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. Phil, Omaha Nebraska

    Congrats to the charity that will receive the funds! It is my hope that these millions will go to help someone in need. However, Rush is just one more example of how completely clueless the right wing Republican party has become. Although Rush may be popular with the <30% of the country that actually still believe Bush is doing a good job, he continues to remain a joke to the rest of the country. Just as many Republicans that claim to be champions of the high road [Vitter (Anti-prostitution), Craig (anti-gay rights), Reverend Ted Haggard of Colorado (anti-gay rights) just to name a few], the hipocracy that defines Rush Limbaugh becomes more and more comical each day. As if his "legal drug" problems weren't funny enough, the greatest accomplishment is his ability to champion the Defense of Marriage act when he's now been married and divorced 3 times. Rush sure does believe in the sanctity of marriage and that blessed union between a man and a woman. Rush, you are a role model to all of us in Americans when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, and thank God you are fighting to defend that right of men and women like you to make a hipocracy of the sanctity of marriage. I'd have to put you right up there with Brittany Spears when it comes to turning the marriage into a hypocritical joke.

    October 20, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  2. RD alabama

    Way to go Rush. It does not matter if you agree with Rush or not. The whole problem with this picture is 41 Congressmen tried to stop one of our basic rights given to us and that is freedom of speech. They are more worried about their political agenda than solving the real problems in the congess. Maybe that is the reason their political rating is so low. I am afraid some would even sacrifice the security of this great nation for their own political agenda. You 41 congressmen ought to be ashamed.

    October 20, 2007 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  3. Dave, Norman, Ok

    What is offensive is the level of stupidity in Harry Reid. What a POS, to first misrepresent what R. L. said, then have the gall to try to attach himself to the charitable act! No wonder Congressmen do their best work in Airport Men's rooms!

    October 20, 2007 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  4. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    Rush Limbaugh is one of the biggest supporters of troops in the media, and for 'Dingy' Harry Reid to try to call Rush out as unpatriotic is stupid and shows he either doesn't know what the majority of Americans know, or he is just pandering to the 11% of America that actually approves of the work that is not getting done on capitol hill. Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership have been looking for every way they can to lose the war, when the troops on the ground are winning. Anyone who takes the word of Media Matters (a far left smear machine) needs to have their head examined. Bravo Rush for serving the 41 Democrats who signed the smear letter a turd sandwich.

    Posted By Nestor, Austin, TX : October 19, 2007 7:25 pm

    And anyone who looks up to Rush Limbaugh as someone to admire doesn't have enough in their heads to examine. The only one who was smearing was Rush himself, when he called those who served but disagreed with him on the war "phony soldiers" And then lied about it, and convinced all you dittoheads that he was speaking the truth.

    Well, here's the real truth for you. Rush Limbaugh is a world-class pathological liar, and he's taken all of you for a ride. And you're all too stupid to realized it. Which is rather sad.

    October 20, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  5. Brian Tampa, FL

    Soldiers fight, conservatives support liberals whine and undermine, nothing new in this story!

    October 20, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  6. Jules Santiago NY, NY

    so if clinton didn't inhale, did rush swallow the oxycontin or was he just freshening his breath?

    rush limbaugh contributes nothing to journalism other than malaise. like so many other neocon mouthpieces, he makes a living off of the malleable know-nothings who actually believe his hateful spew. he DOES NOT speak for military people nationwide because my family have served for 3 generations including WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Rush was excused from Vietnam for allegedly having anal cysts.

    limbaugh will go down in history with the roy cohn jr's of the world... a stain. forgotten.

    October 20, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. Sherry Dechane, Colchester, CT

    Whether you like him or hate him ,I believe it's called free speech, which for some reason, people are missing this point. And the senate has taken an oath to serve the American people,not themselves, what do they care what Rush said? Let the people decide,if he was right or wrong.

    October 20, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. Ken Saginaw Mich.

    Well Well Well, I wondered when this liberal publication was finally going to mention this. Dingy Harry has egg on his face, and once again has proven himself to be a total idiot. I am offended that he and the others have time to condem a private citizen while on MY payroll. GO GT 'EM RUSH God Bless you !!

    October 20, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. n-do

    How come Rush didn't donate the 2.1 million before the whole stupid letter hullabaloo?

    October 20, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Chris, Pittsburgh PA

    With everything goign on in the world – Darfur, Iranian nuclear intentions, war in Iraq, health care meltdowns, collapse of the dollar, and educational disasters this is the story that excites the readers? This idiotic pathetic purile mindless nugget of partisan bickery is what brings the people out to comment?

    Truely, we deserve what we get.

    October 20, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. Steve Harrald, Cheyenne WY

    "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..."
    Posted By Linda Magid

    yeah, friggin' Lincoln that no good SOB... oh wait...

    October 20, 2007 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. John, Santa Fe NM

    Why doesn't this new article mention that Limbaugh is donating matching funds for the charity bringing the total donation to over 4 million dollars?

