October 20th, 2007
12:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Reid's slam on Limbaugh fetches $2.1 million

The top bidder paid over $2 million for a Senate letter slamming Limbaugh.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – What’s the going price for a letter signed by 41 Senate Democrats officially condemning conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh’s recent controversial 'phony soldiers' comments?

$2.1 million, apparently.

That was the winning eBay.com bid Friday for a letter sent to Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays officially calling on him to condemn the comments in question. The letter was written by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and signed by 40 Democratic senators, including White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Mays refused to condemn the remarks and Limbaugh placed Reid's letter on the popular auction Web site last Friday, pledging to match whatever it fetched and donate it all to The Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation.

When the Ticker first checked in Tuesday, the bidding stood at $50,000 - already a significant price for a standard Senate letter, but ultimately more than $2 million short of what the letter finally fetched Friday.

“The government tried to take away my living, by sending this letter to Mark Mays at Clear Channel and asking him to confer with me about my remarks,” Limbaugh said on his show Friday announcing the winning bid. “Private citizens, of their own accord - without a government mandate, without an Al Gore pledge - responded with creativity, and charity, and a sense of fun.”

Limbaugh identified the winning bidder as Betty Casey, a philanthropist and trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation

“We cannot thank her enough for her support in this, and I am honored, and proud, and happy to be matching her,” Limbaugh said of Casey.

And in a unique twist of fate, Reid took to the Senate floor Friday complimenting Limbaugh for his use of the letter. (Watch Reid on the Senate floor)

“Now, everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh and I don't agree on everything in life and maybe that is kind of an understatement,” Reid said. “But without qualification, Mark Mays, the owner of the network that has Rush Limbaugh, and Rush Limbaugh should know that this letter that they're auctioning is going to be something that raises money for a worthwhile cause.”

Though Limbaugh made clear he wasn’t ready to bury the hatchet with the Senate’s top Democrat.

“I asked Senator Reid to go on the program and discuss his discussion of me as ‘unpatriotic,’” Limbaugh said on his show Friday after Reid’s speech. “He did not accept my offer to do that, and now has the audacity to climb aboard this, praising the effort, saying that ‘he’ never knew that it would get this kind of money. It got this kind of money because it represents one of the most outrageous abuses of federal power in modern American history, and that is what makes it a collector's item.”

Reid's spokesman Jim Manley later told CNN, "The irony of the situation is that this charity managed to benefit from [Limbaugh's] completely outrageous and offensive comments."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (365 Responses)
  1. Ryan Indianapolis

    Go ahead Harry have something to drink with your CROW that you are eating. Rush just made you look like a bigger fool.

    October 19, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Wayne, Greenville TX

    When the truth comes out about how Rush lied about his statement and doctored the audio and transcript on his web site to back up his lies, Betty Casey will learn that she paid $2 million for something that's totally worthless.

    Worthless. Just like Rush.

    October 19, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Carmen, Miami FL

    So I see Limbaugh's still an loudmouthed idiot with nothing interesting to say...

    October 19, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Jay, Vancouver, WA

    Good for Rush...it was a brilliant political countermove, and agree with him or disagree, you have to commend him for it. And the fact that the kids of Marines and Law Enforcement killed in action will be getting these scholarships...that's just unbelievably cool.

    October 19, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. E. Cibelli - Dayton, MD

    Nice to see that you finally picked up this huge story. However, you could have buried it further down. This was a GIGANTIC black eye for those 41 Democrats, especially Harry Reid, who used an intentional lie and distortion to bully, gag and silence a talk show host and the American public.

    October 19, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Joe, York Pa.

    You the man Rush. I'm surprised CNN even put this on.

    October 19, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. MCD, San Francisco, CA

    OMG, as much as I admire Reid... Rush would tear him to shreds! Don't do it Mr. Reid!! You are too much of a gentleman to go toe to toe with that loud-mouthed bully!

    October 19, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. EB Rideout

    Just shows how revered the 41 signers of the document are. If they were "nobodys" the bidding would never have gone so high.

    As for Rush, It's time for him to stop whining and bawling about how the Dems are picking on him. I wouldn't pay five cents for his autograph.

    October 19, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Joseph, austin, tx

    way to go Rush, way to turn a negative into a positive situation for the military men and women.

    October 19, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    Nice to see that you finally picked up this huge story. However, you could have buried it further down. This was a GIGANTIC black eye for those 41 Democrats, especially Harry Reid, who used an intentional lie and distortion to bully, gag and silence a talk show host and the American public.

    Posted By E. Cibelli – Dayton, MD : October 19, 2007 4:45 pm

    Actually, Rush is the liar in this case. He doctored the audio from September 26th to delete oveer a minute of his show to make it LOOK like he was talking about one specific soldire (Jesse Macbeth) when he used that "phony soldier" line, when in truth he used that line to smear every soldier that disagrees with Rush's position on the war.

    Media Matters picked up on this right away. I'm waiting for the rest of the mainstream media to expose Rush Limbaugh for the liar that he is.

    October 19, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. RB, from the bay state

    As long as the likes of Limbaugh keep beating the drums for this stupid war there will be no end to the troops and their families that need assistance when and if they return home.

