September 28th, 2007
11:10 AM ET
12 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. Cleareye, Hollywood, CA

    Why the big concern about what Limbaugh has to say? His fans are all truck drivers and retired folks with nothing better to do during the day. He is inconsequential. It is sad to see that some serving military actually defend these draft dodgers like Limbaugh and Cheney.

    September 28, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Vern Turnbull, Hamilton, N.J.

    The Republicans in Congress must now sponser a resolution condemning Limbaugh. President Bush now must be called upon to condemn Limdaugh.

    September 28, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Rocco, Wellington, FL

    I agree this reign of NEOCON's is coming to an end. For me it cannot come to soon enough. People like Limhaugh are enabled because someone is willing to give airtime in an effort to hang on to the loosing Ideology of the Right Wing. I thank God everyday we see the end of this movement in our nation.

    September 28, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Pete, L.A. CA

    Phony soldiers are not singular as some of you have tried to argue.

    Rush was clearly referring to people like Jesse MacBeth, who never went to Iraq but claimed to have participated in atrocities there. People like Micah Wright. And people like Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

    Nice try, but you lefties own all of them and all of their lies. You've trotted them out as war critics with "moral authority" only to conveniently go mute when one after another is discredited as a product of your fertile imaginations.

    The left has finally found a soldier they can embrace, unfortunately it's the phony soldier.

    September 28, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. jvl, Springfield, VA

    Rush Limbaugh...a draft dodger, a drug addict, a phony American. No wonder the cons love him.

    September 28, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. A Kansas Vet, Kansas

    PHONY SOLDIERS, I spent my life defending this great nation. Going int o Iraq was a major blunder in US policy, the reasons for going into Iraq, were weak and not based on facts. The political strategy entering Iraq was flawed. GOD BLESS OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM and may we soon find leaders worthy of them, to establish proper onjectives that shall bring them home. Let's see Limbaugh's military service consisted of what, this man is unfit to render any opinion on this matter, however I will say he is with in his constitutional rights to make a fool out of himself.

    September 28, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Robbie, St.Louis, MO

    I must by phony. Did 2 tours in Iraq as an infantry Soldier; got out and I hate the war.
    Like one of the guys said before; all you republicans should visit a VA hospital; the 75% of heroes that are there and hate the war but still love and support their buddies must be phony.
    I agree that kid isn't the poster child for the Army, but then again republicans, we have 2 draft/war dodgers(1 that had a drug and drinking problem)in power now, so don't throw those rocks too close to your glass ceiling

    September 28, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Ken, Fredericksburg, VA

    CNN & MSNBC = Liberal/Dem GOFERS. Such idiots can only make such a claim ONLY when they take words out of context! If you claim Rush is a lose cannon, how about the Keith ober-fart? He is on the air ONLY to say the most outlandish crap about Republicans/Conservatives. CNN – start quoting Ober-fart if you want ANY credibility. CNN USED to be a great news station.

    September 28, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Richard

    Someone should list the sponsors of Limbaugh program so we can boycott those companies. Words are not going to hurt him. If his corporate sponsors lose business they will think twice about sponsoring him. We can spend on money better and get his poison off the airwaves.

    September 28, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Rudy, Tulare, CA

    As a Republican, GWOT Combat Veteran & current Active-Duty Officer I think you're comments reference our fine young men and women who have served in this conflict are despicable. Somehow, I'm not surprised that you weren't able to refrain from taking such a low-blow at our service members. Perhaps, if you crawled out of the comfort of your chair, picked up a rifle and fought for your freedom you wouldn't be so quick to judge those who have defended and chosen to express it. Oh yeah, I forgot, you're a drug-addict...I don't think you'd be able to join up.

    September 28, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. kgwickings, athens, GA

    I listen to Rush every day and you know what? I can think for myself and I don't agree with everything he says, but this comment was directed at the fact that there have been several false stories of soldiers.. look it up. Rush is very appreciative of the military.. even if he didn't join the military.. I am sure many of the bloggers here haven't joined yet are appreciative.

    Gone are my liberal days... thank goodness.. I was so reactive and irrational. Then, I decided to do something novel and listen to both sides... hmmm.. I am not even a Republican and I still enjoy Rush basically because it is funny how well he can predict the media, the politicians and esp. how the media will interpret him. They never get it right with his comments and regular listeners know this.

    September 28, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Hush Rush, San Francisco CA

    Lovers of free speech should support getting Rush's "poison off the airwaves".

    Free speech really should only apply to speech that freely supports my own ideas. Everyone else should be silenced.

    September 28, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Tim, West Des Moines, IA

    How many retorts is it going to take saying "No, he wasn't misunderstood, he pluralized every reference to military personnel, he was not referring to one person"?! I read the exact wording. Stop defending this idiot! Billy Bob, you've one thing in common with those honorable men and women; you're fighting a war that can't be won, when the cause is a fundamental blunder.

