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. lavelle Rochester,ny

    And I to add to the Sadaam story, he stated that if Bush were to invade Iraq. That gorilla warfare would never end until the US left. He said there will be trenches of oil burning, cargo bombs and non stop fighting. He was there leader and he knew them better then Bush knows his ABC's. Fastfoward to today, and what do we have? Exactly what Sadaam warned us of. This president is just plan retarded and republicans are following this idiot like lemmings jumping off of a cliff.

    September 28, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Mark, Baton Rouge, LA

    Your accounting of this comment that was taken totally out of context, helps me and all the other conservatives of the world further strengthen our argument that CNN and the media in general is largely liberal leaning. Thanks!

    September 28, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Gary, Wilmington Delaware

    Here's some misinformation. Try your website. Rush Limbaugh did not say what you are claiming. Obviously you didn't listen and don't care.

    The current press is like Pravda. Nobody believes you. You can't be trusted for the truth. You have an agenda.

    September 28, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Rennie, Westport, CT

    I suggest that you check your facts out. I listened to Rush's program. As always, being pro democrat and not a ligitimate objective news organization, you "f*#!"ed up your facts. Neither does he (Rush) have to clarify his statements. Get a transcript you high-school level reporters and you will really see how stupid & a lie your reporting is. It is you and your stupid cronies who owe the public as well as serving military an apology. To close, I doubt this comment will ever make air or your web sight as will the true nature of the "phony" civilian who claimed to be a soldier who was charged and convicted of defrauding military benefits but supported your political agenda and got your air time. I can always count on your jounalistic integrity CNN

    September 28, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. po, ATL, GA

    So, Pat TIlman was a phony soldier, huh? Nice.

    September 28, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Tim, ID

    It isn't a military members place to speak with the media about their opinion of the war. It is their place to follow the orders of the officers appointed above them and carry out their those orders without passion or prejudice. Limbaugh could have been a little more sensitive in his assessment of troops that speak with media but if people think it's acceptable to openly criticize the war and the decisions that have been made by our elected government, then likewise they should have no issues with Mr. limbaugh expressing an opinion that they don't agree with. Everybody needs to get over it all and work together to support our country instead of playing the blame game. God Bless America!

    September 28, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Jim Pass, High Point, NC

    CNN again gets it wrong, thanks to your obvious liberal bias. I heard what Rush said–he wasn't talking about "soldierS", he was talking about a specific REAL phoney soldier, who washed out weeks after enlisting, who lied to other journalists about his military service. Like CNN, they didn't check out his story, they just liked it & printed it.
    CNN continues to be irrevant to anyone but George Soros.

    September 28, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Andy, Houston, TX

    To restate comments from previous writers that obviously are not being read, I heard the particular broadcast and Rush was referring to a particular "soldier" that was heavily portrayed in the media as having witnessed numerous acts supposedly committed by American soldiers on Iraqi civilians. The individual was later shown to have have been drummed out of boot camp after 48 days and could not have witnessed any of the matters that were so highly publicized. Rush went on to say that the fact that the individual was "outed" so to speak, was hardly seen anywhere in the press, where anti-war sentiment runs higher than the truth, apparently.

    September 28, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Mark Greenstone, La Mesa, California

    Welcome to the "Imus Club" Rush!

    As a former Navy medic I find great fault with his implied concept that dissention within the ranks is unpatriotic, or that those of us who spoke out against inept leadership were derilict in our duties to the country. Just because we were soldiers doesn't mean we vacated our right to speak out when needed.

    Remember the Constitution Rush? It guarantees free speech. You need to apologize. When you can finally claim to have dodged IED's, bullets and all manner of weaponry, instead of foul balls in KC, then you might re-gain my respect. You might ask Imus for advice too.

    September 28, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Anna, Vestal, NY

    I suppose I shouldn't be suprised that the communist news network would go to print with a story like this before they confimed what Limbaugh ACTUALLY said. He NEVER called soldiers who don't agree with the war phoney soldiers. He was referring to a story about an army rager who claimed that he and his fellow troops masacred civilians. It turns out that the alleged "ranger" never even passed boot camp and washed out of the army. The guy got 5 months in jail for his lies. He is a Phoney Soldier. I'm sure the libs will never issue a retraction for their lies.

    September 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Michelle, Vienna, VA

    Wow, that 10 minute silence was deafening. Everyone of you Dittoheads must have run out of your "Fox"holes to enlist.

    September 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Jack Resolved Waldron

    A question for those defending Rush.
    If he was talking about ONE person, then why does he say "phony soldiers"? The "s" on the end there is used in the English language to indicate plurality, and I'm sure you all agree that Rush in an educated person and would know the difference between singular and plural forms of words. Also, the person he is responding to is talking in plural forms, so where do you come off saying it is directed at only ONE person? I notice that none of you who say it is taken out of context have provided any context to prove that. While, it certainly could have been taken out of context, there is nothing to say he may not have taken that one person and then gone off on some tangent. The simple facts are this is a free country and he is free to say any stupid and disrespectful thing he wants. However he is a hypocrite. Sitting safely in his chair and insulting those who served or volunteered to serve while he is no better than a draft dodger, as is our Prez and Vice-Prez. Now to paraphrase my very distant cousin, who once said something like "It is our duty as American citizens to be critical of our president and his policies. Only then can we be truly deserving of being called Americans." He was a man who should know, having: fought in several wars, helping to bring about the creation of the Panama Canal, being instrumental in the creation of our National Park system, serving tirelessly for this nation his whole life, and having a stuffed animal named for him. Yes this man is none other than Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.

