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. F W, Beaufort, SC

    TO JM and other Limbaugh boot lickers, please provide a link to where we can listen to Rush. I provided several the other day and made this same challenge. I don't have to listen to Rush 5 days a week to decipher his message on Wednesday and yesterday (where he expanded his "phony soldiers" comment to include Jack Murtha and other decorated soldiers that have come out against the war).

    Limbaugh makes millions off buffoons who listen to him and subscribe to his website. I just can't figure out what the buffoons are getting.

    September 29, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    "The majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President's failed policy."
    Posted By larry buchas : September 29, 2007 12:34 pm

    Wow! Awesome job using a totally fabricated statistic Larry. While you would like that to be true, the majority of service members don't feel that way.

    "The President's failed policy"? When will you mindless lemmings stop using the tired, pathetic phrase?

    September 29, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. Ron Nebraska

    So what's the big deal? Limbaugh IS a comedian right?

    September 29, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  4. larry buchas

    "The majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President's failed policy."
    Posted By larry buchas : September 29, 2007 12:34 pm

    Wow! Awesome job using a totally fabricated statistic Larry. While you would like that to be true, the majority of service members don't feel that way.

    Posted By Chris, Palm Bay, FL : September 29, 2007 9:30 pm


    2/3 of the troops that have served in Iraq. Not to mention 70% of Americans feel the same way.

    Bush will go down with the title "Worst President Ever." You are the ones planting your heads in the sand and unwilling to accept it.

    Play the link or keep trusting Rush. The troops have been there. Rush never set a foot there. Who is the real "phony?"

    September 30, 2007 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  5. Tom Just

    ***Another reminder, to YOU, Mr. Limbaugh was referring to JESSE MacBETH, a soldier who lasted but 44 days in the U.S. military and FALSIFIED claims of U.S. perpetrated brutality he witnessed in Iraq despite NEVER HAVING BEEN THERE.

    CNN, your are a DISGRACE.***

    September 30, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. larry buchas

    Caller: "What's really funny is, they [Iraq war critics] never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media."

    "The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said.

    That's what Rush thinks of soldiers describing Iraq to the New York Times.

    If he doesn't, he should say it on his program. Wouldn't you Rush listeners agree? Or do you agree with him? Do you agree soldiers in Iraq reporting to the New York Times are "phony soldiers?"

    A simple yes or no would do.

    September 30, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Patrick Norman Oklahoma

    I never knew that I was a phoney soldier until Wade from Appleton Wisconson spelled it out for me. I quess I am one (with an Honorable Discharge). And I will be the first to run down the Military. I wasn't cut out to be in the Military. I wasn't cut out to be a part of the ass kissing,nepatism,and total disregard for anyone under the rank of E-5. The double standards that I saw among the NCOs were sickening. I saw an organization run by people who lacked the intelligence to make it in life without Uncle Sam changing their diaper on a daily basis. There are great people in the military but you see them leaving as soon as they can.
    I hated the military but I stuck it out because I took an oath.
    In closing the term "Phoney Soldier" will be worn ,by me, as a badge of honor. You could be called something worse, "Lifer". (NCO= No Chance Outside)

    September 30, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Celestino Martinez, Brownsville, Texas

    As a Vietnam Vet, 1968-69, I say, "finally, a law that makes sense", the Stolen Valor Act. This person that Rush was referring to never even made it out of Basic Training (44 days before being drummed out) and here he was talking about medals for killing women and children and hanging people from Mosque rafters in the horrors of Iraq. And to think that without ever a cursory check, the media and the Dems ate it up so easily. It's just so sad that it seems that what is good for the country is bad for the Dems and will probably not be reported by the media, and what is bad about the country, even if a baldfaced lie, is so good for the media and the Donkeys.

    September 30, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Celestino Martinez, Brownsville, Texas : September 30, 2007 10:38 pm

    Excellent posting. The bigger story here is how the liberals/Democrats throw these guys out as spokespeople as long as they are anti-Bush or anti-military or just anti-war.

    Nobody does the homework to make sure these guys are legit, or do they know it and simply not care.

    Kind of like Hillary with Hsu, check out EVERYTHING on my BIGGEST fundraiser? No need to because.....

    "Vast right-wing conpiracy, they are attacking me because I am a woman, where's Bill the truth teller to bail me out"? Pathetic.

    October 1, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. Cindy Martisko, Piror Lake MN

    Amazing that CNN proves the point that lies are easily perpetuated by irresponsible journalism. I guess the facts will not be reported because they do not agree with CNN's political views. Too bad that you continue to sully the image of all journalists!

    October 1, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Doug Mott, St. Pete, FL

    I have heard the statement in it's entirety. He should neither apologize or retract the comment. Once a person listens to the whole thing instead of listening to bits and pieces or just reading an excerpt, they'd know it was not a slam. Rush has backed the military more than most. Is this the best CNN & MoveOn can do after auditing his show and all his comments 24/7???

    October 1, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Rick, Newark, NY

    What do you expect from the Rush Bimbo. He is trying to be so ideologically pure to keep his republican base listening, he doesn't care who he insults. He has no problem taking other people's comments out of context, and crys foul when he is on the other end of the comments. Just wait, tomorrow this will be all Hillary's fault.

