March 4th, 2009
06:08 PM ET
9 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. UtopiaU

    There are several media analysts (Democratic opposition, and those representing African-Americans) hitting the air waves to discuss their views on President Obama's plan(s). They are bashing one another and need to focus their attention on the issues, instead of bolstering the racial devide. The people who voted for President Obama should not get upset when others question and/or oppose what most of the country voted for . . . His Plan!

    President Obama and his speakers do a much better job of defending what he ran on and now implementing. Our energy and voice are in greater need within our respective communites for our Youth, despterately needing mentor/motivators, tutors, and job skills centers, etc.

    March 4, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  2. Mike Dallas

    "Obama is out of control and no Republican will support it."

    It is called political capital, you twit. President Obama has plenty and he keeps getting new deposits.

    On the other hand repubs need a bailout, as they are bankrupt.

    One day you folks will realize, how out of step you are with the rest of us. NBC/WSJ has President Obama at 64% and repubs at 26% I provide stats to back up my claims not the repubs's daily talking points you dittoheads use.

    Of course do continue to ignore anything but the repub private poll provided by Rasmussen, he is the only one not in on the "liberal MSM conspiracy"!

    March 4, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  3. The Last Patriot

    Is anyone else disappointed that this administration is taking on purely partisan talking points from purely partisan hacks, rather than focusing on the many important issues facing this country?

    Shouldn't Rahm Emmanuel be leafing through the omnibus spending bill (with his remaining fingers) and looking for waste to root out, instead of formulating juvenile divisive ploys with Carville and Begala?

    Was there anything that Obama said during the campaign trail that was not actually pure grade horse manure?

    March 4, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  4. dem4obama

    Someone needs to remind rush that all he is ,is a radio talk host nothing more. not even important ,not a President ,a Governor ,Senator , not even the leader of the GOP.So he wants the president to fail ?Just remember rush old boy, if he fails, we all fail including{you} a SORRY EXCUSE for an AMERICAN! Pack your crap and move to another country, the sooner the better!!! and oh i totally agree with Carville.

    March 4, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. Eugene

    "Republicans accuse Democrats of using Limbaugh as a distraction". Can the manager of a television station be accused of using Bozo as a clown? Sorry, but Bozo is a clown, and why imagine he could be anything else?

    March 4, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. Staunch Democrat

    Palin, Joe the Plumber, Jindal, Steele and now Rush...this is too funny. This is better than watching Big Brother or Survivor.

    Call the President what you will: guess who got beat at their own game? Republicans, no weapon(Rush) formed against thee (the President) shall prosper. Get along or get gone. You will not outsmart the President. You have no new ideas. Therefore, work with the President and at least get half the credit.

    March 4, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. marquis


    March 4, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. proud army navy mom

    Rush has been running his drug addicted mouth for years. The repugs used to ignore him now that turn around and hold their ankles before him.

    March 4, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |




    March 4, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. Rove vs. Rahm

    At least Carville, Rahm and Begala do not have to suspend butt snorkeling Rush's analsphincter before they speak, like Steele and the other repubs do!

    I anticipate the token boy will lie low or is that, on the "down low"? Then quietly submit his resignation due to "family obligations".

    March 4, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. Gonzo in Houston

    When Rush became the de facto leader of the Republican party he left a comfortable ringside seat to step into the ring. He's just now discovering what a fight really is. This would be funny were it not so tragic for the Republicans.

    March 4, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. mjishernameo

    This is the most corrupt media ever...the fact that Carville chats up the WH every morning is unbelievable....Where is the balance? This is all to get us ready for the "fairness" doctrine to silence conservatives in the only media form left for us....and the free market supports it.

    Obama is a liar and so are the rest of them...Carville on the top of the list...America is waking up to the silly scams the Obama camp is playing.

    March 4, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. Jan Illinois

    James go after Rush< I believe you can take him.

    March 4, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Mike - Houston

    James Carville, the wet rat.

