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

    Just like CNN to vomit more liberal filth and fodder for liberal nut jobs.

    Again you have hacked up a soundbyte and spackled together what you want the public to hear.

    Senator Reid is a coward and another puppet of Moveon.org.

    Those who love justice are not buying this story at all Mr. Mooney. Call it both ways!

    October 1, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  2. Mark Brown, Roseville, CA

    You right-wingers are astonishing. I heard a replay of the broadcast the day that it happened, and Limbaugh was clearly talking about EVERY SOLDIER WHO OPPOSES THE OCCUPATION-PERIOD, as "phoney" soldiers. Before that call, he was in an argument with someone who was against the occupation. I don't know what transcripts you are listening to, but if it came out of Limbaugh's site, I'm "sure" it's accurate.

    You people who still listen to this has-been, drug-addled gasbag are just as drug addicted as he is in needed to hear him. What's good enough for MoveOn is good enough for Limbaugh. He deserves full admonishment. By the way, the day MoveOn got nailed by the Senate, they got over half a million dollars in donations by midnight, as well as numerous supportive e-mails from soldiers. That should tell you where people's minds are at.

    Why don't you 20+% neo-cons who still support Bush and this bloated radio host do something constructive for a change- go read a copy of the Constitution and get back in touch with your Country's true moral values. Good grief.

    October 1, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. Matt St. Joseph MO

    It would be absolutely amazing if either party acted concerned about our soldiers, you can look at these postings and realize the real problem, neither the politicians or the people voting for them have the ability to stand on the issues without slinging mud and attacking those of a different view point. Neither party is right or wrong because neither has done anything in the last several years but attack the others, I would personally like to hear someone actually take a stand without attacking someone elses point of view!!!!!

    October 1, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. Max, Boston, MA

    It must be annoying to get taken out of context like that.

    October 1, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. Tom, Milwaukee WI

    harry reid is an ignorant socialist buffoon... who cares what he proposes to think [sic] ... where was harry when MoveOn was attacking our troops??? Right ... under his cowardly mushroom... he is a disgrace to this nation, to Congress, and to the constitution... I am very disappointed that Rush even acknowledged that harry blubbered... he (harry) merits NOTHING!

    October 1, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. Frank Honolulu HI

    Right on Moveon.org. The ad actually worked. Look how it's torqued out the 'Bush' idiots. They are fit to be tied.
    I'm laughing real hard.

    October 1, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Scott, Tupelo,MS

    Maybe Rush is taking those pills again.

    October 1, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. steve, annapolis, md

    Hysteria rules the day with some of you folks. Reading through some of the comments is like listening to a bunch of spoiled little brats who don't get their way. Pathetic.

    October 1, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Kristine, Galesburg, IL

    The democrats support the soldiers, not the administration. General Petrayus, Betrayus, whatever, is still considered part of the administration. When are republicans going to realize that those soldiers fighting, a lot of them, are democrats. The reason the democrats want them to come home is because Bush doesn't have a clue what he's doing and who wants to have their son, daughter, wife, or husband killed while serving that moron?

    October 1, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  10. JOJO, GEORGIA, Georgia

    It's so sad when a group of people can clearly take a man's words who spends 3 hours on the radio and distort them to fit a headline.

    Here's the deal, when you media distortionists get a real story, you give me a call. Aight?

    October 1, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. Alex, Baltimore, MD

    At least have the intellectual honesty to post the full transcript so people can understand the context of the statement.

    October 1, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  12. Trollmaster, CA

    Those of you still crying about the Moveon.org add let me inform you something:

    The phony outrage over the add was a smoke screen to hide the fact there has been no progress in Iraq. We've waited for the Iraq progress report and it got an F. What now Iraq war cheerleaders? More smoke screens to hide your constant failure?

    October 1, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. J Hanson Ladysmith WI

    Read the transcript before you comment idiots; it is not difficult to see who are the left wing nutjobs on this comment log...

    October 1, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. Mark, Reisterstown,md

    What, are the Dems patriotic and supporting our soldiers now? I highly doubt it. Once again, the Dems disguist me and CNN is their puppet for even publishing this type of story

    October 1, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. Independant Suze, IA

    To be clear, I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind about what Rush says. I take offense at people who have posted here that accuse anyone who defends him of being a 'propaganda sheep'. That being said, what Rush was referring to is the 'phony soldiers' who've never actually been in combat. Anyone not blinded by conservative hatred could see that.

    And, it's obvious to me that half the posters here are probably standing outside by the mailbox, waiting for their checks to arrive from Soros. Nice.

    October 1, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. Gonzo, Arizona

    Ah yes. The "taken out of context" argument. Last resort when you know you've really screwed.

