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. Death of America by Obama

    obama isn't smart enough to debate Rush Limbaugh.
    Limbaugh would chew him up and spit him out.
    obama is not brillant. He is not a good debater. He is not a good speaker. He doesn't even begin to know the subject matter as well as Limbaugh.
    He is a phony and a fake who doesn't have a clue about how to run this country.
    obama and his sidekicks are a disgrace. An utter disgrace.

    March 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    You go James Carville, tell it like it is and let Limbaugh take credit. Limbaugh should be kissing your boots while he's doing push ups and maybe his mouth will for once be put to good use.

    March 4, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. kaz

    They are so full of crap. Everyone knows they suck up to Rahm.
    Everyone in the country all bloggers, we make jokes about Stephanopolus. So all we ask is just man=up and tell the truth.

    March 4, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. m smith

    The man is a radio talk show host for pete's sake!!!!! Don't we have more important things to do than listen or talk about that obnoxious man? He may think he is running the show but he is not. And the more time we waste on him the more publicity he gets. It just shows the mentallity of the republican party. Rush,Sahra Mitt.and Bobby. Everyone needs to stop campainening and try working on fixing the economy . Remember us the little guy?????

    March 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. s, scholl

    Obama has gone to far! Someone/ or some people need to reighn this man in. We will never get out of debt – our grandchildren, our great grandchildren and on & on will never get this giant debt paid. He is totally out of control – he should be impeached!

    March 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Ken in NC

    I just can't see the Democratic Party trying to cover three wars at one time when our President is talking about ending the war in Iraq. It simply doesn't make sense to have a war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now in Limbaughland. This has to be a Limbaugh dream. That's what it is. He has begun to be delusional because some one is putting something different in his Metamucil.

    March 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. JJ

    ANYTHING to keep people from focusing on the real issue here; the downward direction Obama is taking this country. A magician "distracts" you so you can't see the fast on he just pulled on you and everyone else!!! Hey CNN, let’s put this crap aside and report on the REAL issues...

    March 4, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. John

    Rush Limbaugh doesn't need a conspiracy to make him look bad, he's a natural!

    March 4, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    if the GOP had any type of backbone, they would do to Limbaugh what President Obama did to Rev Wright, cut ties with him and go on about their business. Now you have a talk show host wanting to debate with a sitting president that has more issues on his plate than to try to please dittoheads and soup up ratings. Rush Limbaugh at last check has an approval rating in the mid 20's, higher of course with the right wingos but low over all. If Obama was still a candidate I would say GO FOR IT...like or not he's POTUS..Rush may not accept it or like it but at least show respect for the office. The GOP looks dumber every day they let this farce go on.

    March 4, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Jasmine in Germany

    Both men have contributed interesting and viable opinions and thoughts to our society over the years, but both are "over the top" and shouldn't even make the news. In as much that Limbaugh has some wise thoughts, he cross dresses between the Middle Ages and the Information Age. Carville needs to learn how to enunciate in the English Language properly. Both need to learn how to not be blatant. I don't care to hear from either of these two men ever in my lifetime. Both are under the intellectual level of most of the people of our great country, not to mention the world.

    March 4, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. lost in Cali

    Please. Did the Whitehouse force the GOP to make Rush the keynote speaker at CPAC? I think not.

    March 4, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Oh, come on.... Limbaugh is an entertainer who told Larry King many years ago that he is not about truth... he is about HUMOR. He's a big fat right wing blow hard... with visions of grandeur! :)

    March 4, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Libs are Goofy....

    Carville and Begala....... Sounds like Obama is Clinton part II. Change, huh???

    Wow, so Rahm was a ballerina. Thats pretty creepy. Seriously.

    March 4, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. Lysh

    So what if they did? It's a clever strategy and they'd simply be highlighting the shortcomings of the conservative movement.

    March 4, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Jeff

    er, what's wrong with Carville"conspiring" to discredit Limbaugh?

    March 4, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. EVOLVE

    LET THE DNC AND MEDIA HANDLE RUSS LIMBAUGH. REMEMBER RUSS LIMBAUGH IS A RACIST, SEXIST, DRUG ADDICT THAT DIDN'T EVEN GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL. HE SHOULDN'T GET THE TIME OF DAY. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE EDUCATION LEVEL OF THE 13 MILLION THAT LISTEN TO THIS RUSS.

    LETS GET DOWN TO SOME REAL BUSNESS AND BACK TO THE ECOMOMY.

    March 4, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. The Truth

    More lies from an incredibly deceitful administration.

    March 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Yeah right. You can never believe democrats.

    March 4, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Cesar Chavez

    Thank you from the United States of Venezual – I mean Americana – I mean America !

    March 4, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. kenny cole

    HOW I WISH JAMES AND PAUL LEAVE THIS ANIMAL ALONE "RUSH"

    March 4, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. mike

    the republicans are so dumb that no conspiracy is needed. these guys are pretty much at the mercy of Rush Limbaugh. the party of personal responsibility is now blaming pundits for their failure. its pathetic.

    March 4, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. malclave

    Laughable. It's too well coordinated.

    It's a shame that there's not an adult in the White House. All Obama is doing is promoting the same old attack politics to which he's devoted his life.

    Chicago Politics We Can Believe In.

    March 4, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. The Voice

    Its very simple, Limbaugh is representing the conservative base. Steele was completely right but betrayed by his own party for speaking the truth.

    Limbaugh only represents 25% of the electorate which means they will not win an election in 2012, 16,20,24,28, etc.....

    Keeping doing what you are doing Limbaugh, you can never reach out to the other 75% of Americans. You and your party have betrayed your country!

    March 4, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. Perusing-through

    WHAT?? A DEMOCRATIC CONSPIRACY?? YOU'RE KIDDING ME?!?

    Boss Limbaugh has been bashing the Democrats for decades. This mess is of Rush's own making. Rush is the one who (twice) stated he want President Obama to fail. Rush's hate for President Obama is so strong he wants the nation to fail just to hurt the President. Rush's blood boils every day President Barack Hussein Obama sits in the White House driver seat. Rush worked harder at derailing President Obama during the campaign season then both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain combined.

    March 4, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. gl, Pittsburgh

    It was the Republicans that put RUSH out their as their head speaker on Saturday saying he want President Obama to fail and the Dems responded end of story!

    March 4, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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