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. reagan fan forever

    Is that Voldemort?

    March 4, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. Dittohead

    the clinton war room and politics of personal destruction continues. this absolutely orchestrated with the whitehouse. no better hatchet men than serpent head and the uber bigot.

    March 4, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Pattie

    I think we are witnessing the end of the Republican party.

    March 4, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. big daddy

    I think you guys should go after the dirtball..All he does is spread hate
    around this country..Someday Rush,we all have to answer to God ..
    I know that I will have to answer to the feelings that I have for you..
    They are not pretty !!

    March 4, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Ch in ME

    Conspiracy implies a secret. This is not a secret. Until they find moderation that idiot Linbaugh might as well be their leader

    March 4, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. simmy

    ************************************************************************
    “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.”

    All hail Supreme Ruler Limbaugh, Anointed Guru of the Republican Party.

    March 4, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Big Al C.

    The Obama White House could careless about rush because he is nothing but a big mouth drugy blow heart.

    March 4, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Tony

    The Republican party is a trip. All this false outrage and the unwillingness to distance themselves from Limbough for political reasons is crazy. In the end the RNC is afraid to stand up to a popular republican radio talk show host. What wimps they are!

    March 4, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Illinois Tom

    End this acrimony now! Let President Obama debate Limbaugh (sans teleprompter) and kill the conservative movement.... if he can.

    March 4, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. B

    You are a bunch of liberal scum. Carville has always been a thug so I guess it's no big news that he hangs with President obama and his thugs for an administration. Hope Rush kicks your butts. Rush has more brains than the whole obama administration. He has facts, truths something obama will never know about.

    March 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Mariann Pepitone

    I like Rush because he is very well experienced in the political field and anyone that thinks they can fool better think again. He will find you out. The only statement I didn't like is when Rush said he hopes Obama fails. He should have said I hope his policies fail. He worded it all wrong. The president cannot afford to fail. I didn't vote for Obama and I know he is making mistakes. That's what happens with lack of experience. Obama was not ready to run this country and I believe the public is just finding that out. There will be more mistakes made and no ones knows these bailouts are going to cause a deep depression in this country. Maybe worse than 1929.

    March 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. Hopeful Optimist

    I wouldn't believe this whole back and forth banter was for real if I did not read it with my own eyes. Only in a country that an idea like a pet rock could get legs could a nonentity like Rush Limbaugh survive, much less succeed. What does this say about us ????

    March 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Kyle

    We are witnessing the fall of the Republican Party.....hopefully, never to rise again. Thanks Rush!

    March 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. JackandJill

    Republicans are near extinction.

    March 4, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. A joke

    Just like Republican's too start something that they are not qualified to finish.

    March 4, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Independent_me

    Carville and Begala should not dignify those charges with an answer.
    Rove and Limbaugh are throwing those allegations out there to muddy-up the water.

    The Repugs have grovelled before the "throne" of Limbaugh and now they are even more repugnant than ever. Can't wait for 2010!

    March 4, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Rush loves the publicity. If anybody has an agenda, it's him, not the White House. They're just trying to run a country.

    March 4, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. cnnnewser

    Isn't everybody getting sick of the Limbaugh story?
    We know he's the leader of the republican party...he said so himself.
    We know the republicans are scared of him...they keep crawling back to him for forgiveness when they speak out against him.
    We know the republicans are spineless and running scared...even their RNC leader (Steele) kissed and made up with Limbaugh.
    Limbaugh is paid $800 million to spew his hate and filth...sadly the republican party has fallen for him hook line and sinker.
    SO, why try and point fingers at the White House – why try and pin all this crap on the Democrats? Get real!!!
    Can we please move on and find something more interesting to discuss....like maybe Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears? LOLOL

    March 4, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. brenda

    the ONLY people that will believe that are the lemmings that voted for obama and who will continue to follow obama and the dems right off the cliff.

    March 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. HouseDiva

    if Washington can get away with killing the DC Madam they can get away with killing Rush Limburger....

    nuff said...

    March 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. seawhimsy

    Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting, immature, cruel and sorry individual. What ever he says is vocal vomit. I remember him calling women femi-Nazies not that long ago. He is worse than anything but the KKK. I can't think of one thing that he has done right. NOTHING. I can't believe he is still on the radio. What does that tell you? He is so out of touch with reality that I think he needs help. I wish the media (Politico and CNN) would quit "looking" for a conspiracy and ignore the big fat ugly blowhard. He is not worthy of one moment of air time. He is worse than any of the other goofy people on radio that only the people who have nothing better to do listen to day after day. He contributes to crap that floats around in this country. Free speech? It's just smuts which is TUMS backwards. He is just a belly ache for the rest of us.
    The fringe far right is exactly that. A fringe. I say majority rules. Get it on with Obama, Rush, or get off the ear of the fringe.

    March 4, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. Philip Elder

    At least no one (on either side) is mistaking James or Paul for the de facto leaders of the Democratic Party.

    March 4, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. IS LIMPRICK LIGHT in the LOAFERS?

    “After more failed stints with Missouri radio stations Limbaugh
    moved to Sacramento, CA, where he met and became "friends"
    with Norm Woodruff, a flamboyant, openly gay man with a
    great deal of influence in the local radio scene. Woodruff, who
    mentored Limbaugh in the ways of affluence and elitism (traits
    Rush mocks today), would later die of AIDS Through his ties to Woodruff Limbaugh was given Morton Downey Jr’s spot on KFBK News Talk 1530AM”.

    “In May 2004 Rush's third wife, Marta, grew tired of never
    having sex with her allegedly closeted homosexual of a
    husband, and so asked for a divorce. Limbaugh complied after his
    desperate wife agreed to never reveal the true nature of Rush's
    sexual perversion“.

    So, let's recap,

    That would explain the self-loathing.

    3 failed relationships with 3 different women

    Public knowledge due to his drug addictions, he must use Viagra to consummate a relationship with any woman

    Could it be?

    Could Limprick also be tapping out Broadway show tunes in public bathrooms with his shoe when there is a cute young boy toy in the adjoining stall?

    Or does he too, just have a "wide stance" when seated?

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    March 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. Charlotte

    I can't imagine the White House pays a lot of attention to Rush. He would be far too easy a target and is likely beneath their notice. They have more important things to plot and strategize around.

    March 4, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. ken

    lol. cheerleader not a drum major......lol that is so funny but the media has amplified the chorus. That was nice!

    March 4, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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