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. Judy

    Hey Rush – The debates are over and PRESIDENT Obama won them (hence, his new title). Why don't you debate Michael Steele to see who the leader of your party is?

    March 4, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Mary Matalin

    Even I don't believe James.

    March 4, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Mike Dallas

    The lush's popularity peaked in 2003 at 20 million and is now at 14 million and dropping. Google it, Carville had nothing to do with it.

    Limpbaugh stated he "wants Obama to fail" specifically. All you dittoheads can try and spin it however you want, but that was his statement to CPAC..

    Seems I remember another angry furor over "words taken out of context". Repubs got very angry over Wright stating "Godda&n America", seems I do not recall anything but anger from the rabid right. He tried to explain it and it was never accepted only jeered and calls for Obama to repudiate such words. Or how about a "nation of cowards" for those repubs with short term memory loss. Those words were red meat for the neo-cons.

    President Obama left his church, but I hear no calls from the neo-cons and repubs for the lush to retract his statements. Instead, all of them are apologizing and sucking up like a little girl. So, do not pretend this is not exactly the same situation because it is, but your party is now on the receiving end.

    Everyone has a right to freedom of speech. Limbaugh can say President Obama can fail. We in turn, can call Limpballs a douche bag. It is kind of how that whole freedom of speech thingy works.
    And if it seems we are "attacking" or ganing up on Limprick, then maybe that is because he and his neo-con followers are in the MINORITY. A reality that most neo-cons are still denying even after the 11/4 blowout..

    And for the record, the bald bonehead's "joke" during the CPAC speech about God wanting to be Rush Limbaugh, was blasphemy, at least Rev. Wright did not mock God and country in one speech.

    March 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Billiam

    Rush, get over yourself. Obama was elected by the people, not you.
    Debating you is a moot point. He does not need your blessing to do his job.

    March 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. Larry of Boston

    One should never pay the slightest attention to anything that begins with the three words " James Carville says"

    March 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. carrotroot

    Carvel is kinda right, Limbaugh did say he wanted the president to fail, but they didn't *have* to respond to him.

    Now it's become a game of who gets the last word in.

    March 4, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Prezzy Junior

    Carville is right! The Russian born Russ Limbaugh, by Natashia Schlerriski and Russschlirschem Verblirschirf, has brain-washed the Republican party with his ancient idiology. He's a thing of the past and anybody who chooses to follow that path is doomed.

    March 4, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    You bunch of stupid little sh__ts! The country is falling apart and you scheme and play stupid games and get paid for it? You should feel guilty taking your huge salaries.

    March 4, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. steve

    Memo To Rush Limbaugh,

    Debating the President of the United State would be a good Idea.
    You need to be nominated as the next Republican candidate in 2011 for that to happen . President Obama would welcome you to a presidential debate if you get nominated.
    So for now continue with your blowhard daily talk show.
    For now make sure you approve every daily talking point by the republicans in congress and senate before the appear in the media.

    March 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Howard

    Rush needs a love life. Why else would he seek so much attention. Maybe his mother refused to pay him attention as a child and this is the reason behind the drug addiction and the constant need for approval from others. He needs therapy. I can't be the only one that sees this.

    March 4, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. REBEL-1

    Straight from the mouth of one of the most partisan people in our country! The Democraps scream race, partisan, discrimination, etc. when it fits their agenda. Otherwise they testify in front of Congress that "skill labor and white construction workers" should not benefit from the Porkulus Bill (Yes, Mr. Robert Rieche).

    What a bunch of criminals! (on BOTH sides!!!)

    March 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Joyce Becker

    Of course Rush started the feud when he made that hateful speech at CPAC, it was a challenge that he sent out, but the Democrats did not jump to join in and take the bait. Instead it was the Republicans by first saying they disagreed with his statement that he wanted the President to fail, and then when Rush got mad at them they fell right in line and went and kissed his ring and his aXX like the toadies they are. Rush needs confirmation of his bias and there are many in the Republican party and the country who will give it to him and eats it right up and bounces and bounces just like the clown he is and they can't see that, what a hoot. The Democrats are not foolish enough to fall for his bloated comments, there is no need for them to do that, Rush and his followers can make fools of themselves all by themselves, without any help, he has enough Kool Ade for all of them it seems.

