Fox's Sammon: Carville, Greenburg Told Reporters They Wanted Bush to Fail -- On the Morning of 9/11

March 11th, 2009 11:33 PM

CarvilleGreenberg0504The above headline isn't even the half of it.

After the attacks were known to all, James Carville told assembled Washington reporters at a hotel conference room breakfast where he and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg spoke (photo is from the May 20, 2004 Christian Science Monitor) to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"

The assembled press apparently understood that as something each and every one of them should take to the grave.

Bill Sammon of Fox News has the story (HT Hot Air):

Flashback: Carville Wanted Bush to Fail

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."

Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.

"We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I'm wanting them to turn against him," Greenberg admitted.

The pollster added with a chuckle of disbelief: "They don't want him to fail. I mean, they think it matters if the president of the United States fails."

Minutes later, as news of the terrorist attacks reached the hotel conference room where the Democrats were having breakfast with the reporters, Carville announced: "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"

The press followed Carville's orders, never reporting his or Greenberg's desire for Bush to fail. The omission was understandable at first, as reporters were consumed with chronicling the new war on terror. But months and even years later, the mainstream media chose to never resurrect those controversial sentiments, voiced by the Democratic Party's top strategists, that Bush should fail.

That omission stands in stark contrast to the feeding frenzy that ensued when radio host Rush Limbaugh recently said he wanted President Obama to fail.

Limbaugh's status as the nation's top radio talker is hardly an explanation for the disparity between his antagonistic treatment at the hands of the media compared to Carville and Greenberg. In 2001, Carville was still an A-List star for his "It's the Economy, Stupid!" management of Bill Clinton's victorious 1992 presidential campaign. Greenberg had been the Democrats' leading pollster for many years (though, "strangely enough," at a human resources conference I attended in September 1996, where he told the assembled audience in essence that "Bill Clinton will be re-elected, get over it." I don't recall him disclosing his close ties even then to the party).

A revelation that either one of these two wished failure on the president, especially after 9/11, might have been just as damaging to Carville and Greenberg's reputations as those currently attacking Limbaugh hope theirs might be on his influence.

Sammon's report demonstrates just how actively opposed to George W. Bush the establishment press were, and clearly continued to be, during his entire term. In what you might expect to be the supposedly competitive environment of journalism (but it obviously isn't), no one in the entire group thought this newsworthy of reporting for all this time.

Cross-posted at