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. James, Corpus Christi, TX

    Hey it just took $2million out of Rush's pockets and gave it to a good cause...Awesome...Bet it was purchased by a Dem..They get a $2 million tax deduction, get to destroy the letter, and make Rush shell out two million of his own stash..Win-win baby...

    October 19, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. James, Phoenix AZ

    Wonder why Harry Reid won't go on Rush's show to discuss this matter? Seems he was outraged enough to make public statements and write a letter to Rush's boss.

    Hmmm... I wonder if Harry is ONLY about political theater as opposed to addressing the person directly you're offended by?

    I still think Rush should publically say, "IF you're a serving soldier and felt my comments were aimed at you – I apologize.... but for the true phoney soldiers – who claim to have served but simply flunked out of boot camp – you should be ashamed!".

    October 19, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Billy, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    Wow, you guys that admire Rush so much are really, really right wing. It's amazing, you ultra right wingers, those of you who think Rush is sooo great, how you put party ahead of country. Harry Reid was right to write this letter, the other's right to sign it. The true abuse of power is how drug addict Limbaugh uses his show and those of his FOX news compatriates to paint himself the vicitm. Look at the mess this unchecked President has gotten us into. World War III is not to far off.

    October 19, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. GMAN, Irving, TX

    Why praise Rush for this, he did nothing but be the idiot he always is. Mays is the creative one. The only thing positive here is that a good cause got some money. Rush is still trash, but still has a constitutional right to be trash.

    October 19, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. R. Weber, Panama City Beach, Florida

    Rush probably has no idea of what he actually said. When did he take his last drug screen?

    October 19, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. bmili, flower mound, tx

    im confused as to why CNN made no mention of this going to the Marine and Law Enforcement charity or the fact that Rush is matching the $2 million dollars, i guess that would be too much.

    October 19, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. RDA Philadelphia, PA

    Nice job Rush! ......Why is there no hyperlink for The Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation in this article? You have one for Billary and Obama. Thanks for posting this Clinton News Network!

    October 19, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    Harry Reid "blinked" on the Senate Floor today and tried to take credit for the good out of this.

    And for the person who said he doctored the tape, you should have your head examined. I was listening and he did not doctor anything. Media matter lied about it and then Harry Reid made a fool of himself by believing media matters' lies. Media matters is Hillary's right hand man.

    I applaud CNN for reporting this because it proves the Democrats will stop at nothing to take away our liberties, trash the Constitution, and lie about anything and everything to gain and keep power. They should be embarrassed as hell about this situation. Oh, and still waiting for Democrats to denounce Stark's comments which were way worse than what they claim Rush did. What makes it worse is that we know Stark said what he did, but we alsoi know that Rush did not say what media matters claims.

    Just another smear campaign to censor a private citizen. It didn't work and Reid tried to make the most of the egg on his face. That didn't work, either.

    October 19, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. John from America

    Well, I wonder what the phony drug prescription scrips would sell for on eBay.Com? Old loud mouth druggie has plenty to criticize others about but, what about Rush's law breaking drug ISSUES!

    October 19, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. U.S. Marine cbh, Camp Pendleton CA

    Amazing how easy is for Rush to support a war when he is comfortably in an air-conditioned studio. He is nothing more than a pain killer-addicted nut!

    October 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Bob, Washington, DC

    Why are we waiting time on someone as irrelevant like Mr. Limbaugh when there is real news to report on? Isn't something going on with Lindsey Lohan or Britney Spears that CNN should rush to air as "Breaking News". Thanks, CNN, for giving me one more reason to stay away.

    October 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. DT Wisconsin

    "Reid's slam on Limbaugh"!?

    They've seen the light! It only took 3 weeks.

    October 19, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Sandra, Concord, California

    I heard the live quote also. It was changed. Rush is a lying slymebag, but then what else is new. When you can't tell the truth, you aren't left with many options.

    October 19, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Wayne, Greenville TX

    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!!

    Posted By Rick, Fort Worth, TX : October 19, 2007 5:02 pm

    If you don't believe me, Rick, check out the unedited audio on Media Matters.

    And BTW – I heard that show live, too. And I heard him smear the soldiers who disagree with him. perhaps you only remember hearing what you WANT to remember hearing.....

    October 19, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Colin

    Unless Rush gives this $2,000,000 to an independant charity, such as one which benifits troops injured in IRAK I would assume that Rush gave this money to this person to use for a phony buy from him. This story smells.

    October 19, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    If Reid thought it was such a great thing, why didn't he match Rush's match? Probably because he doesn't give one whit about the troops. But, there seems to be overwhelming support for Rush amongst the troops.

    October 19, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Susan, West Palm Beach, Fl

    Limbaugh is irrelevant. It could have been anyone that Reid had written about and it would have raised money. People know that we are making history as the country has never been in worse shape and we are carving our new territory. We're greedy idiots "taking pictures" as the bus drives to the bottom. How pathetic.

    October 19, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Anonymous


    October 19, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Phil San Filippo, San Diego, ca

    Next time ask Reid why his 3 sons are big time Washington lobbyists! AKA 'special interest groups' as papa Reid calls them....

    October 19, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. RightWingConspiracy

    Harry Reid is the fool in this situation, not Limbaugh. With Congress' approval rating at a whopping 11 percent (far below that of Bush, by the way), you'd think he would have bigger fish to fry than going after a talk-show host. Nice priorities.

    October 19, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Phillip, MO

    Hey, get it right CNN. In his speech Reid kept refering to Mark Mays as "Mark May". This clown actually thinks we believe he is sincere about this letter contributing to fallen Marines families when he doesn't even know who he's talking about. Pure theatre Reid, pure theatre. Now go do something useful with our hard earned tax dollars.

    October 19, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. Randall, Greenville, SC

    "I don't believe Limbaugh would make a deliberate attempt to broadly smear all military personnel who oppose the war."

    Chris, are you paying attention? But, technically you're right, he would only smear all military personnel who oppose the war AND MAKE THEIR VIEWS PUBLIC. Those are the only ones.

    October 19, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Mike, Macomb IL

    And in a unique twist of fate, Harry Reid tries to take credit for what Rush did....And what's with the quote?

    “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.”

    Wow, really got a firm grasp on the obvious there Harry...Pretty sure Rush knows it's going to a worthwhile cause, since he chose it!

    October 19, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Ted mowers Wellesley Island NY

    Harry Reid is a dope. He is trying to salvage something...anything out of his ridiculous blunder...All 40 Democrats who signed this letter should be embarrassed. That includes MRS. Bill Clinton

    October 19, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Ken, Los Angeles, CA

    Didn't another famous radio personality use to refer to Rush as a "sausaged-finger mother ....er?"

    October 19, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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