    September 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Bill Maher holds a similar position to Rush's in liberal-leaning entertainment; the difference is that Maher's jokes are never turned into legislation, and his jokes are clearly jokes and not phony facts.

    Rush a soldier? Ha! I used to pants guys like him back in HS and take their lunch money. Imagine him in boot camp? He would be utterly useless as a soldier.

    September 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Kathleen Duignan, Chicago, Illinois

    Why must everyone take everything out of context.Grow up America! Anyone who
    listens to Rush Limbaugh knows he supports our military. I have heard
    these same thoughts from Iraq soldiers
    home on leave. The democrats will do anything to change the subject from

    September 28, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Tim, West Des Moines, IA

    Sure. The Democratic party is hiring actors to pose as war vets. And Michael J. Fox is faking his palsy. I hear Windbag Limbaugh make statements just as outrageous as these every day. I suppose it does stir up the uneducated Billy Bobs dumb enough to take his misconstrued and half-played sound bites, disconnected logic, and sonorous vitriolic repetition seriously. But I listen for the entertainment value. He's one of the best things that ever happened for the Democratic party, so let's allow him to continue making a horse's ass of himself. He's our daily reminder that libs tend to act from forethought and guts (and yes, are smarter), while conservatives act from fear and propagate misinformation.

    September 28, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Tom, NY NY

    "If Rush meant one soldier, why does he say "phony soldiers.""

    Because there are more of them out there, like that guy who suckered The New Rebublic... again.

    There are people coming out of the woodwork alleging crimes that not only they did not see, they could not see. When they make them up they are phonies. This guy was the most eggregious example of how the media and the left allow them to be suckered because even if the facts are wrong it supports the narrative. David Shuster of MSNBC ambushing a Republican Congressperson with the wrong facts is another example.

    And you'll never hear a retraction or corrrection. Even now the only update on the story is more Democrats being led by the nose to condemn without knowing the facts. The intended damage was done, move on to the next drive by story.

    September 28, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Rob, Raleigh, NC

    If Rush loves the military so much, why didn't he ever serve? Why did he dodge the draft during the war in Vietnam? I guess like Bush and Cheney, he had other "priorities" at the time, huh? For him, the words of "duty, honor, country" are doofy punchlines for ratings while our brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan live them to the fullest on a daily basis. Rush is the phoney American in every sense of the word.

    September 28, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. China Nolan - Chicago, Ilinois

    Rush Limbaugh is for sale. He is not to be listened to seriously. He is the bait for those who are unable to think critically and reason. Many of his supposed arguments aren't any more than unreasonable a priori assertions.

    Besides, the guy entered a court plea that the thousands of illegal prescription pills he had were for "personal use". So besides being a hack, he's a drug dealer.

    September 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Ed, Watertown MA

    Where is the condemnation of Rush's slur on the troops by GOP candidates? They were all up in arms about MoveOn's ad but this exact same type of comment by one of their buddies get's ignored?


    September 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Leslie Dunham, Mt Clemens, Michigan

    You should get the context correct. Mr. Limbaugh's comments we directed toward an individual soldier whom has been convicted of lying. He has been quoted by many as a witness of soldier crimes when he himself served 44 days in basic training only. Never in a unit that was deployed and never as an Army Ranger. CNN should pursue report the truth as opposed to spin it.

    September 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Tommy June Westminster MA

    I would venture a guess that 98% of the commenters here that criticize Limbaugh for not being in the military or not going to Iraq have never done so either. Why do the Democrat congress-persons criticize his comments and demand an appology when NONE of them appologized for Move-on's BE-TRY-US disgusting stunt nor did ANY of them appologize for the phony soldier (J. MacBeth)and all his lies?

    September 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Memo from Arlington, Va.

    Why doesn't this fat tub of lard enlist and stop criticizing soldiers who speak out against Iraq? Oh what, he can't. He's a fat loudmouth tub of lard.

    September 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Ryan, Oakland, CA

    I'm a liberal and I despise Rush but man the ignorance posted on these boards is astounding! You liberals are giving us a bad name with your snap judgments and ill-informed opinions.

    Its true that even a quick review of the transcript shows that Rush was talking about a specific few people that have in-fact turned out to be "phony soldiers".

    The fact that democrats in congress are so quick to jump on this is an embarrassment and we should encourage all of them to shut up. It makes it look like they all condemned just so they could rub it in the face of republicans the next time they got the chance. The fact that they would self-righteously proclaim that republicans are hypocrites because they don't condemn these statements makes me want to wretch.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, I agree 100% with liberal politics, but liberals themselves are embarassing more often than not.

    September 28, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Robbie

    I'm sure Rush knows a phony a when he sees one...because he is one.

    September 28, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Ken B., Royal Oak, Michigan

    Rush stood up for the soldiers serving in Iraq when liberals such as Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, and John Kerry were sliming the troops. It is clear he was not calling any of the troops phoney, but referred to the "soldiers" quoted by left wing groups as not really being soldiers because they are made up sources. In other words, "phoney." Does the name Dan Rather mean anything to you people?

    September 28, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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