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.

Full story

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. One_American

    Isn't it interesting that the Democrats are always the ones trying to suppress free speech?

    Isn't it interesting that the Democrats lie constantly and are never questioned by the liberal media?

    Isn't it a coincidence that Harry Reid bring this up on the same day that reports come out that violence has been trending steadily down in Iraq?

    I detect a smokescreen by Dirty Harry Reid!


    October 1, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Jack Puder Deltona, FL USA

    Limbaugh should dress up as a soldier, put on his flack jacket and set the Iraq thing straight. He seems to know all the answers.
    And make sure his C.O. has ample stocks of
    medicines for him.......

    October 1, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Cameron Reddy, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Rush was not denigrating soldiers who disapprove with the war. "Phony soldiers" referred, quite clearly if you listen to broadcast, to fraudulent claims of atrocities committed by real soldiers, said fraudulent claims made by people who were NOT ACTUAL SOLDIERS and thus could not possibly have witnessed the atrocities of which they lied. Truly, Phony Soldiers.

    October 1, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Sue, Rochester, NY

    Shame on you, CNN, for reporting the lies and trash from Media Matters. It's very clear what Rush said. He'd never say anything bad about the troops but the Dems are on this as revenge for their Petraus debacle. What's also disturbing is the way people come up with hateful opinions without even knowing the real story. And what's the talking point now about "well, he's never been to war...blah, blah". I haven't but I still keep up on political matters. Stop the hate and get informed!

    October 1, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. johny radio

    as one who opposes the war, activist media must make sure not to interview jerks who claim to have served in iraq, if they didn't. that's just bad for the cause.

    October 1, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Bill, Wichita, KS

    This is just stupid! I can't wait for the day that our Senate will finally get to doing some real business and start actually trying to solve some problems rather than keep playing these stupid high school games. jeesh!

    October 1, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. Soozy Powells Point NC

    Well Harry you have done it again! You people didn't listen to the broadcast that day and I did. The people that are doubting it are dumb dems that don't for the most part listen to Rush. Only listen to the crazies which sad to say is the media.(Except those that have lately changed parties and those are quite a few.) All of you voting for the democrats are really voting moveon.org. How is it you can not open your eyes? They destroy peoples lives, Delay, Bork, Thomas, to name only a few. They tell lies to the people and this ordeal is just another proof. I was one of those dumb dems but no more. I remain proud of the old dems like Zell or John Kennedy. These ones are just liars.They don't care about you me or the military. We lost the war remember Harry told us. There wasn't even a war going on until they needed your vote. If there were not wmd's why did Suddam think there was and let a war begin in the first place. He could have stopped it all himself by letting the inspectors in. He sure had to be dumb to die if he knew there was no wmds. Think hard people or become a George Soros patsie.
    The dems are ONLY in it for the politics and your vote.
    Soozy NC

    October 1, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Campitos, Traverse City, MI

    Limbaugh is yesterday's news. Enough of this has-been.

    October 1, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Brendan, San Antonio, TX

    Limbaugh would know a phony if he saw one – and he does, everytime he gazes into his mirror!

    October 1, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. John, Perrysburg Ohio

    Harry Ried should be called Wierd. If the people who were fooled by this phony news story knew the truth they would vote thr Democrats out.

    October 1, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Brendan, San Antonio, TX

    To Laura in Tulsa:

    The Democrats are the only ones who are pro-military. If they were in charge there would be no war, and troops would safe at home – NOT DEAD!

    October 1, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. ABCHarris

    Now I know Democrats are STUPID. They would believe any lie Reid said, don't check it out for theirselves, No, No, No. Intelligent people check the source.

    October 1, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Chas, Marysville, WA

    It's obvious Harry did not go to the original source to verify. No, since he dislikes Mr. Limbaugh, he would rather believe what he read from secondary sources. Mr. Mooney, did you go to the original source to verify Rush's statement? Mr. Rather learned what many are getting away with. Senator Reed is a savy politican, he's seldom fooled – but he's not prone to be totally honest with his remarks.
    CNN could report on Limbaugh's statement and even quote the entire conversation – it they wish to be totally truthful in their reporting.

    October 1, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Ron A., Santa Clara, CA

    It's too bad Rush Limbaugh, the "Phony Academic" (no college degree), continues to breath air and eat food that would better serve this world if consumed by intelligent, productive people. The only thing worse than Limbaugh are the ignorant trailer-trash that listen and agree with him. Again, more wasted air and food...

    October 1, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  15. Jesse, Houston TX.

