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. Rob, Minneapolis, MN

    Doug, if being "honest, fair, and truthful" are your reasons for never again voting for a Democrat, I certainly hope you are or are becoming a Libertarian. I'd hate to see you espouse those values to validate voting for one of the current crop of Republicans.

    October 3, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Nick, Harvard MA

    I love how this so-called "news report" cuts the transcript right in the middle so that it looks as bad as possible. If they had actual journalistic integrity they would include the whole transcript where Rush explains that he is referring to a specific soldier who washed out of boot camp then lied about seeing atrocities in Iraq, when he had never even been there, and other similar situations.

    October 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. JB Boston MA


    Everyone admits that if the Dems had the political fortitude, they could end this war today. Stop the money, stop the war. They don't want to, evidenced by Hillary saying war will go thru 2013. They just told you what you wanted to hear to get your vote. Do you feel used?

    October 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    When Limbaugh gets done with his double-talk, the indisputable facts remain. If you go to his official website and look at his official transcript, you will find that he NEVER once mentions MacBeth or "phony soldiers" before his infamous comment. He also says the plural "soldiers" and not "soldier" as used by some of his supporters as an excuse.

    Yes, he has mentioned both subjects before, but NOT on that show. Rush also intentionally failed to admit to his listeners that he had doctored his tapes by deleting a minute and a half in order to disgracefully try to convince his gullible fans that the reference to MacBeth had immediately followed the "phony soldiers" comment. That's not much of a sales pitch for integrity. It was that phony tape that he sent to the Armed Forces Network to use.

    Yes, phony soldiers do exist. Yes, phony commentators do exist, too, as demonstrated by Limbaugh who has freely admitted that it has been his effort to "try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it." His listeners must be so proud of that statement that also reflects on their ability to think for themselves.

    October 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Liberal Lee, New York

    I think there's a big difference between signing a letter to the CEO of Clear Channel, and voting to approve a resolution condemning an advertisement. One is communication, the other a legislative act. I am glad Mrs. Clinton did the former, and declined to do the latter.

    October 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Bill, Miami FL

    Why does CNN continue to misrepresent what Rush Limbaugh said? They are spot-quoting him and making it sound like the opposite of what he really said. Is there any journalistic integrity left in America?

    October 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. jay

    Rush got a deferment from Vietnam due to anal cysts. What do you expect from a coward? sheesh, some of you are actually shocked that a person such as Rush, who hates America more than he hates himself would say such a thing..

    October 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Rich Chicago, IL

    ASSAULTED Petraeus? Give me a break. That's just more rhetoric, just like the hypocrite Rush Limbaugh. He was not referring specifically to Jesse MacBeth, but to those SOLDIERS who do not agree with his b.s. He didn't even REFER to MacBeth at the time!

    The second he was caught illegally obtaining prescription drugs after all his tough talk about coming down hard on drug users this man lost all credibility. But fear and hate sell, so line up you lemmings.

    October 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Clinton Andrews, Grosse Pointe, Michigan

    Time for Rush to check in to Betty Ford. It works for every other celebrity who puts their foot in their mouth; it will work for Rush.

    October 3, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Robert, Galena, Illinois

    Perhaps the CEO can explain how Rush avoided the draft. I would like to know, because I went in his place. Well, maybe not me personally, but someone did. For those of us who did go, a boil on the ass seems pretty phony in itself. He seems to represent the far right rather well in that respect.

    October 3, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Bob, Seattle, WA

    Common sense prevails. Liberals hear what they want to hear. The truth is stretched by those who get in bed with the likes of Media Matters, Soros, and Clinton. Too bad there isn't a real democrat that is truly looking out for all of America (Red, White, and Blue). Sorry state of affairs for politics. Which is why Congress' approval rating is the lowest in recorded history. Mindless bickering. Take a long look at Mike Huckabee. Listen to him. He has a heart and mind for AMERICA. For him, it is about AMERICA. It is not all about him. There isn't a candidate on either side that can say the same thing.

    October 3, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    Just wanted to say that Obama looks like a hypocrit on this b/c he wouldnt come out against the move-on ad saying that he thought it was a waste of congress' time yet he co-signed this letter. Very dissapointing.

    October 3, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Lio, Eugene, Oregon

    Rush Limbaugh's comments are so out of line. Our tax money should not pay for this sicko to tell lies to our military. He should be removed from Armed Forces Radio immediately!

    October 3, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Lance, Layton UT

    Rush should DEFER in commenting about soldiers as the boil on his buttocks seems to get in the way of his thinking.

    Note to those who don't know. Limbaugh didn't fight in Vietnam because he continuously received deferments for problems on his behind. That's why he's certainly a brave man when it comes to others risking their lives.

