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. Thor

    Godamn you Senator Reid! Why dont you pick a real fight about something that is important. You are such a sniviling weasel...you are truly a politician at it's worst moment. This is why Americans hate politicians!

    October 2, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Kevin

    I disagree with the saying that Rush is unpatriotic. Check my blog out. I cannot state everything in a comment...


    October 2, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Mario, Burbank, California

    But Limbaugh said "Soldiers" (plural) "Soldiers" with an s at the end of the word. If he says it was taken out of context and is actually referring to A SOLDIER (singular).......how does that add up? I would of had more respect if he had said it was a slip of the tongue and that he meant to say "Soldier" (singular). Very confusing man that we're all taking way too seriously.

    October 2, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. therealist

    CNN has relegated itself to the dem equivalent of Rush's conservative talk show. And we are its callers..

    Ha Ha!

    October 2, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Terry Wright Durham NC

    Limbaugh is like a broken down washing machine. He's a worn out agitator stuck on spin cycle. What a pathetic joke of a human being.

    October 2, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Tom, NY NY

    Harry Reid, Tom Harkin and the other Democrats reveal themselves as petty people more interested in poll ratings and playing to their base in MoveOn and Media Matters than doing anyhting meaningful in Congress. They couldn't be bothered to condemn a despicable personal attak by their supporters but jump at the chance to condemn something THAT WAS NEVER SAID!!

    Personally I'm glad they decide to expose themselves as such idiots in this way. Otherwise they might spend the time doing things that actually matter and hurt the country.

    October 2, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Tom, NY NY

    Maybe Harry Reid has had another stroke.

    By the way, Harkin, if you have a problem with drug addicts you should probably stop listening to your base.

    October 2, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Richard Orlando, FL

    Wow, does Rush need his minions to take up for him, or what? The funniest thing about it, they follow him aimlessly and try to play it off as if they can “think” for themselves. LOL

    Ah, did the big, bad media ("conspiracy") get to you? Poor things, you have become so delusional that you don’t even realize rich, conservative corporations overwhelmingly control our media (research it if you do not believe me). The Rush gang can surely dish their vile comments, but they can't take it when he steps out of line. His commentary continues to be deplorable in the context given. To call any individuals serving in our military phony soldierS is so lacking of respect, it is hard to fathom why anyone would admit listening to his show, much less defend him.

    And to those desperate enough to throw around the “commie” label, please enlighten us with your Rush-filled intelligence. Exactly which party over the past six years has indebted our children and grandchildren to communist China for the unforeseeable future over an ill-directed debacle of a war? I’ll give you a hint: Greenspan referenced their irresponsible spending habits and record-breaking deficits in his new book. So, who is really enabling communism? Hmm…

    It is reassuring to know our country is finally awake to this “neoCONic” reign of terror that has clouded our great nation ever since the turn of the century. I thank my fellow Americans for paying attention now and have faith we will be done with this nonsense in 2008.

    October 2, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    The fact that Limbaugh cannot tell the difference between singular and plural words is not his fault. He has probably been listening too long to George Bush. Even though Daddy Bush got George into Yale's graduate school after his own college rejected him, George still frequently struggles to display an elementary school level of English.

    October 2, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. TruthToLiars, Overland Park, KS

    Rod from SLC,
    The MoveOn.org advertisement was directed at one non-combat (i.e. not getting shot at) officer, a general, who is percieved to have been carrying the president's water and reporting to congress what he is told to report rather than the un-biased reality, when he is supposed to be independent of such politics.

    Rush Limbaugh made a blanket statement that all soldiers who disagree with the war and believe we should withdraw are "Phony Soldiers". This is a dispicable and hurtful comment, more so than the MoveOn.org ad, or even the Don Imus incident. What he said to all of the families of soliders killed or maimed in action is that if their child(ren) thought the war was wrong and that troops should be drawn down, then they were phonies. They were only playing soldier. Implying that they maybe deserved what they got, or at least that they weren't real soldiers so don't deserve our sympathy, empathy, or support.