    October 20, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. Bob, Hartford CT

    I do not agree with Rush's views and I would not wish any harm on him, but I have to wonder what would have made more money. The Auction of the letter or if they auctioned off a chance to get in the Boxing ring with Rush

    October 20, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Eugene Casey, the convicted tax cheat?

    October 20, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. York Durden

    Rush lied and edited the audio and the transcript of what he said on the air. Furthermore, he owns the "charity" to which the money will be going.

    Right wingers HATE our soldiers and want to see them dead so that they can get richer. Pete Stark had it right. Bush laughs when our boys die. And so does Rush.

    Who's the bigger phony, the phony or the phonies who follow him?

    October 20, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Havok

    Wayne, how could you say that document is worthless? Its not worthless to the families of police and soldiers who serve our country. Grow up.

    October 20, 2007 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. DT Wisconsin

    Funny thing about the media's relaying of this whole story is that, since there seems to be some confusion on what Rush said (at least by the left), no one in the media bothered to actually ask Rush to explain or clarify his remarks.

    You can bet your life the media would be falling over themselves to get a Dem to clarify statements that appear controversial.

    October 20, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Oh come on

    Glad my tax dollars are going to a bunch of politicians' personal agendas. They should get together and try to accomplish something other than abolishing free speech. Democrats, I'm disappointed. I thought you were better than that. He's an idiot, ignore him.

    October 20, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Lynne

    Right on Rush, I want to thank you on behalf of my relatives who are Marines!
    To think they are protecting the cowards including ole Harry Reid, and the forty senators. What a disgrace, to think that they represent, a portion of our country, that hate our President, they will do anything to degrade our Military.

    October 20, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Phred, Rolla MO

    Rush is a draft evader and a lier.
    He is evil and is tring to destroy this country.

    October 20, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Wayne, GreenvilleTX

    Right on Rush, I want to thank you on behalf of my relatives who are Marines!
    To think they are protecting the cowards including ole Harry Reid, and the forty senators. What a disgrace, to think that they represent, a portion of our country, that hate our President, they will do anything to degrade our Military.

    Posted By Lynne : October 20, 2007 9:40 am

    And I know that if my late father (who was a Marine who served during WWII) were alive to hear all this, he'd join me in telling Rush Limbaugh to go to hell.

    October 20, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. K Hunter, Chicago, IL

    As usual, the Democrats and the Press either don't check the facts – which is why most of the Press is known as the "drive-by-media," printing only their pre-determined template for every story, then driving off to the next story, to get it wrong, or worse yet, participate in a lie to smear the political opposition. A check of the facts shows Limbaugh never used the term "phony soldiers" to describe veterans opposed to the war, but rather to describe "phony soldiers" like Jesse Macbeth, a real "phony soldier." Hello?? CNN.com still refers to Limbaugh's comments as "controversial remarks," then quotes Senator Reid's spokesman describing Limbaugh's comments as "outrageous and offensive...." The truth is outrageous and offensive? Only to you. Where is the difficulty in getting a story right? Check the tape – check the facts. Limbaugh described a phony soldier as a phony soldier – not real veterans as you and the socialists insist. Drop the liberal / socialist media template and get a story right for once!!!!!!!! Let the revolution begin.

    October 20, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Jim Miller - Munster, Indiana

    Get a story right for once. Your article doesn't mention the FACT that Rush is matching the 2.1 million dollar final bid, providing 4.2 million to the charity. Your story doesn't mention the FACT that Rush is a co-founder of the charity; the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. That's hard to believe isn't it – since Harry Reid accused Rush of being unpatriotic. Your story deosn't mention the FACT that Rush called on Reid and other signatories to match the final bid. These Seantors signed a letter that was the equivalent of stating that the world is flat. This document has become the Democratic Party's "Declaration of Incompetence." The Democrats have been kidnapped by the "moveon.org" fringe, their goals in Iraq are the same as the enemy; fully invested in defeat, afraid of good news from the battle field, and they will say and do anything to get elected. It's only a matter of time now. See you in the streets.

    October 20, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Jerry L Tobey Sr

    Rush is an honest man with integrity.

    Dingy Harry Reid is a mobster for the democrat socialist party.He's a union thug as well and has absolutely no speck of integrity.He should be shot as an American traitor or as a snake in an outhouse!

    October 20, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Bill, Las Cruces, New Mexico

    Yellow journalism at its best. Headlined as "Attack on Rush". Come on did you forget already what was in play here? Rush's Phony Soldiers comment? and the Democrats response by stealing a page out of the right wing play book and slamming him like the right wing did Moveon.org? Bottom Line – Rush never served in the Military, Rush has (had?) a drug problem, Rush's goal is just to keep the pot stirred and his name at the forefront and on the lips of all his sycophantic "dittoheads". He may wear his flag lapel pin but his view of freedom only extends to those who agree with him, IMESHO and yes the Dallas Cowboys will be greater than they ever were.

    October 20, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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