October 2nd, 2007
09:17 AM ET
4 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.

Full story

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. Joe, Jersey City, New Jersey

    It is obvious from the transcript that Rush was talking about any soldier who opposes the war. He calls these people "phony soldiers".

    I have just one question for Rush and is idolators: Why do they hate America so much?

    October 2, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Suze, MD

    And the Senate has nothing better to do than chastise a talk-radio show host. No wonder the Congress rating is at 11%. Shame on you Senators, wasting the taxpayers time for petty showmanship. You have much more important matters to tend to like border protection, illegals sucking up resources, Iraq; matters that affect the American citizen. What a bunch of poor legislators, seems to be a communicable disease all over the US, the legislators in my state idolize the illegals. I can turn off Rush, but I am stuck with your petty ignorance. Retaliation for the disgusting MoveOn.org ad in the NYTimes?

    October 2, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. R. Smith, Los Angeles, CA

    I read the CNN blogs because I assume that most of the readers and blog participants are intelligent and can respond intelligently about a situation. But some of these comments have proved me wrong. This issue with Rush Limbaugh is about the nasty comment(s) he's made about our soldiers who are fighting and dying for us. This is not about politics and whether Reid should resign or whether if it were a Democrat spewing these horrible comments the Republicans would be calling for a Democrats head.

    Also we can't read Limbaugh's mind about the fact that he's talking about phoney soldiers.

    Have some RESPECT Limbaugh and pick on someone or something that deserves it.

    I am truly disappointed with the CNN bloggers.

    RSMITH

    October 2, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Curt Houston, TX

    I think it's hilarious how the Dems like Harry Reid and the usual clowns like Pelosi, Kennedy etc.. complain and make an issue with private citizens such as Limbaugh, Colter etc...they are simply people getting their points across in an entertainment setting, and people are actually arguing about him having an "S" at the end of the word phony. WHAT A JOKE!! The people that Republicans are going after (Clinton, Reid, and the other clowns)for completely disrespecting a 4 Star General, just becasue he actually had some positive news to report (God forbid) are POLITICAL figures of our government. BIG difference. Radio people and book writers, shouldn't even warrant our governments time, unless that is all Dems can do to reflect all the negative attention they would be getting otherwise for continuing their pursuit to completely disrespect the whole country, by not supporting what is the right thing to do, rather than worry so much on how to win an election instead. The USA isn;t buying it any more. Dems stand for lack of religion, lacj of values, freedom of speech pnly when they like it, and a pure loser mentality on protecting our country. WAKE UP AMERICA, be strong and respect the values that have made us the best country in the world.

    October 2, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Kevin

    So should the Department of Justice apologize for using the exact same vocabulary? This DOJ report shows Rush's honesty. It is clear not only by the specific word usage what he was reffering to, but also, by his explanation later on.

    Read the Report and see for yourself:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/waw/press/2007/sep/operationstolenvalor.html

    October 2, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. Rich, Elkhart, IN

    I am sick to death of people here making comments on "democrats trying to act tough." What does it take in their minds to be tough, NOT go to war?? Because that is what all your right wing heroes did, avoided war at all costs. All those supposed "weak-kneed liberals" were wimpy, they actually fought in wars, got shot at, were injured. I guess blowing hot air is more important than shooting hot lead.

    October 2, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. , Fairfax, VA

    Lets just give Rush Limbaugh an extra dose of Oxycondon and be done with it. He squeaked out of his drug charges, he will not be held accountable here either. Sad isn't it.

    October 2, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Ivan, Chicago,Illinois

    This emphasizes one difference between Democrats and Republicans. Instead of standing up to Republicans when the Republicans went after "MoveOn" the Democrats caved in and supported a Republiucan measure against "MoveOn".
    The Republicans will not do the same if the Democrats offer a similar measure against Limbaugh.
    DEMOCRATS I DON'T CARE IF YOU CAN NOT PASS YOUR AMENDMENTS, BUT I WANT YOU TO KEEP BRINGING THEM UP.
    IT'S NOT THAT YOU SUCCEED BUT THAT YOU TRY. YOU MIGHT NOT WIN, BUT WE WANT THE EFFORT.

