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. Peg, Brookeland, Texas

    I wonder why so many people refer to George W. Bush as a draft dodger. Are they unaware that he was a fighter jet test pilot during the Vietnam War? That's a pretty dangerous job.

    October 3, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Sonia Texas

    Thanks to Karl Rove and the Republicans we now have a us and them attitude in this country. Who started this red state blue state stuff. Who yelled unamerican when you didnt agree with bush and his politics...The Republicans. The country is in a mess because of the republican party and their greed. The deficit, this phony war it all rests with the Republicans.

    October 3, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Hilary, Rochester NY

    "Fortunately, us liberals understand that the Bill of Rights protects Rush's right to spew his idiocy, the Senate's right to waste time taking stances against it, and your right to make ridiculous hyperbolic criticisms about that."

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Just one bone to pick: it should be "we liberals," not "us liberals."

    October 3, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. Ariane, Layton UT

    I totally and completely agree with Bob that Mike Huckabee is the ONLY man with his heart in any of this. It's so obvious who's heart is cold and who's heart is leading them. From the moment I heard Huckabee, before I even knew who he was, I sensed that he is the only one with a clear enough mind to be the president that we need that does not focus on senseless things such as this. Arguements such as these are for the civilians to waste their time on. When you see the government, especially presidential candidates getting into high school drama like this, that is SCARY. Stuff like this is for us to waste our time on, not the president who has WAY too many more important things to focus on to even notice what a civilians opinion is on a individual who has NOTHING to do with where this country is going! We need someone that is not caught up in America's life-made-television reality show type of lifestyle and actually acts like an adult. Not a 40, 50 or 60 or however year old person thats gotten caught up with the generation of acting like they're stuck in their 20's, acting like they know EVERYTHING (which has proven to make a person close-minded, hence oblivious to the actual present reality) And this is all because their minds have lost touch with their hearts.

    Mike Huckabee is the only one that has a strong heart in this and keeps an equal balance between his heart and his mind. The only thing that has ever lasted through anything or survived even death is the will in the heart of a human. If a candidate with a mind clouded with drama, focusing on anything non heart-driven is elected, we are screwed.

    October 3, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Jil Carlson, Miami, FL

    Where are the PHONY republicans and the PHONY president who vehemently attacked moveon.org ad and passed a resolution in the senate? Why then these PHONY right wingers didn't criticize congress in wasting their time? And now if the senators wrote the letter to Clear Channel, why these PHONY people are bothered about congress's time? These PHONY people are clearly wrapped around Rush who can talk anything to push this PHONY war enforced by this president

    October 3, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Shannon, Champlin Mn

    How can anyone defend Rush Limbaugh, he has insulted many vets, included Murtha, Hagel, Kerry and Cleland. He has called Barack Obama, a happy negro, and said many insulting things about women. I guess it shows what kind of hypocrites Republicans are, condemn an ad asking about the war, but defend a man who insults our soldiers.

    October 3, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Trollmaster, CA

    What needs to be done is all the real Iraq war vetrans opposed to this war need to call Rush on the same day and give him a wake up call and let them know they exist.

    I bet his screener does not let a single one of these calls come through to avoid embarassment.

    October 3, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. ColdRockRand El Paso, Tx

    to all you miserable conservative/trad/repb/reaganrepub, whatever the hell you are calling yourselves this week, dingbaugh, limbat, whatever this pill popper's name is, has supported this WAR, not the soldiers, and you better damn well get the distinction you hatemongerers. You are not America, only a small part.

    October 3, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. Robert

    Look who sounds like a hate monger.

    October 3, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Freddie

    Like it or not there are more conservatives than libs out there.

    October 3, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Chuck, San Fran

    The communists started all this with that betray us add. Now they are trying to discredit anyone who tells the truth.

    October 3, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Brad, Stockton, CA

    JUST SAY NO. If you heard the original remark it is because you chose to listen.