    March 4, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    I guess any day now Obama's going to have to sign an Executive Order making it an act of treason to doubt him, let alone express a hope that his efforts to drive the country into socialism fail.

    March 4, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  16. Suzi

    Best thing to do is to ignore Limbaugh. President Obama is doing an outstanding job in a really difficult time.

    Limbaugh's going to keep saying more and more outrageous things to try to manipulate his way into power because he's lost his power and he knows it.

    March 4, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  17. Soccer Nana

    Limbaugh is doing what the big corporations are paying him to do because they are angry about the taxes they will finally have to pay!

    March 4, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  18. zack

    You know what I don't get? You republicans for the past 6-8 years are the ones that spent us into the mess with your unfounded wars. Now that Obama is using money to make money(Sounds like a rich white republican business theory), and the republicans are no longer the ones spending the money on their republican agenda, you cry foul. Guess what? Us dems had to watch for 8 years as your idiot manchild blew our deficit to enormous proportions. Now sit back and watch as Obama spends money on the UNITED STATES instead of iraq or some other half witted plan to conduct a war on another nation that has nothing to do with any of this UBL business. It's funny in 51 days, obama has come up with a better plan for the war against UBL than bush could in 8 years, get out of iraq, go to afghanistan and pakistan. Obama – 1 Bush – -1,000,000

    March 4, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. John

    I love it. Keep talking Rush, just keep talking. The more you talk, the more the GOP falls by the wayside. Keep this up and by 2012 there won't be more than 5 or 6 Republicans in office. Hahahahaha

    March 4, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  20. paulernestshow

    Democrats do not need to conspire against "King Limbaugh" the famous ruler of the Republican party. Rush is offering them the opp to link him with Republicans ,and Republicans are hurting themselves by not trying to relegate Rush to the background. He has become the face of the party and Democrats and their loyalists love it. What is so wrong to laugh and count your blessings, when your opponents are destroying themselves instead of fighting you? Rush is not worth any conspiracy. If he and the Republican party are that dumb to allow him to continue ranting, do not blame or accuse Democrats.

    March 4, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. david

    Why is Anderson Cooper being so biased?

    He seems to hit Democrats with outrageously unfair questions, and yet, he allows the far right-wingers easily off. No hard questions, no actual questions, just softballs lobbed at the far-right GOP.

    And Mr. Cooper might need to get some common sense. It makes no sense to say "I'll let the viewers decide." When you say that, you're not fulfilling your duty. When the sky is blue, you say the sky is blue. You don't let the far right GOP say that it's black, and say I'll let the viewers decide whether its blue or black. This is the stupidity that Mr. Cooper spouts every day.

    Hard on Dems; soft on the GOP. Stop pandering to the far right, and start actually doing your dang job.

    March 4, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  22. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-republican

    I think it's a boxing match between Limbaugh and Carville. My money is on Carville.

    March 4, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-republican

    America! We really have to look at the CPAC cult and the Limbaugh priest as a threat to America! This looks like Nazi Germany before the horrors that they committed. CPAC is a cult!

    March 4, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  24. Marty, Grand Rapids

    Conspiracy? It makes good political sence to have infighting in the republican party. Not sure what the big deal is. Republicans will do the same when they get the chance (and the democrates will give them that chance) I agree though that Rush is getting too much press. I listened to part of his address to cpac. He was barley coherent and couldn't connect his analogies with his point. I couldn't imagine listening to him on the radio.

    March 4, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Janel, St. Paul, MN


    Please give us a break. Every time that you mention the blowhard Limbaugh, you increase his ratings.

    Some say he is entertainment only. As for me, I think he is ridiculous, and I would never listen to his show. But. . .thanks to you. . .I have to turn the channel to another station rather than yours when you continue to give this madman airtime.

    I suspect you know the damage he can do our country with his rants, but sadly you prefer to add fuel to the fire.

    Please. . .turn him off. I'm losing respect for CNN.

    March 4, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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