    March 4, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. Cali Girl

    Does any body out there know where I can get a list of businesses that advertise on the Rush Limbaugh Show? I have been to his web-site and I can't seem to locate such a list.

    I would love nothing more than to boycott any company that pays for advertising on this windbags show.

    March 4, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Brian

    I can't believe the hypocrisy of the Democratic party...wow. Can this guy tell a lie with a straight face or what? The Democrats have wanted President Bush to fail for the last 8 years and no one said a thing. One PRIVATE citizen says he wants President Obama to fail and all hell breaks loose. What about the other millions of Americans who want president Obamas policies to fail? If this leads us to socialism, I want Obama to fail also.

    March 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Michael

    Rush Rush he's our man

    Trying to dash the hope of Yes We Can

    The Fat Drug Addict

    Is an Acrobatic

    With Gingrey and Steel on the coattails in tow

    Swinging to the mantra that bought them so low

    Their a pittiful Lott

    That can't see how Trent got caught

    Their days are over

    The country's now sober

    The days of finger pointing

    Got killed by the year 2000 anointing

    This stuff is real it too easy. Too Bad Its So Disastrous

    March 4, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Rob Johnson

    James Carville is like Karl Rove in a way.

    If he's on your team, you love him because he knows how to win.

    If he's on the other team, you hate his guts for the same reason.

    March 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Michael

    Do Obama and Rambo and pea brain Begala and skin head Carville really think they can quite Repeblican oppositon to Obama's out of control spending by attacking Limbaugh and claiming he is the Republican leader? Even if Limbaugh disappeared from the face of the earth, no Republican would support Obama's spendulus bill or his nearly 4 trillion dollar budget. Obama is out of control and no Republican will support it. Doesn't matter who this bunch of idots think is our leader.

    March 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Voter

    Limbaugh is challenging the Democrats to drive him out, shut him up.

    Well, Rush, you're here to stay.
    Get used to it.

    You're the best thing that's happened to the Democrats since the Inauguration!

    Keep talking, Rush, just keep right on talking!

    March 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  19. DStuart

    And you wonder why the American public is leary of the BIASED media, especially when you read the following: "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." The same is being told of ABC's George Stephanopoulos and his daily conversations with Rahm Emanuel. It's all about "the spin". We, as a people can NO LONGER depend on the American media to be unbiased and to tell the truth. This is truly as very sad day for journalism!! ...now, let's see if this comment will be published.

    March 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. C W

    Just because a lot of people agree that Rush Limbaugh is an ugly entertainer more in love with his voice and getting attention than reasoned discourse and helping our country does not mean there's a conspiracy against him. Limbaugh is quite the egotist – and sounding more and more paranoid every day.

    March 4, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Adam

    Rush started the feud? You mean the feud in which the President, Chief of Staff, Press Sec, and Democratic Strategists leveled public attacks on a private citizen? That feud?

    It's obvious that Bush is no longer a convenient scapegoat, so they have to move on to the next target. So how many election cycles will Democrats be running campaigns against Rush Limbaugh?

    Are people seriously that dumb to not see what is happening here?

    March 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. dumbocrat alert

    these two have been the stench of the dumbocrat party for 16 years, especially the forehead.(not carville)

    March 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Felix

    Ah the American way, Rove wants a verbal cage fight with Obama. No wonder the Republicans are a lost cause. They are self-destructing and don't need any help from a White House "conspiracy" to do so.

    March 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. John Doe

    Consider the source on this one .....Rush Limbaugh

    Bank of America is laying off US based staff and replacing them with off short (India) or near shore (Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico) staff. In short I'm competing to keep my job with someone that is getting paid less. I do feel very fortunate to have my job during these times, however it's no fun waiting to be replaced at some point myself. Wouldn't it be a little more respectful of the bank to offer them to keep there job, but with a pay cut? Outsourcing is directly contributing to this deep recession.

    March 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Denise Walker

    I am not a Rush Limbaugh listener but I hope President Obama's plan fails too. Does that make me the new leader of the Republican Party? James Carvelle and his cohorts are idoits!!!

    March 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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