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. Sonia Texas

    Im for free speech. I ignore the fat bloviating pig called Limbaugh anyway. As to Moveon.org. They were correct. Petraus did betray us. He let the white house use him and his uniform for political purposes. Plus he lied to congress. Uniform or no uniform petraus lied. Moveon.org just pointed out the truth.

    October 3, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Toby, DC

    and on the by and by...

    MoveOn *PAID* for their ad to be in the paper that we buy and read.

    Rush gets paid to spew his incoherent babble on public airwaves, and is paid for by his handlers oops... employers and their handlers oops... advertisers. (yes, I have a choice of channels, but it's still public...)

    October 3, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Jim P Austin, TX

    The Democrats look stupid on this one.

    It was a comment on a commment made by someone else. You can't read anything near what they are alleging into it.

    Try again, Harry Reid, you just look more foolish every time you open your mouth.

    I don't watch or listen to Rush but he had consistently supported the troops and to suggest otherwise is a lie.

    October 3, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. John Bryon

    He is a chicken hawk. It is easy to support a war when your rear isn't on the line. Lets get chubby there out with a M-4 and defend "freedom". And I mean going in combact without any Oxycotin to kill the pain.
    What is truly more amazing than his stupid comments are that there are people that still listen to this rogue after all the contradictionary things he has done.tool.

    October 3, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Greg in Detroit, Michigan

    WHY is our government wasting tax payers time and money debating and making resolutions to vote upon people excising their free speech? whether those statements are taken out of context, in context, hate spewing, media printing, loving, person bashing or otherwise, etc. What Rush said, or what Hillary said, or what a political watchdog group put in an ad is not the business of the country. The proposal and vote will not change any law or tax. It will not bring resolution to the issues that matter in the US or impact anything happening in the world.

    October 3, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Robert Trebes

    Listen to the Rethuglicans howl like stuck pigs when their own tactics are turned against them. Literally for generations they've impugned the patriotism of anyone who disagreed with them. MoveOn borrows their language to criticize a political general who's hiding behind his medals to do the bidding of his civilian masters, and it's as if they'd questioned his mother's species. Give me a break. I've yet to hear anyone go beyond the ad's headline and question the accuracy of its charges, and that's what's important. And by the way, who gave the Congress the authority to decide what American citizens can and cannot say in newspaper ads? I thought the First Amendment said that Congress could make no law on that subject.

    October 3, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. S Lightsey, Austin TX

    This thread exposes the alarming truth of how well the political leaders of this country are succeding in their goal to keep Americans divided. We, the citizens of the United States, are the losers here. The vast majority of us, are not wealthy and are doing all we can to stay afloat. The politicians of this great country are the problem. They are the wealthy, and elite who continually come up with ways to make them more wealthy and more elite on our dime. Folks, stop for a moment, and look at what you are arguing over. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. That's it! Nothing more. Those that oppose what he said are elected officials who are supposed to work for the citizens of this country. Tell me what exactly we are accomplishing by trying to get this entertainer person to apologize for something he said? These are your political leaders. Why are they so involved with this? It doesn't matter if it's democrat or republican. Both disgust me! Neither party cares about this country. If they did, don't you think one of them could have turned this country around and get it going in the right direction? Do you think either have done that? I don't. We spend billions of dollars in Iraq, while our bridges collapse due to poor maintenance. Governor Rick Perry (Texas) is paying $9,900 a month in rent while the governor's "Mansion" is being renovated. Why is that a necessary expense? Yes, that is your tax dollars at work. The bottom line is, it's not up to the government to fix our problems. For the past half century they have proven neither party can fix anything. Only make it worse. The sad truth is, as long as they keep us divided on issues that don't matter, things will only get worse, and the separation between the ruling class and the working class will only get wider. United we stand, divided we fall.

    Rick Perry's new pad.

    October 3, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "... MoveOn.org which assaulted a decorated four-star general..." posted by Conservative James from conservative Phoenix AZ.

    The Petraus ad by MoveOn.org was puerile. It is very immature to attack someone by mocking his name or rhyming it with an unkind word. They are idiots.

    However, the posture that Conservatives have taken is equally idiotic. They were "deeply offended." They had fainting spells. They got the vapors. They swooned. They were shocked. They had to take an extra valium. "How DARE they ... how COULD they say such a thing?" cried weeping Conservatives with trembling lips.

    You Conservatives can get away with some pretty outrageous things, but hurt feelings and shocked indignation just don't seem to be a working part of your repertoire. What would be more natural for Conservatives would be to find a few gay guys working for MoveOn and out them, arguing that their attack on Petraus was part of the homosexual plot to attack our children's masculine role models. That is more your style.

    For Conservatives to pretend to have delicate feelings would be like putting Herman Munster in a tutu. It just doesn't work.

    Their pose of shocked indignation was laughably preposterous.

    Let a decorated, retired four star general come out AGAINST the war and let's see how many rhymes Conservatives can find in the dictionary to insult HIM.

