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. xtina - chicago IL

    Thanks for the many comments that give the facts to prove that Rush is a credible, patriotic, great American.

    -Rush co-founded the Marine Corps/Law Enforcement Foundation and gives a lot of money to this organization.

    -Rush travels to Iraq , Walter Reed and many military installations to support our troops.

    -Rush already matched 2.1 million for the Marines and Law Enforcement officers, giving his own money, when the 41 polilticians have given zero.

    -Rush agreed that J. Macbeth is a soldier. Because he is.

    -ABC news coined the term 'phony soldier'. A caller to Rush's show used the term when Rush agreed with him.

    It's afree country and anyone is free to state their own opinions, but these are facts that back up the opinion that Rush is a credible, great American.

    October 20, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. ronnie knoxville, tn

    people who don't listen to Rush's show latch onto one bit of info, albiet wrong and just go with it. don't let your emotions get the better of you , libs. that's how myths get started. rush limbaugh is a fine person who gives a lot of time and money to the military.

    October 20, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Ethan, Brooklyn, NY

    I checked a bunch of other MSM websites and the only other one that has this as top story is FOX NEWS. Great, CNN, race them to the bottom of the barrel. Good strategy for "the most trusted name in news".

    WaPo does have a story (not the top one obv), but at LEAST they mention this:

    Limbaugh sits on the board of directors.

    Wow, WHAT a charitable guy. He donates money to a charity of which he is on the board.

    Every single thing this man does is a disgrace.

    October 20, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Andrea, St. Louis, MO

    First off, this article from CNN fails to mention that the Democrats who opposed what Rush said took his comments out of context. Limbaugh made the comment in response to one soldier who had falsified his service record to say he had served in Iraq when he had not. This man is the "phony soldier" to which Limbaugh is referring. Rush Limbaugh has done nothing but support our soldiers and Reid should apologize for acting completely out of line. Secondly, this article ends with the Democrats getting the last word. How liberal of this website. Again, they don't acknowledge that Reid was WRONG in his interpretation of Limbaugh's comment. Limbaugh's comment was neither outrageous nor offensive. The Democrats and drive-by media should try listening to the whole clip instead of picking the one line they want to hear in order to condemn a man for his free speech.

    October 20, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    For 2 million you could probably buy a contract on Lardarse Limbaugh and get some peace and quiet for good.

    October 20, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. DT Wisconsin

    Wayne in TX- full of hate, are we? And if you keep pointing to Media Matters as a source of "facts", you'll never, ever convince anyone of anything.

    And that's where the difference is: you rely on a middleman to tell you what Rush "said", while others actually listen to him consistently. Not just for one sound bite, not for just for 3 minutes, but consistently. That's how we know what the true context was. We don't need a Hillary-founded group (by her admission) to give us 3 minutes of a show that's on for 900 minutes a week.

    But keep it up with the drug references and the admitted parodies about Rush. It's fun to see you grasp at unrelated straws on this.

    October 20, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Jason, Denver Colorado

    I have read most of these comments and I can't believe the comments from those of you who do not know the truth. Limbaugh did denigrate all the troops only the 'phony ones'. Reid totally made a fool of himself and 40 dem senators followed suit. I ca't believe what is happening in this country with things like this happening on the senate floor. Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan are rolling in they're graves while the rest of the USA is flipping the bill. This is a disgrace! I am ashamed to be a democrat due too the parties hijacking by extreme liberalism.
    CNN pull your heads out of your collective backsides and please be neutral and report all the facts!

    October 20, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. John M., Hollywood, CA

    1-Left-wing wackos coming out like cockroaches, seaking their garbage, no logic, no facts, only hate.
    2-CNN didn't mention Rush matching the bid (only another $2Million + to a worthwhile charity)
    3-A model of Politicial abuse, realizing he's wrong, then, suddenly, "jumping on the bandwagon".
    From Big John, Hollywood, CA (Oh!, yes, some of us out here do have good sense)

    October 20, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. James, New York City

    So,The Liberal DEM Leadership Want to support the troops Huh? Hillary changed positions. First the troops will be out right away Then, On another day Mabye, They won't be out quite fast. Koolaid drinkers.....Got to love them. Oh BTW. If Dingy Harry and the rest of the 41 love the troops so much then they would match the bid like Rush did Right lefties? Right? Don't answer all at once. Typical.

    October 20, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Dixon Benshoof, Des Moines Iowa

    He also condemed addicts and people who purchase drugs illegally while he was doing both. Now he condems soldiers for speaking against the war when he hid from his service to our country. Donating the money is another great example of him using others hard work for his gain. Do you really think any of this money will come from his pocket. He is a waste of oxygen...