    Rush thinks that money will heal all the harm that has been done to our young. Not so.

    October 19, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Chris, Huntsville, Alabama

    Interesting to note that Reid did not respond to Limbaugh's request that the Democratic signatories of the letter also match the winning bid with a charitable contribution.

    As for what Limbaugh "really" meant by the statement...

    First of all, in spite of his numerous faults, I don't believe Limbaugh would make a deliberate attempt to broadly smear all military personnel who oppose the war. The high profile situation of the really fake soldier who lied about serving in Iraq was almost certainly what he was referring to.

    Secondly, as much as it hurts to say it, Rush was right in protesting that the letter was an attempt by government officials to deprive him of his job by throwing political pressure around. Sure, Clear Channel has the right to fire or censure him. His audience also has the right to not listen. Specific individuals may have the right to sue him for libel or slander. But, saying "We're powerful Senators and we don't approve of what he says so you'd better do something about it" is sleazy, particularly when it requires a bit of twisting of meaning (something Limbaugh should know something about, since he does it frequently as well).

    October 19, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Gay Carroll, J.D., Sacramento, CA

    Thank God for people like Rush Limbaugh who stood up to those lying weak-minded arrogant Senators. How dare senators on the floor of the Senate intentionally SLANDER and DEFAME a private citizen! And based on WHAT THEY KNEW TO BE A LIE. It is beyond belief. It is unreal. I will fight harder than ever to see that Republicans win elections–and to get rid of arrogant senators who abuse power such as all those who signed the letter against Rush Limbaugh.


    October 19, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Linda Magid, Plano, TX

    Totally incredible. Good that money is going to something to help others, but THIS situation "represents one of the most outrageous abuses of federal power in modern American history"?! I am flabbergasted. The President destroyed Habeas Corpus, one of America's founding principles, along with other great reasons to be an American with his ridiculous war. I don't think this "issue" is even in the same category (and I think Senator Reid was acting kind of silly about it). But, then again, Rush does like to make himself more important than he actually is.

    October 19, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. stirfrysteve

    You Quote Reid as syaing "...Mark Mays..." When in Fact Reid said "May" throughtout the whole speech. He could not even get the name Right, and you violated a pricipal journalistic standard of qouting a person's words!

    October 19, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Ralph Tedesco, Sydney, NSW, Australia

    ok, you've included this (because you had to), but failed to explain it.
    i guess you hope your readers will be TOO STUPID to understand what this letter represents.

    October 19, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    $2.1 million...exactly the same amount that Hillary beat Obama by in the last fundraising quarter. Coincidence?

    Well, at least now I can no longer say that Republicans never did any good. However, honest as Limbaugh's intentions are, I still think his comments were disrespectful to the troops.

    If I had $2.1 million, I'd donate it to Obama's campaign funds. Which is better: Obama's signature, or Obama as US president?


    October 19, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Andy, Tampa, Florida

    Limbaugh shows, again, that he is a lying scumbag. The government never tried to "take away his living." This idiot has a little trouble with actual truth, though he's exceptionally good at distorting it.

    October 19, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. William Smith, Manchester NH

    Alexander, I notice that you didn't point out that Reid was wrong in his rebuking Limbaugh. Rush was talking about actual phony soldiers who are being investigated by the FBI.

    October 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    So it cost Rush Limbaugh $2.1 million out of his pocket to hide the foot in his mouth. If he had as much "integrity" when the Boat Vets lied, he would have made as big an issue then.

    While all his supporters who can only "ditto" whatever he says, rejoice, they probably are proud of him for faking a tape that fooled them.

    October 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    When "phony soldiers" accusations by Reid & Co. first came out against Rush I said on this blog that that was one of the most embarrassing moments for Democrats. This is ten times more embarrassing than that. Shame on them.

    Reid – you are holding on to your last straw honey, and please take Nancy with you when you come crumbling down.

    October 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Rick, Fort Worth, TX

    I knew Rush was powerful, Wayne, but had no idea that he could actually doctor what I heard when I listened to the show live, before he went and "doctored the audio and transcript on his web site"...beware of those black helicopters in Greenville!!

    October 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. dan luparello; sun city west, AZ

    If Senator Reid was at fault at all, it was because he gave the center ring of the circus to its biggest clown. Demagogues like Limbaugh are best ignored totally; maybe then they will slip back into the slime they came out of.

    October 19, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Larry Shea Emery, SD

    I am not amazed that Harry Reid had the chutzpah to lie about what Limbaugh said, then try to get his job derailed, then take partial credit for Limbaugh "turning lemons into lemonade." Limbaugh is a true patriot.

    October 19, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. JK Ashburn, Virginia

    Limbaugh's point, in case you missed it, was to note how Congresscreatures abuse their own "power" by addressing a letter to the head of a company that happens to be in an industry regulated by the federal government. Mark Mays did the right thing and ignored the request. Congresscreature predilection for wanting to silence detractors by any formal means would violate the First Amendment. So, they resort to unofficial bullying tactics. This is abuse of power and Rush called them on it. Good for him!

    This sort of congressional behavior, along with related abuse of power such as earmarks, has got to stop. These clowns are far to arrogant for the good of the American people. Folks - wake up and throw them out of office.

    October 19, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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