October 3rd, 2007
12:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Limbaugh's boss weighs in on 'phony soldiers'

Limbaugh set off a firestorm last week with his "phony soldiers" comment.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The company that syndicates Rush Limbaugh's popular radio program defended the conservative talk-show host Wednesday over his controversial "phony soldiers" remark, telling the Senate's top Democrat it is "unfair" to assume his comments were directed at combat soldiers who disagree with the Iraq war.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mark Mays, the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, wrote, "Over the years Mr. Limbaugh has repeatedly praised the dedication and valor of our brave men and women in uniform.

"Given Mr. Limbaugh's history of support for our soldiers, it would be unfair for me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers simply because they didn't share his own beliefs regarding the war in Iraq," he added.

Mays' letter was a response to a letter sent by Reid Tuesday, and signed by 41 Senate Democrats, calling on Clear Channel to publicly repudiate the comments. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, were among the senators that signed the letter.

Limbaugh's comments in question came last Wednesday when Limbaugh 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.

Full story 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Harry Reid • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Peter, Amiyville, NY

    This is just a cheap political jab by Harry Reid and friends.

    They must really care about the troops.

    After all, they haven't done a thing to end this war.

    October 3, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. Jim, Burlington NC

    Mays is a major donor to the RNC, and was one of Bush's "Pioneers", he knows what Murdock knows – hate filled sensationalism sells. That's why all the koolaide drinkers love Limbaugh – he says outrageous things, because he makes money for his boss.

    I'm still waiting on this windbag to say one rational thing.

    On the other side of this coin though is that I don't think the Sente should have devoted 1 moment to this.

    October 3, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Jack, Trenton, NJ


    I heard that broadcast. It was the only AM channel I could receive clearly in my vehicle at the time. I was so certain Limbaugh was referring to Jesse MacBeth and others like him that I am appalled by Reid's response. I find it gauling that Reid should attempt to profit politically off two words he thought he could pluck from a transcript. With such immature comments as "what's good for the goose ..." and "maybe Limbaugh was high on his drugs" coming out of the Democrats, it is transparent that this is an attempt to offset measure for measure the censure of Hillary Clinton's MoveOn.org and an attempt to capitalize on what currently passes for public sentiment against radio talk show hosts living in the wake of Howard Stern's firing.

    October 3, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Armands Washington, D.C.

    Other than the current administrations Junta style crackdown on American's civil liberties – tell me when U.S. freedoms have been under attack and required defending. Enough of the cliches – lets start discussing substantively

    October 3, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Michael, Anchorage

    "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."

    Right, despite never mentioning that name in the broadcast, despite using the plural form of soldiers, despite making similar statements over the years against Paul Hackett, Max Cleland, and numerous others, and despite this conversation with this caller immediately following his berating a self-identified republican veteran who disagreed with him on the war because no real republican or veteran would hold such views...yeah, of course this cover story must be true and not another pathetic lie on Limbaugh's part for his gullible audience to eat up.

    October 3, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Armands Washington, D.C.

    Haven't done a thing to end the war?....they've tried. Unfortunately stupidy runs so deep within this nation's government and those electing them, that the fools still rule and democrats are unable to make gains.

    October 3, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. P J Evans

    I understand that the soldiers would rather have more music than more right-wing broadcasters like Rush. (And they don't get left-wing broadcasts at all: can we say management bias?)

    I'd like Congress to get us out of Iraq, instead of wasting time on free speech that they clearly don't believe in.

    October 3, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Richard Lyons

    To provide appropriate perspective, this article should provide some idea of Mr. Limbaugh's military service.

    October 3, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. slimegreen

    Its "BUSH's WAR" said the mindless 110th Congress leadership as they continue to ignore America's calls for the troops to come home..

    October 3, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Austin, Cape Girardeau MO

    All the Dems do is complain, complain, complain and take no action and just blame America. Clinton and/or Obama will run this country into the ground. They (the Democrats) are already doing it just so they get votes.

    October 3, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Lee, Ann Arbor, MI

    When will the Senate meet to rebuke the many democratic elected officials for their statements that condemn the military (Reid, Kerry, Pelosi, etc)?

    The democrats can say ANYTHING and the liberal press gives them a FREE PASS; but have a conservative say something, and the dems and press take it out of context and try to crucify the person.