    October 20, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. bruce patras

    all these pelople who avoided the vietnam war were so quick to invovle our yong boys in a clear civil war in iraq . and waste tens of billions of dollars at the same time . now comes rush who railed against herion addicts calling for harsh rprison terms while he himself commited felonies every single day of HIS sad oxy-codine addication.
    his phoney soldier remark shows how even his soldier heroes he loves so much will feel his wrath if they cross the lline against bush . you really can't make this stuff up !!

    mr rush those boys are dying so you can enjoy free speech .sadly your free speeh helps keep them in harms
    way . i can't wait for 08 .

    peace bruce

    October 20, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Mike, Rotterdam, NY

    Buried though it was, thanks for reporting this story CNN, too bad it wasnt mentioned that the auction shut down the almighty ebay for a few moments! And great job to Rush for not backing down to a government that wanted to shut down OUR right to free speech, hopefully a wake-up slap in the face to Harry Reid! What the hell country does he think we live in?? Now maybe we can find a cure for ignorance. Peace.

    October 20, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Dixon Benshoof, Des Moines Iowa

    Hey John, James and Dale. I spent 8 years listening to the Right wing fanatics spew venom about every little detail of garbage they could find on Clinton/s. You people perfected that skill long ago. Now you have to answer for your parties garbage. To bad, suck it up and understand you never have supported our troops. You supported Haliburton and the oil companies. Our troops have fought and die bravely with substandard equipment since they arrived in that wasteland. Now I here you complaining about Hillary's gift to hippies. A big $1,000,000. So what, how does that compare to the millions spent on our famous bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Our conservative party has more lobbiests a larger government and a huge deficite. All this from the lower the taxes and get the government out of our lives party. Give me a break... I do agree with the education thing. If we had we people in Florida who could count we wouldn't be in this mess today.

    October 20, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Linda - Albany, NY

    hahaha...do people still listen to this windbag?

    October 20, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. chris chicago

    I say. Good for rush he's got a following. Did he ever figure out that the National Debt under the gold standard and the federal reserve means that eventually the entire United States will be trying to figure out how to divide a single dollar bill, while the Pope is sitting on a pile of cash larger than mount Olympus. Get your head out of your anus America.


    October 20, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Karthik Thirumalai, Kiamesha NY

    Jim Miller – Munster, Indiana :

    So all you have to do is start a foundation for the Marines and do whatever the hell you want? That's what you call right-wing stupidity. So what if he is donating matching funds to that organization, he will make that money by making more hate speeches with the attention he got from all of this. The fact that the Military Industrial Complex is fully invested in these kind of arrogant and repungnant right-wingers is to make the money flowing. This is how it works: Stir up the pot for support to start new and phony wars, use the right-wing nut radio to twist facts and use the huge goverment defence-contracts to keep hate going. Good plan and it's been working good in this fear filled environment.

    October 20, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Shannon, Champlin Mn

    I'm reading these posts, and I am shocked that people are defending Rush. He makes fun of people with Parkinsans, the other day, he mocked a 12 year old boy by making fun of the way he talked, the same boy who has a parazlized vocal cord, he says racist and sexist things, and contrary to what people say here, he did insult the troops serving in Iraq who do not agree with him. He did remover 1:35 minutes from the original transcript. The first thing as a parent that I tought my daughter was, not to make fun of people. Apparently some of you didn't have the same lesson as a child. Rush is one of the worst examples of a human being I can think of, he is a drug addict, he spreads hate, and he does nothing to make America better. How sad that so many of you defend him, can't you find a better represenative for conservatives than that. Ann Coulter doesn't cut it either, look harder, there has to be someone.

    October 20, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Mac, Severn, Md

    So, have King Harry and the 40 Fools had much to say today?


    October 20, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Bill, San Antonio Texas

    Limbaugh stuffs Reid like a turkey, MoveOn.org gets spanked like a step child, Pelosi rebukes Stark while Cindy Sheehan throws rocks at her and Bill Mahr has to kick his own audience's butt out the door. I love it. The Dhimmicrat convention is going to look like the Folsom Street Fair on steroids.

    October 20, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. John Chamberlain Sturgis, SD

    Limbaugh should understand that his run as a top radio freak is coming to an end. It's time for intellectuals to replace the voices that pollute the airwaves passing through Americas atmosphere. Americans are smarter than to fall for this phoney persona developed by a minority of loud mouths, not intellects.

    October 20, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Ray, Rochester

    I have to laugh at all of you conspiracy lovers..."Rush doctored the tape!!!" "the truth will come out!!!"

    Uh huh...and Bush and Cheney flew the planes that crashed into the twin towers on 9/11. Yep, their clones are running the country using brains implanted by Halliburon.

    Get lives losers.

    October 20, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    It's good to see so many true patriot ditto-heads on one forum. I ask them to follow in Rush Limbaugh's heroic footsteps and enlist in the army


    so that we can fill the army with the bravest americans, Rush Limbaugh listeners. Also, Limbaugh listeners know that everything is going splendidly in Iraq and the soldiers are all quite happy to be there so they should have no problem signing up for the Army in droves.

    Rush has 13.5 million weekly listeners. If we assume that every single one of our 2.5 million active and reserve soldiers is already a listener that leaves 11 million true patriots to recruit from. If just one in ten Rush listeners are in shape for the military we can double the size of our active duty forces which will be crucial for fighting all the wars espoused by America's Greatest Patriot, Limbaugh.

    So type in your zip code and find the nearest recruiting center dittoheads! Iran isn't invading itself.

