September 28th, 2007
11:10 AM ET
11 years ago

Dems seize on Limbaugh's 'phony soldiers' comment

Democrats are seizing on recent comments from Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the wake of the high-profile uproar from Republicans over a ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus, Democrats are seizing on recent comments from popular conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh who said on a recent broadcast on Iraq that some veterans who criticize the war in the media are "phony soldiers."

Democrats are pointing to comments Limbaugh made 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.

In a statement issued Thursday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called Limbaugh's comments a "personal attack on our men and women in uniform" and "reprehensible."

"It minimizes the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and their families are making and has no place in the public discourse," he added. "Rush Limbaugh owes our military and their families an apology for his hurtful comments that minimize their service to our country."

Also Thursday, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a veteran of the Vietnam War, called the comments a "disgusting attack."

“In a single moment on his show, Limbaugh managed to question the patriotism of men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for his right to sit safely in his air-conditioned studio peddling hate," Kerry said in a statement. "He is an embarrassment to his party, and I expect the Republicans who flock to his microphone will now condemn this indefensible statement.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pennsylvania, an Iraq War veteran, said, "Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do."

And on the House floor Thursday, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-New Jersey, said Republicans should hold and Limbaugh to the "same standard."

"I wonder if Republicans who showed so much outrage towards yesterday will hold Rush Limbaugh to the same standard, and I wouldn’t hold your breath," he said.

On Wednesday, the House voted 341-79 to condemn the liberal group's recent newspaper ad dubbing Petraeus "General Betray Us?"

UPDATE: Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a candidate for president, is the latest Democrat to weigh in on the comments Friday, issuing a statement saying, "It's ironic, if not remotely surprising, that Rush Limbaugh – who makes his living shooting his mouth off – would impugn the patriotism and service of American troops simply because they have voiced their opposition to this failed policy. It's clear that he has no idea what the brave men and women of our armed forces are ostensibly fighting for."

Filed under: Iraq • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. James, Phoenix AZ

    Rush Limbaugh should IMMEDIATELY apologize and clarify his statement. Vets EARNED the right to speak from experience about war. We can disagree with anyone's opinion – but calling them "phony" is just as wrong as Moveon.Org.

    September 28, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    While they're at it, the Democrats should also bring up the fact that this self important windbag was the one who coined the term general "betrayus" and NOT MoveOn. How do you like them potatoes???

    September 28, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Jason . Howell, NJ

    Time to suit up Rush and take the place of a guy or gal who's been there for many tours. Oh wait, you'll probably have an excuse just like you did with Vietnam. How's that "cyst" treating you?

    September 28, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Bryan, Tampa, FL

    Are you kidding me? The Dems are trying to make something out of this. I am ex-military, and I know exactly what Rush meant. It is taken out of context and that is how the drive-bys and the Dems like to make their attacks. They have nothing else to go on, so they try so hard to discredit Republicans. Get back to what is important. Everyone knows that Rush is a military lover.

    September 28, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Dave Atlanta GA

    You morons are taking his comment out of context as you always do. He was talking about a "soldier" that claimed that he witnessed killing in mosques and such in Iraq. It turns out that the soldier never served in combat and was washed out of basic training. Get it right. You are always performing journalist mal-practice by not understanding what led to this comment!

    September 28, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Ryan, New York, NY

    He was probably just high on Oxycontin again and wasn't thinking of what he was saying.

    Maybe he should take another trip to the Dominican Republic with his bag full of Viagra calm himself down like last summer.

    September 28, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Dave Chicago, IL

    Yes Rush, with all your combat and military experience, no wait sorry, you are a chickhawk.

    September 28, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    it's ture ! he's right ! the "retired" officers who started whining last summer are cranky, old men who have been stripped of their power and never quite made the hero status of their dreams. now the only platform they have is to lash out. they don't really believe in shrinking from our enemies, but they can't stand not being called the hero.

    September 28, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. Will, BattleCreek Mich.

    windbag was the one who coined the term general "betrayus"

    Posted By Bea, Hoboken, NJ : September 28, 2007 11:16 am

    DUDE! Rush coined the phrase from calling a senator that, not a general. Once again, I see that you don't have it right!

