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. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    wah. Everyone crying over what Limbaugh said. Big freakin deal. Issues people.

    September 28, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Russ,San Diego,Cal. USMC

    This totally figures.Dems distort the issue and everyone knows exactly what Rush was talking about.The so called soldiers the dems pay to mysteriously show up in their support.That is what he was referring to and i don't know anyone who thinks otherwise.The way they parade their so-called support from the soldiers is pathetic.After 4 years in the military I don't know any that support the type of run and hide policy and the downgrading of this country the way the democrates do.

    September 28, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Harold, Phoenix, AZ

    I would like to see RUSH'S military record. At LEAST I can show that 1) I served, 2) I spent my time in the Middle East. If he cannot present these credentials, at least the FIRST one, then HE is more of a "Phony Soldier" than ANYONE who has served.

    September 28, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. J. Webb, WEst Palm Beach

    Rush, like most Republicans, has NEVER SERVED A DAY IN UNIFORM! He "had a cyst" that kept him out of Vietnam. Now he lives in Palm Beach FL and when he's not high on prescription drugs HE CRITICIZES REAL VETERANS.

    Come on Bob Dole – wher are you?? Why don't you "smack down" this anti-veteran windbag??

    Rush would support gay marriage if it would keep him on the radio....


    September 28, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. J. Webb, West Palm Beach

    Rush, like most Republicans, has NEVER SERVED A DAY IN UNIFORM! He "had a cyst" that kept him out of Vietnam. Now he lives in Palm Beach FL and when he's not high on prescription drugs HE CRITICIZES REAL VETERANS.

    Come on Bob Dole – where are you?? Why don't you "smack down" this anti-veteran windbag??

    Rush would support gay marriage if it would keep him on the radio....


    September 28, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Rob, Virginia Beach, VA

    The confusion and disgust is understandable if you read the quote literally and do not actually LISTEN to the program. CNN, including other media outlets, acted too hastily, and the outcome is politicization of bad journalism.

    September 28, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. bobbysingleton, Philadelphia, PA

    Aw, c'mon, just look at Rush Limbaugh. How could he possibly know what a real soldier looks like?

    September 28, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  8. Jeff, Albuquerque, NM

    I'm a military member and I think next time I deploy to the desert I will take him along to use his drug induced pie hole as a sheild.

    September 29, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. D.S., BC, Canada

    If Bill O'Reilley and Ann Coulter were to have a love-child, it would be a mini Rush Limbaugh. *shiver*

    September 29, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. Christian, Tampa FL

    Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting man and deserves to be shunned by the public for such despicable words.

    September 29, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  11. Allene, Van Wert, OH

    So, with our freedom of speech rights – HOW CAN EITHER OF THESE THINGS EVEN BE AN ISSUE?

    We are so lucky in this Country to have freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and the like.


    And, apparantly, more like we're already in it. I can't believe the house voted to ban something that was posted on a website –


    Rush Limbaugh can say what ever he wants to say as well.

    It would appear that what this Country really needs is a good dose of tolerance.

    September 29, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  12. Boyd H. Blackwell, Canton, OH

    First, learn what you are talking about. The comment is posted on Go check it out for yourself.
    He did not call our service members "phony soldiers." He called those who claimed to be soldiers in Iraq and who were not "phony soldiers." He was speaking specifically about one "Iraq war veteran with a Purple Heart" who was actually discharged after 44 days in the Army. He is a phony soldier. Rush has always fully supported our service members and their service.
    Don't follow the Democratic/ party talking points. Check out the facts first, unlike our media.

    September 29, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  13. SMJ, Chattanooga Tennessee

    The real issue is that "Americans", not democrats or republicans, listen to the garbage that Limbaugh pushes down their throats on a daily basis. This man is a junkie coward as proven by his track record. The only issue this man ever brings up is why we should be afraid of sokmethiing and how his opponents are responsible for it. Yet Americans eat it up. If this is the best Americans have to listen to and base decisions on we are in a very scary position.

    September 29, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. Scott, Huntsville AL

    It is sad that the comments of Rush were taken out of context. He addressed "phony soldiers" the previous day on his program. He then mentioned them again for the quote in question. He was addressing people who say they used to be in the military, but in fact have not. It would be nice if the media would actually do their homework before publishing stories so that the comments of others are reported in context. This article does not provide any balance from both sides of an obviously political story.