    October 20, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Eileen Brunwasser, Philadelphia, PA

    I don't understand. Limbaugh was referring to people who lie and say that they served in the US military. Why isn't this made clear in this piece and why is Reid's spokesman still acting like that wasn't the case? This is creepy journalism and politics.

    October 20, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. James Dallas

    It is too funny to read the liberal Democrats opinions. First half of them just attack Rush. (WHY?) Then second have of them rant about something that isn't even about this article. I guess the truth about Reid hurts! I just hope that Hillary gets the nomination and gets asked why she signed the letter. I would like to see her get outside of her box of familiar and staged questions. She will lose her cool. Hey Al Gore should run for president as an independant just to piss off Hillary. I mean you always hear that they are not the best of friends. Come on CNN try harder to be fair and balanced! It won't kill you-besides Soros isn't paying your salaries!

    October 20, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Kevin, Austin, TX

    Hey Dumbo-heads,
    if you don't believe Rush called American Soldiers who favor withdrawal "phony soldiers", and instead, think he was referring only to Jesse Macbeth (whom Rush actually refers to, later, as a "fake soldier"...
    why not read the transcript for yourself on Rush's OWN website.

    No trick... it's HIS website and, by his admission, his words. Read it and pay attention to what you are reading.

    A guy calls in and identifies himself as a Republican who has served in the military, and states his position as being against Bush's War, and asks why Rush makes it seem like only Democrats are against this war.
    Rush gets all looney and yells at the guy, telling him that he is "NOT A REPUBLICAN". When the guy assures Rush that he IS Republican and served in the military, Rush tries to mock him by saying something childish like, Sure, "and I... used to walk on the moon". Here are excerpts, but nothing taken out of context (again, READ IT YOURSELF on HIS site)

    RUSH: Mike in Chicago, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

    CALLER: Hi, Rush, how you doing today?

    RUSH: Fine, sir, thank you.

    CALLER: Good. Why is it that you always just accuse the Democrats of being against the war and that there's actually no Republicans that can possibly be against the war?

    RUSH: Well, who are these Republicans?...I can't think of who the Republicans are in the anti-war movement.

    CALLER: Well, I am a Republican, and I listened to you for a long time, and you're right on a lot of things, but I do believe that we should pull out of Iraq. I don't think it's winnable. I'm not a Democrat, but sometimes you gotta cut the losses. I mean, sometimes you really got to admit you're wrong.

    RUSH: Mike, you can't possibly be a Republican.

    CALLER: I am.

    RUSH: You can't be Republican.

    CALLER: Oh, I am definitely Republican.

    RUSH: You sound just like a Democrat.

    CALLER: I used to be military, okay, and I am a Republican.
    RUSH: Right, I know. And I, by the way, used to walk on the moon.
    okay, even though the caller is Republican ex-military, since his view of the war differs from Rush's, Rush feels the need to try to belittle the caller and his opinion by mocking him.

    The next caller says he is calling specifically to offer a "retort" to the previous caller... this is important to note, because it tells us that the following conversation is directed to the previous caller and others like him, meaning, Military Personnel who have spoken out in the media against the war.
    Another Mike. This one in Olympia, Washington. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

    CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.

    RUSH: You bet.

    CALLER: I have a retort to Mike in Chicago, because I am serving in the American military, in the Army. I've been serving for 14 years, very proudly.

    RUSH: Thank you, sir.

    CALLER: I'm one of the few that joined the Army to serve my country, I'm proud to say, not for the money or anything like that. What I would like to retort to is that, what these people don't understand, is if we pull out of Iraq right now...."
    The 2nd caller and Rush go on to say a few more things about "these people"... again, remember they are talking about the previous caller and others like him... people in the military who speak out against this war. (Oh, stop making that face... it's all on Rush's website, go read the whole thing for yourself!)
    RUSH: It's not possible intellectually to follow these people.

    CALLER: No, it's not. And what's really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.

    RUSH: The phony soldiers.

    CALLER: Phony soldiers.
    Did you catch that?
    Evidently, this caller and Rush agree that Soldiers who speak to the media, opposing the war, are not what they (2nd caller and Rush) deem "REAL" soldiers, but, in their opinions, are "PHONY" soldiers (Rush's words, folks).

    When Rush later got called on this unpatriotic remark, he backpedalled and said he was referring to Macbeth...
    however, in this same transcript (GO READ IT), he clearly doesn't mention Macbeth until AFTER the call referring to anti-war soldiers as "phony"... and then he instead calls Macbeth a "FAKE" soldier.
    RUSH: I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much.

    Here is a Morning Update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of... Jesse Macbeth.
    There, already! Stop blindly defending what this clown is TELLING YOU he said, and go see for yourself what he ACTUALLY SAID, on his OWN WEBSITE.

    sigh, but you probably won't... ditto-heads don't like to think for themselves... they might have to face the truth, and that's just too scary.
    Right, Right?

    Oh, and something else for the record... Rush is no saint for "donating" $2 million to a foundation he co-founded and serves as a board director... He offered to match the winning bid, but I'm sure he thought it would be no more than a few thousand bucks. I guess he could always say he never made that offer... at least his fan-base would believe him.

    October 20, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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