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. Phillip Bunn , Bailey NC

    Rush Limbaugh "is" what's wrong with America. He is the Big Daddy of Global Warming, The Big Daddy of Oil, The Big Daddy of Racism, The Big Daddy of War, The Big Daddy of oppressive, vomiting political leaders trying to nationalize and confine the free spirit of America in a concentration camp of Global Operant Development (GOD).

    October 19, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. ed niles illinois

    just goes to show you, conservatives voluntarily give to worthwhile causes from the charity in their heart, unlike democrats who take it from you and give it to those they think need it

    October 19, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. Tom Zuke Waukesha Wi

    How about clarifying that Rush never made those comments.

    October 19, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. John, Honolulu, HI

    The real scary issue behind all of this is that we have two presidential hopefuls, Obama and Hillary, who would dare join in on attacking a private citizen. There's two problems here. 1) As presidential hopefuls, OBAMA AND HILLARY SHOULD BE PRESENTING THEMSELVES AS PROTECTORS OF THE PEOPLE, NOT PROTECTORS OF THE DEMOCRATS. 2) They obviously didn't do their research on this issue, otherwise they would not have signed that letter. Making decisions without doing the research? Haven't we learned? This doesn't sound like a president I would trust.

    October 19, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Rick, Evans, GA

    "Harry Reid’s Favorables Fall to 19%
    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now viewed favorably by 19% of American voters and unfavorably by 45%. Just 3% have a Very Favorable opinion while 22% hold a Very Unfavorable views"
    After this debacle, his favorable numbers will probably go to single digits

    October 19, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Beth, North Bend WA

    all of you who listen to and support Limbaugh are quite crazy, I must say. No, rather brain washed into thinking that this type of hipocracy & hate that he and others of his kind spews is somehow ok?

    October 19, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. Tom, Midland, TX

    Rush should be required to write the check and give it to one of the "phony soliders" who disagree with his view on the war.

    If Rush were as powerful as many on this blog believe him to be, he would take one of the "phony soliders" challege to call the Iraq veteran a "phony solider" to his face.

    Additionally, if Rush had as much guts as many on this blog believe he does he wouldn't have gone crying to his boss about an ad that was critical of him which was scheduled to run during his show.

    Rush Limbaugh, America's favorite drug addict!!!!

    October 19, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Laura - Tulsa OK

    I agree with those who say the DNC has become Stalinist because it is the Democrats who are all for "speaking out", "holding protests" and doing unorthodox things such shout out in Congressional hearings. Yet when Rush Limbaugh speaks his mind freely, he is crushed by the "free speech" crowd. Whether or not you agree with everything Rush says, it is the freedom of speech we have to preserve in this country.

    October 19, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. LA Doc, Los Angeles, CA

    PATHETIC. Absolutely pathetic. What a slimy, disgusting attempt by that doddering old leftist fool Reid to spin their poor attempt to paint Rush as anti-military. The only thing more laughable are the whiny, histrionic hypocrite crybabies on this blog who actually are defending the fiasco started by Reid by the typical "victim" liberal tactic. Making lame, childish insults about how Rush is fat, or drug-addicted, or really using the charity money for sordid means, etc. Hey bitter whiners, if you want to find sordid money, why don't you look at your own corrupt, vile Democrat leaders, like Shrillary. The loony, victimcrat Left that constantly brays about how they are so much better, morally, than the Right in this country should look up the definition of "hypocrite" in their PC college dictionaries.

    October 19, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Josh, Madison WI

    I'm so glad Rush has his show over the public airwaves with 25 million listeners so nobody can say stupid things like it's doctored audio!

    Way to go Rush. Thank you for not whining about the situation and actually standing up and doing something. You have just had a victory for everyone who has ever voted rebublican or democrate, as this was not about party in the long run, but whining political figures who couldn't handle honor and had to use what power they think they have to silence an American.

    October 19, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Michael, Houston, TX

    The 41 elected officials that signed the letter basically were asking for censorship. They were asking for a revocation of the First Amendment. They are the modern day Benedict Arnold and should be tried in court for treason.

    October 19, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Nestor, Austin, TX

    Rush Limbaugh is one of the biggest supporters of troops in the media, and for 'Dingy' Harry Reid to try to call Rush out as unpatriotic is stupid and shows he either doesn't know what the majority of Americans know, or he is just pandering to the 11% of America that actually approves of the work that is not getting done on capitol hill. Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership have been looking for every way they can to lose the war, when the troops on the ground are winning. Anyone who takes the word of Media Matters (a far left smear machine) needs to have their head examined. Bravo Rush for serving the 41 Democrats who signed the smear letter a turd sandwich.

    October 19, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Jesus Phoenix Arizona

    I am just wondering why the media trys to make right wingers look like the good guys and liberals look like the bad guys. I am guessing there is no left wing media anymore. Plus where was all the outrage when the republican senators tried to stop Move On adds? Rush is just a right wing hack who likes to report with no facts and pure spin. It is his ilk on the air that does a disservice to our country. When we aren't given facts what good is a healthy democracy. God helps us our get our country back from these neo-conservatives who keep ruining it

    October 19, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. jp, Honolulu, HI

    Rush is just a fat druggie. He should know that the "most outrageous abuse of federal power in modern American history" involved several millions of public dollars, powerful Republican leaders and Kenneth Starr...