    October 3, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Kendo Shinichi - Youngstown, OH


    Please stop assailing poor Jeff Christie. All of you right-wing nuts, keep buying bumping stickers and ad time!

    October 3, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Liam Burke, Buffalo, New York

    Am I the only one who sees these types of stories for what they are?

    MoveOn.org says some things Republicans don't like and they cry "Make them be quiet!"

    Rush says some things the Democrats don't like and they cry "Make them be quiet!"

    The key part of all this is that people who are expressing opinions are being told that not only do they have to be quiet, but that they shouldn't have said those things at all.
    Am I the only one that is a little nervous at all the political figures voting on how to censor people, or make them take back things they have professed? Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, it doesn't matter, everyone gets to say what they want. And everyone gets to disagree if they want.
    I'm just really not looking forward to waking up one day with a black censor bar taped to my mouth.

    October 3, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Notice how fast Hillary jumps on board condemning THIS issue?

    Typical. She says NOTHING about Moveon.Org which assualted a decorated 4-Star General, but condemns Rush because he called-out a guy who falsely claimed to have served in Iraq. The "evidence" liberals have is the "S" in soldiers.

    Keep defending Moveon.Org and attacking Rush. Politics as usual.

    October 3, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Albert Miranda, Rancho Santa Margarita, California

    Limbaugh should be taken off Armed Forces Radio. If this were a more liberal talk show host that is exactly what would be called for by the Republicans. My father was in WWII, My uncle was in Korea, My brother was in Germany during the Berlin crisis, I was in Vietnam and my son just got back from Iraq. Russ Limbaugh never stepped up and those that listen to him probably have not either.

    October 3, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Dr Atomic

    Rush implied that any soldier who isn't pro-Bush is a 'phony.' Then he gave one example to 'prove' his point. He also said Michael J. Fox could stop shaking any time.

    October 3, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Miami Florida

    Rush Limbaugh is an uneducated, irrational representative of the Republican party; he is a hot-head typical of any extreme wing.

    October 3, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Toby, DC

    Sucks when Vicodin Boy is at the other end of the beatdown stick, now.... doesn't it? Maybe the Senate should pass a resolution (like the one against moveon) condemning VicoBoy.

    (btw, it's the lack of Repugnican support that prevents the Senate from going to Cloture to vote on bringing the troops back. Who's supporting whom??)

    October 3, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Johnny Round Rock, Texas

    Ah, THIS is good news! The Dhimmicrats are obviously getting full of themselves, to the point that they have to make up stuff and misquote people to get attention. Those are called lies. And, they're called liars. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Dingy Harry rides again....

    October 3, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. David Gonzalez, Los Angeles California

    Please don't give this drug addict and Republican pawn any attention. It is a complete waste of time.

    October 3, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Tim

    Turn off any "Clear Channel" station NOW. Let them know idiots like Rush are not OK with thinking Americans.

    October 3, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Trevor, delanaga, GA

    he should go after the real Phony soldiers...AWOL-Bush,Rove,Dan Senor, Bremer, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the chicken hawks, won't anyone make this obvious connection and RUN WITH IT?

    October 3, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    I have listened to the call...I have read the typed-out text...it is clear to me that when Rush Limbaugh said "phony soldiers" he meant soldiers who didn't support the war. You may agree or disagree with that statement, but don't let this forked-tongue hatemonger fool you; that IS who he was talking about

    October 3, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Raymond, El Paso TX

    "Listen to the whole unedited Limbaugh audio from his show. Then read what the liberal democrats in the Senate said about it. If you are an honest person you have just been shown why decent, honest people cannot support democrats. If being honest, fair and truthful have any value in your heart, you will never again cast a vote for a democrat."

    Since the Democrats took a slight majority in the Senate and House, and it was the American people that voted for them, I guess you're saying over half the American voters are indecent, dishonest, unfair, untruthful and have no value in their heart.

    October 3, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. greg phila. pa

    Limbaugh's fetid pronouncements reek of a man saturated in and rotted by hate. His response to the vote vets ad speaks volumes about his allegiances. Clearly he is no patriot but a man who believes his party is paramount and even combat soldiers who disagree with him are to be damned. He likened a man who risked his life in combat fighting for our ideals to a suicide bomber! a pawn. How insulting and vile.
    To listen to Limbaugh is to bathe in filth.

    October 3, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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