    September 28, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Randy S., Lawton, OK

    I hope Rush doesn't actually believe that 160,000 U.S soldiers in Iraq all agree with the war in general and the way it's been mismanaged to this point. There have been several stories of soldiers not agreeing with the war and still returning to do the job they're paid for, with many paying the ultimate price.
    That job: Defending Limbaugh's right to be an obnoxious moron.

    September 28, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. Kyle, Bethesda, MD

    Republican war hero = an oxymoron

    September 28, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Alexandria, VA

    As always– Rush's comments were taken out of context– he was referring to some very real events in which Democrats drummed up phony soldiers, seminar callers to denounce the war. How about them potatoes. I'm convinced the Democrat party is now made up of every tinfoil wearing wacko in the United States.

    It's pathetic that the only way you can boost your rating's CNN is to suck the smoke of Limbaugh's fire.


    September 28, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. B. Roy, Grand Junction, CO

    These people need to get lives... or better yet, stop bickering like schoolyard children and do actual, real work. This is what happens when rich people are put in power and have nothing better to do.. These people are truly disgusting, both Republicans and Democrats.

    September 28, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Doug, Nashville, TN

    Is it time to fight fire with fire!!! Should Congress draw-up a resolution to condemn Rush Limbaugh's remarks... I think so.

    September 28, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. jaydub-Suburbs of IL

    I took the caller and Limbaugh's comments to infer that those people who were speaking to the media might not be soldiers in fact, at all, but staged actors, purported by the media to be military. Hence, "phony." Conspiritorial, and silly, perhaps, but not a criticism of our fighting men and women.

    September 28, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. PMac Vancouver WA

    Hey Rush, crawl back under that pile of cow manure with your hillbilly heroin, viagra and whatever other drugs your nurse can buy ya and stay there. You couldn't hold the jock strap of any of the soldiers.

    September 28, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Wade- Appleton, WI

    As a recently retired soldier (I enlisted in 1978) from the U.S. Army, and a veteran of 6 conflicts (7 if you include the Cold War) I agree with Rush Limbaugh 100%. Many of the men and women who enter active service are not cut out to be soldiers and never should have been enlisted. These individuals never took into consideration the totality of the responsibility of taking an oath of service. Many are "weak" between the ears and "crack" under the basic of stresses. Some make it through basic and then advanced individual training when they should have been "weeded" out. It's unfortunate that some of these soldiers who have legidimate mental disorders such as combat fatigue, have to be piled in with the soldiers who were cry babies, whiners, and just joined the service to pay off college loans etc. These complainers are always the first in line to bad mouth the service(s) and are in fact "phoney soldiers."

    September 28, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. James, New Jersey

    Rush dudn't have to (and shouldn't) apologize to anyone. He said what he believes; there's no reason he has to apologize for anything. (By the way, Americans, you DON'T have to apologize for hurting someone's feelings...)

    All of our soldiers are volunteers, and they all knew when they signed up that they could be ordered to fight those who endanger the United States in any part of the world. The vast, vast majority of the ones I know fully support the fight against Islamo-barbarianism, and are proud and strong and willing to sacrifice for the safety of this country and its citizens. I pray for them every day, and I admire their courage and fortitude.


    September 28, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    RL is an old gasbag that has gone flat.

    September 28, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Keith Frankin, Tn

    As an ex-military I ask...let's see...Rush, how long did you serve???

    How much time have you spent in Iraq even visiting??

    That should say enough!

    Limebaugh/Slimeball...makes no difference to me...Rush is still a major divisive force in this country.

    September 28, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Common Sense

    OOOhhhh, THOSE 'phoney soldiers'. I thought he was talking about our Blackwater Mercenaries. I cant wait until we buy some Heshians and send them off to battle.

    September 28, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Andrew, Portland OR

    Hey Rush tell the families of dead soldiers who spoke out against the direction of this war that they were "phony." I hope you have a good dental plan if you do so!

    September 28, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Mike Smith, New Orleans, LA

    The neocons will blame this on the liberal media. Limbaugh's snobbery and disgusting portrayals of anyone who doesn't think like him won't be the issue. To the tiny little neocon minds, it won't be Limbaugh's fault, but the media reporting it.

    September 28, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Andrew, Chicago Ill

    If people could not comment about things they know nothing about, Mr. Limbaugh would not have a program.

    September 28, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Pat, huntington, ny

    Hmm, the repubilcan mantra: Rush Limbaugh good, bad. The hypocracy never ceases to amaze me.

    September 28, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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