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. S. Wright

    Once again, the Democrat Party leadership uses Leninist tactics to inflame the people with totally false statements. Since they cannot actually debate talk radio with anything resembling factual data, they have to attack a messenger.

    Limbaugh is no saint, but he doesn't represent anyone, and he doesn't legislate. I personally think he's spineless, as this is a perfect opportunity for him to confront the Democrat Party leadership head on with a flurry of interviews; but, he won't.

    Maybe those with common sense in Congress, and that includes those Dems who have had enough, can do for the Democrat Party what Landrum-Griffin did for the Unions and their Red problem.

    October 1, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. Terry H., Chicago-area, IL

    Sure, the Right can lambast the Democrats and MoveOn.org, but oh my, they can do whatever they want without recrimination and the mantra of "taken out of context". The Right, once again, has established themselves as hypocrites. Lapdog Limbaugh continues to dig the heels of his Fascist knee-high boots at the Left. He is an abomination to the Right for maligning the good name of the brave troops by his comment. What he said should no more be tolerated by the Senate than the Senate tolerated what MoveOn.org claimed in its NYT's ad "General Betray Us". The Right can't have it both ways, although it believes they're entitled to this.

    October 1, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  3. Eric, Round Lake IL

    I never trust any major news story when it comes to smearing someone (FOX or CNN), especially in politics. The final goal is not the story isnt typically about the person, its the build-up of momemtum for a political party. If that wasnt the case, then why is the Senate moving to condemn Rush, a private citizen. They can care less about Rush, its about making Rush a symbol of all conservatives and then condemning that. I would better expect our Senators on both sides to make a simple statement and move on, this is a waste of time and tax money. If people truly dislike what Rush said, then dont listen, he's a business and without listeners he goes out of business. I went and listened to the audio and its conclusive Rush was talking about the soldier who did not serve at all. Its also clear now the last morsel of hope the left has is the word "plural" to keep any arguement alive. Not enough for people who try to be non-partisan.

    October 1, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. Jim Flaherty

    Harry Reid, the phony Majority Leader. Never saw a phony soldier he didn't embrace. Never saw a real soldier he he could warm up to.

    October 1, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. James, New York, NY

    It doesn't appear that some posters read through the whole CNN post. I know it's buried but it's true, Limbaugh was referring to soldiers that never served in Iraq but lied that they did, then pretended they saw all kinds of atrocities. I've read transcripts of the show and it's clear that main stream media - and the dems - IS taken the line out of context.

    October 1, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. R in Las Vegas, NM

    The problem that the Dems have in bashing Rush Limbaugh is that there are far more people listening to him everyday than are listening to them. They know what he actually said.

    October 1, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. Bill, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Harry Reid has no business talking to anyone about disrespect of our Brave men and Women. He and his Fellow Dems have done it MANY times over the last few years. If they would have been behind US since the beginning, it all could have been over by now. Oh and by the way, all you have to do is listen to any Air America show and hear the Hate. No wonder they are going bankrupt.

    October 1, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. Yvan,Indio,CA

    What would you expect from Rush! This guy is the worst scam of the earth. If you ever listen the guy, you realize that he is phony, andnot leg to stand on. Nothing make sense in what Rush is saying.One advice Rush, go back to do drugs, you liked you better totally stoned.LOL

    October 1, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  9. D. Aymond

    Senator Reid has disgraced himself and his country with his past comments on our soldiers. His attack on Mr. Limbaugh is simply another political attack. A comment by a radio talk show host bothers him a lot more than the defamation of moveon.org against an active and decorated general. I am sure it has nothing to do with the money moveon.org raises for democrats!

    October 1, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. Scott, Lawrenceville, Ga.

    So this is it folks? All the hate spewing on this site and others throughout the web. Our Congress should be about the people's business but instead is interested in radio and web smear sites. This is the best we have to offer as leaders? It sickens me as it should all of us. It's dividing all of us and we don't even recognize it. Regardless of party affiliation we should all expect more from our Senators and Representatives. The enemy is watching and I'm sure other countries are plotting. Wake up people. Sad.

    October 1, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. timbuck, houston, tx

    rush and his hero bush are both draft dodging cowardly phonies.

    October 1, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  12. John Dayton, OH

    If the Democratic leadership is really that concerned about showing support for our troops in Iraq, why do they not universally condemn the very harmful MoveOn.org-sponsored "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" NY Time ad?

