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. Mike

    Made your bed Rush, now lie in it... if you can fit in it.

    March 4, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. American

    What ever happened to "We need to focus on the real issues" ? This is such a joke.

    March 4, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Obama could have been on Ted Macks Amateur hour

    This snake is up to his old tricks as you can't defend Barry "we need to cut out waste" Obama and his turning around and signing a bill that has 9000 earmarks in it so they use the political "sleight of hand" to get people talking about a NON-STORY while Rome is burning.

    These guys are good, I have to tip my hat for their play here, but my hope is uh, uh, uh, uh it bites them in their backsides real soon.

    Rush is a loudmouth and I have no use for him, but he makes a lot of sense sometimes (beyond the bluster) and they are real afraid of him.

    The great and smart Michael Steele is the head of MY party, and not this blowhard, but the Lemocrats need to change the subject (see poll where MOST Americans think Obamabi and his bill helping frauds out is WRONG).

    But they all are just haters, bigots, Rethuglicans etc, etc right SHEEP?

    March 4, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. 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 wants 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 then both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain combined to derail President Obama during the 2008 campaign season.

    March 4, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Lilly Rose

    There's no conspiracy. The great limpball is being called out for the crap he continues to say. It was okay when he was talking nonsense to his little cabal of listeners, but it's different when he commits treason by saying he wants the president to fail. I don't think he even believes that President Obama is trying to lead us to socialism, he says it because his brain-dead listeners love this stuff. If this fool told his listeners that the president had werewolf blood, those people would believe him! I am glad that he is being called out. If the GOP want to show that he is not "the boss" they need to call him out and tell him to shut up. What's he going to do if he isn't the boss? The GOP make him appear more powerful that he is because they suck up to him.

    March 4, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  6. Brian Sakala

    I think GOP is running party like a plantation. Michael Steele is like a house slave for GOP. You all saw how Rush Limbaugh told Michael Steele what to do in his Radio show. If he was his slave, he would whip him for disobeyeing him. I think that's a really good strategy for GOP run this party like a plantation. Black people needs to be kept on their toes.

    March 4, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. Marie R

    That's nonsense Carville and Begala don't use a attack machine on Limbaugh he's doing that all by himself because with the republicans attacking him and then apologizing publicly like a bunch of politicians that's worried about being rejected in 2010 if they don't support him.This is sooooooo sad that they care more about stepping on Limbaugh's toes then what is good for the american people.The republicans have no balls at all and it makes you wonder how some of them lasted as long as they have,But I think after the past eight years it will be well beyond 2020 before and then there's always an IF they step foot inside the white house as president

    March 4, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. MM

    Is it ethical/legal for White House Staff to target journalist/talkshowhosts in the manner that "White House Staffers" are targetting Limbaugh?If Carville/Bargetta criticized Obama..what are the legal and ethical issues of President Obama telling people not to listen to Carville/Bargetta and then having White House Staffers target the "talking heads" for "attack ads?" Then conspired with the Chief of Staff and White House Aids to to engage in a conspiracy to use Carville/Bargetta as whipping boys in a smear campaign..Carville/Bargetta intentionally misrepresented what Limbaugh said to create an intimidating and threatening situation for Limbaugh..intentionally targetted him for attack..and then stating he was an easy target because he opposes Obama.
    When the names are changed, but the facts remain the issue that Gibbs snickers about is potentially very serious...The Politico had it correct..This should concern every Journalist and Media Source in the Nation..

    March 4, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. catmom

    Rush Limbaugh has perfected the art of being a victim. He shoots his mouth off daily, ranting and raging. He spouts all sorts on of nonsense, never worried about facts. BUT, when someone calls him out, he takes to the air waves whining how he was misinterpreted. He constantly blames the "drive by media" for trying destroy him. This is a person who is so full of himself that he actually thinks President Obama should waste his time by debating him. Is he serious? Yeah, Rush Limbaugh the perpetual victim. He and people like him are doing this country a great dis service.

    March 4, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. Alex

    It's not like the White House made numerous Republican politicians apologize to Limbaugh for perceived insults against him and it's not like they booked him to appear at the CPAC conference!

    March 4, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Norris Hall

    On 9/11 When America was in crisis all Americans rallied around President Bush.
    His approval ratings shot up to over 90%. Republicans, Independents, Democrats and left wing liberals all rallied behind the President.

    Now we are in an economic crisis as severe and dire as anything we have seen in our lifetime. Banks are going belly up, Americans are losing their jobs, the stock market continues to plunge, millions of homes are in foreclosure....

    And some who call themselves "Americans" are showing their patriotic side by hoping that " Obama fails"

    It's hard to believe that some "Americans" could stooped this low.

    March 4, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. ssgt24

    Conspiracy? Wow...I don't think so. All I know is the WH better be sure about this, and really hopes that it doesn't backfire.

    March 4, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Desmond

    Nobody needs Carville and Begala, two fun guys, to portray GUSH Limbaugh as the leader of the GOP. He did himself, and so, very sadly, did Michael Steele who must feel bad being the "pretend" leader. Poor Republicans, they do not know what to do with GUSH.

    March 4, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. dont drop the soap Rush

    Rush crossed the line,just like the guy that shouts fire in a movie theater.Hes guilty of treason and should swing for it.

    March 4, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. I am Micheal "Spineless" Steele and I just kissed Rush Limbaugh behind as told "Him" that I'm his house *N*

    IT'S ABOUT TIME!

    frog marshall this toad Rove to jail!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. mjm

    If you listen to the CPAC speech, Rush makes his point very clear.

    He wants every American to succeed and be the best they can be. He has a different opinion as to how Americans become successful and prosperous.

    He feels as if America is on the wrong path and he is speaking out.

    The link to the CPAC speech is on Rush's web site. Hear it for youself before you judge Rush.

    March 4, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. Biased

    I am sorry but Carville can not appear on CNN without him naming Limbaugh as the head of the republicans. Begala is the same and appears to be getting more sarcastic and demeaning than I have ever seen him. I love both of them but their act is getting a little tiresome and repetitive for it not to be a concerted effort. And of course throw in the ever lately disrespectful Roland Martin now with his favorite retort to republicans "You lost" routine and they are all getting to be boring.

    March 4, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    with rush as the republican leader the party will never recover! keep talking rush! you doing a fine job!

    March 4, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. Di

    SHUT UP!!! Both parties need to look around there are more important events happening in AMERICA! RUSH gives Commentary. He is not the leader nor backbone of the GOP!!

    March 4, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. bk

    Obama and the Democrats won, so why do they care who is or isn't the lead Republican? Don't they have better things to do like fix the economy and follow through on all their campaign promises? Besides, what happened to bipartisanship? BTW, I don't like Rush.

    March 4, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. Irishny

    Of course its orchestrated.
    The countries in the middle of an economic crisis.The markets have no faith in Obamas spending plan,so what do the democrats do??

    They make a big deal out of the comments of some radio talk show host! and they hope to God that the people will fall for the bait and get distracted.

    Thats leadership you can believe in!

    March 4, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Just like the Clinton administration (of which this one is just part 2), the Obama administration lives by polls and appearances. Did any one see the report about the cute new seal for the stimulus package? Polls are showing most people don't like it, so he comes up with some stupid seal to sell it. Just another example of all flash with no fire.

    March 4, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. JOE

    Lush Limpdick sucks and akways has...

    March 4, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  24. JOE

    Lush Limpdick, sucks and always has....

    March 4, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  25. roger

    James ,Paul ,Rahm Wh y would i trust these three? NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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