Limbaugh set off a firestorm last week with his "phony soldiers" comment.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The company that syndicates Rush Limbaugh's popular radio program defended the conservative talk-show host Wednesday over his controversial "phony soldiers" remark, telling the Senate's top Democrat it is "unfair" to assume his comments were directed at combat soldiers who disagree with the Iraq war.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mark Mays, the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, wrote, "Over the years Mr. Limbaugh has repeatedly praised the dedication and valor of our brave men and women in uniform.
"Given Mr. Limbaugh's history of support for our soldiers, it would be unfair for me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers simply because they didn't share his own beliefs regarding the war in Iraq," he added.
Mays' letter was a response to a letter sent by Reid Tuesday, and signed by 41 Senate Democrats, calling on Clear Channel to publicly repudiate the comments. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, were among the senators that signed the letter.
Limbaugh's comments in question came last Wednesday when Limbaugh 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.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney