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. Jim , Belvidere, IL

    Harry Reid is a wimpy, loud mouthed, sissy little liberal that can't take the heat. Rush destroyed him...and now all the little softy can do is praise that the money raised will go to a good cause...Reid is limp as a noodle...really makes me want to be Democrat....Not. Go Rush

    October 19, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Mike, Coarsegold, cal.

    Harry, wipe the egg off your face, ok?

    October 19, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Tom, Texas, USA

    Very Hairy Reid is a blithering idiot. The poor fool is actually taking credit, along with other haters of the U.S. military who signed the smear letter (e.g., Hillary Rodham, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, et al.), for the millions of dollars raised for the families of Marines killed in action.

    October 19, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Lawrence, KS

    After Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi may go down as the most insignificant members of US governemnt in modern history. The only real job they do there is to insure that they stay there. They talk alot but really have no position on anything.

    October 19, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Ben chicago

    Rush you should be glad you never served, if you were in 'nam youd been fragged. i heard what i heard you made fun of us who served.

    October 19, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. DT Wisconsin

    Billy in FLA: you are "really, really" left wing. I thought lefties had the market cornered on compassion and love, but you spew hate, and hate unrelated to the story, at that.

    Reid's attack on Rush was based on a lie, pure and simple. But as long as Rush gets attacked, the truth doesn't matter to some. Do some research.

    And if WWIII isn't far off, it isn't because of Bush's response to terrorism. The US & our interests were being attacked over the last few decades (Marine barracks, WTC '93, embassy bombing, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, to name a few). A response was long, long overdue.

    Thinking America is at fault here doesn't make you a bigger or more intelligent person. You just look foolish. We're screwed if someone of your mindset becomes President.

    October 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Washington Boro PA

    Not being a Limbaugh fan makes this an easy comment to make. Reid and the others completely misrepresented his statement which was about he phony soldiers ala Jessee MacBeth who are phony soldiers. As usual, Reid and others who like to talk about those 'right-wingers' are doing exactly what they say others are doing; lying through their teeth and practicing personal destruction politics. MacBeth and the others are phony soldiers and Reid and the others got caught using the power of the government to attempt to silence a political big mouth. Reid and the others are no better than the Mafia and certainly worse. At least the mob doesn't lie to go after their enemies, the mob is pretty straight forward in their intent.


    October 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    Rush didn't smear the military and the military knows it. He smeared the people who claim to be military and aren't, and then those same people use their made-up military backgrounds to criticize the war.

    His comments were specifically for the guy who claimed he witnessed atrocities in Iraq – the guy had never even been to Iraq! The fact that people here keep reiterating bad information just proves to me liberals don't care for the truth.

    October 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Moe, NY

    Limbaugh is nothing but a mouthpiece for the stupid. Certainly nothing intelligent comes out of that mouth.

    October 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    The people who keep claiming they heard the show and keep saying he docotored the tapes are just plain lying. It must be a sad life to hate someone so much you'll lie to smear them.

    Rush has the last laugh on you. The truth is coming out.

    October 19, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. DT Wisconsin

    Oops- I meant embassy bombings- plural (Kenya & Tanzania).

    October 19, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Rush Limbaugh has no credibility. Why anyone considers him an expert at anything (except whenacquiring narcotics) is beyond me.

    I consider him to be part of reason this country has become so devisive and bordering on losing all standing in the world.

    The right wing in this country no only one thing: how to spread hatered and intolerance and Rush Limbaugh has been a huge part of that.

    October 19, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    Mark Mays refusing to repudiate Limbaugh's remarks doesn't make them less offensive. It's like Bill O'Reilly paying a multi-million dollar settlement to Andrea Mackris. Just because the case didn't go to trial doesn't mean O'Reilly wasn't guilty. Inasmuch as Limbaugh's remarks may have thrilled the chickenhawk warmongers at the right, a large majority of Americans found his comments repugnant. This is the majority that believes opposing the war IS NOT unpatriotic, regardless of what Limbaugh and his ilk say.