    Posted By Greg – Tracy, California : October 1, 2007 5:18 pm

    I think they should apologize as soon as the Republicans apologize for the following ads their henchman put out : The drug addled hypocrite Rush Limbaugh’s “phony soldiers”comment ,The swiftboat ads against Kerry, The infamous TV commercial that Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss ran against Max Cleland (a decorated war disabled Vietnam Vet )that opened with pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, then attacked Cleland for voting against President Bush's Homeland Security bill. It didn't mention the fact that Cleland supported a Democratic bill that wasn't radically different.
    So when you hypocritical Republicans apologize for your impugning of the character of these men, then you have the right to show indignation for “Betray Us?”. You rail against moveon.com, but then idolize hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Bill O’Rielly. You need to clean up your own house before you start telling others to clean theirs.

    October 1, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  13. Chad, Cheyenne, Wyoming

    When you get the whole story, you soon learn that Mr. Limbaugh was referring to those "phony soldiers" who never really pulled their share of duty; yet, somehow have been elevated to the level of spokesman for the entire war effort. The Democrats that are slamming Mr. Limbaugh are only speaking to their staunchest supporters, as objective minds will no doubt seek out the truth and reject the overstated claims that Mr. Limbaugh was slamming anyone in uniform who opposes the war. Go to listen to Mr. Limbaugh and then visit the web-based group. Mediamatters.com. It becomes very obvious that Mr. Limbaugh's words were taken way out of context in an effort to discredit him.

    October 1, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. DT, Wisconsin

    Gonzo- I generally agree. However, Rush has had the transcript and audio available since last week. Check it out.

    October 1, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Scott, Decatur, Illinois

    Wow, talk about making news out of nothing. Harry Reid is a bore. He also had harsh words for lobbyists until he got elected, now 3 of his sons work as lobbyists. What a JOKE.

    October 1, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I forgot to add that Rush's rating just went up.

    October 1, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. Steve Camilla GA

    Give the libs a break. They are very angry. You see, their candidates have been lying to them. (No pull out of Iraq deal) It is easier for them to slam Rush, after taking him out of context, than to deal with their anger. Media Matters helped gin this thing up to remove attention from Mrs. Bill Clinton and her many positions on the war. It is that simple.

    October 1, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Bill, Edmonds, WA

    The truth is not very far away .... go to YouTube and you can find the 6 minute clip where Rush uses this comment of a phony soldier. It is valid and I would add fraud to not only Jesse, but to the Democrats who suddenly find themselves NEEDING to be seen as supporting the troops.

    October 1, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  19. Praveen Anumula

    Democrats are all about the next elections. You see so many derogatory comments made by democratic party leaders about the soldiers, that I being a foriegner in this country feel very bad about and sorry for these brave people betting their lives on the front. Any one having a common sense cannot end the war as it is. It is not only important to USA, but also to the entire world that we can fight terrorism. I bet not a single democrat leader has any plan to end this war without furhter destabilising the middle east. Slogan or speech to end the war is not sufficient, a plan to do it without destabilising the area is important. But, I totally agree that the reason to begin Iraq invasion was not warranted. If WMD is a reason, probably North Korea, Iran must have been attacked before Iraq.

    October 1, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  20. xtina - chicago , IL

    I wish the Democratic Senators who are spending so much time and expending so much energy chasing a private citizen, would channel some of that passion over to eradicating our country's enemies.

    October 1, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  21. jms, Dyer, Tn

    How could anyone be surprised by the comments of a dilusional drug addict like Limbaugh?

    October 1, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  22. Ron. S. , Tacoma, WA

    The Democrats undermine the troops constantly; John Kerry saying if you don't go for education, you go in the military. Harry reid hanging his head, saying we can't win against terrorists; most Senators voting AGAINST funding our troops!

    So let's look at some of the ways these people condenming Rush Limbaugh have done what they accuse Rush of doing.

    October 1, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. JW, Houston, TX

    Are you kidding me? Did anyone actually hear the Limbaugh show when these comments where made? If you had, you would know that he was talking about one guy that could not even make it out of bootcamp and then the guy lied about his tour of duty in Iraq. The guy (Jesse MacBeth) has never even been to Iraq. This is simply the Democrats using this to once again try and make the Republicans look bad to make themselves look better. You noticed Harry Reid had to add his typical Democratic cheap shot against the Republicans. This is utterly rediculous. Let it go.

    October 1, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. James Thompson

    Isn't it funny the dems can say anthing they want about our military and our soldiers and not show any remorse or ever think about apoligising. But can take a lone statement and twist and turn it to try to make someone else apoligise. Wake up America!!!

    October 1, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  25. fred fredburger

    CNN is so irresponsible for parroting this crap. I like the fact that they stick it in their blog section to distance themselves from the complete lack of an issue. I think the real controversy is that ABC is trying to push this misrepresentation as a news story.

    October 1, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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