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. 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 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Who care's? It is more about fair-play. You always come out after the fact, America! The west was made to show, how vulnerable it was/is in the early 2000's.
    But that is not the true picture. You help nobody beating-up on the pevious: until you show something better. sHUT UP...

    March 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. EVOLVE

    RUSH LIMBAUGH HOPES THE PRESIDENT TO FAIL. IS THIS WHAT THE REPUBLICANS CALL PATRIOITIC? APPARENTLY THE RIGHT WING REPUBLICAN PARTY SUPPORTS PARTY OVER COUNTRY.

    RUSS LIMBAUGH IS A HIGH SCHOOL DROP OUT SUPPORTED BY 20 MILLION SIMPLE MINDED RIGHT WING RADICALS. JUST LIKE "JOE THE PLUMBER" WAS NEVER A PLUMBER. JUST A BUNCH OF ILLUSIONS AND LIES!

    GO RUSH! YOUR FACE WILL LOOK GOOD ON THE FRONT OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BANNER.

    March 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. ray

    these people on the right are nothing more than traitors to this country. these people on the right are obstructionist, these people on the right are destructive, these people on the right are terrorist. these people on the right wants america to fail because we have a black president. wake up america and smell the republicans, vote these racists out of office come any election.

    March 4, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. Susan

    Can we please move on to the investigation into Bush's crimes against America?

    March 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Dave

    Give me a break. This fat slob has been running his mouth for years and when it comes back on him, he whines like a child. Here's some advice – if you can't take it, don't dish it out.

    March 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Sue

    I would argue that Obama brought up Rush Limbaugh not once, but on a couple of occasions during the campainging and recently, even before Rush's tirade on hopes of "failure." This is besides the point: there is an inevitable rift in the Republican party, where they held people like Palin, Jindal, Steele, and even Mccain's adopted child from Burma up on pedestals to show that they are a diverse party too.
    Give me a break, Republicans lost against the new Movement in American politics, and they are still in denile.

    March 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Griff............... on The Truth...

    So I do! But will you? I doubt it. You just shut the door. But leave your own window open.... So I have a smaller targetl.

    March 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Viet Vet

    Ol' limplips can spew his hate but you can't poll how many people hate him? Freedom of speech is still alive Rush live with it.
    Rush (a legend in his own mind) go take your hillbilly heroin and viagra have a great heart attack .... .er life. Oh, by the way, don't hold your breath on debating the Prez, you're about as relevant to him as a rats a$$ on the sun.

    March 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. cnnnewser

    Limbaugh came right out and said he's the leader of the repblican party... and the republicans have all but kissed his rear end.
    So, why point fingers at the White House?
    Why all the drama?

    March 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Put an End to the Republican Dictatorship Over the US

    EXCUSE ME but Mr. Limbaugh has PUT HIMSELF out there as THE LEADER of the Republican Party.

    Please, when the so called Leader, has to call Mr. Limbaugh to APOLOGIZE to him......I'd say Mr. Limbaugh IS THE LEADER.

    NO ONE NEEDS TO HELP MAKE HIM THAT WAY.....HE'S DONE THAT HIMSELF.

    March 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Mari

    "WHITE HOUSE CONSPIRACY"!!! IS this a joke???????????????

    SO typical of the far-right to see the boogie-man everywhere!

    ITS NOT ENOUGH TO AROUSE FEAR WITH THE PUBLIC......... NOW THE GOPERS ARE BELIEVING THEIR ........OWN LIES!

    LOL!

    March 4, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Steve

    Rush, Paul, James.......all scum from the same pond!

    March 4, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Terry

    What do the socialists know? I say, let's nominate a Palin-Limbaugh ticked in 2012 and stun the world with a 90% victory for Conservatism. Can you see Ron Paul as Secretary of the Treasury? How about Tom Delay at Justice? Newt Gingrich could fill in nicely as Secretary of State. Why, within six months, the market would be booming, the average household income would probably be $100,000 annually, and Americans would not need health insurance - they would just pay cash up front.

    Come on, America! Let's go!

    March 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. Matthew, Detroit

    Hey if the Alien wants to run around chasing Rush Limbaugh in

    circles than let him.

    I personally think it is pretty funny that Gibbs as a press secretary and

    Rahm Emanuel is so so scared of Rush.

    These monkeys spend more time on a radio show host than they

    do trying to solve the economic problems. Get a clue guys.

