October 3rd, 2007
12:22 PM ET
7 months ago

Limbaugh's boss weighs in on 'phony soldiers'

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.

Full story 

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Charles Barnett, Southbury, CT

    I'm glad the extreme left wing "phoney patriotic" 41 Senators like Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama , and others Democratic Party politicians misunderstood(I'm being kind) what Rush Limbaugh stated. Perhaps they should watch Ken Burns "The War" on PBS to know that our Military is put in Hellish situations for the good cause of Freedom of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. i.e. The Declaration of Independence, Our Constitution and all its amendments.

    October 3, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Ed, Colorado Springs

    I heard the entire show. Never occurred to me that he could have been talking about anti-war soldiers generally. He had spoken the previous day about Jesse MacBeth (truly a phony soldier), and spoke about MacBeth immediately after the call in question.
    A lot more evidence that he was talking about MacBeth-types than about anti-war soldiers in general. It's the left's wishful thinking that he slammed anti-war soldiers in general, something he's never done.

    October 3, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Robert, Dallas Tx

    What does Rushes military service, or lack there of, have anything to do with this situation. The fact is the liberals in congress are attacking a private citizen for two words (phoney soldiers)that were taken out of context in a radio show. Anyone who actually listens to the show knows exactly what Rush was talking about. The ABC report on PHONEY SOLDIERS who are lying about combat service which was broadcast the Fri before all this stuff happened. The fact is the liberals are behind the "Betray Us" add, which failed, and the attacks on Rush which will fail. Just another example of deceit and lies that the libs spew constantly. It must be sad to have a tiny mind.

    October 3, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    The Senate complaints about Limbaugh's comment has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to kill "right wing" talk radio. We all know that this show was triggered by the "Betrayus" show which was triggered by the savage, unwarranted acts of the not-so-Swift Boat Veterans.

    It was the right wing that tried to equate the two statements "Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us." and "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" with the contemptible charges of the Swifties. There is no comparison between using the Rush Limbaugh program's "General Betray Us" phrase and the charges of the Larry Thurlow-led Swifties. Putting a question mark in "Betray Us?" is not remotely close to trashing the records of a war hero, this time without a question mark. Thurlow, for instance, trashed John Kerry by claiming Kerry got a medal for a "battle" where there was no enemy fire. It turned out that Thurlow himself got a medal for the very same "battle" that was described multiple times as involving much enemy gunfire.

    If "right wing" talk radio does get killed, it won't be because of Senate Democrats. It will be because of commentators like Rush Limbaugh who have no conscience about creating phony tapes to fool gullible fans.

    October 3, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. J. Dean, Republican from Juno Beach, FL

    Rush Limbaugh is a sick man. Whoever listens or supports Limbaugh are as sick as him. Limbaugh is indeed a very cheap, low class entertainer, but he gets a generous pay from his masters, to name a few: disaster George Bush, Dick Cheney, the so called evangelical extremes, misguided right wing politicians, etc. Limbaugh's main mission is to preach FEAR and PROMOTE DIVISIONS among us. Limbaugh needs SUPER PROFESSIONAL help to cure his sick brain. However his venom is deadly, lethal, contagious and irreversible. If Limbaugh is having fun by doing so, let him enjoy his sick life. When the current adminstration disappears, I am sure Limgaugh also may change the color of his skin.

    October 3, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Ramu Ramaswami,Allentown,PA

    He is an America's clown, who wants to listen to him. He is an ignorant idiot making money of using people of his type and laughing all the way to the bank.

    October 3, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. James, Deerpark Tx

    We were All trying to get out of the draft.

    How dare you speak for all Vietnam vets. Just because you were doesn't mean everyone was. My father volunteered and joined the Air Force and actually went to Vietnam with no regrets. His only problem was having liberal hippies spit on him at the airport when he returned. What does Vietnam have to do with this anyway. Liberals all seem to hate this country and our military and I can't seem to figure out why. If you really want socialist country than move to Canada.