    October 19, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. Chris, Los Angeles

    Typical of the far right.
    Slam someone, make money off it. What crap!

    October 19, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Ken Los Angeles, California

    Correction for some of the people who are not familiar with where the money is going...It's not going to "The Marines" it is going to the The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (www.mc-lef.org/). Through the continuous support of our donors, we have distributed aid with a value of more than $29,000,000.00 to eligible children. This assistance was primarily rendered to children of Marines or Federal law enforcement personnel who were killed on duty or died under extraordinary circumstances while serving our country at home or abroad. These funds enable us to provide these children with scholarships for their higher education. When a child of a United States Marine is afflicted with a physical or mental disability and requires special medical equipment or tutoring, our Foundation may grant financial assistance to that family if their personal insurance does not cover the complete cost of treatment for this child.

    In addition, Rush has been a member of the Board of Directors for this charity for many years.

    Hate the man if you must, spew invective's at those who show him support, but please recognize this awesome charity for the job they do.

    October 19, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Wayne, Greenville, TX : October 19, 2007 5:57 pm

    Wayne, yes, it was edited, as another caller was on rambling about WMD's, it had ZERO, ZILCH, NADA to do with what we are talking about here, it is backed up by the transcripts.

    Media matters is your typical liberal attack machine that is baseless and as usual factless, no suprise that Shrillary loves to say she started "Media matters", it is the lefts way of attempting to silence another viewpoint.

    Can't beat em' Shrillary, silence em'.

    Henry Waxman and another genius from California (among others) are having paid staffers read Hannity's, Rush's and other conservatives radio shows to find some type of gotcha, PAID staffers doing this people.

    The entire proceeds of this auction.. the entire high bid... will be donated to The Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation, a registered charity which provides financial assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.

    Rush Limbaugh serves on the Board of this organization and has been active on its behalf.

    So for you naysayers and haters, he sits on the board of this great foundation and has been doing it for years.

    The MSM must have missed that fact.

    Maybe Larry Craig went to the post office that day, story at 11:00.

    Do you still think he hates the military or would ever disparage them if he gives his OWN time, effort and yes, money for the cause for OVER twenty years.

    What has Harry Greed ever done “for the cause”?

    The sound you sheep are hearing is crickets in your head trying to come up with a response, here’s one, bah, bah, bah.

    Not even a huge fan of his, but the facts are what they are, the facts.

    October 19, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. JFK, Phx,AZ

    Rush is no hero and never will be. He is an overpaid windbag that has insulted soldiers with his 'phoney soldiers' routine. I applaud the Senators for issuing a letter. At least some good comes out of the letter with the money.

    October 19, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Mike Casselberry,Fl

    Gee wez! I didn,t know Rush had the Market cornered on Patriotism. I know he has hearing problem,maybe it the side effect from the drug abuse over the years. But I suggest if he going to donate the money that it go to all those homeless vet out their in America that can really use the help instead of the Military Police of tne Marine,s They don,t need the help. You see Rush, how easy it is to miss the mark when your just grandstanding for applause. Get over yourself! Help those VET,s or maybe you consider them phony soldier,s too!

    October 19, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Ken Los Angeles, California

    Also The mcl-lef have in addition to the regular program, our Foundation decided to support all American Forces and also Coalition Forces in the invasion of Iraq and taking of Baghdad from 3 March 2003 to 16 July 2003. In the past, the Foundation also included in our program the children who lost a parent from all agencies killed in the murderous attack on the Pentagon. We also decided to go back and give our bonds to children who lost a parent on the USS Cole; the children of the Air Force personnel killed at Khobar Towers; and, with great honor, the twelve children who lost their parent on the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

    If you'd like to get involved or learn more please visit their website

    October 19, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. J. Glick Fort Myers Florida

    First these Democratic Senators take Limbaugh's comments completely out of context, and Limbaugh pulls off one of the most brilliant political maneuvers in American History, all to benefit a wonderful cause. Never before has a group of elected officials had so much egg on their faces at once, and it was all supplied by their own ignorance and hypocrisy!

    October 19, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. Kevin, Austin, TX

    I think it's HILARIOUS that Rush has to pay $2.1 million for dissing American Soldiers. He lied and denied (yes, he did doctor the transcript and you can hear the original if you doubt), then pulled a political-marketing stunt that backfired on him. I'm sure he figured the letter might fetch a couple thousand bucks... but he had NO IDEA someone would actually offer to pay THIS much! Of course, since Rush is on the board of the foundation to receive this donation, he'll no doubt figure some way to weasel out of paying... like maybe get the board to vote him a $2.1mil "bonus" for raising an equal amount of money.

    Reid & Co. may not have gotten Rush to admit to and apologize for his disparaging remarks about Amercian Soldiers... but at least they got Rush to show himself for the liar he is, and in the process, helped to raise millions to benefit children of soldiers killed in action (even if Rush, predictably, welshes on his part).

    October 19, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    People are stupid. They exhibit so much indignation for anti-military remarks that Rush didn’t make, but are perfectly fine with the General Betrayus ads. Exactly when did consistency die off?

    October 19, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Clint, Tulsa, OK

    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.

    October 19, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Rob, Cincinnati, OH

    For those saying that "Rush lied", "Rush doctored the transcripts", etc.. Come on!? You are only wishing. It isn't even in his character to say what the Dems claimed. His history says more than any transcript. And so does the Dems...

    October 19, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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