    October 3, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Frank Moran, Harrisonburg, VA

    I'm not a Rush fan, and don't listen to him. However, the comment does appear to have been taken out of context. More importantly, I criticize both Republicans and Democrats for automatically discounting any comment or idea that comes from the "other side." How about actually thinking and analyzing a situation before the knee jerk reaction comes out?
    Frank in Virginia

    October 3, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee

    Notwithstanding that Mr. Mays has done a wonderful job being the son of a very rich person, neither he nor is father list military service in their biographies. Mr. Limbaugh's lack of military service is well known. Given his apparent expertise he should go to Iraq to prove to us what a "good" soldier is like.

    October 3, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Matt Iowa City, IA

    Doesn't Harry Reid have anything better to do? Also, I don't think it is fair for CNN to add [Iraq war critics] to Rush's quote, when he already came on the air to tell everyone that is not what he meant.

    October 3, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. JJ, Sacramento, CA

    "The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said.

    Seems like "soldiers" is plural... not just one phony soldier. Bottom line - Rush is a narrow minded hypocrite who would be in jail right now if not for his dubious celebrity.

    October 3, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Steve, Winston-Salem, NC

    Why isn't Limbaugh over in Iraq? Could it be he is a coward? Like the Cain that is in the White House?

    October 3, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. jvl, Springfield, VA

    Rush Limbaugh...a phony patriot. Never wore a uniform, dodged the draft, against a tax increase to pay for the war (taxes were increased during WW2 and Vietnam), says drug addicts should be thrown in jail until HE admits he's a drug addict. If anyone is a phony, it's Limbaugh.

    October 3, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Glenn L. Spitzer, Sacramento, CA

    The real issue is that none of these politicians or talking heads such as W, Cheney, Rice, Hannity, Levin and Limbaugh, et al. were ever in the military.

    They talk the talk, but they never walked the walk. It is disgusting that thesee folks have no problem in sending in others to do their bidding, but when it came time for them to serve there was the sound of a one handed clap.

    True hypocrites.

    October 3, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    MoveOn.Org attacked the integrity a single U.S. soldier while Rush Limbaugh attacked the integrity of every U.S. soldier that disagrees with his point of view.

    What are the chances that there will be a vote on a Senate Resolution denouncing Limbaugh's statement?

    October 3, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Val R SLC

    People, get real.

    Jesse MacBeth is the "Phony solider".

    But Congress is blind. Politics makes strange leaders.

    Stop reading something into a comment that isn't there. You look stupid.

    October 3, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Peter, Huntsville, AL

    His comment was specifically addressing the issue of people claiming they were soldiers and giving interviews, or at soldiers claiming they had done things when they hadn't.

    The are only two news story here. One, is how the liberal media twisted his words and made it into a story. Two, is how the media doesn't even fact check people they are interviewing and verify their claims are true, especially when they are telling them what they want to hear.

    October 3, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. B McMann

    Limbaugh is banking that everyone who listens to him is as much as an idiot as he is and doesn't know or care about the real facts. I mean honestly–why are our tax dollars going to this hypocrytical drug addict? We should use force to have him removed and then send him to war.

    October 3, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Jeramy, Houston, TX

    A bunch of criticism from people who havent listened to the unedited audio clips....ignorance at it's finest. But democrats will do anything to get a jab at Rush because of his enormous success. Also anyone who listens to Rush knows that he appreciates what the military does. In fact, I have free access to his site because I am in the military....

    October 3, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Kathie Arbogast, Topeka, Kansas

    Rush Limbaugh is hypocrital and should not be taken seriously

    October 3, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Jim Pistritto, Palm City Fl.

    What I'm getting out of this is Rush – private citizen – is being censored by people in office (Democrates)and his freedom of speech is being taken away. Is this going to happen to all Americans. Even if he only meant the one so called solider, he has a right to his opinion. How come when Democrates or for that matter politian’s in general, can say things that are false, they are not held accountable. I'm really tired of all the belly aching and finger pointing from both sides. Just tell us what you are going to do to help this country if elected. That is all that really matters. If you don't have a plan then get out of running!

    October 3, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Jim, Newark NJ

    How can anyone seriously believe Limbaugh's claim that he was talking about one specific person? The statements, "They like to pull these soldiers..." and "The phony soldiers" clearly are using the plural, and clearly are referring to an unspecified generality.

    October 3, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. thomas fletcher

    Another good reason not to vote democrap. theinsults to the troops made by the dems and their mouthpieces pale to what any republican has ever said.

    October 3, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Jeff Barnett Austin, TX

    This is SO obviously a desperate ploy by Dems to look like they support the troops. The irony is glaring after all their efforts to sabotage the war effort, and Rush's genuine support for the troops. (Trip to Afghanistan, free stuff from his Web site, the simple moral re-enforcement so they aren't discouraged by the constant talk of failure from the left.)

    Any intelligent person can listen to the whole thing and understand what he meant. I heard it live, and didn't jump to the bone-head conclusion others have leapt to.

    October 3, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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