    October 3, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. laurinda,ny

    WHAT AN OLD WINDBAG. TYPICAL REPUBLICAN, NOTHING BUT HOT AIR.

    October 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. rand sisk, reno

    MoveOn.Org just got nailed for what I consider freedom of speech in regards to the BETRAYUS advertisement. Now,it's Druggie Limbaugh's turn. (Note that "shrub" will not sound off about this as he did with the Betrayus Ad).

    When we make spectacles of situations, it promotes publicity. Let's start focusing on important matters. Most of us are intelligent enough not to listen to this hypocritical, bigot in the first place.

    October 3, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Robert, Traverse City, MI

    Honestly..who really cares. Why are Senators wasting their time. Do something to help the country. Rush is Rush. Love him or hate him. People are just trying to get him off the air to help there needs in the upcoming presidential run in 08.
    Politics with a capital P.

    October 3, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Rich Rochester, NY

    Hmm I am surprised we can consider George Bush to be an extremist at anything. Well he cannot be called a liberal, he cannot be called a conservative either.

    Back to the subject though, I could go through and twist statements out of comments posted here. If I twist them, you should not have to apologize. Like in Rush's case, he should not have to apologize for this, the media outlets reporting the biased information should.

    October 3, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Connie, Tn.

    Since Rush is a drug addict, you can't believe anything he says. But the Repugs love him!

    October 3, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Rich Rochester, NY

    Wow, these one liners...

    Maybe "phony posters"...

    October 3, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Kirk List, New Castle, PA

    The fact that our Senate spent one second on this "issue" is the most vile part of all of this. The "phony soldiers" story is not substantive. This is very reminiscent of the Anna Nicole stories after her passing. Much ado about nothing. I am very disappointed to see our Democratic "Leaders" devote energy to this. The House and Senate recently wasted time to officially condemn the front page "General Betray Us?" ads smearing General Petraeus. How about working on something constructive?

    October 3, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Tom, Mission Viejo, CA

    Check out who is "Phony":

    Senator Tom Harkin has joined the Democratic left's attack on Rush Limbaugh for calling a phony soldier a phony soldier. Here is Harkin's charming contribution, which he saw fit to offer on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

    Well, I don’t know. Maybe [Limbaugh] was just high on his drugs again. I don’t know whether he was or not. If so, he ought to let us know. But that shouldn’t be an excuse.

    As Michelle Malkin points out, Harkin knows a thing or two about phony claims regarding military service. During his 1992 presidential campaign, Harkin claimed he served as a pilot in Vietnam. And when he ran for the Senate in 1984, Harkin said he had flown combat missions in Vietnam. But after changing his story several times, Harkin eventually admitted he had not flown combat missions in Vietnam, and he began describing himself as a Vietnam-era veteran. Not only had he not flown combat missions in Vietnam, he had not served there.

    October 3, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Dan, Houston, Texas

    Clear Channel are nothing but Republican attack-and-deny scum. Their CEO being a hack is not surprising at all. Phony patriots who slime soldiers for voicing their informed opinions. Clear Channel draped their hypocrisy in the flag for years of this war and will now back slowly away emitting lies and accusations through their teeth. Scum.

    October 3, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Not a Iraq veteran, but still a veteran and a soldier, Kansas

    So now real soldiers are combat soldiers in Iraq. These fools need to silence themselves before they dig the hole any deeper.

    October 3, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. laurinda,ny

    CHIP FROM OHIO...Why do you always write long and boring articles. It would be better if you kept it short and to the point. You just ramble on and on just like that Bubba guy.

    October 3, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Dave Valentine, Garner NC

    Another lie promoted by Rush:

    His only problem was having liberal hippies spit on him at the airport when he returned.

    This is another right-wing myth. Please find one shred of evidence (including testimonials) FROM THAT PERIOD which supports this oft-made lie. With it being so common, so well known, you should have no problem finding one newspaper/magazine article, photograph- anything- which supports it.