    October 3, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Steve

    "Listening to the entire dialogue it is obvious that Rush Limbaugh was referring to the "soldier" who for whjatever reason had not served but rather had embellished their time for their own self-acclaim by making up stories about their "valor"."

    No, Brainwashed Dumb American, you listened to the sanitized version that your phony hero put out with 35 seconds deleted.

    Find the real conversation, then go ahead and apologize for being so easily culled.

    October 3, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. J. Shaw

    With all the criticism that the military has withstood over the course of the last several years, it is outrageous that a comment such as this should even be considered to be newsworthy. It is so obvious that there is a bigger political objective that motivated the Senate's respose, namely the destruction of "right wing" talk radio. Those in government, who are trying to set the stage to underminine the "fairness doctrine", have no clue the force they will unleash if they tamper with free speech. The fury over the immigration bill this past summer will pale in comparison to what will happen if the powers that be try to "shut up" alternative views. People in power (and out) have no idea how many independents will be moved to action if they believe there is a serious effort to undermine anyone's freedom, irrespective of whether or not they agree with their point of view.

    People are waking up to the fact that this is not a controversy over what someone said, but an attempt to attack on the right of freedom of speech. Everyone, no matter what their political perspective and no matter their interpretation of what was said, should be outraged that the Senators would abuse their authority to attack a private citizen. Who among us will be free to express our views if the Senate's conduct is excused, or worse still, justified.

    October 3, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Omar, Phoenix, AZ

    Limbaugh is a waste of time. He is a war-mongering know nothing with a radio voice and pure evil in his soul

    As far as James' comment about Hillary: She was the one that was attacked by Giuliani personally for the Moveon ad, one that she had nothing to do with. And the entire Congress had to waste time voting to discredit this ad.

    Bill Clinton said it best with his "feigned outrage" comments. All of this is to take away from the real issue: How to end this war!

    Let people say what they want. As an elected official, we didn't put you in office to try and stifle free speech or "condemn" anything. We voted for you so that you can do our bidding, which by the results of the 06' election, was ending this war!

    October 3, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Steve

    Notice how fast Hillary jumps on board condemning THIS issue?

    RE:CLINTON: "Typical. She says NOTHING about Moveon.Org which assualted a decorated 4-Star General,..."

    Assaulted? You lie. The Move On ad simply pointed out what a liar Paetreus and his boss Howdy Doody are.
    That's not assault; that's telling the truth.

    " 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. "

    There was no such guy. Damn, Limbaugh followers are idiots.

    October 3, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Pete, NY, NY

    I am no fan of Rush Limbaugh or any other one-way talking head but that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama would take the time to sign such a letter to Clear Channel regarding this matter – which may have referenced a person posing as a combat veteran and who was not – and yet didn't think it necessary to repudiate Moveon.org for what was a blatant and obvious attack on the integrity of a decorated, standing officer just goes to show you who they BELONG to. It is disgusting and in the general election will come back to bite us in the you-know-what. Sit back and watch. I am ashamed of being a Democrat when I read stuff like this.

    October 3, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. John, New York City

    You guys at CNN are as bad as Reid in taking this story out of context. I love how you left the Limbaugh side of the story out of the first five paragraphs, and only after the "Read full story" link. The conversation was about McBeth, who was propped up by anti-war groups as an Iraq veteran describing atrocities performed by our soldiers. It turned out that he failed out of boot camp and never was in Iraq. That's what Limbaugh was talking about. Better zip it up Ted Turner, your agenda is showing.

    October 3, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Peggy, Houston, TX

    Rush Limbaugh and all those like him are what are wrong with this country today. What a hypocrite, Rush Limbaugh is the master of taking things out of context. He is nothing but a bought-and-paid-for talk show hate monger.

    October 3, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. steve, fort worth, texas

    Brave talk for a wuss that probably never thought about serving in the military. "Walk the Walk" you moron.

    October 3, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Liam Burke, Buffalo, New York

    To: Shaw

    Thank God someone else gets it.

    October 3, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Marc, Sacramento, CA

    Can someone explain to me how Rush, who avoided military service because of a cyst on his (fat) ass thinks he can judge who is and who isn't a real soldier? (and please don't use the hydrocodone excuse–that gets old!) The man's hypocracy knows no bounds, although it does make for good theater.

    October 3, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Irene Jones, Santa Barbara, California

    And rightly Clear Channel should stand behind Limbaugh - CNN your bias is showing again - you have such a knack for reporting only selective information - thank goodness Glenn Beck is on your team or I would never bother to check out what your latest bias is.

    October 3, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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