    October 2, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Ryan Indianapolis

    I’m a veteran of this war and on my way back to Iraq in January, again. I do not support the reason for the war, and I definitely do not support bush but a support the soldiers like. That is more than you can say about patriotism. Rush was a chicken during Vietnam and a now drug addict.

    And by the way I’m a Latino immigrant with 23 years in the service. Bush, Rush American citizen, unpatriotic chickens.

    Posted By Jose, New Jersey : October 2, 2007 2:51 pm

    Sounds like you never went to English class my friend,,You might want to try some tapes "HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH"

    October 2, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Helen, Bakersfield, cal.

    Harry Reid should immediately resign his position as Speaker. He is a disgrace to the Senate. This type of smear campaign is typical of the left; you can't accomplish anything so lets attack someone. Shame on Reid and all who support this incompetent fool.

    October 2, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. xtina - chicago IL

    Don't these Senators have anything more important to do ? Don't people have anything more serious to work on than dissing Rush Limbaugh?

    October 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. Dwayne, Warner Robins, Ga.

    These same senators that all but called a four star general a liar is now giving lectures on how to support the troops?

    October 2, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Tom Fitzgerald, South Portland, Maine

    I didn't know there were any well known Democratic talk show hosts?

    October 2, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. Paul-Eugene Miller, Newark Ohio

    What a hypocrite...Harry Reid must have memory lapse. He has been one of the most outspoken and name calling concerning the military that there is.
    He needs to GET A LIFE!!

    October 2, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. William Kapeles

    I think it speaks volumes about our government (both Democrat & Republican) that this kind of crap is what requires the attention of the Senate! Why don't they use their limited time in session to accomplish something worthwhile? Besides, as it pertains to Limbaugh, the "condemnation" of a private citizen for saying is stupidity incarnate. Remember the 1st Amendment? If bad mouthing a talk show host is ok, then why isn't Congress going after all those who badmouth the President? Or other Senators? Or the janitor in their office building? You can't pick and choose when it comes to free speech, and to do so, as is the case here, is nothing more than a political stunt designed to disguise (in this case) the Democrat's inability to do what they want to do with respect to Iraq.

    October 2, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  16. Dan, Fort Collins, CO

    I must have read 20+ comments saying Rush is guilty because he spoke in plural. That's ridiculous..

    Read the transcript.

    CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

    LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

    ~~
    The Caller used the plural first, not Rush.. And since the term was already in the news that week(ABC Story), Rush has done segments on them in the past, and the Caller was talking in plural..

    He naturally responded in plural using a term coined by ABC News (just 2 days earlier) and others.

    How can this not be obvious?

    October 3, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Rush has NOTHING to apologize for. Anyone who opposes the war in Iraq is un-American. That goes for the soldiers on the ground.

    October 3, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  18. Kelly Columbus OH

    If you employ critical thinking and consider yourself intelligent, then go to Rush's website and/or YouTube to see and hear for yourself what he said and its context.

    If you just want to pile on and denouce Rush because you hate him then go ahead, that is your privilege.

    But please notice in stories like this one, where they place the quotation marks so that they can claim accuracy while writing exactly the opposite.

    The choice is yours to either use your brain and think about things or use your emotions and simply react in a knee-jerk type of way.

    October 3, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    Everyone who employs critical thinking and considers themself to be intelligent should definitely go to Rush's website. Read his official transcript in his own words. Then you will find that he made absolutely NO MENTION of Macbeth or "phony soldiers" before his controversial comment. He also said the plural "soldiers" and NOT "soldier". Don't bother to look at his videos like on YouTube because he has falsely cut out about 1 1/2 minutes to convince his highly gullible followers that the Macbeth comments came immediately after the "soldiers" comments. The choice is yours to either use your brain and think about things or use your emotions and simply react in a knee-jerk type of way.

    October 3, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  20. patrioticamerican

    Lemonheads abound not only in Congress it seems, but here, as well.

    Anyone who actually believes Reid is in dire need of an Irony-oscopy, as well as a cranial-rectal extraction.

    Have you guys not read the comments by Limbaugh? He did not say, imply, or think what Reid is accusing him of. And, for Reid to have the brass ones to go on the floor of the Senate and lambast Limbaugh... Well, that's astounding.

