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. Michelle, Pasadena,CA

    From Liberal California – Good for Rush! Thank you for standing up for all private citizens rights...for Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike. What an abuse of power by these 41 Democrats. As for the phony Jesse, whatever his name is...his real name is a Muslim name. Good for Rush for calling hypocrites out on this. As for people talking crap about his (past) drug addiction, it's time to move on from that!

    October 20, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Fat, angry man is all I have to say about Rush.

    October 20, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    "Fat, angry man is all I have to say about Rush.
    Posted By Bradley"

    Brad – that is no way to talk about one of our bravest heroes in the global war on terrorism. Besides, he's actually sleek like a puma. They doctor his photos so the terrorists will be taken by surprise by his speed and ferocity.

    October 20, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Ron Nebraska

    Except for the selection of Bush/Cheney/Rove as president, the worst thing to happen to America is people like Rush Limbaugh having become influential in any area of American thought. His brand of hate, lying and divisiveness carried to further extremes by elements of the lunatic fringe has only coarsened American life, not made anything better or more productive.

    October 20, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. Bill, San Antonio Texas

    More Dhemmicrat support from overseas:


    October 20, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. Mackenzie, Minneapolis, MN

    Hey Kevin from Austin, TX:

    Just for the record...although Rush did, in fact, co-found and is currently on the board for the Marine and Law Enforcement Charity, a grand total of $4,200,000 WILL be going to military families. It's not like Rush is transferring the $2,100,000 mil from one of his private bank accounts to another.

    Oh, and something else for the record...Rush said he had expected the smear letter to go for at least 1 million,(not "a few thousand bucks" like you said. If you EVER actually listened to Rush's show, you would know that. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Rush donates more money to military families that you probably could earn in a lifetime.

    October 20, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Harry, NY, NY

    Hey Kevin, Austin, TX.... I also heard the original show, live, and have read through the transcript. One thing you happened to conveniently forget. The first caller, the 'so-called' Republican, was a seminar caller. Someone like you. They call just to be combative and Rush instructed his screeners to let them through on occasion. The staff knew who they were and Rush used to talk to them for amusement. He has decided to no longer amuse himself with known idiots.
    Mike in Chicago said "They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media." referring to the multiplefake soldiers, propped up by the left, who lie about their service. Rush says "Phony soldiers." referring to the previous soldiers that he did a morning update on the DAY BEFORE. Lots of soldiers...one of which happens to be Jessie MB. While Mike in Chicago changes the topic to WMD's, Rush is talking to his call screeners/producer and grabbing things off the printer, only half listening to the caller. It's all right there on the video. Rush edited the transcript to leave out the off-topic stuff that had nothing to do with soldiers. He explained it on his show, and he explained it again on a Fox News interview. There was absolutely nothing in that edited part that had anything to do with soldiers. But of course you crazies jump on the fact that it's *GASP* edited, and away you go. Regardless if it's relevant or not. You say the simple fact that it's edited means he's a liar. How much more First Grade can you get??
    Might wanna get your story straight there, Mr. All Knowing Kevin. When you compare Rush's past history of support for anyone in uniform, no matter their political views, this smear is ridiculous. You prefer to believe the MediaMatters lie, so you scrounge any and all excuses to condemn him. Either that, or your comprehension skills leave much to be desired.

    October 20, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  8. Ron Nebraska

    Yes, Rush is a great,patriotic, supporter of anyone in a military uniform. Except for military members who happen to disagree with him. Of course Rush did not see fit to serve when his opportunity arose, but then maybe the military did not have a uniform that would fit his fighting form.

    October 20, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Will Rush be apologizing anytime soon for the obnoxious, and false, attacks on Chelsea Clinton?

    Will Rush address the oxycontin issue?

    Will Rush discuss his "actions" in the Dominican Republic involving behavior with young boys?

    I didn't think so!

    But, he's a big, brave, chest-thumping "Amurican" when he attacks former soldiers in Iraq, who unlike Rush, can actaully spek from experience in the battle theater.

    As we all know Rush had a bad case of malfunctioning dingle berries which kept him from slaughtering for America.

    October 20, 2007 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  10. Jay, Washington, DC

    I have no respect for Rush to begin with. However, considering that the Mouth That Roared never put on the uniform of his beloved country, I think he has lost the moral right to castigate anyone's patriotism, or to call anyone in uniform a "phony soldier." Of course, the same can be said of O,Reilly, Hannity, and most other loudmouths of the Right.

    October 21, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. Stephen, Naples, Florida

    Once again Harry Reid looks like a joke. And this on top of the Stark fiasco as well. No wonder Congress is so poorly perceived.

    Gratifying that forty – one Democratic senators listen to Rush Limbaugh. I mean, they must have heard the program to be in a position to condemn it, right? Or is another "Hillary" – "I voted for the war but didn't bother reading the intelligence briefs."

    October 21, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  12. Rummy

    Anal Cysts??!! Goodness gracious, what did he have put up there that would cause that?

    October 21, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  13. James W, Hanau, Germany

    The comment Posted By Harry, NY, NY : October 20, 2007 10:10 pm is exactly correct. Over 20 million listeners that listen to his show know this.

    You libs keep talking about a Media Matters audio that is longer than Rush's version. Do you know how easy it is to stretch audio, without the listener knowing it's been stretched, with simple freeware like Audacity? You take the word of an organisation that a politician (Hillary Clinton) helped start...an organisation that's suppose to be non-partisan?

    Your defense of this blatant abuse of power by a major political party by calling Rush names says a lot more about you than it does about Rush. Are you so blind in your hate that you can not recognize a much larger problem?

    A major political party is working hand-in-hand with the MSM to attempt to destroy a private citizen. Let's say they are successful...who's to say you libs aren't next when the Dems get into power, and then try to shut you up when you realize you've been duped?

