This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: In recent months there has been an orchestrated attack from the political left against radio host Rush Limbaugh. Now we heard him attacked on TV and from behind the White House podium, but where did this plan originate?
Now earlier I sat down with the mastermind of this attack Rush strategy, and that's former pollster for Bill Clinton and partner of James Carville, also the author of the brand-new book "Dispatches from the War Room," Stanley Greenberg.
Let's take a look.
HANNITY: How are you doing?
STANLEY GREENBERG, "DISPATCHES FROM THE WAR ROOM": I am delighted to be here.
HANNITY: All right. So it's you and Carville, and you've got this polling company. How long have you been working.
GREENBERG: "The War Room."
HANNITY: The — exactly. "The War Room." How long have you been working?
GREENBERG: Since the beginning of time. But certainly since Clinton's war room. I talk to him every day, I talk to him at 7:00 in the morning he calls. Maybe 10 times a day.
HANNITY: Now with you on that call — now we heard about the call that goes between Carville and Rahmbo, dead fish, we'll get to that in a minute.
HANNITY: And George Stephanopoulos. Are you in on that call?
GREENBERG: I'm on the Carville call.
HANNITY: You're on the Carville call.
GREENBERG: They're a string. And I'm on the Carville call.
HANNITY: All right. Do you speak to Rahm Emanuel a lot?
GREENBERG: A lot. Sure.
HANNITY: You do. Do you speak to Stephanopoulos a lot? You're all part of that?
GREENBERG: I do. I do.
HANNITY: OK. You speak — are you ever part of "the" call? You know, what I'm talking about. Come on.
GREENBERG: "The" call?
HANNITY: The call.
HANNITY: That was heavily reported.
GREENBERG: No, not "the" call.
HANNITY: Yes, All right. Why do I feel I'm being parsed here? All right. Let me ask you this, because you made a lot of news because the White House adopted the strategy that you and Carville came up with, and Begala. And that is that, you know, we polled Rush Limbaugh, we're going to target him, we're going to demonize him, and they went out and used your polling numbers to attack a — you know, the biggest radio talk show host in the country.
GREENBERG: Look, there's no doubt our poll numbers showed that. I know it's not true with your audience, but I can tell you in the country as a whole, you know, he's not a very popular figure.
HANNITY: Among 40 and under.
GREENBERG: Forty and under but, you know, probably not. Certainly with independents, maybe with moderate Republicans, not a popular.
HANNITY: He's not running for office.
GREENBERG: Not a popular figure.
HANNITY: Can I tell you something? He is at the height of his radio popularity.
GREENBERG: I know, I know. But he's taking a lead in criticizing the president, he's called politicians to task, he's not just a, you know, host, he's a very effective player.
HANNITY: Did you poll me in this?
GREENBERG: You know, I didn't, but I promise.
HANNITY: No, don't. Don't. I have been attacked by Obama enough.
GREENBERG: Next poll you're in.
HANNITY: All right. But let me ask you this. Don't you think with the economy the way it is that here you and Carville do a poll and Begala, and then there's Rahmbo, your pal, your phone buddy, and you guys go out and purposely set out, not to solve economic problems, the president of the United States sets out with an agenda in his White House to attack a radio talk show host.
GREENBERG: There's two parts to this. One is the question of, do Republicans want this president to fail? How do we account for the fact in his first initiatives that virtually no Republicans back him in that initiative?
HANNITY: Because they disagree with him.
GREENBERG: And — no, but there are clearly some members of Congress, Republicans, who wanted to vote for it and chose not to.
HANNITY: Wait a minute.
GREENBERG: There are pressures on Republican sides that bring that kind of unity.
HANNITY: What about the polls? Wait a minute. There was a.
GREENBERG: You probably should be proud of that.
HANNITY: You like polls. FOX News opinion dynamics poll in 2006, 51 percent of Democrats wanted him to fail. On September 11, your partner, James Carville, said before the attacks, before the attacks, that he wanted.
GREENBERG: You're talking about.
HANNITY: That he wanted Bush.
GREENBERG: Talking about the poll numbers.
