October 2nd, 2007
09:17 AM ET
3 years ago

Top Democrat slams Limbaugh over 'phony soldiers'

Reid had some harsh words for Rush Limbaugh Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Rush Limbaugh Monday over his recent controversial "phony soldiers" remark, despite the conservative talk-radio host's protests that his words have been taken out of context.

Limbaugh's comments in question came last Wednesday when he and a caller were discussing critics of the Iraq war:

"What's really funny is, they [Iraq war critics] never talk to real soldiers," the caller said. "They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media."

"The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said.

Several Democrats released statements late last week condemning the remarks and in a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Reid called the comments "so beyond the pale of decency that it cannot be left alone."

"Just as patriotism is the exclusive realm of neither party, taking a stand against those who spew hate and impugn the integrity of our troops is a job that belongs to all of us," Reid said.

"I can’t help but wonder how my Republican colleagues would have reacted if the tables were turned – if a well-known Democratic radio personality had used the same insulting line of attack against troops who support the war," the Nevada Democrat added.

Responding to his critics on Friday's show, Limbaugh said he was "taken out of context," adding his remark was referring to one soldier specifically - Jesse MacBeth, a vocal war critic who falsely claimed to have served in Iraq.

"The effort here is simply to discredit people that they consider effective and powerful on the right ginning up, leading up into the '08 elections," Limbaugh said Friday.

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. Kenneth Lacroix, Lebanon, PA

    Does anyone seriously believe Rush "Jeff Christie" Limbaugh really cares one way or another ? He only 'shocks' to sell advertising and cash in.

    October 1, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    I'm tired of these people that say utterly stupid hateful things and then say they were taken out of context. (Limbaugh, O'reily and Yes Jesse Jackson)

    This was not out of context. If you're gonna say crap like this you can't expect people to be upset.

    October 1, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Limbaugh should make a clear apology,

    "For any soldier that served in Iraq that has publicly criticized the War – I apologize if you felt my comments were directed at you. To Jesse MacBeth and any others that falsely claim to have fought in Iraq and pawn themselves off as Iraq-War Veterans – you are a phony".

    If anyone can't see or understand the objectional behavior of falsely impersonating a battle-hardened soldier – then you're piling on because you dislike conservatives.

    October 1, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Nick West Philadelphia, PA

    I just find it funny that dem's are so quick to say someone doesn't support our troops when they can't even band together to get them a little extra money for supplies to help soldiers. Bush may have made a bad move sending troops to iraq but the fact is they are there and they aren't getting the support they need.

    October 1, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Rush never apologized for saying drug addicts should be deported,while he was one! I wouldn't hold your breath on this one.

    October 1, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Kaye, Great Lakes, Illinois

    Funny, my husband served in Viet Nam. My dad served at Iwo Jima in WWII and then in Africa. Neither one backs this war, but Rush, who didn’t serve one day lashes out about those who did. Idiot.

    October 1, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Greg - Tracy, California

    If the Democratic leadership is really that concerned about showing support for our troops in Iraq, why do they not universally condemn the very harmful MoveOn.org-sponsored "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" NY Time ad?

    October 1, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Rod, SLC, UTAH

    Hey Senator Reid....

    AND WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT GENERAL PETRAUS ON THE SENATE FLOOR???

    You hipocrit. You are no better than Rush, in fact, you are worse. You are ELECTED to do the right thing. For Rush, it's just business. Oh yea, it is for you too.

    October 1, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. dd, San Diego

    How about wasting more tax dollars for senate and house to vote on condemning fat-ass Limbaugh, like they did for Moveon ad.

    October 1, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. 1st Republic 14th Star, Vermont

    Come on CNN - point out that Limbaugh claimed he was referring to MacBeth only AFTER his remarks were reported on to the wider media. Point out that Limbaugh has used a doctored audio tape and transcript of his show to bolster his claims. Why would he commit those acts except to cover up a LIE?

    October 1, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Jonathan Simeone Seattle, Washington

    It is sad to watch the Democratic Leadership try and act tough. If they really wanted to take a stand in support of our "foney soldiers," they would have the courage to use their majority in the Senate to condemn Limbaugh just as the Republicans condemned MoveOn. By the way, has anyone noticed that the only leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to stand up for the right of our troops to speak out against the war was John Edwards? I find it interesting that Senators Clinton and Obama are unwilling to make statements in support of our troops–I guess they are too busy running their campaigns. It's time for the Democrats to show that they are tough enough to beat the Republicans. It's time for the Democrats to take Senatorial action against Limbaugh.

    October 1, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Jerry, NY

    Dear Mr. Reid, unfortunately you have nothing positive in you. I hope that you and your party goes into minority in the coming election. You want the whole media to drum your beats. It cannot happen, Sir. Have a life.

    October 1, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Juan, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    If Harry Reid so vehemently opposes criticism of our military personnel, why did he not condemn Hillary Clinton for calling General Petraeus a liar? Why did he not condemn Move-On.org for calling the general a traitor?

