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. JonDie

    I just figured something out about the Simpsons: Rush Limbaugh is the model of Krusty the Clown and Michael Steele is Sideshow Bob.

    March 4, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Musonge

    He's (Limbaugh) actually frying in his own frying pan full of his own oil!

    March 4, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. mary,florida

    Conspiracy,like Oxycotton.

    March 4, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Jobless

    If Rush wants to debate Obama then he must run for president in 2012. If Rush does not run for President, then it proves that he is afraid to debate Obama or anyone else for that matter. Rush is a big fat Oxycontin-addicted pompous egotistical lying psychotic douche bag only idiots would waste their lives by listening to his lying hate speech rants.

    March 4, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. mike

    Whatever James. Why does Robert Gibbs single out people like Limbaugh, Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli by name? Why does the DCCC have a anti-Limbaugh site? Are you saying the White House is unaware what the press secretary is saying? Please. Not defending any of these individuals, but I am a little shocked that the White House feels this behavior is acceptable.

    March 4, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Alison

    Mr. Carville, Mr. Begala :

    After twenty years of having to listen to that "outermost shell of a Rush Limbaugh nesting doll," it was really, really great to see him get his today.

    Great job, guys – my hat is off to you both!

    March 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Emo Rej

    Mr Limbaugh is clearly anti-american. Anyone who hopes the President of the USA fails in his policies when the country is falling apart has to be short of brain cells.

    The rest of the world has been laughing at the USA for the past 8 years and now that you have a President who cares and makes sense you have this raving lunatic wishing him to fail.

    To debate him would be stooping to such a low level that not even a limited intellectual would accept.

    Limbaugh must be back on drugs...and off the street kind...for him to keep ranting and raving. But then again he symbolizes and is the leader of the now defunct GOP.

    What a sorry state of affairs they created and still want to do again.

    March 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Matt

    You can easily tell when Carville is lying or saying something stupid. His lips move.

    March 4, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. shoegazer

    Plot or conspiracy?They're both the same,it all depends on which side of any given story you're expressing from.

    March 4, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. connie

    What Rush is talking about is that if Obama wants this country to be a socialist country he wants the president to fail then. But nobody listen they just jump on one line and all hell breaks loose.

    March 4, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. tiff of lithia springs

    Relax Carville,

    No one is paying attention to this fat pig except for a few rednecks.

    March 4, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. LeeMaye

    Limbaugh IS the conspiracy!

    March 4, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. kelly g arizona

    Who cares if they did. If they did, I say BRAVO. I love the ragin' cajun!
    I think he could easily take Rush in an UFC style fight!

    March 4, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. babs

    why is it that when Rush, or any other GOP loud mouth for that matter, makes a fool of themselves it's got to be CNN fault? Just like Palin. If I am quoted saying something stupid and CNN reports that, it's still what I said. No matter who repeats it or polls about it or writes about it or talks about it.
    Rush, you're just a jerk. And I didn't need CNN to tell me that. You do a fine job of that all on your own.

    March 4, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Polo

    The Democrats won't be issuing Rush Limbaugh an apology....only the Republican's issue him those. lol lol lol lol lol

    March 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. Leave Sarah alone, CA

    Rush Limbaugh and his followers will fail in the face of unity, diversity, boldness, patriotism, love for fellow American and the emerging generation’s wish to correct the past. This is not about Rush Limbaugh and the republican party but "we the people", the majority of Americans

    During election the republican slogan was “America First”. After the election the outdated “republican values” is the priority. What a party and a group.
    If their wishes come through we all might be asking for asylum or refugees status in Canada or Mexico in a year or two from now.

    March 4, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. KARA

    The Democrats delivered Rush a swift kick in the butt, while the Republicans continue to lick his boots.

    March 4, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Penn Voter

    The Adminstration itself is a conspiracy

    March 4, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. Reed

    The Republicans better wise up.

    March 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. dennisk

    Stop, people, stop! You do not have to answer to every baseless allegation from the Rushpublicans! Let them devour themselves if that's what they want, but there's no reason for us to stand so close to the spray of blood.

    March 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Rick

    And we are suppose to believe the Demoncrates, right

    March 4, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. Debby

    Looks like Rush is going to be the Republican candidate for President in 2012............President Obama has nothing to fear.

    March 4, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. Morris

    Look for "historical" Democratic landslides in future elections.

    March 4, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. Steve in Steamboat

    Who needs terrorists when we have the GOP?

    March 4, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. RobK

    Note that neither one denied coordinating with the White House. Which means that they are coordinating. Perhaps they are not "working" for the WH or "taking orders" from the WH, but they are talking strategy with the WH. Typical politicians – can't tell the direct truth.

    March 4, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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