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. Ross, Anchorage, Alaska

    I agree with Mr. Reid. Imagine if Natalie of the Dixie Chicks actually said that, or anything else against the troops. She was harassed and boycotted for four years. Rush does this sort of bad taste thing again and again, and if he is not to high on Oxycontin, whoops, sorry Rush (see I know how to aplogize)he always ignores the fall out and his sponsers and radio stations ignore it, as does the right wing doiminating media.... well I guess if Imus says something bad it is goodbye, but Rush can spout pro-military rhetoric and then dump on any soldier who actually questions the president's handler's madness...

    October 2, 2007 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  2. Ryan, Las Vegas

    There are at least two major power groups in American politics, and they do have very different agendas. And they are using media proxies to fight their battles, and those battles are often fought in places and on issues that make little sense to the average observer.

    1) The people who think capitalism is immoral, and who want to use the engine of our economy to make sure that nobody is hungry, nobody is naked, nobody is homeless, and nobody is denied healthcare.

    2) The people who think socialism is immoral, and who want to restrict the government from taking the slightest amount of their personal wealth and redistributing it.

    Both of these camps are very, very small minorities; maybe only a couple thousand people. But they have tremendous leverage, and apparently unlimited patience.

    Between those two opposed camps are all sorts of additional "clumps" of people who have aggregated around a political, social or economic cause, and who make alliances with the two major forces opportunistically.

    Those two big forces are driving the harshness of the current political climate, and until we get a grip on who those people are and what they want, and make the public at large understand what is happening, thing will likely not improve.

    October 2, 2007 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  3. AnaHadWolves, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    Mr. Limbaugh is real...a real a**hole.

    October 2, 2007 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  4. John, Blaine, MN

    It is amazing that all of the people that never listen to Rush are the ones to condem him. I listened to the segment. And of course Rush was defending the troops, by pointing out that the LEFT will use any means to lie to us. And when they get caught they attack the people that catch the lie. The LEFT used a phony soldier and got caught just like they have used other phony soldiers. If the LEFT really supports the troops why not support Victory for our troops instead of defeat, oh ya that wouldn't be the best political move for them. Again the LEFT using our troops as pawns politacly. If the LEFT supports the troops. They why didn't any of the democrats ask GEN Petraeus what can we do to help you win!!! No they just chastized him because he told the truth and it didn't fit their political agenda of loose so the democrats can win.

    October 2, 2007 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  5. moore,niles michigan

    I know every liberal has to have an opion about everything but why if your going to
    complain and say nasty comments don't you listen to the whole program? No you hear something that an idiot democrat tells you and off you go. Mindless sheep. Duh!
    Listen to all the tape, then you will know the truth. Don't just parrot what you hear from democrat talking points!

    October 2, 2007 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  6. Anonymous

    ha limbaugh is right

    i never see an interview of a proud soldier, which most are.

    Most soldiers are strong conservatives, and you'll find few dissenters in the bunch.

    I'm not a conservative, and I am not for this war. But Limbaugh is correct in his observation.

    October 2, 2007 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  7. David Las Vegas Nevada

    I served for 20 years, two tours in Iraq plus others in different conflicts, while I back our government, I know for a fact that as a soldier we are told what to say to the media. And are normally hand picked by our officer to met the media. There is no such thing as freedom of speech in the Armed Forces just blind allegience. If Sen. Harry Reid believes there is, then he has his head up further than I thought.

    October 2, 2007 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  8. A Kansas Vet, Kansas

    Taken out of context the new catch phase that means, I got called on it now what do I do. Non-veterans that beat the drums of war and attack those that question the actions of this administration. Chicken Hawks, never served and attack those that disagree with their holy than thou positions. This has nothing to do with Democrates or Republicans, we have a public figure who basically called those veterans that do not agree with him phony soldiers, while all the time Limbaugh is the phony.

    October 2, 2007 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  9. Marvin Wood, Seoul, South Korea

    Clearly the conversation was around Jesse MacBeth. If you listen with half an ear, even an illiterate could follow the conversation. Of course, the nay sayers wouldn't admit to being able to stomach listening to R.L. long enough to get it. Grasping....

    October 2, 2007 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  10. Tom, Harpers Ferry, WV

    Limbaugh's explanation is correct. I heard the audio of the entire discussion, in context, and his meaning is unmistakable. I don't believe it's possible for any reasonable person, especially someone intelligent enough to become a US Senator, to honestly mistake the meaning of Limbaugh's words. Reid knows exactly what Limbaugh meant when he used the term "phony soldiers". I believe Reid deliberately misconstrued the comment just to get a political "gotcha" soundbite. When folks like Reid repeatedly engage in this kind of BS, it's very hard to take anything they say seriously. Has Reid never heard the story of the boy who cried wolf?

    October 2, 2007 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  11. Liz Meairs

    Harry Reid, what a joke he is as a leader! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 100 DAYS,

    October 2, 2007 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  12. John, Frederick, Md

    CNN dropped this story last week after it verified Rush was actually referring to an actual "phony soldier" – in fact the person was just sentenced to 5 months in jail for impersonating a soldier. Why is CNN not reporting that Harry Reid is lying about this hmmm?