    Rush is a slimeball and his corporate masters should fire him, just like Imus was fired. After all, which is worse, making an insensitive racist comment, or making fun of our FIGHTING soldiers during war time?

    October 2, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Arlington, VA

    Reid joins his buddy Jesse MacBeth as two of the biggest phony's around!

    And anyone who thinks the Majority Liar...er, Leader really believes what he said here is truly delusional. He purposefully took comments WAY out of context and then went off on some rabid diatribe like a lunatic. Harry Reid, you sir are a phony!

    October 2, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Tom, NY NY

    We need people like Rush because they hold CNN, Democrats, Medai Matters and MoveOn.org to account for the things they say and do. Taking things out of context and telling people what was said and done instead of showing what was said and done was the norm in the old days when all you had was ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. The left just doesn't like that people have access to the truth and don't believe everything they are told. CNN over and over again plays about a five second clip and says it was the entire conversation. They are intellectually dishonest on this and know it, but defend themselves under first ammendment rights. Senators take to the floor of the Senate and do the same thing under protection of the same office that gives them the pulpit. They should be ashamned of themselves, but that's way too much to expect.

    October 2, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Jay, Raleigh, NC

    While we're all debating he's skipping all the way to the bank. He says whatever he thinks will cause the most controversy.

    October 2, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Linda Carpenter, Phoenix, Arizona

    Rush Limbaugh is a traitor, a liar, a hate monger, a racist, a drug addict, a thief, and an idiot. I am enraged that he is on Armed Forces radio with all of his lies and propaganda.. What is the Army thinking? The man is a detriment to everything we value as Americans and patriots. Just the fact that Cheney uses him as a mouthpiece sickens me. He should have been taken off the air years ago! He is nothing but hatred and greed personified!

    October 2, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. J. Mauldin Anderson SC

    I suppose big mouthed Rush will also say that the Phony soldiers have died a phone death.

    October 2, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Steve, Groton, CT

    TomNYNY Firstly, "I'm rubber you're glue. It bounces off of me, and sticks to you." What good does it do to engage in name calling? Do you think if you shout loud enough that will make you right? Do you think you can win an argument with angry or insulting words? If you heard or read the original transcript, you would know that you are repeating talking points, instead of repeating the truth. So why are you having a highly emotional response to this situation?

    October 2, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Homer, Richmond, Virginia

    Which is worse? Phony soldiers or chicken-cowards who hide behind deferments? Will the senate waste tax dollars to condemn Rush, the dope addict who got away without spending time in jail, Limbaugh? Don't hold your breath.

    October 2, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Richard from Orlando wrote:

    "Big, bad media ("conspiracy") get to you? Poor things, you have become so delusional that you don’t even realize rich, conservative corporations overwhelmingly control our media."

    Sweetie, there is no conspiracy. A conspiracy would imply there is actually an attempt to keep things secret. Liberal media types no longer even attempt to appear neutral.

    Oh, yes, the media is actually controlled by the eeeeeeevil rich conservative corporations. Dunn Dunn Dunnnnnnnn! (cue gloomy music here).

    Ask any journalist (print or broadcast) or editor (print or broadcast) the name of the last conservative from whom he/she voted. You'll be met with stunned silence (if said journalist doesn't sock you in the nose for even THINKING he/she might be a conservative).

    Yes, eeeeeeeevil corporations might control the stock and the greater business dealings of most media outlets, but the content is entirely controlled by liberal media types. Don't believe me?

    Imagine how quickly journalists would flee media outlets if they really and truly had to work under conservative editors and bosses, folks who would have a no-kidding impact on their daily operations. Newsrooms everywhere would look like a scene from the motion picture "28 Days Later." Silent... No one around... random pieces of paper floating in the breeze...