    March 4, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. H R Mickelson

    Sir
    Has anyone noticed how much, other that for the girth, Mr. Limbaugh sounds, acts and looks like Adolf Hitler?

    If ones recalls MR. Limbaugh’s addresses, speeches and actions on and off the stage, he sounds and acts just like the speeches and performances of Adolf Hitler. It does not take much digging to find very similar rhetoric from Hitler that matches very closely to Limbaugh’s opinions and statements. Additionally, Limbaugh’s movements and expressions remind me of the clips of Hitler’s rantings and ravings while addressing his ultra conservative audience.

    I suggest that some professional group needs to constantly expose and post similar rhetoric on everything Limbaugh says in comparison to Hitler and show the American people just what kind of a person that he is, in my opinion very dangerous.

    It would seem to me, if my observations are anywhere close to accurate the sponsors of his talk radio show would drop him like a hot rock.

    I could go on and on about the similar political concepts of Limbaugh to Hitler, but I will leave that to others much more gifted in exposing this man for what he is. Entertainer, I don’t think so?

    March 4, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. A tired American

    Rush Limbaugh has been attacking Democrats for about twenty years, and made an art of attacking Bill Clinton. He is a big-mouthed blow-hard, and if anyone wants to show him for what he is he should be big enough to take it....eh, not that I think he is big!!!

    March 4, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. Tom - Tx

    Actually, the Democrats don't need to do anything.

    The Republican party is doing to itself what Dick Chaney told the Senator from Vermont to do to himself.

    March 4, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. EC

    This is toooooo funny. Republicans are really predictable. Next they'll be blaming Sasha and Malia for this whole BS.

    The GOP continues to get PLAYED by their own man Rush Limbaugh AND yet they are too stupid to know it. They continue to BLAME everyone else when they themselves hoisted Rush up as their NEW MESSIAH, their new GODFATHER OF THE GOP!!!

    This is EXACTLY why the GOP continue to tank in the polls. They are GIVING James Carvile, Paul Begala way too much CREDIT and POWER!! The GOP, thanks to Rushy himself, is putting James Carville and Paul Begala back in the "driver's seat" by boosting political careers!! If I was James Carville or Paul Begala, I'd be laughing my head off at the circus being played out within the GOP while my political career gets a HUGE BOOST.

    What does this mean? The GOP STARTED the ball rolling when they USHERED Rush Limbaugh onto their "circus stage", BIG MISTAKE because Rush Limbaugh is ALL about his celebrity greed, just look at how much he continues to run his mouth at the expense of the GOP!! Hello?

    March 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Tom in Delaware

    The Democratic National Committee News Network – DNCNN (formerly known as CNN) has been lock-step with Obama for over a year now.

    You're the same people that talked about Sarah Palin's wardrobe 11 days in a row, yet the fact that Obama screwed the pooch with his letter to Russia on his first Foreign Policy fumble is out of the news cycle already.

    Asking Paul Begula to comment on Paul Begula's actions is like the old joke, "I'm the smartest guy in the world, if you don't belive me, just ask me."

    The MSM is not to be trusted, with the exception of Lou Dobbs and FOX.

    March 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. Ted

    Rush Limbaugh is an obnoxious person if there ever was one! He is totally negative and panders to losers. Having said that, I think that enough has been said on CNN and elsewhere and we should just let him rant and rave but not give him any more publicity. All these loudmouths fade in popularity when they are not mentioned over and over again. Remember Joe the Plumber? Exactly my point.

    March 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. PSKing

    Yes, as well Mr. Limbaugh SHOULD be included in polls. He should be the "bottom of the barrel, pond-scum variable". In any graph, one should portray the high spot, the median, and the low spot. Mr Limbaugh has worked diligently to prove himself – no one should take away his hard-earned accomplishments. The "blow-hard" variable should ALWAYS be recognized and factored into the stats. Great job Rush! Keep up the inferior work!

    March 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Bonnie

    Why is the media focusing on the piece of sh– Rush Limbaugh and his republican friends. Why? Him, nor his biggoted friends are not worth the dogshi– that they wallow in. President Obama has not, and will not stoop to their level, and stoop, he would have to, because you cannot get any lower than Rush and Friends. Let it go Media, move on to something important.

    March 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Hollywood has got to make this into a movie.

    March 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. kayana

    ooh, plausible deniability. My favorite of the old Begala/Carville dirty tricks book. Gee, they haven't aged a bit since the Clinton scandals, have they?

    March 4, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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