    October 1, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Here is the transcript, btw there was a full 1 minute and 50 seconds before mentioning MacBeth's name.

    From the September 26 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

    LIMBAUGH: Mike in Chicago, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

    CALLER 1: Hi Rush, how you doing today?

    LIMBAUGH: I'm fine sir, thank you.

    CALLER 1: Good. Why is it that you always just accuse the Democrats of being against the war and suggest that there are absolutely no Republicans that could possibly be against the war?

    LIMBAUGH: Well, who are these Republicans? I can think of Chuck Hagel, and I can think of Gordon Smith, two Republican senators, but they don't want to lose the war like the Democrats do. I can't think of - who are the Republicans in the anti-war movement?

    CALLER 1: I'm just - I'm not talking about the senators. I'm talking about the general public - like you accuse the public of all the Democrats of being, you know, wanting to lose, but -

    LIMBAUGH: Oh, come on! Here we go again. I uttered a truth, and you can't handle it, so you gotta call here and change the subject. How come I'm not also hitting Republicans? I don't know a single Republican or conservative, Mike, who wants to pull out of Iraq in defeat. The Democrats have made the last four years about that specifically.

    CALLER 1: Well, I am a Republican, and I've listened to you for a long time, and you're right on a lot of things, but I do believe that we should pull out of Iraq. I don't think it's winnable. And I'm not a Democrat, but I just - sometimes you've got to cut the losses.

    LIMBAUGH: Well, you - you -

    CALLER 1: I mean, sometimes you really gotta know when you're wrong.

    LIMBAUGH: Well, yeah, you do. I'm not wrong on this. The worst thing that can happen is losing this, flying out of there, waving the white flag. Do you have -

    CALLER 1: Oh, I'm not saying that. I'm not saying anything like that, but, you know -

    LIMBAUGH: Well, of course you are.

    CALLER 1: No, I'm not.

    LIMBAUGH: Bill, the truth is - the truth is the truth, Mike.

    CALLER 1: We did what we were supposed to do, OK. We got rid of Saddam Hussein. We got rid of a lot of the terrorists. Let them run their country -

    LIMBAUGH: Oh, good lord! Good lord.


    CALLER 1: How long is it gonna - how long do you think we're going to have to be there for them to take care of that?

    LIMBAUGH: Mike -

    CALLER 1: How long - you know - what is it?

    LIMBAUGH: Mike -

    CALLER 1: What is it?

    LIMBAUGH: Mike, you can't possibly be a Republican.

    CALLER 1: I am.

    LIMBAUGH: You are - you are -

    CALLER 1: I am definitely a Republican.

    LIMBAUGH: You can't be a Republican. You are -

    CALLER 1: Oh, I am definitely a Republican.

    LIMBAUGH: You are tarnishing the reputation, 'cause you sound just like a Democrat.

    CALLER 1: No, but -

    LIMBAUGH: The answer to your question -

    CALLER 1: - seriously, how long do we have to stay there -

    LIMBAUGH: As long as it takes!

    CALLER 1: - to win it? How long?

    LIMBAUGH: As long as it takes! It is very serious.

    CALLER 1: And that is what?

    LIMBAUGH: This is the United States of America at war with Islamofascists. We stay as long - just like your job. You do everything you have to do, whatever it takes to get it done, if you take it seriously.

    CALLER 1: So then you say we need to stay there forever -

    LIMBAUGH: I - it won't -

    CALLER 1: - because that's what it'll take.

    LIMBAUGH: No, Bill, or Mike - I'm sorry. I'm confusing you with the guy from Texas.

    CALLER 1: See, I - I've used to be military, OK? And I am a Republican.

    LIMBAUGH: Yeah. Yeah.

    CALLER 1: And I do live [inaudible] but -

    LIMBAUGH: Right. Right. Right, I know.

    CALLER 1: - you know, really - I want you to be saying how long it's gonna take.

    LIMBAUGH: And I, by the way, used to walk on the moon!

    CALLER 1: How long do we have to stay there?

    LIMBAUGH: You're not listening to what I say. You can't possibly be a Republican. I'm answering every question. That's not what you want to hear, so it's not even penetrating your little wall of armor you've got built up.


    LIMBAUGH: Another Mike, this one in Olympia, Washington. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

    CALLER 2: Hi Rush, thanks for taking my call.

    LIMBAUGH: You bet.

    CALLER 2: I have a retort to Mike in Chicago, because I am a serving American military, in the Army. I've been serving for 14 years, very proudly.

    LIMBAUGH: Thank you, sir.