    October 2, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. GoVets Madison WI

    It sounds to me like Rush is pulling the victim card..... Rush, don't be a baby, you never have a problem "dishing" it out now learn to take it, like a soldier oh ya you never served....

    October 2, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Terry, El Paso, TX

    I've listened to a recording of the radio program in question, and there is no doubt that Rush is being smeared. His comment about "phony soldiers" clearly referred only to a few soldiers with dubious experience and not to the military as a whole. Rush consistently pretends to support the military, but he would say anything that keeps ratings up, so we don't really have any idea what he thinks.

    It is too bad that I cannot find it in myself to feel any compassion at all for poor Rush, who has smeared many a person, ruined many a reputation, and told many, many lies to his gullible, non-thinking audiences.

    Instead, I find it amusing that he has been run over with his own limo this time. Now the smearer has become the smearee.

    I was also amused when he was caught with those thousands of pain killers that he had bribed his housekeeper (I think it was his housekeeper) to procure for his addiction. I found it amusing that he was not charged, tried, given community service, or anything else.

    A poor kid in my town who was caught with a few thousand oxycontin would still be in jail. And Rush would have been the first to demand a maximum jail sentence for him.

    It was also amusing when he was caught in Florida with a viagra prescription that was not in his name while entering the country. While this was not much of a crime (the Rx was in his doctor's name), he got away scott free again.

    And, he still blows the law-and-order trumpet louder than anyone. His hypocrisy is a big as his ego.

    October 2, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Jose, New Jersey

    I’m a veteran of this war and on my way back to Iraq in January, again. I do not support the reason for the war, and I definitely do not support bush but a support the soldiers like. That is more than you can say about patriotism. Rush was a chicken during Vietnam and a now drug addict.

    And by the way I’m a Latino immigrant with 23 years in the service. Bush, Rush American citizen, unpatriotic chickens.

    October 2, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Bill D. West Haverstraw, NY

    Im a Viet Nam era veteran. Over the years, and it ramped up with the Winter Soldier issue of Kerry, there have been a number of reported interviews with alleged veterans or soldiers. Any news outlet should be wary and check credentials before they use that soldier's or veterans comments. A copy of the veterans DD 214 should be produced to verify he/she is who they say they are. At the moment, it is illegal to portray a soldier or even claim you earned certain medals.

    There is a Congressional Act Known as the Stolen Valor act that is not just used against non military pretending they are military. It even goes so far as to prosecute military members who wear unauthorized medals.

    For example, I am a Viet Nam "era" veteran. If I wore any ribbons associated with service in Viet Nam or a bronze star and combat V, I could be proscecuted.

    There are many phony soldiers out there. I read articles about them all the time. If Rush had not used the plural "Soldiers". I doubt this would even be an issue. However, using the plural form has put him in the sights of every antiwar person out there which is a shame, because it is a real issue. As a veteran, even a noncombat one, I am still proud of my service to my country. I took an oath to defend it and the constitution and stood ready to go where I was asked. There is nothing wrong with that. After 4 hard years of service which included several search and rescue cases, I was discharged with just two ribbons, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. I did my job. I do not understand why others have to inflate their records or pretend that they were soldiers. It is dead wrong and they should be punished to the fullest extent possible.

    October 2, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Paul, Phoenix, Arizona

    I have the perfect solution to Rush.

    The channel changer.

    October 2, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Andy, Ohio

    To me, this looks like a VERY weak rebuttal at the MoveOn.org controversy of the past two weeks where Democrat congressmen were sweating bullets when asked to vote on the resolution condemning MoveOn. Pretty weak response if you ask me

    October 2, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    If Rush is all ginned about the war, perhaps he can redeam himself and volunteer to serve.

    Keep this war going long enough, keep recycling the same troops and pretty soon they (the troops) will all be speaking out against it. I know for a fact that a sizeable number of troops hate this war.

    October 2, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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