October 2nd, 2007
09:17 AM ET
12 years ago

Top Democrat slams Limbaugh over 'phony soldiers'

Reid had some harsh words for Rush Limbaugh Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Rush Limbaugh Monday over his recent controversial "phony soldiers" remark, despite the conservative talk-radio host's protests that his words have been taken out of context.

Limbaugh's comments in question came last 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.

Several Democrats released statements late last week condemning the remarks and in a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Reid called the comments "so beyond the pale of decency that it cannot be left alone."

"Just as patriotism is the exclusive realm of neither party, taking a stand against those who spew hate and impugn the integrity of our troops is a job that belongs to all of us," Reid said.

"I can’t help but wonder how my Republican colleagues would have reacted if the tables were turned – if a well-known Democratic radio personality had used the same insulting line of attack against troops who support the war," the Nevada Democrat added.

Responding to his critics on Friday's show, Limbaugh said he was "taken out of context," adding his remark was referring to one soldier specifically - Jesse MacBeth, a vocal war critic who falsely claimed to have served in Iraq.

"The effort here is simply to discredit people that they consider effective and powerful on the right ginning up, leading up into the '08 elections," Limbaugh said Friday.

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. alicia, devon, PA

    The smear police are at it again...how is it that Read and the like can call our heroes "murderers and rapists" and get away with it while Rush, who always supports our troops, rightly identifies MacBeth and friends and is sent to the auction block...on the floor of the Senate, no less? I am so sick of the dems smear merchants and their hinchmen the drive-by media. You all make me sick

    October 2, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Joe Schmo

    *Jesse Macbeth, 23, Tacoma, Washington, sentenced today in connection with his fraudulent claims of military service. Macbeth sought medical benefits claiming to suffer from PTSD related to service in Iraq and Afghanistan, in fact, Macbeth was discharged from the Army about a month after he joined. Macbeth never traveled outside the U.S. with the Army. Macbeth duped reporters, claiming to be a decorated Army Ranger who had witnessed war crimes.


    October 2, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  3. Wayne Shepherd, Lousiville, KY

    I heard the comments live, what a hypocrit Ried is! They are only going after Rush because Ried, Murtha, Clinton are nothing more than a mouth peice for moveon.org What a bunch of phoney selfserving people we have in D.C.

    October 2, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  4. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Rush is a fine example of the lunatic fringe that posts on message boards. The ones who claim that everyone who doesn't fall to their knees in worship of Bush is a traitor and al Qaeda supporter.

    October 2, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Rush is a bully: says what he wants then whines he was taken out of context.

    As for the MoveOn ad? Not until the Swift Boats for Liars are all dead and buried.

    It didn't start in 2000 with the lies about McCain fathering a black baby in SC – but that set the tone: All the "good" conservatives don't have the monopoly on spewing hatred but they did write the book.

    Not Conservatives and not Christians.

    October 2, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. Tom Wheatley, Tallahassee, FL

    Even Ditto-heads should be smart enough to realize that the word "soldiers" is plural. You have to be drinking a whole lot of Limbaugh Kool-Aid to buy his excuse that he was talking about one specific soldier.

    October 2, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Trudi, Roseville MN

    People who listen to Rush are very dedicated to his veiws and loud mouth. "Ditto's." His comments are irrelivant as far as I am concerned. He has the right under free speech to say stupid and offensvie things. Move-On has the right to run ads, even though others may find them offensive.

    In the meantime Congress goes on and debates "who said or did what, and what is worse," is moronic and embarrassing. This is all happening while our young men and women are being killed over in Iraq.

    So ....
    Rush, you're a loud mouth. No one really cares what you say or think except for your Ditto heads.
    Move-on, maybe it wasn't such a great idea to use such an "in your face" ad to make a point.
    Congress....Shut up and quit attacking freedom of speech and figure out a way to get our soldiers home!

    October 2, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  8. Willy, Chesapeake, VA

    Democrats in Congress are Grandstanding as usual. Reid and the rest, why don't you just go back to renaming post offices. That the only thing you have done since you were elected.

    October 2, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  9. Bruce, Tulsa, OK

    This is a complete lie. Rush spoke at length about Jesse MacBeth who is a known phony soldier that was promoted by Media Matters before he was denounced as a liar by the VA. Media Matters took a tiny quote from that discussion out of context and created this false controversy. Congressional Democrats now complaining about about Rush'e comment are proving they don't do their home work and will say anything KOS, Media Matters, or Soros tells them to say. And you here at CNN are the lapdogs of the Democrats so you won't 'investigate' to find out this is a bald faced lie from Harry Reid and Media Matters.

    October 2, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. JB Boston MA

    Rush is not an elected official. Dems drum the free speech drum all the time. Why not now? Also, if on any given day, you want to see worse, go to Dailykos. The reason why no one complains about Dailykos, because they are not elected officials. The reason dems flip on Rush is because he is the most highly rated political talker. I completely disagree with 95% of what he says, and truthfully could care less.

    There is no comparison with Rush bad mouthing troops, and Hillary Clinton bad mouthing troops.

    And let me repeat. . . .

