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. Mark Hain Kansas City, MO

    Is there such a thing as a well known liberal talk show host?

    Completely a smear campaign, blatently obvious, go to Rush's site and listen to the entire conversation.

    End of story.

    October 1, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Steve, Providence Rhode Island

    I can't understand why there are so many people vocally defending Rush Limbaugh. He's a complete imbecile, if not proven by this particular case, then certainly by a slew of others in the past. Of course, there are plenty like him on the left who just spout mindless, unsubstatiated rhetoric for ratings who should also be taken of the air. The question I'd like to ask Rush's supporters here is: Are you so unable to think for yourself on issues and need Rush Limbaugh's opinion so badly that you would believe every piece of drivel that comes from his inflated jowls regardless of its merit, or are you just so entrenched in right wing ideology that you are unable to see past it? When Americans stop thinking for themselves, this country is done for. Listen to Rush if you want, it's a free country. Just don't tow any lines and don't be a parrot. Think for yourself and make your own opinions. Don't spout rhetoric like it was your own, especially if it's not factual.

    October 1, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    Rush Limbaugh is a bad, bad person. When did he ever serve in a war? Never. When did he do one thing to serve his country? NEVER. Instead, he runs his mouth and insults many of the people who do serve.

    October 1, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. John B, Grand Terrace

    Harry Reid is a fool and takes a false story run by "Media Matters" and assumes it to be the truth. I listened to that particular show and it was clear that Mr. Limbaugh was only talking about one soldier! The story of Jesse Macbeth falsely claiming to be in Iraq and stating that our soldiers are committing atrocities is true. Of course the liberal media ran with Macbeth's story assuming it to be the truth. No one in the liberal mainstream press checked the facts of his story. CNN, NYT, ABC, CBS are no longer involved in reporting the news and checking the facts of their stories. If a story fits a political template then they run with it. Shame on the liberal liars and tools like Harry Reid, Mr. Murtha, John Kerry and all the other democrats in leadership roles that are invested in defeat of our armed forces.

    October 1, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Ken, Pasadena, CA

    All this posturing is ridiculous. Dems don't care about Rush and Repugs don't care about MoveOn. How about we deal with how to serve the nation (and the world).

    The decider has dug us an awfully big hole. It's time we start climbing out.

    October 1, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Angelo Lincoln, CA

    Reid and Murtha and Pelosi are LIARS! They will say anything to get attention- and then continue to do all of their back door deals and lies. If I recall correctly- NOT ONE Democrat condemned Murtha for saying that the "Marines in Haditha were murdering innocent civilians". Now loook at the case- what a joke. Just like the Democrats taking over Congress and making a bigger mess of things.

    October 1, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. Steve Martinovich, Ontario, Canada

    Wow, amazing. Limbaugh clearly illustrated how his comments were taken out of context by Media Matters - and you can watch video of his comments at YouTube to find out for yourself - and the best CNN can do is give a spare mention of this fact at the end of the piece. Thank God Fox is the only one with bias!

    October 1, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Carol

    Limbaugh need to quit his braying. He's wrong. He said "soldiers" -plural. Why anyone wants to listen to this convicted narcotic gobbler, liar and philanderer is mind boggling.

    October 1, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Jenny, Rio Vista CA

    After reading some of the comments listed here I can quite understand why this country is going to you know where. Supporting the troops does not mean sending them to Iraq and quietly sitting by while they get blown to pieces. If any of you 25% republican faithful that run around wearing your rose-tinted glasses while listening all day to the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coultergeist, had the guts to go to Iraq yourselves you would be crying to your mommy to bring you home.

    October 1, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. F. Runkuss, Albuquerque NM

    Why are lawmakers wasting time and breath worrying about what Limbaugh has to say? They should be more concerned with Opie & Anthony being mean to people on satellite radio.

    October 1, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. elizabeth fenimore, sacramento, ca

    If Don Imus can be fired for calling female basketball players the name he did,
    I move that rush Limbaugh be FIRED for referring to US soldiers as
    "phoney soldiers".
    Does the man have no decency?

    October 1, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Doug, GA

    Dear Mr Reid, what a pathetic hypocrite. The comments of Limbaugh are pale in comparison to the way you demonized our troops. Limbaugh is a radio personality, you sir, should be focusing your energy to SOLVING Domestic Problems!

    October 1, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. Joel, Co Springs , Co

    Boy, is this a slow week for the media and the democrats. I was listening to rush's program the day these comments were made. This article failed to mention the full context of the topic that day. I beleive he was talking about the MacBeth guy who was only in the service for 40 days and was then discharged. From what I gathered he lied about his service and the rank he obtained. Not to mention never being in combat to see the supposed war crimes he spoke of. His whole point was how some organizations will latch on to anyone who seems to fit their cause without doing any background checks. And then when the truth comes out no appologies are made and no retractions are done. I actually listened to Sen. Reid's comments this morning and shook my head in shame. If you can't win in the arena of ideas just make something up. Is that what it has come to?