    I can only guess that Harry Reid thinks I am stupid enough to just take his story with out checking the facts. He is the leader of the US Senate and has real power to make changes. Do your job or move aside. Voters will only take so much of this garbage.

    October 1, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. ono

    Rush is one of the biggest chunks of garbage the universe has ever thrown up, but Reid fell into the trap. Rush is a big fat gear in the Murdoch right-wing lie machine and specializes in taking things out of context to divert attention from real issues. Senator Reid, please continue to support the good and don’t take the bait from revolting liars and loudmouths like Rush.

    I can’t wait to hear more claims about how this is Clinton’s fault – anyone feel like we're stuck in a rut with the three stooges?

    October 1, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. James, Portland, OR

    This story is a one sided point of view. Go figure..CNN..Nough said! And some of you "Yellow Dogs" believe these lies! You are fools to be lead around like sheep. I'm not a Rush or O'Rielly fan, but I know a liberal left lie story when I see one. And you people wonder why the Democrats will lose in 08.

    October 1, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. James Sakell Fernandina Beach Florida

    I was a live listener to the show and the fact is Rush was refering to 1 soldier and he was a phony!
    Gotta love how those who vote against supporting our troops, against funding our troops, and those who constantly undermine the effort with thier outragous comments aimed at demorolizing our troops and empowering the enemy (DEMOCRATS), would dare to twist the words of a man who has the utmost respect for our soldiers!

    October 1, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. Conway, Jacksonville Florida

    Oh Please. (Sen-D) Harry Reid has been against our troops and has wanted America to Lose this War all together. Rush has done nothing but re-report on a news story that ABC put out. I agree with Rush I dare you Senator Reid and all you commie pinkos to say it to his face and on his show becuase he will tear you a new one with real facts you idiots. RUSH FOR PRESIDENT "08"

    October 1, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. Tyrone, PA

    Now that the democrats can see that the surge is working they are trying everything to demean and dennounce any and all republicans. The democrats backed up the "fake" solgier named Jesse until they realized that all of his stories were fake. The reason being as to why they backed him up is because he told so called stories of solgier brutality. Now that everyone knows it was a lie the democrats feel the need to critisize all opponents of them such as republicans and pro-war people.

    October 1, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Randy, Excelsior Springs, Mo

    Try responding directly to Limbaugh via his site...ta daaaa...it costs you...he's ALL republican..."Give me your best shot...but pay me first."

    October 1, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    Daniel Brown (Saint Louis),
    Your first two sentences demonstrated your bias from the outset. Of course you side with the Democrats…your comments show you have a liberal slant. You assume the general was parroting the President only because he didn’t have a negative report filled with “doom and gloom” scenarios. Additionally, your assertion that only enlisted troops are facing danger in Iraq shows you know very little about the military. A captain leading a patrol (exposed to relatively little danger in your opinion) can attempt to resign his commission in protest. He’ll most likely be told to get back to his duties, and resign when he gets back home.

    Rush’s comments were aimed at phony soldiers, and he rightly used Macbeth as an example. MoveOn.org attacked a real soldier who was doing the job the President AND Congress asked him to do. The fact that you can’t (or won’t) discern the difference is pathetic.

    October 1, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Rex, Rockville MD

    Rush Limbaugh does not care about the troops, he is only concerned with his broadcast ratings. Calling veterans phony soldiers is wrong. Coming from a non Veteran like Rush is not surprising. Most Vets I know don't support this war (all real vets hate war). Rush needs to stop reverting to name calling to get his point (albeit a weak one) across.

    October 1, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. Truth Lives, Hometown, USA

    I don't get the controversy, Rush is right on this one (from rushlimbaugh.com 9/28/07).

    "…If reporters had bothered to check the transcripts and audio at RushLimbaugh.com, or even to call the EIB Network for comment, they wouldn't look like such fools. Rush was talking about phony soldier Jesse MacBeth. MacBeth portrayed himself as a decorated Iraq war veteran who opposed the war. Since "Corporal" MacBeth fit the left's anti-war template, the Drive-By Media lapped up his lies. The truth? Mr. MacBeth was just sentenced to five months in jail for being…a phony soldier. MacBeth never served in Iraq, never won a Purple Heart, never reached the rank of corporal, was never an Army Ranger — and therefore never could have witnessed war crimes against Iraqi civilians as he claimed. In fact, MacBeth washed out of Army boot camp after 44 days…."

    October 1, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Real soldiers don't get out of Vietnam because of an arse cyst. I guess that makes Rush a "phony soldier."

    October 1, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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