    September 28, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. kgwickings, athens, GA

    What I truly enjoy is watching the media and the bloggers go wild over his out of context remarks. Sometimes he will even say, "They are going to say I said such and such, mark my words". A few days later, sure enough everything he said is repeated but with a completely different context or without one. The listeners know what he means. In this case he was referring to the fact that there have been several false reports from soldiers over the past few years and people use them for thier agenda before checking out thier stories. The New York Times has done this several times.

    As for myself, I started listening to Rush to see what the big deal was. Really, I can't see why he is so controversial. Some people can't understand the nuances in his humor or say because he is not pc that he is a racist, sexist, whatever, but I find that you can get that label pretty quick whoever you are as soon as you deviate from the pc norm and heaven forbid you admit that you have any conservative opinion. So, in that way I relate to him.

    I can think for myself. I happen to think that Rush is uninformed about certain things and I don't share his opinion on religion or gays b/c I am much more socially liberal than he is. However, I can accept hearing a different opinion.. it is good for me!! I encourage people to find things out for themselves and understand that the media has an agenda too sometimes.

    September 28, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. C. Chew

    You people must think we are stupid. How many more lies are you going cooked up before you destroy our country. Here is something for you to chew on: I was so dumb and stupid to have voted twice for my president George W. Bush. On the other hand I consider myself smart to not have voted for former president Clinton. Guess what, I would still vote for Bush if he could run for office again.
    I firmly believe that history will prove him right to stand up to terrorism. If we don't destroy terrorism now our children will have to face them sooner than later.

    September 28, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. Tom, NY NY

    Jesse Macbeth was convicted for falsely claiming VA benefits when instead of serving as a RAnger in Iraq and committing and witnessing atrocities he got kicked out before he made it out of boot camp. He is a liar, a fraud, and a PHONY!!!!

    CNN got suckered again by Media Matters.

    September 28, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Montezuma Creek, Utah

    My Name is Ryan benally, as a Marine Corps vet who served in Iraq twice, i think Mr. Limbaugh's Irrantional Comments should be held to the same standreds as did Moveon.orgs and Imus have been....

    i wasn't offended since being a marine you leadrn to have thick skin however its Morons like him that just add fuel to the fire

    September 28, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Jim Cleveland ohio

    Rush go have some more drugs. You obvouisly don't have a clue.

    The War was based on lies,there were no weapons of Mass distruction.

    The Man who attacked us on 911 is free and walking around sending videos Worldwide.

    How can he be free and no one in this Country cares??

    We are now going to bomb Iran and the Man who started this is FREE.

    Please explain to me after spending almost a trillion dollars we can not catch 1 person??

    Unless they don't want him caught?? so they can keep the War machine going, if he was caught people would probably look at the war in a little different manner.

    September 28, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Aaron, Los Angeles, CA

    This is the same guy who took Viagra with him to the Dominican Republic so that he could have sex with underage prostitutes.

    Even when indulging in his sick fetish, he still needs medication to perform adequately.

    How pathetic.

    September 28, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. ProudVet miami fl

    all of you compasionate conservatives, you will never be able to get rid of the blood you have in your hands and it is not your blood.
    God bless our men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces

    September 28, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Tracy, Chicago, IL

    Why does anyone care what that Crack-head Rush has to say, the only people who listen and agree with him are either pill-poppers or pipe-smokers

    September 28, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. deane pradzinski

    cnn and all other media outlets who are reporting this same story OWE MR. LIMBAUGH AN APOLOGY. he was speaking about soldiers like the specifically mentioned jesse macbeth who was indicted and stripped of his benefits for his denigrating remarks about our soldiers in iraq. mr. limbaugh also mentioned scott beauchamp. HE WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT ANTI-WAR SOLDIERS. cnn cannot, once again, be trusted to deliver the actual truth about what happened. the entire transcript of his show is on his website for you to listen to. of course, i will not hold my breath for a correction on this story.

    September 28, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. James, Phoenix AZ

    Another cowardly statement from a typical cowardly Republican mouthpiece.

    It will be the Democrats in '08 that can save the United States.

    Posted By James from Phoenix : September 28, 2007 5:55 pm

    – + – + – + – + – + – +

    James from Phoenix – Rush has his share is 'issues' and certainly this doesn't help his credibility. I'm intrigued by your faith in the Democrats "saving" the US. Is this the same Democrats that have been leading the Congress for the last 2 years – yet NOTHING has changed? Is this the same Democrats where the leading candidates refused to promise we would be out of Iraq by 2013? Is this the same group of Democrats that just voted to support President Bush in his fight with Iran by voting to call Iran's elite guard a "terrorist organization"??

    Just curious if we were talking about the same group or if you were speaking of some other group?

    September 28, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  24. Steve Jandreau, Tucson, AZ


    Sen. McCain on Fats Limbaugh:

    "Any American who risks his or her life to defend us has earned the respect and gratitude of every American citizen, irrespective of their views on this war. If Mr. Limbaugh made the remark he is reported to have made, it reflects very poorly on him and not the objects of his offensive comment. I expect most Americans, whatever their political views, will have the same reaction. He would be well advised to retract it and apologize."

    September 28, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. larry buchas

    Taken out of context (according to the right-wing nut factory):


    September 28, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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