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. The press devoted wall-to-wall coverage to the remark, suggesting that Limbaugh and, by extension, conservative Republicans, were unpatriotic.
"The most influential Republican in the United States today, Mr. Rush Limbaugh, said he did not want President Obama to succeed," Carville railed on CNN recently. "He is the daddy of this Republican Congress."
Limbaugh, a staunch conservative, emphasized that he is rooting for the failure of Obama's liberal policies.
"The difference between Carville and his ilk and me is that I care about what happens to my country," Limbaugh told Fox on Wednesday. "I am not saying what I say for political advantage. I oppose actions, such as Obama's socialist agenda, that hurt my country.
"I deal in principles, not polls," Limbaugh added. "Carville and people like him live and breathe political exploitation. This is all a game to them. It's not a game to me. I am concerned about the well-being and survival of our nation. When has Carville ever advocated anything that would benefit the country at the expense of his party?"
Carville told Politico that focusing on Limbaugh is a deliberate strategy aimed at undermining Republicans.
"The television cameras just can't stay away from him," he said. "Our strategy depends on him keeping talking, and I think we're going to succeed."
Greenberg added: "He's driving the Republican reluctance to deal with Obama, which Americans want."
In 2006, 51 percent of Democrats wanted Bush to fail, according to a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll.