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. David, Jacksonville, FL

    It's my understanding Limbaugh's comments were about a "soldier" who spent 44 days on active duty, never was in Irag, was not a purple heart recepient, and in effect his total "service" was a "phony" account. Come on CNN, get your facts straight and quick spreading this type of propaganda. People's reputations are at stake!

    September 28, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Mike, Weimar TX

    You liberals listen to a 10 second sound byte put out by the liberal media and think that you have all of the facts! I make it a point to listen to the same story on different stations and you would be supprised at how different the same story is and what FACTS are left out by each news agencies. Even CNN didn't print all of the details. They all need to do a BETTER job.

    CBS – Communist Broadcasting Service
    NBC – Negative Broadcasting Company
    ABC – Alquida Broadcasting Company
    CNN – Communist Network News

    FOX – on the other hand is about as balanced as it gets and they are still to the left of center.

    Look at the above news agencies and tell me that you don't agree. If you don't, then you need to re-examine how you get your news. When do any of them publish anything but BAD news, even if it isn't all TRUE?

    You would do some good to do a little research or even listen to Rush's broadcasts once in a while and you might learn something.

    For instance, this "so called" soldier didn't even make it out of basic training so he was indeed a PHONEY and a FRAUD, so how could he have even been in Iraq and make the statements that he made? He he NEVER served his country. He lied!

    A recent article that was published in the British journal "Nature Neuroscience" "concluded that wishy-washy liberals don't stick to their guns, while conservatives are steadfast and loyal".

    Try reading that once in a while to enlighten you life.

    September 28, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Michael, Houston, Texas

    Republicans are finally reaping the rewards of their years of hatemongering and their incessant peddaling of garbage. Their party having been led by the lunacy of Commanders Bunny Pants Bush/Cheney, the garbage that comes from Ann Coulter, Rush "oxycotin" Limbaugh, and their blah, blah, blah, the ethical lapses of Tom DeLay and the countless other republicans under investigation, not to mention the Senator from Idaho who apparently plays silly games in public restrooms, are fully exposed as the depraved and immoral lot they are.
    Talk about a party of dysfunctional creeps.
    oh my...and there is so much more to come.

    September 28, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. John, Frederick, MD

    Here's the "soldier" Rush was referring to – judge for yourself. Once again, Rush is right lol.

    Now, recently, Jesse Macbeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army. Jesse Macbeth was in the Army, folks, briefly. Forty-four days before he washed out of boot camp. Jesse Macbeth isn't an Army Ranger, never was. He isn't a corporal, never was. He never won the Purple Heart, and he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen.

    September 28, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. F W, Beaufort, SC

    If the Democrats in Congress have any spine, they will pass a resolution condemning this statement. Outrageous statements from the far-right should be treated with the same weight as statements from the far-left. Democrats should also pass resolutions (hopefully bi-partisan) condemning the treatment of Max Cleland by the RNC during his re-election campaign.

    Rush's insinuation that condemnations of this war by our soldiers reduces their service to the equivalence of Rush's service in Vietnam is ludicrous. Rush states that these soldiers shouldn't complain b/c they knew what they were getting in to; he ignores the fact that it was only after the war began that these soldiers, like other Americans, discovered the extent to which this adminstration lied to lead us to war.

    Wondering what Rush said? You can hear it for yourself.

    September 28, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Miguel Perez Manhattan Kansas

    Can you please be honest. When you write something you need to check out your information first, therefore, you are not saying the true about what Limbaugh said or you are not doing your job checking your information. The comment was about a soldier that was sentenced for laing, do you know about that

    September 28, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Stouning, LA

    Rush was not saying that soldiers in combat are the phony ones. He was referring to the small portion of whiny military members and their families who do not keep a stiff upper lip and are not happy they actually have been called up after they volunteered for service !

    Thanks for calling it as you see it, Rush .

    September 28, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. Mary, Macon, Ga.

    You have to remember that Rush Limbaugh is simply an actor playing the role of a hate radio host. The more controversy he causes...the bigger the ratings as well as his pocketbook. He's laughing all the way to the bank.Beleive me, if he had gotte an earlier "gig" as a liberal talk radio host...he would have taken it.

    September 28, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Herschel, Kansas City, MO

    Rush you are a sorry individual.
    With 2 tours in Iraq and having just left the military I can say what I want about the war and it doesn't make me less of a Soldier; so can those Soldiers who are interviewed. For you Republicans how about we suit up Jenna Bush and her sister or a couple of GOP sons and daughters have them serve more than 2 years in Iraq (outside the wire of course) and then have them come back and talk about how great the place is.
    And to you veterans who critize war critics just stop calling them Anti-American or Anti-Troops. I can't stand the war but I support my fellow brothers in arms even today in many ways. I just think the President and the Vice-President puppet master who know nothing of war (draft-doggers) should have never gotten us in this mess.