    September 29, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. J.M.Willoughby - Indianapolis

    Please, please, please take the time to look at the transcript of what was actually said. You will see that he (Limbaugh) was speaking about one specific guy who was passing himself off as an Iraq vet who had supposedly been in horrific combat situations over there. It turns out that the guy was indeed a phony; he had never been to Iraq at all, he had never risen to the rank he claimed, he was indeed a "phony" passing off his stories & experiences as fact.

    September 29, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. michelle Forrest City, Ar

    This is why CNN rateing are low. You dont give the whole story. The Democrat made the soldier up. Get your facts right before you speak. lol you didnt report on the Democrats makeing this soldier up. Your rateing will keep going down.

    September 29, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Faye Bowring, Tucson, AZ

    Listen up, Democrats! Try getting the correct information about Rush Limbaugh's "Phony Soldier" comment by actually going to his web site and reading the transcript under "Phony Soldier". Rush was not talking about soldiers who are against the war. But he was talking about one soldier in particular who actually served only 44 days in the Army before he was kicked out. This soldier then comes home with phony stories and claims all kinds of things which are not true. The soldier is a phony because he wasn't where he said he was and didn't do what he said he did, and didn't see what he claimed he saw happen in Iraq. So, is Jeffry a phony soldier...yes he is!

    September 29, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Mike, St Petersburg, FL

    Listen to the comment in context. Once again he makes the democrats and their mouthpieces look ridiculous.

    September 29, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. larry buchas

    The majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President's failed policy.

    If you go to "Did You Get the Memo" page at, there's a good collection of stories, polls, and surveys, which all show American's troops believe we are on the wrong track, not the right one, in Iraq.

    So, let the right-wing nuts reconcile their favorite "wacko" with our veterans. Better still, ask him what he thinks of our veterans who disagree with Bush's failed fiasco.

    September 29, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Why does this fat, (former) drug addict, cigar-smoking pig still get ratings, in fact, why does he still have a job?

    September 29, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Ben, Port Royal, SC

    CNN, you should amend your story to include the fact that Limbaugh on his September 28 show widened his statements to include Jack Murtha, highly decorated Vietnam Vet, and Scott Beauchamp, a private currently serving in Iraq. These men have more courage and patriotism in their little fingers than Limbaugh or the morons who mindlessly defend him.

    I never realized before reading this board how mentally challenged Limbaugh listeners must be. To continue critizing CNN and saying Limbaugh was talking about one soldier after he now includes previous and presently serving troops is mind boggling.

    LIMBAUGH AND HIS LISTENERS ARE COWARDS! GW Bush has made this country less safe! We have fewer battalions ready for action today than we have in 50 years. The families of soldiers continue to rely on food stamps for survival here in the United States. OSAMA BIN LADEN DID WIN IN HIS WAR WITH AMERICA WHEN HIS ACTIONS CAUSED 51% OF THIS NATION TO RE-ELECT GEORGE BUSH. WHAT WORSE THING COULD HE HAVE DONE?

    September 29, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Janice, Henderson, Nevada

    It would be nice if liberals researched what "they think was said" and get their facts straight.

    Rush was NOT talking about our soldiers in Iraq. He was talking about ONE liar, Jesse MacBeth, who lied about being a corporal, an Army Ranger, having a Purple Heart and saying he had witnessed war crimes in Iraq. This creep actually washed out of Army boot camp after 44 days, and has been sentenced to five months in jail for being...a phony soldier!


    September 29, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. larry buchas





    September 29, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. JM in San Diego CA

    It's almost a perfect 100% certainty:

    Negative comments about Rush will give away the fact that the "commenter" doesn't listen to the show.

    (The man is so pro-military that condemning him for criticizing "phony soldiers" is in the same realm as a "Flat Earth" claim.)

    September 29, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. J. Dean, Republican from Juno Beach, FL

    Rush Limbaugh is the biggest sharlatan of our modern ages. A title that Limbaugh worked very hard to earn. We should not give any consideration to this "loud speaker" of his masters. Everybody knows that Limbaugh is A DRUG ADDICT ZOMBIE. Call him just a "Republican Meteorologist".
    J. Dean, A Republican from Florida.

    September 29, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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