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. chris

    "I don’t take orders from anybody, except CNN, my boss.”

    Excellent response

    go go go, attack soviet, keep your foot on the back of his neck and do not let him up.

    Republicans, come out and playyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    March 4, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. tropicgirl

    Now Carville and Begala want to do for Obama what they did for Shillary. Ha! Good luck. She is now known as a self-centered freakazoid, like they are. Good job. I guess this is the "heart" of the democratic party now.

    March 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Scott

    Yes, I would definetly trust the word of the impartial, bi-partisan, tolerant Mr. Carville. I believe him that Rush Limbaugh is a racist bigot who wants the president to fail because he's black. I don't care that Rush said he wants Obama to fail because his socialist policies are going to ruin the country; Rush is obviously wrong to oppose our first black president, who is going to save us from the evil rich corporations and give us lots of money and toys and free healthcare and slurpees and houses and the jobs to pay for those things are just going to fall out of the sky because Lord Obama has come to save us, how dare Rush question him, because he is black.

    March 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Justin

    Rush Limbaugh should run for office. Oh yeah – except for that whole drug thing. I think it was mixing Viagra and Oxycotton. Wasn't that the combo?

    March 4, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. janelle

    Of course they are part of the movement to shout as loud and as long as they can that Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican party. That's what these two do, and have always done. Say things enough times and somehow it becomes true.

    The fact is that these two were among the most vocal Bush Bashers for years, and that was okay, they and all the other dems were entitled to their opions, same as Rush Limbaugh and people who listen to him.

    What I find is ironic is that while these two and their minions were attacking Bush, President Bush, never personally attacked them or anyone else. In fact, no President has ever made a personal public attack on anyone, until now, the President who was elected to change the climate of Washington has become the first President to use his pulpit to personally attack someone who doesn't agree with him.

    March 4, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. Matthew, Detroit

    These Clowns are losing their steam.

    14 DEMOCRAT Senators TODAY came out against little barack's

    spending plans.

    Former Barack back JIM CRAMER has come out and said he has never seen a president cause SO MUCH DESTRUCTION OF WEALTH

    Sounds like the honeymoon is over barack.

    Give Michelle the checkbook back. You clearly do not know what you are doing.

    March 4, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Scott

    Oh, and no one on the left ever wanted George W. Bush to fail. Ever.

    March 4, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. G.R.

    Limbaugh is not an "entertainer", he is an irritant. I do not think he is humorous, intelligent, or credible. Why would President Obama stoop to debate that bozo? He's like a gnat, a pesky person that you just want to slap away. The only people that I know that like Limbaugh voted twice for Bush and that's a fact. The Republican Party has narrowed it's appeal to a minority of right wing die-hards. Cut the obfuscation crap and admit it you neocon dummies, Limbaugh started it, Steele sealed it, and now you are stuck with it. King Rush :)

    March 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Scott

    Consdier your race card pulled.

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

    rush limbaugh and the republicans shot all be on a plane to the middle east so this country could be a better place.

    March 4, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. jdquest

    It might be appropriate for Limbaugh and Carville to debate. The only problem might be that Carville could blow a fuse because he is more emotionally involved in his political stands. I often think Rush would change sides if someone paid him enough. Just remember that Rush has an audience of puppets. When he repeats enough times that he won a debate or golf tournament or whatever it is, they will believe it, even if you have a video that proves its not true.

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

    Right...so they didn't deny it.

    March 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Sometimes I wonder if old Rush lived in another country if he wouldn't have been silenced years ago. By either a firing squad or a hangman. I detest this guy but I'll stick with Patrick Henry in that "Sir,I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it." Quit giving this blowhard gas bag a platform to extoll his foul garbage and you'll greatly reduce his effectiveness.

    March 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. YBM

    Carville is so far to the left that he makes centrists look like they are far right wing idiots....

    Ok, maybe the illuminati are behind Obama, or maybe he is the antichrist, or maybe he does have a piece of the spear of destiny……

    Or, maybe so many sheeple were just wanting to make history, or vote for him from misplaced guilt, or just voted for him because of the color of his skin.

    Whatever the case, it is obvious to people that think for themselves that he is on his way to ruining this country, sending it the same way the Roman Empire went.

    If we as a country want to survive as anything other than a 3rd world country, we need to elect people in 2010 that will block at least the most dangerous of his actions.

    March 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Diji from Baltimore, Maryland

    So what if they coordinate with the white house. The public needs to know that Limbaugh is the infallible and defacto leader of the republican party. The spineless republicans elected to congress should call Limbaugh every morning to get their matching orders for the day lest they say something that might offend the "great" Rush. Obama is the President of the US. If his policies fail, the US fails. Who in his right mind would want this? This is beyond pathetic.

    March 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Paula in the middle of the country

    I don't think Mr. Limbaugh needs help from anyone to spread his words of doom and hate!!! I have never liked him or his message. I remember him calling everyone traitors, when they were opposed to the war, now he is opposed to making the United States whole again.
    I never wanted any President or his policy to fail. Rush is just getting people to listen to his talk show and therefore his sponsors. He holds no real power. If he believed as he pretends, he would run for office--oh that's right, usually liars and drug addicts don't get elected.
    HHmmmmm!

    March 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. lori

    The GOP always think there's a conspiracy against them, especially when they don't get their way. Please I think the White House has more imporant things to do.

    March 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. america first

    why can't the republicans admit that limbaugh was wrong when he said I WANT HIM TO FAIL, he should be tried for treason.

    March 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. California Gold

    Limbaugh is having quite a year. He has gone from a big mouth yelling that he hopes the new American President fails to being a victim of a 'conspiracy' theory. Nothing worse than a drama queen.

    March 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. america first

    why can't the republicans admit that limbaugh was wrong when he said I WANT HIM TO FAIL, he should be tried for treason.

    March 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. america first

    why can't the republicans admit that limbaugh was wrong when he said I WANT HIM TO FAIL, he should be tried for treason.

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. lori

    The GOP always think there's a conspiracy against them, especially when they don't get their way. Please I think the White House has more imporant things to do.

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. lori

    The GOP always think there's a conspiracy against them, especially when they don't get their way. Please I think the White House has more imporant things to do.

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. lori

    The GOP always think there's a conspiracy against them, especially when they don't get their way. Please I think the White House has more imporant things to do.

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. lori

    The GOP always think there's a conspiracy against them, especially when they don't get their way. Please I think the White House has more imporant things to do.

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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