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. George Washington DC

    When a mouth is as big as Limbaugh's the foot is most certain to go in.

    October 2, 2007 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  2. Mike Mannix, Wilbraham, MA

    How would Limbaugh know a phony soldier from a real soldier? He and his fellow "HAWKS" never served! If they had they would have taken a different venue than putting our children in harm's way.

    October 2, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  3. matt, philladelphia, pa

    I love how everybody here is jumping on the Hate Rush bandwagon when NONE OF YOU HEARD THE BROADCAST. If you had you would also know the context of the comment referred to ONE person, held up as a media darling but later shown to have lied about his background.

    October 2, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  4. Rosanna Townsend, Augusta, Mi

    Mr Reid lied through his teeth about what Rush Limbaugh said about 'phony soldiers'. I heard the broadcast that day and want to say " nice try Harry but that lie won't fly in this house'.Sincerely, Rosanna Townsend, Augusta, Mi

    October 2, 2007 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  5. Chip Celina OH

    PT Barnum would be proud of our Congress. He'd be nearly as proud of the posters on this blog. For MoveOn, it's a free speech issue, but when Rush is the target, it's a bold move.

    The bold movers that were elected in 2006 to change the course of the war just passed a 150 billion dollar bill to keep it going. It was a close vote too, 92-3. Our Senate, in its infinite wisdom and where much experience abounds, has categorized Iran's army as terrorists. The government of Iran returned the favor by recognizing the CIA and US Army as terrorist groups. Now the stage is set, they can go after our troops and call it part of their 'war on terror' to which our government (with the blessing of Congress) will have to respond. So, thanks Hillary and the rest of your ilk for opening this door of opportunity.

    In addition, Ted Kennedy, whom the great story about Dems seeking his endorsement headlined the ticker yesterday, strapped Hate Crimes legislation to the back end of the defense authorization bill. Perhaps a political ploy to bring a veto on so the Dems can say, well we funded it, the president vetoed it. We support the troops, he doesn't. Out with all of these varmints.
    But their game works! Get a story in the press that vilifies an out of context remark so the people argue about BS and call each other names, while behind their back we pull a fast one.

    October 2, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  6. Gunner Reed

    I don't know why everyone is so harsh on Rush, he never takes anything out of context. He's just a straight shooter that has no hidden agenda's or axes to grind. How dare anyone inpugn his integrity? He's the most misunderstood pundit in the political realm today. And those who follow him lock and step shouldn't have the burden of constantly setting the record straight for they who don't know a fair and balanced genius if it slapped them in the face. I admire Rush for standing for truth in spite of the toll he knows he'll take in attacking his integrity and credibility. He's got the moxy and courage that everyone craves so instead of attacking him, we should be pledging our unwavering and unequivocal allegiance to him. I'll go to the front battle lines with this true patriot anyday. He's proven his service to our great country time after time and has earned the right to critique and criticize anyone from private to general, councilman to President.

    October 2, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. Mike, Mt laurel, NJ

    Why didn't CNN post a link to the transcript of Limbaugh's comments? I'm a soldier, my fellow soldiers and I discussed this and can only laugh at Reid and company. Democrats lose on this one.

    October 2, 2007 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  8. David Rochester NY

    Although I am glad that the Democratic leadership has shown a spine and stood up to thease shamless attacks and lies. I must say this is what they want just like they wanted the Moveon.org issue. They will do what ever they have to do to not talk about the real issue . The War

    October 2, 2007 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  9. James Allen, Sanford, NC

    The most phony soldier that every lived is George W. Bush, and now he is commander-in-chief.

    October 2, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  10. ProudVet miami fl

    all of you defenders of that low life drug addict...you have gone as low as a snake ass can go and furthermore....you are as useless as tits on a bull..be a real patriot, enlist in any branch of the armed forces if you have the guts to do it.

    October 2, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  11. Ben M; Franklin, GA

    Is there really a well-known Democratic radio personality? And there are 2 different types with totally different reasons that join the military: those that serve to protect our way of life and those that serve for self-fullfilling reasons (money, education, status). I'll bet 99% of the soldiers that are critical of the war fall into the second category.

    October 2, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  12. connie tampaFlorida

    Plesae stop wasting time on this and cut taxes YOU MORONS!!!!!!!!!

    October 2, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  13. Bob, Buffalo, NY

    Why is it ok for the Republicans to demand that Democrats denounce moveon.org for something that moveon.org published but when Democrats question Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment they're "taking it out of context" or trying to discredit "effective and powerful" people? It appears that Republicans can dish it out but can't take it. When will BOTH parties realize that we the people are sick and tired of the petty games they play with each other? Let's get on with managing our government, which is in dire straits, instead of trying to make each other look bad, which ultimately backfires anyway.