    October 1, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Gerald Williams, Pasadena, CA

    Rush Limbaugh apparently doesn't read much. I'm sure he doesn't like the NY Times or it's international edition but one would hope he was at least aware of articles widely read by millions of people the world over. Referring to the article that appeared the 3rd week of August, written and signed by active duty soldiers in Iraq, several of whom have since been killed in the line of duty.
    Limbaugh is pathetic and a a fool.

    October 1, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. chas, Marysville, WA

    It is obvious the accuracy of reports from the News Media cannot be believed as they are too politically involved. what politicians have to say about their opponents, is even less credible.
    Forget about going to the source and reporting the truth...which was the very conversation Mr. Limbaugh was conversing about last Wednesday. The subject was by the opposition.
    It is clear that CNN and those opposed to Mr. Limbaugh has no intentions of going to his website for the truth. They don't care about discovering truth of Limbaugh's conversation. No, they have ammo to discredit someone they distain and that's all they need – truth and honesty are not a factor.

    Wake up folks! DO your own searching for the truth...

    October 1, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. Tim, Anniston, AL

    Do any of you people look beyond the headlines or do automatically believe everything your read? Look at the context of what the man said. All you do is show your on stupidity when you blindly accept what CNN, Fox, or any other news org says. I'm choosing to believe that Harry Reid and Chris Dodd haven't heard the whole interview. Otherwise, they are disingenuous liars. Wait! They are disingenuous liars. Never mind.

    October 1, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  16. Mike Benefiel, Schertz, Texas

    The longer the media trys to hide from the truth and elected Democrats feed off the lie, the more silly you look. I hope Rush continues to push the issue. It is kind of fun to watch liberals and media paint themselves into a corner. Can't wait till it gets to a courtroom, or the Supreme Court, asit might if Congress keeps going down their current path.

    October 1, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Alex Savant, Valencia, California

    Why use the plural of the word soldier then? You're wrong and he's obviously backpedaling.

    If it was just ONE guy then why did he say:

    "The phony soldiers"

    instead of "A phony soldier".

    Regardless of his alleged context, he clearly took the opportunity to try and slip in the plural "s" to make a wider point.

    Learn some simple grammar people, unbelievable.

    October 2, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. C.C. - Buffalo, NY

    Rush forgot to mention the biggest phony solder...George W. Bush.

    October 2, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Michael Schultz, Troy, Michigan

    All you Democrats are doing is simply magnifying your hatred toward Republicans. Mr. Limbaugh's comments have been taken out of context and you all know it but you continue your unjustified diatribes (On the Senate floor even). All you are doing is making yourselves look bad and I am rejoicing over yet another Democrat miscalculation. The Democrats negative, unjustified comments about our fine General Petraeus stand alone and this is nothing remotely similar. You all look pretty bad and now you're using comments taken out of context to make yourselves feel better. You're all shameful.

    October 3, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Rev. C. Solomon, Mountain View California

    Where is the President? Has anyone informed the President that the country is being ripped apart given the politics of hate that will be a part of the legacy that he will leave behind? Wouldn't it be great if the President would spend his last year in office attempting to reunite the country prior to his departure in 2009, a country that he has helped to hopelessly divide?

    October 3, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Bill Both, Terrace, BC

    I am a Republican and a veteran. Rush may have been discussing one person who wasn't in Iraq. The fact is, though, that he said that "all" the antiwar movement could come up with. This is patently false. Tammy Duckworth, for example, lost both of her legs and partial use of an arm in Iraq–and opposes Bush's Iraq policy. There are many others.

    But then what would Rush know about this? He is a chickenhawk like Bush, Cheney, and Rove. He's good at maligning the character of real war wounded veterans like McCain, Cleland, and Kerry. He is also good at supporting wars in which others die or are wounded. Where was he when his country needed him to put his butt on the line? Chickenhawks like him and Cheney have, in Cheney's words, "other priorities" when it comes to putting their butts where their mouth is.

    October 3, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Frank, Columubus, oh

    Why are the dem's being allowed to trash the military again? Now Jesse MacBeth is a hero just as all those that actually made it out of boot camp and went over to Iraq? When will CNN start reporting all the news and not just the propaganda spilling forth from George Soros mouthpeice Media Matters?

    October 3, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Eric, Columbus, Ohio

    LOL!!! You Rush apologists are hilarious. "Phony Soldiers" as in PLURAL OBVIOUSLY does NOT refer to just one person...and whoever it was that posted a message about the Dems having "been in charge for 2 years" a CALENDAR man...Dems took control in the 2006 election and did not take office until earlier THIS YEAR. Good job geniuses!!!

    October 3, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. PM Bad Axe Mi

    Maybe he was refering to John Kerry, the truest form of a phony soldier along with his purple heart.

    October 3, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. JC, Cincinnati, OH

    For those who support Limbaugh's comments – shame on you. While this is a free country and we proudly stand for freedom of speech – that freedom comes with responsibility. We don't need the likes of Mr. Limbaugh propagating and peddling hate and fear because some soldiers have the courage to stand-up and speak out against the President and talk about what they actually witness on a day-to-day basis. We should commend them for standing up and speaking out not criticize them and call them phony. I am disgusted that Clear Channel would still support someone who has time and time again denigrate those people who dare to stand up to this tyrant.

    October 3, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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