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. Jason, Neave Twp, Ohio

    2.1 million bucks for a letter? Hmmm ... woonder how much money conservatives can come up with when they have to fight against a Hillary Clinton presidency. The crooked press keeps touting the democrats' fundraising. Don't count your chickens yet.

    October 19, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Steve Wessel, Fremont Nebraska

    It's amazing that these democrats are still obsessed with the thought that they are running against either Rush (Not running or president although is more than qualified)or Bush (Can't run Again). So Loser Reid and the Likes can get nothing done in the house...Lied (oop's I forgot DemoIdiots Don't Lie)to there Deminions about what they would do... AND NOW want credit for what Rush does.... Absolutely Pitiful!!!!!

    October 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Scott, Jackson, MO.

    This is a perfect example of how stupid the Dems are. Picking a fight with Rush. Are you crazy? Dems you better pick on someone your own size if you don't like being humiliated with the whole country watching.

    October 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Nancy, Jackson, MO

    Now this IS funny! I'm sure there are 41 Senate Democrats that couldn't be happier with the outcome and very glad to have done their part. I'm guessing that Reid was not the only one that was surprised that it brought that much. Now it will be interesting to see if Limbaugh actually puts his money where his big mouth is.

    October 19, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. joseph austin tx

    I listened to the show live and i could understand he was talking about mcbeth. not all soldiers who disagree with the war are phony soldiers, and rush never said that. I dont think by the way 99% of the people who will be helped by this are complaining, and also the 41 dumbasses that signed this had nothing to do with this making money. It was all Rush making lemons out of lemonade, and all the people that support him and more importantly the troops.

    October 19, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Limbaugh is a drug addled pig. Thank -you.

    October 19, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    You go Rush!!!!!!

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

    Posted By David, Upstate NY : October 19, 2007 5:37 pm
    Then how come Media matter's audio is a minute and a half longer, all between the point where Limbaugh uses the4 "phony soldiers" line and when he first mentions Jesse macBeth? I believe it's all you dittoheads who are lying in a sorry attempt to defend Rush – an undenfendable, drug-addicted, draft-dodging, thrice-divorced, closeted homosexual.

    (Ask Rush about his arrest in the company of a male prostitute when he was working in Pittsburgh in the '70s under the pseudonym "Jeff Christie".)

    October 19, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Richard-------Winfield,Al

    I can understand why some rich republican would make such a bid to try to make RUSH look good.

    October 19, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Greg Okc Ok

    Why is it that the dems and their suporters always have to include personal attacks when they dissagree with some ones ideas. Calling someone a druged out loudmouth does nothing to further their cause. Rush had an addiction to pain killers. He has passed several drug tests as part of his probation. These atempts to silence their critics by playing the bully has got to stop. The Senetors screwed up! Their attack dog media matters screwed up. Now the charity has $4.2 million. Reid,Obama,Clinton and several others can and should match the bid. Remember the Dems are the party with heart.. Put up or shut up!!!!

    October 19, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Steven Furtado, Kunkletown PA

    As much as I disagree with Rush on many, many, MANY issues, I have to give him props for taking a silly situation like this and using it to do some good. I mean, the man may be a loud, self-important blowhard. But, really, what talk radio host isn't a loud, self-important blowhard?

    I never in a million years would believe I'm saying this, but Go Rush!

    October 19, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Robyn Harris

    Now I am waiting for Mr. Limbaugh to honor his committment and donate $2.1 million to the Marine Corps.
    Such generousity needs to be commended and reported on every day until he makes his donation.

    October 19, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Mark Portland, OR

    Why don't you go to the root of the issue. Nothing more than a lie by Mr. Reid twisting words and then he attempts to take credit. DNC has become stalinistic!!!!

    October 19, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Chris Peters, Atlanta, GA

    Go Rush! This guy has the guts to say what so many of us want to say and cut right through the lies and smears cast out against him and is probably the greatest roll model of our time.