    October 2, 2007 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. Moe, Clinton, TN

    My, my, my.... Mr. Excellence in Broadcasting on loan from God sure screwed this one up. As much as I hate to admit it but I heard the interview on the radio only because the local talk show here in Tennessee is a nothing but a Republican mouth piece. But it’s amazing how someone how “claims” to be so perfect is such an abusive person and a liar.
    He is constantly calling people names, seems to me, he likes to always distort the truth. He always runs his sound bites about others… but now that he’s made a “mistake” everyone else is wrong…. Surly not….. Not Mr. Excellence in broadcasting. But then again your talking about someone damns drug addicts and then low and behold the mighty one “On Loan from God” is a DRUG ADDICT! But then again most Republicans / Conservatives seem to think to be a Christian you have to be a Republican… interesting thought on this… I have never seen anything in the four Bibles I own about either party being exclusive to God… another slanting of the truth to make themselves “look better”… it funny it does remind me of something in the Bible. Most Bible thumping Republicans remind me of the Pharisees… but then again I bet most how read this will have no clue what I mean because they have NEVER read the Bible.

    October 2, 2007 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. J.Crobuzon

    Like Sarah Silverman and Don Imus, he's only a comedian saying the nasty things his audience wants to hear. Why does anyone listen to the toadlike fellow anyway? Perhaps this is his 'Don Imus Moment' and he will go away now.

    October 2, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. Jamie, Atlanta, GA

    How is Limbaugh even a factor in the political debate anymore? He himself has been discredited and proven himself to be a hypocrite by illegally obtaining and abusing prescription drugs. He shouldn't even be a factor at all. Further, what branch of the service was he in? Which war did he serve in? Oh yeah . . . nothing. If a soldier goes and fights, regardless of whether or not they come home, they have been given an exceptional right to criticize or comment in any way on the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't think Limbaugh can say, with a straight face, that his comment was taken out of context given the plural nature of the words in his sentence. He's a quack who spews ultra-conservative bias. It really is hard to believe that he still has an active voice in politics. If he's got so many great ideas, why doesn't he run for elected office?

    October 2, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  17. Kristi, Louisville, Ky

    Its just "free speech" when every nut job at moveon.org or Cindy Sheehan says something ridiculous but when a conservative criticizes a democrat (even slightly) its considered a hate crime or something? Sounds like someone doesn't like the taste of their own medicine.

    October 2, 2007 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  18. jake bly davenport, IA

    'Anyone not blinded by conservative hatred could see that.'

    Yet somehow you defend someone blinded by their acute, pointed, and unapologetic hatred of liberals. Round and round we go. Nice.


    October 2, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  19. Smarterthanyou

    I would think that our political leaders have more to worry about then the rantings of a drug-induced, egotistical radio talk show host.

    October 2, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. The Truth, Orlando

    Looks like the dems and the media (cnn) forgot to do their homework again. Rush was talking about one person who was making false accusations that the left propped up. This just goes to show you that the dems and the left media (cnn) are more concerned with sound bites instead of the truth. Imagine That!

    Shouldn’t they be focusing on getting the troops out of Iraq or did they just say that to get elected?

    October 2, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  21. Sue in Michigan

    The best thing to do is not give this story any legs at all...Limbaugh wouldn't know an apology if it bit him in his fat fanny, and the Democrats are wasting time on this, just like the entire Congress did with the MoveOn ad...it was an AD designed to spark some dialog. Frankly, had Bush NOT made his little secret trip to visit the General immediately before his testimony, he would have come off as more believable. We have real business to conduct here, like impeaching the cowards and liars in the WH, but somehow the distractions are easier to deal with. Sad.

    October 2, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  22. pat peachtree city ga

    rush limbaugh is irrelevant – why do we need this story on cnn.

    October 2, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  23. Joe Schmo

    Murtha and Durbin are praised by dems when they demean the troops. Rush was exposing a lib mascarading as a soldier. The truth hurts.

    October 2, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  24. Fred Hermans, Neshanic Station NJ

    Mr. Reid seems to be a hypocrite in this debate. Why was Hillary and Moveon.org given a pass when attacking a Four Star General? Shame on you Harry!

    October 2, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  25. Steven, Cuernacaca Mexico

    I heard the statement made by Limbaugh and the reference to Jesse MacBeth. I had never heard of Macbeth before so I decided to do some research about the case and about how this phony soldier had been used by the left to promote their message. I wish people would do the same and look at the specific case that Limbaugh was referring to. Everyone should be outraged by this phony and should be condemning him. However, if you look at the case under CNN, you'll only find reference to the Limbaugh article, with no reference to the facts of the case. Why doesn't CNN write about this case?

    October 2, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
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