March 4th, 2009
06:08 PM ET
14 years ago

Carville, Begala deny White House 'conspiracy' on Limbaugh

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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. Allan Washington

    "You said it yourself Big Daddy, mendacity is the system we live in" *
    No truer words than these can be used to describe the current lambasting of Mr. Limbaugh!
    Wanting policy to fail because you believe the success of it will do harm to you, your family or your country. This is what he's done that's so awful? Are you kidding me??
    I'm not taking sides on the policy debate or whether the current administration has it right or not.
    However, when our government starts distorting the words of someone who speaks out against the direction it's administration is taking, then it's teetering dangerously close to censorship!

    *Brick. From Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a hot tin roof"

    March 4, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Gayla

    Rush Limbraugh is an idiotic. This man owes our President and most importantly every American and apology. How can he make these statements knowing the consequences for the american people. President Obama needs not give this man the time of day. Rush Limbraugh has proven time and again that he stands for bigotry,hate and being divisive. He should be banned from tv. As his personal life deterioated, he just became a raging lunatic. He has many after effects of drug abuse. I feel sorry for the guy_______ half of is brain is friend and the other is atrophied. This guy needs to retire...and then be forced to take some type of physchological evaluation.

    March 4, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  3. blue native texan

    Hats off to Carville and Begala! They're simply doing what they do best ... staying on top of things. As for limbaugh, he has a right to his opinions, comments, etc. - as all Americans do ... but his are toxic acid for the GOP as well as his advertisers.

    March 4, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  4. Dave Jacksonville, Florida

    The Repubs have to go crawling on their knees and beg for forgiveness, if one of them criticize him. The 2010 midterm elections, we can vote our every Repub.

    Rush is a HS DROPOUT....LOL.

    He wants to debate President Obama--Not. You run for President, and win the Repub nomination--Then you can debate President Obama.

    Rush "Oxy" Slimebaugh is a big fat comedian. I won't go back and apologize on my knees like The repub so-called leaders.

    March 4, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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