    October 3, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Ariane, Layton, UT

    He wasn't insulting soldiers in general, and that should be pretty obvious in itself. This whole issue is about him insulting soldier"s", when all it was, was an insult on a man who was in fact dishonest about his service. You're getting upset about him making an opinion on a true fact? Yes, if you only listen to a few seconds of the entire conversation it could seem as though he is making an insult on all soldiers. But, if you listen to the entire conversation, it is more than obvious that he is implying this to one person who DID make "phony" implications. If you actually have listened to the entire conversation then obviously it doesn't make any sense to stick to the arguement that he insulted all soldiers.

    That is why people are starting to just pick him apart in general and in other areas, because that point has been made clear and they have nothing else to say about what all this is about; him saying the words "phony soldiers".

    People are pointing out sort of relavant things, but still not the point at all. Such as him supposedly "avoiding the draft" because of something on his butt? You'd be suprised to know that its a great possibility that a civilian with great desire to be in the armed forces would get turned down for things such as that. I know this because my brother was in the army for about three years before he got sent home for the simplest thing. My fiance got turned down from even joining because of something as minuscule as that. So I it would probably be in some peoples' best interest to stop making themselvs look foolish by pointing out things such as these that are irrelevant to whether he insulted all soldiers with his comment or only the one, according to the ENTIRE conversation. If he insulted all soldiers and heroes, yes that is a disgrace! But he didn't. It was someone that wasn't entirely truthful, which the word "phony" does apply to.

    I just cannot believe that the Senate has gotten into a scuffle over simple opinions of a civilian and turned it into a soap opera. Even daytime television series and soap operas aren't that ridiculous. They make more sense than the government does right now and quite frankly, that's frightening.

    October 3, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Scott, Everett, WA

    If there was nothing wrong with what Rush said, why was it edited before it was sent to Armed Forces radio (Do Rush and Clear Channel not believe soilders are smart enough to make up their own minds as to what he "really" meant?"). The right held all Dems responsible for the Moveon ad but they won't even hold one of their own responsible for what he said.

    October 3, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. SPM, Orlando, FL

    So Rush has never bashed our military, eh? He was the first person to use the "Betrayus" name you know when he called Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, "Senator Betrayus".

    You people defending this jerk are utterly loathsome hypocrites.

    October 3, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Isabel

    Democrat or Republican aside. Am I the only one who thinks it's strange that our Senators are spending their days drafting letters and resolutions condemning a private citizen for expressing an opinion? Isn't anyone else just a tad bit alarmed at this?

    Who cares if Moveon.org took out an ad? I'm sure General Petraus is a big boy and can handle the criticism.

    Who cares if Rush Limbaugh said "Phony soldiers"? He's entitled to his opinion and to voice it.

    I'm now more concerned about Congress, who apparently think it's their job to censor American citizens if they don't like their opinions. I have to wonder who is next?

    ISN'T THIS PRECISELY WHAT OUR CONSTITUTION IS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT US FROM?

    October 3, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Chris Haynes, Winston-Salem, NC

    41 Democratic Sentors signed a letter sent to a media outlet in an attempt to restrict free speech.
    Hmmm…., which is the party of Constitutional rights?

    Hey realist, I bet you had your panties in a wad about the Moveon.org ad, huh? The Senate chose to waste our time and money voting to condemn it.

    Hmmm…., which is the party of Constitutional rights?

    Here's another nutjob, right wing term for you; Flip Flopper!!!!

    October 3, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Christian, Tampa FL

    Republicans are showing how hypocritical they are. It's absolutely despicable to question the objective testimony of a General that 53% of the American people believed would give the Bush Administration view of things, but it's okay to say that soldiers who disagree with the war are "phony."

    So what is it, GOP? Are all attacks on military people wrong, or just the liberal attacks?

    October 3, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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