    September 28, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Rian Pelger, Delay Beach Florida

    What do you expect from a drug addict?

    September 28, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. John Donnelly Maywood NJ

    I know the usual tag line between parties of both sides when something controversial is said is "it was taken out of context". However in this case it is one hundred percent true. I was listening to the program yesterday and he was not talking about all of the soldiers. He was talking about one soldier who had testified to witnessing torture and mistreatment of Iraqi civillians. Turned out this "phony soldier" had never served in Iraq and got kicked out of bootcamp. If Rush had really said what everyone thinks it would be indefensible but that is just not what he said. Totally out of context.

    September 28, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Fred, Colden, NY


    September 28, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Alex T, NYC

    Hurtful, devisive, misleading, and degrading rhetoric has been Rush's MO for almost 20 years now. He plays on people's prejudices and spins his comments to make it appear as though people with opposing viewpoints to his are unpatriotic or evil. He was the first peson to use the term "Betrayus" even before MoveOn used it against Petraeus. I've heard way too many despicable comments from him over the years, but he'll always have his supporters from those who believe that free minded thinkers are un-american. Rush has never served or fought for the USA, so until he suits up and steps ingto battle, he should shut his trap when it comes to calling an active service person a phony. The hypocrite should go back to doing what he's best at, calling for long prsion sentences for illegal drugs users, trying to score more oxycontin illegally.

    September 28, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. J Watson Mesa Arizona

    Rush is a head and shoulders obove all the the politicos. These people attack our leaders on a daily basis and have no respect for our men and women in service. Keep talking Rush it seems you have thier ears@

    September 28, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Orman Riels, Catawba, NC

    I am really surprised that a great news organization like cnn did not give credit to media matters for writing this article about Rush Limbaugh. Neither cnn and media matters would know the truth if it jumped up and bit them in the butt. CNN, who used to call themselves the only news source you can trust, are even remotely concerned about not telling the truth about anyone or anything. It's just another example of the 'journalism' they claim to perform without questioning anything. Remember the chemical warfare conducted by the US Military in Cambodia during the Vietnam War? CNN had proof until their hand was called. Just another CBS.

    September 28, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Paul,Superior Wi

    That is not what Limbaugh said – he was talking about a phony soldier making up stories and the guy had never served a day and was booted out after 44 days in the army. Geez...wish you could get the story right. Maybe the Dems like Kerry should listen before they shoot their mouth off on something they don't know anything about.

    September 28, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. George, Manchester, New Hamsphire

    Has a 23 year retired veteran I understand the term "phony soldiers" and agree. There are allot of phoney soliders out there and they are the first to show their lack of knowledge reguarding that comment. The first being Senator John Kerry. Come on senator, you know exactly what he meant and if you don't agree then you are the orginal "phony soldier".

    September 28, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Christine Atlanta, Ga.

    I think Rush Limbaugh is the Democrats biggest asset right now. I was listening to his show 30 minutes ago and he was questioning why Hillary Clinton wears pantsuits?
    He said America won't elect someone who doesn't have knees.
    I look forward to all the comments from Republican operatives making sexist comments. Go ahead and piss off all the women, and see how that works for you.

    September 28, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. T, Seattle, Wa

    John Kerry is in no position to be criticizing Rush after the comments he made about ALL the soldiers last October. Those comments were not taken out of context like the Liberals are trying to do with Rush.

    September 28, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Willy, Chesapeake, VA

    I like democrats and liberals. you believe anything CNN and Media Matters puts out.

    September 28, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Heather, Lafayette, Louisiana

    Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, albeit an ignorant one. He just says whatever it takes for his name to get into the media. His ratings must be down, hence his remarks. What a sick man. But don't expect the GOP to denounce what he says, they don't have the guts.

    September 28, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Dan, Orlando, FL

    Rush is an idiot. Take some more Oxy to improve your thinking.

    Rush, O'Reilly, Sharpton, Jackson, Franken....Who gives these idiots any cred anyway?

    September 28, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. F W, Beaufort, SC

    Please read or listen to the statement to hear how it was "taken out of context."

    If Rush meant one soldier, why does he say "phony soldiers." As for those incensed by Rush and his defenders, I can only say, they don't call them dittoheads for nothing.

    September 28, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Kris Minneapolis

    How is this Chickenhawk still on the air? Oh I fogot we have huge population of rednecks and retards

    September 28, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Mary Lindstrom Burnsville MN

    Mr Limbaugh has always been and will always be an idiot. Why does anyone listen to his drivel anyway???

    September 28, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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