    October 2, 2007 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. Colleen Pittsburgh Pa

    Harry Reid needs to check his own comments about the war and our soldiers, here is a man that has said nothing but deplorable comments about our soldiers in harms way. It is sad how everything has to do with power and politcal gain and nothing to do with the safety and well being of our soldiers.

    October 2, 2007 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  14. Jeff, Syracuse

    Doesn't Harry Reid have anything better to do than this? I feel sorry for the idiots in Nevada that voted for this moron.

    Hey Harry...here's a suggestion...instead of saying the "War is lost" and "the surge has failed", why don't YOU try supporting our troops you idiot.

    October 2, 2007 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  15. CPO (Retired) Joseph Nored, Newport News, Virginia

    As a 26 year disabled veteran of military service I feel as if my brothers in arms have been slapped in the face by the very group of people who cheered on this conflict in the first place.

    As a supposed media professional good old Rush knew what he was saying since the comment was in the plural instead of the singular. So any explanation short “I was wrong to say that” is a lie.

    Any one who truly supports our military personnel should be standing up and demanding Rush and Clear Media to do the right thing and go to Iraq and say I am sorry to every single American military member there and then have him send hand written notes to every family who has had a loved one killed or wound while in Iraq.

    Fat chance of that, he was afraid of Vietnam so why would have the courage to go to Iraq now.

    October 2, 2007 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  16. Bill, Charleston SC

    I for one am gettting a little sick and tired of politicians on both sides of the aisle criticizing citizens of this country. It's time for all of you in the house and senate to do what we sent you to do, govern. Enough of the partisan bickering. Start doing what is right for the country.

    October 2, 2007 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  17. Dufusmaxximus

    So many posts by people who never listen to Rush Limbaugh. I agree with him only about half the time. Anyone who does listen knows that Rush has unwavering loyalty to real soldiers... but not phony ones. He also has little time for phonies in congress like reid and pelosi.
    Even posters here are attempting to spread the smear.

    October 2, 2007 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  18. jw walters, canadian,ok

    I heard a clip of the total call and trust me what Drugbaugh said was NOT taken out of context. He called troops who did not support the war as 'phony soldiers'. What an idiot, but don't expect him to lose his job, because the stations who carry his show are owned by the 'right wing media'.

    October 2, 2007 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  19. Bill Both, Terrace, BC

    Whenever a celebrity puts his or her foot in his or her mouth, the line is always, "I was taken out of context." Thanks to CNN for proving that to be untrue.

    As to the notion that Blowhard Limbaugh was talking about one specific person who was a fraud, then why did he speak of "phony soldiers" rather than use the singular form?

    October 2, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. Amy, Morris Plains, NJ

    How much does Reid get paid? $180,000 per year? How much did it cost the US Taxpayer for this nitwit to waste this time to censure Rush L? Get a clue. That's your money he's wasting. That's my money he's wasting.

    October 2, 2007 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  21. chris york sc

    What are the politicians getting paid for? They are worse than a bunch of old women in the union sitting around griping. And with the tax payers money this is all we hear from them, who is there boss? Shouldn't somebody say shut up and get back to work?

    October 2, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  22. Patrick, Miami, FL

    I was listening that day, and his comments related to specifically MacBeth. Note this artical does not spend any time on the story of the Soros funded MoveOn.org's propping up of a 'decorated' soldier MacBeth who turned out to have never been decorated, and only served 47 days in the military...Meaning he never finished boot camp...

    Note how no one did a story on that. Probably we could find it on the cnn.com archive if we spent several hours searching...

    October 2, 2007 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  23. John Bigley, Norfolk, VA

    With Congressional approval ratings hovering close to single digits, Harry Reid and his liberal Democrats are at the point of desperation to deflect attention away from a failed Congress. Reid's attack on Limbaugh has no merit but does prove how the Democrats will resort to outright lies to divert attention away from their well-documented attacks on our brave fighting men and women. CNN is part and parcel of the neo-liberal left, and CNN's own drop in ratings is proof that Americans see CNN for the biased liberal news outlet it is.

    October 2, 2007 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  24. L.J. Evans, Easthampton, MA

    Limbaugh is a hypocrite. He's never served so much as a minute in any war, at any time. For him to criticize those in uniform is disgusting.

    October 2, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  25. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    Within the last month, the left has ruthlessly criticized Republicans every chance they get:

    (1) The NY Times General Petraeus or General Betray Us ad;
    (2) Bill O'Reilly was unjustly slammed for supposedly voicing racial comments;
    (3) Now it's Rush Limbaugh's turn to be lambasted by liberals.

    Meanwhile, our nation and Western values are under attack by intolerant Islamic Fascists who believe "Allah" wants us all dead or converted to Islam.

    Harry Reid is a dangerous phony. He could NOT care less about our brave soldiers.

    I believe America and it's allies will prevail in the War on Terror. Moreover, I will NEVER forget how the far left undermined the war effort every single step of the way.

    October 2, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
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