    Hey Dems, where is the outrage? Hillary now says she won't pull troops until after 2013 and she will use torture. If Bush today said troops won't be out by 2013, you would be freaking!!!! BLINDED BY HILLARY LOVE : )

    October 2, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. Mark Wichita KS

    Why didn't CNN post a link to the transcript of Limbaugh's comments? I'm a soldier, my fellow soldiers and I discussed this and can only laugh at Reid and company. Democrats lose on this one.

    Posted By Mike, Mt laurel, NJ : October 2, 2007 7:36 am

    Well Mike that is because CNN stands for Clinton News Network. They would rather post trivial stuff like this. We dont want to get to the real meat and bone issues until there chioce gets elected. And then GOD save us all.

    October 2, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Why don't you liberal bastards at CNN report a story accurately?

    October 2, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. Steve Pinkston, Georgia

    I agree Rush was out of line but I am not a fan of Rush, but I think Harry Reid is a joke of a poltician and even worse for a human being. He is the laughing stock of the nation, thank GOD I do not live in Nevada. I'd be embarrassed to call him my senator.

    Harry, "those without sin cast the first stone"

    October 2, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  14. Jake Bronson, Kennesaw, GA

    Read what was said.....was it a slam against out troops? No. Limbaugh stated what we all know...that mouth pieces are everywhere. Members of congress have better things to do then postulate on free speech. Better they clean their own house first...gosh I wish I could vote for my own salary and benefits plan at the expense of the US Taxpayer!

    October 2, 2007 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  15. Dixon Benshoof, Des Moines Iowa

    So the King of misquoting people is upset he was misquoted. With our current president as top dog Rush runs a very close second in his ability to divide our country. If we do not think just like him we are wrong. Like our current administration this country will be better off when both are gone.

    October 2, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  16. Brian, K-town TN

    This a perfect example of what they call doublespeak. You can claim you were talking about one soldier but upon further thinking, you were really speaking as a whole to any soldier who speaks out against the war. It's not like he gives any "news" to real soldiers who do speak out but only the one's that do who are "phony". I understand Limbaugh and I respect that he puts his opinions out there but when people take his opinion as actual news, it becomes very dangerous. THINK FOR YOURSELF REPUBLICANS!!

    October 2, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  17. Hal, Annandale, VA

    Baloney, another smear by George Soros crowd, Harry Reid without a doubt is the worst excuse for a Senate majority leader ever.

    October 2, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  18. Doug, Poplar Branch, NC

    I am not a fan of Limbaugh's, but I actually heard this particular portion of his show and he was only talking about Jesse McBeth and others like him who are actually phony. Guys who never served pretending that they did and telling lies about the ones who are serving. I agree with Limbaugh on this point and unless you actually heard the broadcast, you have no idea what you're talking about.

    October 2, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  19. Bob , St Louis, Mo

    Has there ever been a bigger hypocrite than this democratic congress? Harry Reid, jack Murtha, Dick Durbin, John Kerry and lets not forget that real patriot and murderer ted kennedy.If these people remain in charge you can bet our freedom will be diminished under the cover of political correctness and socialism with the government give away programs. All of you no balls liberals out there be very careful of what you wish for.

    October 2, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. Mark, Cleveland, Ohio

    In case anyone wants to read up on "Phony soldiers", ABC news did a story EARLY last week titled, yep, you guessed it, "Phony soldiers".

    Or perhaps the fact that the United States Justice Department released a statement detailing the indictment of a dozen "Phony Soldiers". And yes, the USJD called them "Phony" too.

    If you are a real soldier. One that has enlisted, currently active, currently reserve, or discharged, feel free to speak your mind. It doesn't bother me, a Republican, to hear your opinion even if it differs from mine.

    October 2, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  21. Havildar Shabib

    Mr "Stink Cheese" the right wing drug addict stays true to form with his LIES. Is it not the true Bush Republican way to LIE. His show is a disgrace.

    October 2, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  22. Doug B. Columbus, Ohio

    Although this is yet another distraction from the real issues, Rush was busted and anyone who heard the actual show and read the transcript before he edited it will see it. People who hang on his every word and don't question what comes out of his mouth are NOT thinking for themselves.

    October 2, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  23. None of your business

    this story is what's as phony as the liar (phony soldier) who made the claims. Jesse McBeth never went to Iraq, washed out of boot camp after 44 days and lied about his military service. It's no wonder nobody watches CNN.

    October 2, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Andy, Cincinnati, OH

    What CNN does not report, is that Limbaugh yesterday said that the only people who should apologize for HIS remarks should be Harry Reid, and the whole "democrat" party. He also called Murtha a phony soldier, not just Jesse MacBeth like CNN reported.
    The audio transcripts are available.
    Maybe CNN should do it's job at look at Rush's transcripts from yesterday before trying to sugar coat his "phony" remarks as referring only to Jesse MacBeth?

    October 2, 2007 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. Luis, Jacksonville, FL

    I'm a Christian conservative and member of the Republican Party. Yet, I do not waste time listening to Mr. Limbaugh. Why? Because I do not agree with his "I'm always right" mentality. No mere human being is right 100% of the time, Mr. Limbaugh. It's about time you learn that. You have certainly have had your share of opportunities to learn this valuable life lesson.

    October 2, 2007 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
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