    If you choose not listen to Rush and if you choose not to buy the products of his advertisers and if you choose not to listen to anything owned by an FCC approved media monopoly, Rush would be as insignificant in the media as he is in real life.

    How many people with his drug record would still have a job in the real world?

    October 3, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. brenda mon cty nj

    Oh please we all know what Limbaugh intended – He is a right wing hack blowhard & currently that party does not appear to have any issue with degrading hard working Americans on a daily basis with their policy or pandering.

    October 3, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Jeff, Dayton, OH

    Limbaugh responded, "The phony soldiers."

    Responding to his critics on Friday's show, Limbaugh said he was "taken out of context," adding he was referring to one soldier specifically - Jesse MacBeth, a war critic who falsely claimed to be an Iraq veteran

    Rush, if you want people to think you were taken out of context, you should have said the "phony soldier" not "phony soldiers". Try again!!

    October 3, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. laurinda,ny

    What I'd like to know is what ever happened to Duncan Hunter. He is the only Republican I liked.

    October 3, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    We probably would not be having this discussion if we had had a much more competent president to start with. A good president might have put all our military and diplomatic resources into trying to kill the people who actually caused the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans in our cities during 9/11. Instead, the man who read “The Pet Goat” while hundreds of Americans were dying here has so far sent 3,800 Americans to die and 28,000 Americans to be wounded in a nation that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

    If we had done all we could to catch bin Laden and had succeeded, our troops might be safely home now and Iraq might be fighting Iran instead of us now. But that didn’t happen. As Bush said, “You know, I just don't spend that much time on (Osama bin Laden) to be honest with you." "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about (Osama bin Laden)." Disgraceful and disgusting!

    October 3, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  17. FT Doylestown, Pa

    Once again MoveOn and MediaMatters has laid another BOMB and if this Group thinks it's SMART(and I think they do)they KEEP showing Normal Americans WHY NOT TO LISTEN to anything they write/say or SUPPORT!
    They must all sit around STONED thinking of the next SMEAR ATTACK. You should never do anything until your SOBER guys!
    What they Fail to realize is that most of America Listens to RUSS and heard the Phoney Soldier comment and it's not at all what MediaMatter says.
    The Senators are JUST HORSES ASSES......thus the Very Low Rating of Congress and Senate Speak for it's self.
    Next Week it will be Sean Hannity or they'll just throw a DART at the Names!
    Last Week it was Bill O'Reilly. Oh My!
    OH MY!

    October 3, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    i don't care about the 'phony soldiers' comment; but let's look at harry reid's lack of condemnation for "General Betrayus" ad, and his lack of general support for our military. Should he be talking about undermining our military?

    October 3, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  19. Danni, Dallas, TX

    Limbaugh is such an idiot... with an ego to match. I wouldn't trust this man EVER. He is a total two-faced jerk who thinks it's okay for him to say vile things about others. But let someone say something negative about him or his cronies and he goes ballistic. I'm very disappointed that Clear Channel came to his defense.

    October 3, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. clay, chicago il

    Ron Paul is realistically the second frontrunner in the Republican Party. McCain is in debt, hasn't won many straw pools, and has minimal grass roots support. Fred Thompson has no experience, can't debate, won't last long, minimal grass root support, and pro war. His next quarter funds will decrease after the Hollywood Reagan hype disappears. Romney is actually on equal footing as Paul and Rudy as he funded 6 million to his campaign this quarter with a personal loan. Thus, he has same donation amounts as McCain and Paul. He is Mormon, Pro-war, Pro-Abortion, Flip-Flopper, and fake. His funds should remain strong with good media exposure. Lastly, Rudy won't last long as people are waking up to the lies surrounding the war and 9/11. He is cross dresser, flip-flops, has no understanding of foreign policy, bigger NeoCon than Bush. He hasn't released fund, yet, so most likely cooking the books. Further, his political future surrounds 9/11 fear machine, which people want to move forward to a 9/12 future. He isn't the hero of 9/11, just research his decisions and action this day, ask firefighters, ask the congressional commission on homeland security he quit, ask the multi-million dollar attendees of speeches he gave on profiting from this day.
    The only way the republicans can beat Hillary is with a pro-war republican, which can neutralize this threat as 80% of America wants our troops out of Iraq. This will make it a philosophical and domestic policy debate between parties. Ron Paul can beat Hillary on the WAR, Foreign Policy, and Domestic Issues.
    Can't you republicans who have had your party stolen and principals destroyed by the NeoCons -former liberal democrats (True) – want to Win and get party back, rather than loose and destroy the future of the GOP? Ron Paul is the only one who can win!!