    Have you never heard the endless anti-Military statements by Reid? HE is guilty of what he is projecting onto Rush.

    This whole "scandal" requires willing suspension of disbelief.

    October 3, 2007 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  21. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    First, Conservative James says:

    "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."

    Then Conservative James says:


    Rush has NOTHING to apologize for. Anyone who opposes the war in Iraq is un-American. That goes for the soldiers on the ground.

    I got a question, is it just me or doesn’t it sound like James just FLIP-FLOPPED? James posts numerous times on these CNN threads and he has made his conservative opinions known that he dislikes flip-floppers. Even though James and I don’t see eye to eye politically, doesn’t mean that I don’t respect his opinion or his right to voice it. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and let him change his mind; after all maybe he made a mistake the during the first post in this thread. Or God forbid he is actually human and is allowed to change his mind, kind of like our politicians.

    More to the point though, there are three facts in this story:

    1.Limbaugh, while trying to defend himself, doctored his own comments and erased 1:35 out of the recording from his website. Can anybody say NIXON?
    2.He used “Phony soldiers” plural, slip of the tongue, perhaps. But it was nearly 2 minutes between the talk of phony soldiers and Jessie MacBeth. Now I know what some will say, “2 minutes isn’t a lot of time”. Yes it is, when talk radio is involved, 2 minutes is a life time.
    3.At least 55% of the American population is unhappy with the way the war is going. No matter what the reasons for the unhappiness with the war, it is our constitutional duty and right to question the actions of the government.

    If you refer to soldiers on the ground as un-American because they don’t agree with the war; you are the real un-American. Why should everyone think just like you James? The whole thing about the USA that makes us great is that we can voice our agreement or displeasure with the government anytime we like. I’m really surprised that you would say these things James; I hope that this is some phony coward putting words in your mouth and not the real Conservative James.

    October 3, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  22. Kate Portland OR

    Harry Reid brings his Grandson to the Senate floor while he's telling lies and slandering people. Is this how Reid wants his Grandson to remember him?

    October 3, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Kevin

    "1.Limbaugh, while trying to defend himself, doctored his own comments and erased 1:35 out of the recording from his website. Can anybody say NIXON?
    2.He used “Phony soldiers” plural, slip of the tongue, perhaps. But it was nearly 2 minutes between the talk of phony soldiers and Jessie MacBeth. Now I know what some will say, “2 minutes isn’t a lot of time”. Yes it is, when talk radio is involved, 2 minutes is a life time.
    3.At least 55% of the American population is unhappy with the way the war is going. No matter what the reasons for the unhappiness with the war, it is our constitutional duty and right to question the actions of the government."

    You sound like a Media Matters robot my friend. Keep up the good work!

    Seriously though you can't call those who don't support the war "un-American" or question their patriotism that is simply the wrong mentality. There are those who don't like the war like myself, but then there are those who support defeat and withdrawal.

    Those who invest in the triumph of our enemies are borderline traitors, but you can only be traitorous if you intend to be. So at this point I can only assume that these people are uninformed and if they claim to be informed, then they are not or they truly are against what our troops are doing.

    October 3, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. whatthecrap?

    The typical "Out of context" non-story.

    To anyone that actually investigates and reads for themselves – rather than just swallowing what Media Matters spoon feeds them – this story is an absolute waste of time.

    It's frankly quite pathetic that Reid, or anyone, would jump on the bandwagon without even looking into the story first. This is exactly the garbage this country DOESN'T need, whether Democrat or Republican.

    October 3, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. realdemocracy

    Posted By Curt Houston, TX : October 2, 2007 4:59 pm
    I think it's hilarious how the Dems like Harry Reid and the usual clowns like Pelosi, Kennedy etc.. complain and make an issue with private citizens such as Limbaugh, Colter etc…they are simply people getting their points across in an entertainment setting, and people are actually arguing about him having an "S" at the end of the word phony. WHAT A JOKE!!

    First of all, the "s" in question was at the end of "soldier" not "phony;" therefore it is a meaningful distinction, because Rush's attempt to weasel out of his own comments was by saying that he was talking about one particular soldier, which he clearly was not.