    October 1, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Mark, Dallas, TX

    Rush Limbaugh is a BUFOON... anyone who listens to his show are the people the Republican party wants - uneducated and ignorant...that way it's easier to manipulate their ideas.... Who wants to belong to a party who courts these fools.

    October 1, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Lisa, Bothell, WA

    From some of these replies, Rush may actually be having his words taken out of context. What's hilarious is that this is what he does continuously, non-stop, on his own show, for his own political purposes. I can't really be upset if it's being done to him, after he's done it himself, so many times, to so many others.

    October 1, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. P.F.

    Harry Reid is an opportunist like the rest of these politicians, what a weak statement. Political opportunism needs to be recognized by all of us so that we are no so easily swayed by this and the rest of the "mainstream" media sources. You are being strummed like a guitar, break the cycle.

    October 1, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Richard, Dallas, Texas

    Harry Reid is an absolute joke. He is a politician like no other. He will spin anything to further his cause. How long has he been saying this war is lost?? I would think that would be more offensive and degrading to the troops. This guy needs to go, somewhere!! Unfortunately, he will probably hang around as long as his buddy Teddy. Career politicians! Bring on term limits, for all of them!

    October 1, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Chris R. Pittsburgh, PA

    All this idiocy is just a three card monty game distracting people from the outrageously poor conduct of *politicians*. The ones who thought they could manage this war. The ones who brought us into this war. The ones that have *no idea* what to do about the aftermath. Of course, the politicans only share some of the blame. They can't help being craven, unintelligent, narrowminded fools. Its how they were made. Its *our* fault for electing them in the first place. Its *our* fault for getting caught up in this partisan "my way or the highway" rhetoric that passes for political discourse. Its *our* fault and we got the government, and war, that we deserve for being willfully ignorant obstinate dupes who fall in line behind the nearest ideologue we see.

    October 1, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Maeve, Saxtons River, VT

    Why is it again that we give a rat's rear when the never-serving, lying, supposedly reformed addict Limbaugh questions young soldiers' honesty?

    A pimple on his wide butt kept him out of contributing even 1 day to boot camp, so anyone who's made it even a fraction of the way through has done more than his sorry hide ever did in service to his country.

    With that bit of embarrassing personal history of cowardliness, you'd think Rush would have kept his mouth shut instead of chiming in with his little denigration of others who've done more than he could find his own way clear to do.

    October 1, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Blue in a Red State - Phoenix, Arizona

    Limbaugh should have been booted off the air a long time ago.

    Then, where would we find a pompous, self absorbed, radical, hateful, deceitful, and immoral person to be a talking puppet for the Republican party? Oh, THAT'S RIGHT – The White House.

    Limbaugh – go back to pill popping and leave the commentary to people who have more than 4 brain cells left!

    October 1, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Daniel Brown, Saint Louis, Missouri

    I am so sick of hearing about General Petraeus. Here's a clue, people: when a top general is brought in to mimic the Executive's line, he's lost his political shield. Period. That's all there is to it. Get over it. The moveon.org ad was STUPID, yes – but only because the fallout was amazingly predictable, not because it was inherently out of line.

    Things are different for enlisted soldiers on the ground. Aside from being in a lot more personal danger, they also don't have the option to resign their commission in protest, etc. They also aren't being brought in on the personal request of the President. So yes – I side with the Democrats, and most especially, John Edwards on this one.

    -a long term independent who has HAD IT with the Republicans and their spin

    October 1, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Shannon, Champlin MN

    Get a clue conservative Phil, George Bush is the one who cuts funding for the troops at every turn. He won't give them a pay increase, he's cut their medical benefits, he wouldn't even raise the death benefits they get. Who do you think is responsible for them being there without the equipment they need. A simple google search would give you the answer.

    October 1, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  23. Mac, Severn, Md

    PF, you are right ("Political opportunism needs to be recognized by all of us"). WE THE PEOPLE need to tell the politicians to grow up and start Leading this Nation like adults. Stop the partisan, juvenile, "attacks" and prove that you deserve to hold office. Once upon a time, there were Senators and Congressman that did the right thing for the USA. And they were respected for it. What Senator or Representative can we name that deserves respect today?

    October 1, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    Some of the Democratic Sentators sat by silent when the Betray Us ad came out. Why are they suddenly pro-military?

    October 1, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Bill, Alabama

    "Lortab" Limbaugh should know a phony when he sees one. He was so adamant about putting drug dealers and users under the prison and he was so high himself and was an addict.

    He is a phony talk show host who makes his money and reputation on controversy, but when caught, backs down.

    October 1, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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