HANNITY: And wait a minute.
GREENBERG: And by the way, speaking for myself, I said the American people do not want him to fail. That they — you know, we had numbers that said a large, almost a majority thought he was over his head which was a staggering number for a president of the United States.
HANNITY: But Rush said he wanted socialism to fail. His words were purposely distorted because I interviewed him back in February, and he said if he adopted Reagan like he did Abe Lincoln and FDR, sure, I'd want him to succeed.
GREENBERG: You're at a moment in crisis, your moment of economic crisis, and leaders of the party, leaders of the conservative movement are pulling back, maybe even hoping it will fail. 9/11 hit, it doesn't matter what — you know, what your approach was to — you know, the war on terrorism. 9/11 hit, everybody was on the same side. Everybody was with him.
HANNITY: We have an economic crisis. You know Obama tells us every day it's the worst since the Great Depression and the White House targets an individual. You don't see anything wrong with them using your polling data to attack one person?
GREENBERG: Well, what I — what I saw was Rahm Emanuel on, you know, on a Sunday show say he has said he wants the president to fail. And that what he — that's where he focused on. And that's where the debated centered on.
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you about Rahm Emanuel, by the way. Page, what, 42.
GREENBERG: Long-term buddy, helped marry my daughter. I was in his wedding.
HANNITY: "I pushed to get Rahm who would suffer no fools when pursuing a goal, an agenda, when Rahm, in an earlier campaign, failed to bond with another pollster he sent him a dead fish."
Now, by the way, I call Rahm Emanuel "dead fish" because of that. Now does that — sounds like the mob to me.
GREENBERG: This is —this is in much earlier age.
GREENBERG: Much earlier age. More youthful, a more youthful exuberant period. But Rahm said — you know, there was a change and maybe conservatives are following it now as well.
What Bill Clinton did, "The War Room," which my book writes about and expands on, was the idea that look, Democrats are not saps. You know liberal saps, you know, roll over, weak. What — you know, what Bill Clinton and his campaign did said, we respond, we're fast, we're tough.
HANNITY: They were. I watched "The War Room."
HANNITY: I agree, you guys were good.
GREENBERG: It was a tough campaign. And that's what — and Rahm was part of that.
HANNITY: Are there any conservatives you like?
GREENBERG: Any conservatives I like. I'm sure that is true. I like Bob Dole. Is he a conservative?
HANNITY: Is there any — you want the country.
GREENBERG: Pick the leaders, you know?
HANNITY: You want the country — you're happy were the Obama dragging the country to European socialism.
GREENBERG: Take, you know, take.
HANNITY: You like it.
GREENBERG: Take Tony Blair. You would — you like Tony Blair.
HANNITY: I do.
GREENBERG: Tony Blair, you know, Tony Blair is a leader, was changing the Labor Party, an old labor party that, you know, had to break with the unions, had to go into a new age. He's also supported the United States and supported President Bush on Iraq, and so — and I have a lot of respect for him.
HANNITY: As critical as I was of Bill Clinton.
HANNITY: The era of big government is over and we're going to end welfare as we know it.
GREENBERG: Which he did and ran for it.
HANNITY: All right. He did. Barack Obama is quadrupling down on all of it and I think is leading us to a point where it is so unsustainable even if we rob our grandkids' piggy banks, we're not going to be able to afford it.
GREENBERG: Well, first, let's go to Bill Clinton. I mean, I — you know, I was part of that process of.
HANNITY: And we only have about 30 seconds.
GREENBERG: ... changing the Democratic Party by poll effort. By polling. By thinking through how did you reconnect with the working class.
HANNITY: Polling and attacking your enemies. Just like you attacked Rush.
GREENBERG: ... America is the heart of it.
HANNITY: By the way, folks, look at the camera. This is the guy that polled along with Carville to attack Rush Limbaugh and the White House listened. That's frightening.
All right, well, listen, Stanley, it's good to be with you. I've debated your buddy, Carville, before, it's been fun.
GREENBERG: Thank you. Enjoy the book.
HANNITY: All right. Stanley, thanks for being with us.
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