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. joseph, armada, michigan

    He is a hypocrit and hate monger and divisive no doubt did not serve in the armed forces for what ever excuse might be poised. Sadly when I defended this country I also defended the right of jabberjawing nonsense spewing psudo intelluctuals like him to speak freely. they have the right to speak but we have the right not to listen.

    September 28, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Jason St.Louis MO

    Did anyone at CNN actually listen to the CONTEXT of the statement? it seems that would be an important part of the story? Could CNN "Political Ticker" be guilty of shoddy partisan journalism?

    September 28, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Bryan, NC

    I beleive his remark was aimed more at the media and its use of "unnamed sources" or the fact that they quote soldiers that joined the military for the wrong reasons or have been disciplined for bahivior problems so they use the media to "get even" with their bosses.

    September 28, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Jon H., Denver, CO

    i heard this comment and it was taken out of context. it must be a slow news day at CNN.

    September 28, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Jeff, WI

    Limbaugh is a gutless coward period. His brand of hate is the same as Al Qeada's, trying to drive a wedge between Americans. I'll bet Al Queada glad he's on their side. I wonder what he did in the service to his country, probably the same as cheney.

    September 28, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Christopher Maier, Richmond VA

    Way to go the " fly by media".... it is nice to see how the Dems twist a phrase around to suit their cause. Anyone with common sence would know what Rush meant. what he said was that the people who called in as soldiers were not even soldiers at all. just a bunch of liberals calling in as soldiers. shame on you. go to walter reed and speak to the wounded soldiers and they will tell you they want to get better and go back to fight along with their brothers and sisters in arms. for those who support move on .org .... shame on you.

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Clark, Dallas TX

    There have been plenty of true soldiers interviewed who have had bad things to say about current policy and the situation in Iraq. Why do people think the guys being interviewed are actors playing a part? There's no need to bring in phonies when there are so many real soldiers who are willing to speak negatively of the situation our brave soldiers are stuck in over in the middle east.

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Chuck Gould Arizona

    Rush Limbaugh, "Phony soldiers."

    Phony American = Rush Limbaugh

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Rob, Salem OR

    Ha Ha! He's calling them "phony soldiers" because he doesn't believe that the callers are actually soldiers, but are actually people lying about having served. Michael Medved is really good at exposing these liars who call his show. See, the irony here is that Rush isn't attacking our men and women in uniform. He's attacking the people who lie about being soldiers to try and make their political views about the war carry more weight. These people impugn the troops, not Rush, you morons! Listen to the show, Rush will clarify today, guaranteed.

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Wayne: Phoenix, Arizona

    I am a Vietnam Vet who spent 18-months in Vietnam most of which was based at Khe Sanh. Amoung the medals I received are two silver stars, a bronze star, and a presidential unit citation, given us by President Johnson. I take Rush Limbaughs' comments as an insult. I also take the blogs written by other readers who defend Rush as an insult. When I came back from Vietnam I was spit on, called a baby killer, and scorned by the public. I'm now 59-years old and I will not be "bad mouthed" again just for serving my country. Until anyone has been in a war, and seen the horrors of it and watched your "buddies die" fighting for their country you do not have the right to call anyone a phony soldier, or defend some moron does.

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. John Craig, Las Vegas, NV

    Rush is big fake. I hope republicans should show the same outrage as they did on moveon ad. Or else, patriotic americans will not forgive them.

    September 28, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Curtis Bibb, Fruita, Colorado

    Well I did not spell a word or two correctly. I spell perfect...prefect!
    OH MY GOD!! WHAT WILL LIMBAUGH SAY ABOUT MY SPELLING?! Hey Rush...take some advise from good ol "W". Pour yourself a good shot of bravery (booze Rush...booze) and SHUT UP!

    September 28, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Bruce, Des Moines, IA

    It is ironical that the conservative's comment comes so quick from the ad's controversy. However, it is nothing new with Rush. This is the same guy that crticized drug users while in his own bedroom he was abusing drugs. I think one word sums him up, and Republicans across the country should realize this about this man: Hypocrite.

    September 28, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Kerry Rottenstein, Toledo, OH

    I am glad to see this on your front page. I hope to see this story covered on your televised news coverage, as well. The MoveOn kafuffle was non-stop and this comment is absolutely no less reprehensible than the Petraus ad. Rush Limbaugh is a horse's patoot and should apologize to our men and women in service who have as much of a right to state their opinion as any right wing, drug addled, mouth piece for the administration. Perhaps more as they have actually fought for their freedoms.

    September 28, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. jim Houston, TX.

    It's funny to hear the Rush apologists try to spin it like Rush was questioning whether these were actually 'real' soldiers or not. If you read the transcript of the show, Rush never comes near that subject. In fact, he confirms that the soldiers he's talking about "Knew what they were getting into when they signed up". They were 'real' when the signed up, but apparently became 'phony' when they criticized the war.

    I criticized Moveon for their despicable ad as I do this one. Those who don't are nothing more then chickenhawk hypocrites.

    September 28, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Greg, Washington, DC

    If you'd been given the whole segment on the show you'd know he was specifically addressing and individual that was in the Army for 44 days, washed out, and lied on his veterans' claim forms as well as to the media. He's since been sentenced to jail for his offenses.

    September 28, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Jon Riches, Lubbock, TX

    What is Limbaugh's military service record? When did he serve? Was he drafted or volunteered?

    September 28, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    So talking about soliders air raiding civilians is a'okay but pointing out the fact that there have been phoney soliders who have made ridiculous claims is wrong?

    I simply love all the hypocrites who love to post on blogs like this and point the finger at the other side. The soliders fight for the right for people to freely express their opinion, too bad that doesn't mean that those who choose to do so do it in an educated manner....

    September 28, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. jon KC KS

    He's a hypocritical Drug addled moron, what do you expect? Hopefully, ( but I doubt it) the "ditto heads" will start to think for themselves.

    September 28, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Marc, Chicago, IL

    Any statement made, left wing or right wing, is welcomed by Rush who loves to polarize and stir debate. If anyone believes this guy has an ounce of integrity, see a doctor. Of course, this guy does not believe what he says himself – people cannot be that stupid. He likes to draw in gullible Americans, left wing and right wing, and then goes on vacation high on drugs and viagra. He's having a good laugh over all of you on the beach!

    September 28, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Douglas F. Roberts, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

    Rush Limbaugh is a big mouthed bigot who never had the guts to serve his country in any uniform. He is an absolute disgrace and should e taken off the airwaves permanently. He is the type of person who hides behind the Freedom of Speech portion of your outdated Constituition which although well meant at the time of its writing, never took into account all those criminals and perverts who would later hide behind it claiming their rights have been abused, and now needs rewriting, although your congress doesn't hve th guts to do same. They are too worried about getting re-lected and staying at the public feed trough.

    September 28, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Daniel, Columbia, MD

    Republican war hero = an oxymoron
    Posted By Kyle, Bethesda, MD

    Uh Kyle, why don't you tell that to President Eisenhower and General Colin Powell. Then shut up.

    September 28, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Check your facts

    It is too bad that the left and media (CNN) are too lazy and blinded to do any research before they speak. Rush just played back everything he said and his statement was clearly taken out of context.

    Too bad the left and media are so concerned with looking good that they refuse to see the facts. Thanks again CNN for showing how bias you really are.

    I'm off to FoxNews!

    September 28, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. tk, Bristol, il

    Rush Limbaugh is a Phony American.

    September 28, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. mike o., ft. worth, tx.

    Again, if liberals don't 'like' someone, or if that person disagrees with them, they attack. Liberals do NOT think that views that oppose theirs have any place in America.

    September 28, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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