    CALLER 2: And, you know, I'm one of the few that joined the Army to serve my country, I'm proud to say, not for the money or anything like that. What I would like to retort to is that, if we pull - what these people don't understand is if we pull out of Iraq right now, which is about impossible because of all the stuff that's over there, it'd take us at least a year to pull everything back out of Iraq, then Iraq itself would collapse, and we'd have to go right back over there within a year or so. And -

    LIMBAUGH: There's a lot more than that that they don't understand. They can't even - if - the next guy that calls here, I'm gonna ask him: Why should we pull - what is the imperative for pulling out? What's in it for the United States to pull out? They can't - I don't think they have an answer for that other than, "Well, we just gotta bring the troops home."

    CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what -

    LIMBAUGH: "Save the - keep the troops safe" or whatever. I - it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.

    CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

    LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

    CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

    LIMBAUGH: They joined to be in Iraq. They joined -

    CALLER 2: A lot of them - the new kids, yeah.

    LIMBAUGH: Well, you know where you're going these days, the last four years, if you signed up. The odds are you're going there or Afghanistan or somewhere.

    CALLER 2: Exactly, sir.

    October 1, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. Leman Reed, Warrensburg, MO

    If the main stream media and the Democratic members of Congress would take the time to get the facts and would listen to all of the audio tape of the conversation between Mr. Limbaugh and a caller they would know that the 'soldier' in question only served 44 days, did not complete basic training, was discharged from the military, did not serve in any hostile fire theater, and is being used by the leftist as their example of a 'soldier' that represents the military. The basic training drop out is a phony that is being portrayed as a ‘hero’. I served on active duty for 20 years and this sounds like another political stunt by the same crowd that in 2000 published a pamphlet outlining how to disqualify military ballots, declared our solders to be murderers before any shred of evidence was presented, accused our military of bombing innocent civilians and otherwise constantly bashes those that VOLUNTEERED to serve our country. How many of those distinguished Senators/Congresspersons have ever served in the military or put their lives on the line for someone else? Very few and probably even fewer of those on the political left. Their too busy bashing the troops and finding ways to undermine the sovereignty our country. Score another one for MoveOn.org and their one world government agenda. After all, by their own words, MoveOn.org bought the Democrat party in 2004.

    October 1, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. kosmo fenster

    giving mr limbaugh any attention is nearly as indecent and immoral as he is. people like him need to be ignored. they have no moral ground to stand on at all, period.

    October 1, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. Rob, Pittsburgh Pa

    It's getting to the point were all speech will be edited for political correctness. Has 1984 finally arrived?

    All those that heard the entire episode and comments made by both Rush and his call have the right to make a judgement. All those that heard cuts or via third party should keep their mounths and pens closed.

    Please all join me in a prayer –
    Dear Lord;
    Help me to keep my eyes open; my ears open; and my big mouth shut.

    October 1, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. Russ, KC, Kansas

    Dem's, Dem's, Dem's. Why do you all insist on an all but worthless apology for every little thing anyone who doesn't agree with your scocialistic views does? Does it make you sleep better at night? I would much rather see action for a real injustice than hear some utterly worthless words. Wha Wha Wha "Grow up" Sen. Reid!

    October 1, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    On the January 25 broadcast of his radio show, he told his audience that he had a new name for Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam veteran: "Senator Betrayus." A day earlier, Hagel had sided with Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in voting to approve a nonbinding resolution declaring that President Bush's escalation in Iraq was against "the national interest."

    October 1, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. T. Tobin, Diamond Bar, CA

    Harry Reid why don't you crawl back into the hole you came out of, all you do is cry about things, no wonder you guys don't get anything done in Congress. Rush must really get to you Democrat's,that must be why you act like little Children.

    The USA is being invaded by Illegal Immigrates and you waste time condemning a Talk Show Host, what ever happened to freedom of speech?

    October 1, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  24. Jacob, Northfield, MN

    I knew what Rush was talking about as soon as I read this. He clearly was talking about the imposter soldier. But it doesn't matter. If you call yourself a republican you are going to agree with Rush, if you are a democrat you are going to hate him. It doesn't matter. Thats why I think most of these articles CNN writes are a joke. To me I think CNN as a bias towards Democrats, and Im sure others (democrats) dont agree. So why does it matter. We are going to destroy this country because fairness and the middle ground is gone. And thats it.

    October 1, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Chris, Boston MA

    I love that Harry Reid seems to be making the most headlines in response to Rush's comments, especially after seeing Reid make statements saying "[the war] is lost." As a soldier, that is extrememly disheartening when you feel like many of the most powerful people in this country don't support you. Reid, get off your high chair and take a seat.

    October 1, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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