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. Nick, Minneapolis, MN

    Rush is right! Our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen are supposed to be mindless machines who have no business wasting time thinking for themselves. Once they sign up for service in the Republican Party Guard, they pledge allegiance to whatever the right wing wants. In fact, why don't we just go all out and remove citizenship from anyone who doesn't want to use military force to solve the world's problems? That would be ideal – it should be illegal to question any decisions that any of our politicians make because that's not supporting the troops. While we're at it, we should wipe out anyone's military record if they end up not being Republican. Any members of our military who harbor any thoughts or opinions that might be contrary to the GOP's platform had better keep their mouths shut or they're going to be detained without trial and tortured.

    September 28, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Blake Erickson, Savage Minnesota

    Its funny that the context of the comments are completely ignored. Rush was specifically commenting on a soldier that was brought out by left wingers as an "army ranger who served in Afganistan and received a purple heart" who denounced the war effort. Rush meerly pointed out that it was recentlty revealed that this soldier was not an army ranger, nor served in Afgansistan, nor awarded a purple heart, but washed out of army boot camp after 45 days. He went on to wonder if a retraction of this person's claims would be forthcomming. Not likely.

    Nice job getting the facts straight!

    September 28, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Tina Lastaukas - Wayne, SC

    Remember, Rush is a phoney talk-show host. He was a top-40 DJ named Steve Christie until 15 or so years ago, when he realized he could make a living off of pandering to rabid conservatives with too much time...

    September 28, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. John Montgomery. Honolulu HI

    If you don't think there are phony soldiers, then your living in denial. As an active veteran phony soldiers are exposed all the time. In fact there are WEBsites run by real Vets dedicated to finding and indetifying phony soldiers.

    September 28, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Peter, Los Angeles, Ca

    Such hypocrisy. All this puffed up outrage over the Petraeus ad by is really just phony posturing. Limbaugh shows us once again why he ranks so high on the windbag meter.

    September 28, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. JPetz

    Rush Limbaugh has always been a blowhard. I'm not sure why his rabid commentary bothers anyone of importance. His listening audience is mostly people looking to blame liberals or government for their own dissatisfaction in life.

    Limbaugh plays his audience for fools – always has.

    September 28, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |


    September 28, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Jonathan Anderson, Steelton, PA

    I learned in journalism 101 that you should always get both sides of the story before going to press. Did any of your reporters take that class too?

    September 28, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. rs, peoria, il

    I'm amazed people are still listening to this slanderous slur slinging junkie.

    Imus has nothing on this guy.

    September 28, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. James A Brady,Avon Lake,Ohio

    Concerning Limbaugh's comments on phony soldiers,it might be interesting to see the record of his military service if any. I doubt that he ever served in the armed forces of the United States as his father did. Limbaugh is a chicken hawk as are Bush and Cheney all Republicans.

    September 28, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Van Carter, Cheney, WA

    This entire string of responses is sad, 99% of it isn't discussion or discourse it's merely ad hominem or straw man arguments tossed at one another like hand grenades.

    I've had conversations with relatives returning from Iraq, I've had conversations with U.S. Army colonels in the Rangers returning from Iraq and simply put the military is by no means some opinion monolith.

    Soldiers' views differ dramatically on the issue of the war in the same squad let alone across the entire set of forces deployed.

    Anyone who fails to understand the diversity of opinion in the military is experiencing a lack of objectivity.

    Limbaugh, and all of the other talking heads and interest groups have every right to express their opinions, that is America.

    Our soldiers have fought and died for that opportunity for over 230 years and I respect every one of them that has done so honorably. I salute America and all of its people that care so very passionately about making it a better place to live.

    September 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. V, Rothermel Shannon, IL

    Does Rush Limbaugh even know what a real soldier is? Has he EVER been in the service? Probably not. Who on earth ever heard of such a thing as a phony soldier?!

    September 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. c eckstein

    Rush was correct in his comment. The 'so called' soldier was a 'phony'. The real problem is that you Dems are in bed with and the Betrayus comment backfired. You guys better worry about the debate Wednesday – it seems like your top candidates have lied to the folks on the left. Worry about this – no immediate pull out from Iraq!!!

    September 28, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Jeff, Chesapeake, Virginia

    CNN is really getting ridiculous! First they attack Bill O'Reilly and now Rush Limbaugh. There ratings continue to plummet because of their liberal and irresponsible reporting. Face it CNN, you are with the liberals who are losing and are desperatley jeolous of Fox news. These reports are getting old. Who cares!