    The people that Republicans are going after (Clinton, Reid, and the other clowns)for completely disrespecting a 4 Star General, just becasue he actually had some positive news to report (God forbid) are POLITICAL figures of our government. BIG difference. Radio people and book writers, shouldn't even warrant our governments time

    Ah, now you're actually getting close to the point of all this. Reid's statements is merely an echo of others on the progressive side asking why it is okay for Congress to waste valuable time that they could be using to get us out of Iraq, to instead vote on a resolution to condemn a MoveOn ad. While anyone can certainly see that some portion of the country might disagree with the ad (either the opinion expressed in it, or the manner of that expression), was it the sort of thing that should be introduced into the Senate? Of course not. But it was, largely because John Cornyn is an idiot. And despite your attacks upon Reid and Clinton, they voted "for" that amendment (largely because they too are idiots).

    ...unless that is all Dems can do to reflect all the negative attention they would be getting otherwise for continuing their pursuit to completely disrespect the whole country, by not supporting what is the right thing to do, rather than worry so much on how to win an election instead. The USA isn;t buying it any more. Dems stand for lack of religion, lacj of values, freedom of speech pnly when they like it, and a pure loser mentality on protecting our country. WAKE UP AMERICA, be strong and respect the values that have made us the best country in the world.

    I'm not going to try to defend Democrats, because with a few exceptions, they are indefensible sellouts...almost as bad as Republicans, who are all indefensible sellouts. Nevertheless, I will point out some of the errors in your statements (but I will leave the typos alone. I make them too sometimes).
    You suggest that the Democrats are disrespecting the whole country by not supporting what is the right thing to do. While this is vague, I will guess that you are talking about the occupation of Iraq, or what some would call "the war." Your assumption that continuing the occupation is "the right thing to do" shows either your inability or unwillingness to examine the facts objectively. Our occupation is not creating any political or social stability in Iraq, has resulted in over 500 Iraqi deaths per day, on average, since it began, and the death tolls are not changing in any significant way due to the "surge." There is no political progress among Iraqis because the primary focus of so many of them is simply to get the US out. Certainly, there is also a civil war in which American soldiers are just caught in the crossfire, and in fact, in the last year or more, the civil war has probably been more of an issue than the insurgency against the occupation, but in neither case is the presence of American troops helping anything. Some proponents of the occupation suggest that by pulling out, we would leave a vacuum into which chaos would flow. Newsflash! It's already chaos! We are pouring hundreds of billions of $$ into a conflict in which our soldiers are mostly bystanders getting killed for being where they shouldn't be. We have no legitimate goal there, are not helping the Iraqis reach any goals, and very simply have no right to stay, except that in realpolitik, might gives right.

    You also say "Dems stand for lack of religion, lacj of values, freedom of speech pnly when they like it, and a pure loser mentality on protecting our country."[sic] Let me simply correct you, neither Democrats, nor progressives, nor liberals, nor even Greens or radical leftists (anarchists, socialists) stand for a lack of religion. What they do stand for is the freedom to have a lack of religion. Can you see the difference?
    Neither do they stand for a "lack of values." Rather, they stand for a different set of values than you might like to espouse. Most leftists (including some Democrats – many are actually right of center) stand for values such as tolerance, valuing all persons regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or religion, dignity and a decent standard of living for all, a right to work and participate in society and in the decisions that shape all our lives....These are values, whether they fit into your narrow vision or not. I will leave the freedom of speech comment alone here, as most of th earlier part of this message addressed that topic, albeit perhaps not directly enough for some. And lastly, they (all of the groups I listed above) do not stand for "a loser mentality on protecting our country." Rather, we stand for an intelligent approach to defending our country, and realizing when military activities are more harmful than beneficial. Our unprovoked attack on Iraq turned most of the world against us, when immediately after 9-11, we had the world's sympathy and support. Our continued presence there does nothing but create more anti-American sentiment around the world every day, and especially in the Middle East, and when those people whose fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters are being killed, maimed, or displaced there grow up, if they have no other way of expressing their outrage, if they have no other avenue for trying to make the world a better place in their own eyes, they may likely resort to joining a terrorist group. And that is not making us any safer. That is not "defending our country" by any stretch of the imagination.

    October 3, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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