    October 19, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. josh

    Reid can "praise" Limbaugh all he wants, but he has still yet to apologize to Limbaugh for Slandering him and trying to use his power as a government official to ruin Limbaugh career.
    By the way, Limbaugh is donating 100% of the raised money to a charity that sends military kids of fallen soilders and police to college. He is also matching with 2.1 million additional dollars!

    Limbaugh: $4.2 million
    Reid: ZIP

    October 19, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Tom, Boulder, CO

    It's hilarious to read what the liberals have written in this comment section. It's obvious how hate-filled they are.

    It was good to see CNN FINALLY pick up on this story.

    BTW, check out the politics main page and take a look at the pictures for the "Meet the Candidates" section. Pretty picture of Barak and Billary, then these ugly pictures of nobody Brownback and Hunter.... Just funny....

    October 19, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. stirlingmclaughlin

    Maybe now the Marines can afford the body armor Bush refuses to give them!

    October 19, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    I think Rush Limbaugh is a vile, disgusting, loudmouthed, drug addict. That being said no one in political power should try to control the media which, unfortunately, includes Rush. Rush has the right to free speach just like we all do (which includes liberals, though Rush would like to change that law). If that right is taken away this country is no longer a free, open society.

    To call it the greatest abuse of federal power in modern history however is not only an overstatement it shows either blindness or ignorance. Considering the fact that George Bush completely and repeatedly disregards and disobeyes the constitution would qualify as a lot worse.
    I would consider the detention and torture of American citizens without charges far worse. I would consider the illegal wire tapping of American citizens far worse. I would consider the illegal and immoral war much worse. I would consider the systematic arrest of protesters much worse. I would consider the lies, and the stealing and the utter corruption at every level of this administration much worse. Wouldn't any rational person?

    October 19, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Jeff, Cincinnati OH

    Sam from Lincoln – did you read your comment before you hit send? Do you know who bought it? Do you know what organization is behind the woman who bought it and what they're purpose is? Do you know where the money is going?

    This is a problem I see over and over with the left. No one does their homework before they comment. There's a cliche you might know...think before you speak. Get the facts before you speak! If more people would do that, and then accept the facts for what they are, we wouldn't be having these kinds of non-productive, hateful conversations.

    October 19, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Brian, Hartford, CT

    Slam MediaMatters all you want. They've got the unedited audio. That doesn't lie, unlike Rush. I know right-wingers hate those little things called "facts" and "proof," but this is ridiculous. The unedited audio is posted. That's proof that Rush doctored the tape and transcript, which appeared AFTER the MM story was posted. Explain that.

    End of story. It's really not that hard to understand!

    October 19, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Laura, Walnut Creek, CA

    Rush Limbaugh, a man who was deferred from military service because of an anal cyst and a "knee injury" that didn't keep him out of a single high school football game, referred to any serviceperson who disagreed with him as a phony soldier. The original audio is out there at several websites, listen to it.

    October 19, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. Chris, Denver, CO

    "It got this kind of money because it represents one of the most outrageous abuses of federal power in modern American history"

    Not even Rush can actually believe this, can he? A letter of admonishment is an outrageous abuse of federal power, while torture, rendition and warrantless wiretapping are a-ok? What an ego this drug-crazed pervert has!

    October 19, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. Ed , Lost Pines, Texas

    "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."

    This is a totally ridiculous statement. This is petty compared to the Patriotic Act, the abuse of the FISA court, why, nearly every step the Bush Administration has made in the last 5 years. This letter is not even in the same universe, let alone the same league!

    October 19, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Al Frank

    Way to go Rush! You've trump those do nothing, sub-intelligent Senators! Beautiful!

    October 19, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    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

    Posted By Martin J. Stab : October 19, 2007 5:48 pm

    I'll bet your neighbors in Hazlet are proud of you, Martin. It's people like you that make me glad I left the Garden State in 1994......

    October 19, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  25. Fred Markos, NY

    Where are the Senator's matches. What? They can't step up to Rush's challenge and match the high bid like Rush did?

    October 19, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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