    October 21, 2007 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  14. bruce patras

    i must admit . rush is good . he managed to defend draft dodgers running this country as patriotic heroes . while swift boating kerry who DID fight and win medals in the vietnam war .
    he managed to turn the sad situation of drug addiction into a witch hunt demonizing helpless iil people .all you rightists felt good when he slammed the druggies . yet rush himself is a drug addict . rush went 2 steps farther than most heroin addicts , he cashed fake scripts . he got multiple doctors to supply him with multiple prescriptions for the same ailment ,so he commits 2 or more felonies ever day . as i said he is good .

    rush has managed to somehow paint wanting to cover our wee ones with health care as a terrible crime .
    rush has managed to make anyone trying to alleviate the energy crisis as un american . like million's of barrels of
    saved oil is a bad thing ? yes i forgot .solar power and wind turbines are really a red plot . fighting and dying for oil is red white and blue .
    our young dying in a civil war in a far distant land makes more sense than spending oil dollars in the USA .

    question for all you rush boys . the senate writes two letters denouncing move on .org and rush .
    why is one ok and one letter not ok ??
    both are free speech no ???
    both speak about anothers use of free speech ,

    silly me .i thought our boys were dying to defend the right of free speech .

    October 21, 2007 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  15. Stu Polhamus Irvington, VA

    Why is it that no one has ever seen Harry Reid and Les Nessman together? Could it be that they are the same person?

    October 21, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    The pig finally served a useful purpose.

    October 21, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. A Sensible

    Good, maybe this will be out of the headlines now: Reid, the whining idiot, arguing with Limbaugh, the loud-mouthed idiot. Good thing a worthwhile cause will benefit. Reid is despicable and so is Rush. They are both too divisive and do our country no good overall as a whole.

    October 21, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Jim, Los Angeles CA

    No, the irony of the situation is that Reid is such a flaming hypocrite that he's trying to take credit for Rush's PR genius.

    October 21, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Karthik Thirumalai

    James W, Hanau, Germany:

    You are the ones filled with so much hate, you can't see the problem. Did you open your ignorant mouth when Moveon, a private advocacy group were condemned by the Senate and Congress? Ofcourse you are so blinded by the racist and bigoted ideas of hate-radio, that you don't have any sense of fairness left.

    October 21, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Matthew Hensley - Laurinburg, NC

    While I agree that Rush was wrong for what he said and deserved to be called out for it, at the same time, I don't see how Democrats in the Senate thought a letter could derail the legions of Rush fanatics that worship him and will support his every word.

    Rush's countermove was quite brilliant, and now the $2.1 million he's saving from being off prescription pain killers is going to a good cause.

    I would like to see Rush be responsible and admit he made a mistake, but as that is doubtful, I will do the only patriotic thing I can and not watch or listen to his programs.

    At the same time, I do not think Congress should be condemning the acts of private businesses and individuals. What Limbaugh and Moveon.org did were well within their first amendment rights and when we have a Congress that actively opposes the right to free speech when important duties they are charged with are going unfulfilled, it seems somewhere between counterproductive and unconstitutional. Both sides of the aisle are fishing for votes, which is why professional politicians are the least able to serve our country but the most likely to be elected for such a task.

    October 21, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. PJP, Kirksville, MO

    As I understand it, a personal communication is copyrighted by the writer/signer of that communication, and the recipinthas no right to sell or otherwise gain from it without permission from the copyright holder. Is it possible that this is not the case for official letters from Senators? I don't know. Also, is that why Rush will donate to charigy? Again, Idon't know. Surely eBay is more awae of the laws that I am.

    October 21, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Charles, San Antonio Texas

    Matthew Hensley:

    Respectfully, you do not understand the distinction between the two letters. MoveOn smeared the General and deserved bipartisan rebuke. The letter sent to Clear Channel was based on a partisan lie and thus a smear of Limbaugh. I appreciate your patrioyism no matter how it manifests itself.

    October 21, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. Karthik Thirumalai

    Charles, San Antonio Texas :

    So free speech is there just for people like Limbaugh? You say the whole thing was smear on Limbaugh and the same could be said of Moveon. If the US congress is going to start to condemen people for their opinion, it should be across the spectrum you stupid. I guess that's exactly the reason why legislators should stay away from condemning anybody for their opinion. Atleast Moveon just said that about one guy, what Limbaugh said was about a whole lot of vetrans who are against this war.

    October 21, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Hey Rush, have you and Hannity found that "vast cache of WMDs" in Iraq yet?

    You've stopped talking about it; I just assumed you found them.

    If not, which Democrat will you blame for "distracting" you?

    Hillary, I'll bet....!!!

    October 21, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  25. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Wayne from Greenville – you are an ignorant man clueless about the world. Unlike you, I get my information from the source instead of jokes like CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC and the other 30 liberal news outlets out there. I happened to be listening to the show and what was edited out was the caller rambling on about WMD. What was cut had nothing to do with the disgraceful soldiers who make up lies about our military. Get a f#^k*9g life and do your own research, loser.

    Posted By Clint, Tulsa, OK : October 19, 2007 7:53 pm
    By your own admission, Clint, what intervened between Limbaugh's "phony soldier" comment and his "clarification" was about another subject entirely. Therefore they aren't connected at all, regardless of what you and the other brain-dead dittoheads say.

    I can't listen to all of Rush's show because I HAVE A JOB and am working during the time he's on. The only part of his show I can hear is when I go home each day at lunchtine to care for my disabled wife. I probably have forgotten more than you've ever known, Clint, if all you can do is defend that useless scumbag, Rush Limbaugh.

    I HAVE a life, Clint. Unlike true losers such as yourself.

    October 22, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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