    October 3, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  21. John, St. Louis, Mo

    I honestly dont understand how the democrats can say that our troops are terrorists (kerry) and killing innocent iraqi civilians in cold blood, but then try to challenge Rush on this potential interpretation to such a level for such a slight comment. Where is the public condemnation from you guys on these statements or do you believe Americans are the problem? Here is some advice, America is good, life is not that bad, and each vote you make for a Democrat-Socialist Liberal is one step closer to Soviet Union, China, Cuba and North Korea style govt. You people really dont get it and its sad.

    October 4, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  22. mike, coarsegold. cal

    I guess it would have been ok for mr. Limbaugh to say our troops were 'uneducated terrorists' (like Kerry) or 'liars' (like hillary) or 'losers' (like harry reid). I think harry should go back and ask mr. Soros what he should do next, since he has been bought out by moveon. Reid is a total disgrace.

    October 4, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    John Kerry has NEVER said that our soldiers are "terrorists". That is just wishful thinking by those who only see the world in black and white. Two years ago there were reports that our soldiers were raiding Iraqi homes in the middle of the night. No doubt there were times when it paid off, but frequently it accomplished nothing. Strangers viewing Iraqi women in their night clothes is against their religion customs.

    Kerry only said that such raids were "terrorizing kids and children". Rush Limbaugh, just as when he just falsely created tapes, did not report the truth. He changed "terrorizing kids" into "terrorists". As usual, his completely gullible audience bought it without thinking for themselves. In his effort to distort truth, Limbaugh also intentionally avoided telling listeners Kerry's very next line which explained everything "–Iraqis should be doing that.". Instead of telling what really happened, Limbaugh falsely told his unquestioning supporters about Democrats that "You've gone so far as sending Kerry out on the Sunday shows to tell the American people that American troops are terrorists."

    The obvious reason Democrats don't "publicly condemn" those statements is that they were invented by Rush Limbaugh. It's time for his listeners to start thinking for themselves and "publicly condemn" Limbaugh for not telling the truth. "You people really dont get it and its sad."

    Rather than spend time trashing a war hero like Kerry, Rush's flock should spend time trying to help Bush find just ONE PERSON in the entire world who can verify that he actually put in his time in Alabama, which was 8,000 miles from any enemy bullets.

    October 4, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. A real Vet in Kansas


    Bush was not a fighter test pilot. He was a fighter pilot in an absolete plane in the TX Air National Guard. While flying a jet is dangerous, it has yet to be proven that LT Bush ever completed his military obligations and in fact flew his airplane. It is documented that he refused to take a physical and was grounded. His obligation was that of a pilot, which as far as I can docuement was never completed.

    He has a DD 214 which says he has a honorable discharge from the air guard. But amazingly as the son of a very prominent Texan at the time, no one is clammering to proclaim that they served with him.

    So yes, as far as I am concerned and many other Bush is a Draft Dodger second only to Dick Cheney.

    October 4, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    So yes, as far as I am concerned and many other Bush is a Draft Dodger second only to Dick Cheney.

    Posted By A real Vet in Kansas : October 4, 2007 12:42 pm

    Where would you place Bill Clinton in your little trifecta?

    Thank you for your service.

    Posted by a real vet in Dedham.

    October 4, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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