    October 1, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Patrick, Takoma Park, MD

    If Limbaugh had meant only to criticize one actual imposter, he would have said "phony soldier," not "phony soldiers." Clearly, he meant that any soldier who dares to speak out against the Iraq war is a phony. Considering that these Iraq war opponents actually have fought–and in some cases, sadly, died–for their country, Limbaugh owes them and the nation an apology.

    October 1, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Thomas Burke, Atlanta, GA

    Rush is the phony one! He is just another right wing chicken hawk that got out of fighting in Vietnam because of student deferments and a cyst on his behind. Rush should volunteer to go to Iraq and fight so a real soldier could come home and be with their family.

    October 1, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Anthony Odessa, TX

    Phony soliders? I guess that phony bullets and IEDs were being shot at them as well. I guess soliders who disagree with the War in Iraq, but nevertheless are willing to serve die phony deaths?

    Rush, next time you want to criticize the soliders who disagree with the War in Iraq save yourself the embarrassment and fill it with painkillers and viagra to avoid saying something stupid.

    October 1, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. jon, stockton, ca

    Why do Democrats always shoot themsleves in the foot like this? Limbaugh has all the documentation including the actual show and the ABCNEWS story about phony soldiers. The Democrats are getting owned on this; it just reminds everyone of all their real comments against the military. Just be quiet or you'll blow another election.

    October 1, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. A real US Marine, Ann Arbor, MI

    Rush Limbaugh is paid to speak, and more specifically speak his about his political opinions. If he wants to argue that he cannot speak in a clear and understandable manner, he should shouldnt be paid as though he does. Yet, the fact remains: Rush deliberately questioned the patriotism of Iraq war veterans who criticize the war (whether or not he says he intended to.) So lets be clear: the right actively seeks to intimidate and bully war dissenters. Where is the outrage?

    October 1, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Steve, Portland, OR

    Hopefully one day someone will take this pompous self righteous pill popper off the air.Hard to imagine that anyone out there still has any respect for this guy.

    October 1, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. andy k, athens georgia

    Rush says he was only referring to one soldier BUT used the term "soldiers"...PLURAL...now he's trying to backtrack and play CYA...talk about a phony!

    October 1, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Jason, Arlington VA

    Hypocrite - isn't it funny how Rush is so quick to cry foul when he thinks his words are taken out of context but is so quick misconstrew everyone else's words on a daily basis!

    October 1, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. John, Fort Worth, TX

    Condemn what? A left wing nut (formerly a right wing nut) David Brock falsely trashes Rush Limbaugh in the exact same way that he falsely trashed Anita Hill and somehow he now has credibility? Harry Reid is embarrassing himself once again. The Democrats must need cover for the fact that they have done nothing since winning a congressional majority.

    October 1, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Tim, Pittsburgh, PA

    Here's the context. I heard the whole thing. They were talking about these people who write fake stories about atrocities that they say they saw, and they are published in New York elitist magazines. Then it is discovered that the writer, while perhaps enlisted at some point, were found not to have an alibi. In other words, it is proven they could not have seen what they said they saw because they weren't there in Iraq at the time, or possibly ever. It was this type of soldier that Limbaugh referred to as "phony soldiers," his term for imposters who allege actual atrocities but are proven liars.

    October 1, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Tommy, Asheville, NC

    To clarify the word "phony" as it was used by Rush: Phony soldiers like, Jesse MacBeth, who ABC NEWS did a story on last week, are the phony soldiers. Not REAL soldiers who don't agree with saving Iraq. Rush was bashing the FAKE SOLDIERS that LIE ABOUT THEIR SERVICE. So if he is wrong in doing that then that is your opinion. I DO LIKE someone calling out these PHONY SOLDIERS and I have never served one day in the military either, Kaye! So if you have never served then you can't call out PHONY SOLDIERS THAT HAVE NEVER SERVED A DAY EITHER??? You sound like Hillary and Haditha Murtha... speaking before they know what the hell is going on, just cause they can.

    October 1, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Dave, Denver, CO

    I don't get the controversy, Rush is right on this one (from rushlimbaugh.com 9/28/07).

    "...If reporters had bothered to check the transcripts and audio at RushLimbaugh.com, or even to call the EIB Network for comment, they wouldn't look like such fools. Rush was talking about phony soldier Jesse MacBeth. MacBeth portrayed himself as a decorated Iraq war veteran who opposed the war. Since "Corporal" MacBeth fit the left's anti-war template, the Drive-By Media lapped up his lies. The truth? Mr. MacBeth was just sentenced to five months in jail for being...a phony soldier. MacBeth never served in Iraq, never won a Purple Heart, never reached the rank of corporal, was never an Army Ranger - and therefore never could have witnessed war crimes against Iraqi civilians as he claimed. In fact, MacBeth washed out of Army boot camp after 44 days...."

    Seems pretty clear cut. He wasn't attacking soldiers who are against the war, just THIS phony soldier.

    October 1, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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