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. annie - Palin 2012

    I use to trust carvelle and his wife to give you both sides of the picture, but looks to me like carvelle swallowed a whole bunch of kool-aid. Anybody who is a REAL AMERICAN and loves this country would want to see bo's policies fail.

    March 4, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Cindy

    Love ya Jimmy!

    March 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Dave

    Begala and Carville are two of the best polictical minds in the country. Keep it up love listening to the facts.

    March 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. john

    Rush will single handedly ruin it for the GOP and these republicans are not calling him out on this. He is trying to divide what we work so hard to accomplish, and the rest of these republicans senators who are enjoying this just remember Rush is not up for re-election so continue on this part that you are going it will hurt you in the end.

    March 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Moving Forward!

    Rush needs to be derailed his comments were anti-american, and defeatist, but what do you expect from republicans who have done nothing constructive to help with the current financial crisis. Besides
    Steele apologized to Limbaugh if that don't say it all I don't know what does! Rush He Da' Man!!

    March 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Judy from PA

    Why do the Democrats care what Rush thinks?? It's so stupid. I don't remember the Republicans caring about Michael Moorer (whatever his name is). Who cares about Rush and Ann Coulter?? The Dems are the ones empowering them!

    March 4, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. big papa

    The "A" Team...

    ...Carville and Begala...

    ..."I'm lovin' it"...

    March 4, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. Machiavelli, Baton Rouge, LA

    No, hats off to you Carville and Begala for calling this fat pig out for what he is, and thanks for exposing the corrupt, docile Republican cowards who back this idiot.

    March 4, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. supporter

    Rush is his own biggest problem. No one should ever consider being on his show, because he nevers lets the other person speak. He will ask a question, and before the person gets two words out Rush starts shouting "COMMUNIST" or LIER or some other evil comment to covedr over what ever answer the person was trying to give.

    The fact that he is now challenging Obama shows how afraid he is. It is now clear that he knows that Obama will succeed and it will make him look all the more foolish.

    March 4, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Enough Already!!!!

    CNN PLZ NO MO Rush Limbaugh!!!

    March 4, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Someone with an ego like Rush Limbaugh's is loving every minute of this. If everyone has to be apologized to him every time someone dares step out of line, he is definately the leader. What a sad day for Republicans. They have a party run by a huge blowhard ENTERTAINER! What a joke they have become. "Betcha" Sarah Palin, Joe the fake plumber, Ann Coulter, Hannity. All fakes!

    March 4, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. Death of America by Obama

    Carville....Begala....Emanuel... nothing but pure gutter trash.

    March 4, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. redbarchetta88

    The media's obsession with Rush is really getting old fast. He has gotten more free publicity in the past week because Democrats whine about him everytime they're in front of a camera.

    March 4, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. Obama - NOPE

    Rush is right.

    March 4, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. paul oregon

    must begetting kind of uncomfortable for the party of NO and there spokesperson rush the cry baby limbaugh. if you cant stand the heat maybe you shouldnt be in the kitchen.

    March 4, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Janeg

    Why blame the Dems for the Repubs loving Rush? IS IT WHAT IT IS !!!

    They have no true leader so are they embarressed that Rush has taken the opportunity to push himself front and forward? If so maybe some of the brighter in their party will come forward . So far I have not seen to many that would fit the bill.
    Most just seem to kiss his very large behind which makes me ill.

    Carville and Begala are smart men and all they have to do is sit back and watch this soap opera! I bet they are laughing all the way to the bank , getting paid for watching the GOP self destruct !

    March 4, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. 2young2vote-OR

    ...I hate rush limbaugh. If there was someone like him in the democratic party, he or she has obviously been disowned.

    March 4, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Art

    Okay.... This is really starting to get stupid. I want to talk to all of you about something. Something very serious. I will tell you up front that I am a republican and I can count the minutes that I have listened to Rush Limbaugh on one hand and still have room to hold a cup of coffee. We have enough problems in this country without having to hear propaganda pushing. That's what it's turning into. Rush Limbaugh has turned into a Democratic Axe. An axe that hacks away at the Republican party. For the record. Rush Limbaugh is a radio talk show host. He is not a politician. He is a man that simply likes to toot his own horn on the hope that people will believe what he says and stand behind his point of view. He is not all knowing. He is not the Savior of the Republican Party and is definately not the leader of it. He is nothing more than a little man that tries to shout a big word. Unfortunately, that word that he puts out is gospel to some and gas on the fire for others. I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican or any other party. Don't let this junk turn into something that is going to bias us more than we already are. I belong to a part of opposition and this time I do oppose. I think that our government is being childish and kneeling before the wishes of a radio talk show host. We are better than that America. Show it.

    March 4, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Mike - Houston

    Let's see, Begala meets with Rahm Emanuel, then meets with Carville. Then Begala meets with George Stephanopolous, then the attack on Rush begins.

    Conspiracy? Naaaaaa. Its a negative Stimulus.

    March 4, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. IndependentfromTexas.

    If Carville and Begala did that I am fine with that. Rushhthugs should be brought to justice for treason – he wants the President and the nation to fail. Having voted Republican I switched to Obama and now Republicans have to make a convincing argument why they want mine and millions of voters like me. Rushthug and his crony thugs have pushed us to Obama camp even more.

    March 4, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. S Callahan

    This is so funny.....now even the media guys have to hire someone to fix their big mouth issues...and I mean Linbaugh.

    March 4, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. No Incumbents 2010

    The Right has Rush. The Left has Carville. The People have unemployment and a government spending like drunken sailors and headlines saying the President is cutting wasteful spending.

    Baa Baa – we really are sheep.

    March 4, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. Chris in Va.

    Does the "Bloated One" really think that that the President of the United States, or anyone with an IQ over 70 for that matter (certainly explains his appeal to the Republican base) gives a flaming rat's arse what he says, does or thinks. He is even more irrelevant to rational, patriotic Americans than his entire party of miserable losers.

    Seems his ego is as bloated as his body and flapping jowls.

    March 4, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Watergate II

    Carville and Emmanuel wrote the book on dirty tricks. Obama runs a very calculated well planned campaign leaving nothing to chance. The Limbaugh attacks, web site, et all were likely all hatched at Camp David

    March 4, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Enough

    This is actually too funny! Rush is so full of himself he does not realize the sarcasm being thrown at him. This pompous over-rated hot head is a walking-talking time bomb waiting to blow up in all his sweaty grubby glory! All those other republican members of congress, representatives and those blithering idiots on fox news are in for a rude awakening!

    March 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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