    October 19, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. David, Upstate NY

    You go Rush!!!!!!

    Wayne, I heard the original show and NOTHING was doctored. Why dont you stop lying?

    October 19, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Mary, Wyoming

    Rush has more integrity than most of those in Washington D.C.

    October 19, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Sam, Lincoln, Nebraska

    So this is what Limbaugh's listeners are doing with that Bush tax cut money? How incredibly pathetic...just like Limbaugh.

    October 19, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. doug moore Santa Fe New Mexico

    What a waste of taxpayer's time. Instead of writing letters about what Rush Limbaugh has to say why doesn't Congress try and tackle real issues like health care, education, Social Security and Terrorism?
    Represent the people of the USA don't stand behind some saber-rattling rhetoric claiming to support our armed forces.
    Make a difference Congress. You're showing, as always, you can't muster the guts to do anything meaningful so hide behind the smoke-screen which is flag waving. We need to vote all these louts out!

    October 19, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Becky Missouri

    The ego maniac probably either bought the letter himself of funneled the money to someone to buy it. The letter was right on target. Rush trashed the veteran and the 12 year old SCHIP child AND THEN LIED ABOUT DOING IT. EVEN EDITED THE TRANSCRIP OF HIS PROGRAM. THE MAN IS A LOSER! ! !

    October 19, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Jon Anderson Steelton, PA

    Leave it up to the left to insist that Rush talking about Jesse Macbeth one minute 50 secs after the phony soldier comment means that the two weren't in the same context. Since when is one minute 50 sec a long enough span to say the comment was in a different context? The show is 3 hours long, for heaven's sake!!! Rush discusses topics like in this fashion ALL THE TIME! If you listen to the show, you would know this.

    October 19, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Ed, Chicago, IL

    Not surprisingly, the CNN account omitted the small little fact that Media Matters/Move-On completely manipulated Rush's comments, and intentionally misrepresented them, in an attempted tit-for-tat for Move-On's hideous 'General Betrayus" ad. And then Reid has the gall to claim credit for having written the letter? What a joke. The only one who should MOVE ON is dingy Harry!

    October 19, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Steve, Palmer Alaska

    You have to hand it to Mr. Limbaugh for turning lemons into lemonade. I guess this proves that free markets can run circles around the government!

    October 19, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Martin J. Stab

    Rush...please file a suit and take them all to court for "TORT" all forty of them and get a few billion for the troops. Smoke 'em where they deserves to be smoked.

    You are a great American!


    Mr. & Mrs. Martin J. Stab
    Hazlet, New Jersey

    October 19, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Arshad, Memphis, TN

    This comedian Limbaugh has proven to be at least of some use by auctioning the letter and matching the auction amount (if he keeps his promise to do so) although Senator Reid and the other senators and the winning bidder deserve all the credit for this.

    October 19, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Chris, Port Orange FL

    It just amazes me how many people Idolize the worst Senate Leader in history? 11% approval rating? Shouldn't you all be over on Media Matters?

    It's too bad that progressives can't look and research past the talking points they get in their email. You might just be phoney Americans. Rush released video and transcripts for all to read.

    October 19, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Jeff, Cincinnati OH

    I'm shocked that CNN didn't bury this one. Harry Reid ended up looking like a stumbling, bumbling fool. What is the Senate doing, taking the time to put this letter together anyway? Last time I checked, they were paid by U.S. tax dollars. This is not what we pay them for. I'm surprised there's not more outrage about that! The Dems need to stop taking all their time (and you and I are paying them while they're doing it) trying to smear and spin whatever the President, any Republican or Conservative does or says, and start doing something productive for the country. How bout working on a plan that would actually stop illegal aliens from crossing the border...illegally. (Illegal – look it up if you don't know what it means.) There's a radical idea...DO WHAT YOU'RE BEING PAID TO DO. If you worked for a private company, you'd be fired for not doing your jobs!

    October 19, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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