    September 28, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Joe Bloomington, MN

    does anyone even notice how ridiculous this whole thing is? it's nothing but a distraction, taking our attention away from the bigger issues. this war will rage on regardless of who's in charge and to bicker about it is pointless. The sooner you all realize it, the better. Rush isn't the problem, the Democrats aren't the problem...the problem is that the media has this ability of sucking everyone into a pointless debate and forces them to pick sides based on their party affiliation. Handing over our common sense and decision making to anyone is a big mistake and we're all are going to see just how big of a mistake it really is soon enough.
    See you in Mexico.

    September 28, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Garrison, Edgewater, Fl.

    He was not talking about all the men and women that are courageously serving out great country, he was talking about a very select few that has never been there and making statement concerning the war on terrior. The liberals are always taking things out of context.

    September 28, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Michael, Raleigh NC

    Seems like Michael Moore is Chief Editor over at Media Matters.

    September 28, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. TL, Chicago IL

    Hey Limbaugh haters–He was talking about a phony soldier who the Libs paraded around. This guy spent 44 days in basic training, never in combat yet HE was the one attacking the troops. As usual a two word pull quote of a "phony soldier". If you include the 5 sentences before and after the words "phony soldier", it makes it perfectly clear. I can't wait till he makes you all look like idiots yet again on his program

    September 28, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Edward Mares , Rio Rancho New Mexico

    So the Dems call Rushes comments a "Personal attack on our men and women in uniform" "Reprehensible" arnt these the same Dems that call our troops serving overseas "Terrorist" and "killers of inocent civilians" when it's convienient for them.

    September 28, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Dan, Fayetteville, NC

    I know what Mr Limbaugh was trying to say, there are soldiers who have not been in the sand box (or only in extra theater support roles) that are weighing in on combat situations that are frankly far outside their operational expertise. In this situation I would simply say that said individual is not qualified to address the issue, rather than going so far as labeling them "phoney soldiers", however I understand that this is an emotional subject for people, even non serving civilians like Mr. Limbaugh. Conversly I have always thought that Mr Limbaugh had largely discredited himself when he became a drug addict, but I suppose I am a bit old fashioned. In anycase, I have little use for a civillians opinion on what is either right or wrong with what we are doing in Iraq, that goes for Congress,, and frankly president Bush himself. The opinions that matter come from enlisted men (combat veterans) and officers (again combat veterans) from the battalion level down.

    September 28, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Dennis, Chicago, IL

    You guys really need to listen to the show instead of taking sound bites from your liberal blogs and mainstream news media before you comment. He was referring to Jessie Macbeth, the “solider” who lied about his service duty and travesties he claimed to observe. Just a smear campaign by a group of people who are the ones who really despise our military such as Kerry and the other gang of idiots.

    September 28, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Kristine Kaden, Galesburg, IL

    Rush makes a living by demoralizing anyone who disagrees with him, regardless of their political party. He has made a mockery of the dedication of our family, friends, and neighbors serving our country. I find his behavior absolutely appalling, especially that he would rather verbally attack a fellow American who may have different ideas and political views, by saying that if you think differently you do NOT care for the U.S. Our forefathers designed a system to preserve our rights to speak out and voice our opinions. Rush feeds the hypocracy that Americans have free speech, yet we can't voice an opposing opinion to the war.

    September 28, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Corporal Stutzman, USMC

    I think a "phony soldier" is one that speaks about the war and claims to know exactly what's going on in Iraq, without ever having been there. By that standard Rush Limbaugh is a "phony soldier."

    September 28, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. John Pass Atlanta GA

    Can't you folks EVER get a story right? We all know your political slant, but PLEASE TRY to tell the truth every so often! You know what Limbaugh actually said but you intentionally decided to lie about it. WHY? Do you hate the man so much that you have to make up lies? I don't even like Limbaugh, but your willingness to let your network be used for political purposes is really scary. Just tell the truth – OK? Slant it the way you want to – BUT TELL THE TRUTH!!

    September 28, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. D.Workman, Boise ID

    If you read the whole transcript instead of lashing out at a tiny part of it (that's the part in which Rush agrees with what a caller said) you'd see that he refers to military members who are not interested in serving, but still want the heroic uniform and status.

    So I ask those who attack Rush: do you lash out at those with whom who disagree all the time , or do you reserve your ire for those you just don't like to begin with?

    September 28, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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