, but are afraid to speak out against Rush and his ideas. How can Republicans lead this country when they have no back bone?

    The Republicans believe that they can get us out of this mess. I find that amusing considering it was their great ideas got us into this mess in the first place.

    Republicans are so opposed to Obama's vision for the United States, yet the vision of the Republican party is scattered and geared to benefit only the wealthy. It always amazes me how smart these Republicans think they are when they don't even know what their party stands for or who their leaders are.

    March 4, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13