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 Dallas TX

    I love it. All the liberal Democrats who signed that letter just look dumber and dumber. I agree with Rush today on what he made of Ried's speach earlier today, "You win Rush"! I love it! Also hey liberal Dems you don't like Rush Limbaugh then don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. It is not brain surgery.

    October 19, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Maryann ( Bowlin) Paap, Bend, Oregon, USA

    Thank GOD for RUSH LIMBAUGH!
    He's pure Genious!
    He is a gift from GOD to this earth, the U.S. and the American people!
    98.7 % accuracy rating, based on facts and documentation, on his radio program = Truth! A voice for the true red, white and blue blooded Americans. With out his program, where would truth seekers hear it?
    Spineless, fork-ed tongued liberals, the likes of crooked Ted Kennedy, Ried and Polosi, Clintons, Obama, etc., including the liberal owned press (Big Lie propaganda machine) in this country are the cancer eating away at America and our freedoms. What is their accuracy rating? They're pathetic! Some of these cowardly smelly little lying-commie rats, won't even wear a United States of America lapel flag pin! Heeelllooooo!!!
    Who really genuinely supports America, patriotism and the troops?
    God Bless the troops, President G.W. Bush, and Rush Limbaugh!
    From a Rush Babe,( I LOVE Rush because I love truth!)

    October 19, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Clint, Tulsa, OK

    I always hear the left-wing media say Rush spreads hate. I listen to his show when I can and have never heard a hateful thing yet. Please, someone show me just one hateful thing he has said. And if you consider Rush chastising soldiers who lie about themselves and our military as hateful – I think I see the problem. I guess lying about yourself and your own country's military isn't hateful, but pointing out those losers who would do such a thing is hateful. Now I see.

    October 19, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. sharon snow

    wow cnn better late than never. poor old harry, he still can't admit that he took rush's commets out of context. any thing to keep media watch happy. today he tried to turn it around and make the dems look like the good guys, the only way he can do that is to put up or shut up. he can do like rush and match the money, the profits from his land deal could relly help the marines kids. by the way Harry, did you serve in the military?

    October 19, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. matt

    Are we all sure this cash isn't just feeding Rush's drud addiction?

    In all seriousness, let's get back to seriousness and quit talking up these silly little tit-for-tat's.


    October 19, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Joe Henderson

    This argument is futile. Any independent thinking, caring person knows Rush is a bigoted, avaricious liar. Anyone who listened to the actual original audio can tell his 'phony soldiers' comments refers to those soldiers who do disagree with Bush's illegal war. The reference to Jesse Mcbeth comes a full two mintes later – after the original caller is long gone (2 minutes is an waful lot of time in radio – sit silently for 2 minutes and you'll see what I mean.
    On the other hand, you have the 'dittoheads' – mindless self-righteous, uncaring miscreants who believe anything that spews out of rush's vile mouth. One final comment: you can listen to Rush any day of the week to hear him blanketly insulting anyone who disagrees with him – he says far worse things than 'phony soldiers'. I take solace in the personal hell that this lying scumbag has created for himself. No wonder he is a drug addict!

    October 19, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Rob, Cincinnati, OH

    Oh yeah! And CNN.com certainly did show their true colors by finally reporting this 4 hours late, and on the Poly page only. I guess that "Dads in drag vieing for Hannah Montana tix" is more interesting than $4 million to charity...

    Foxnews, here I come... Where do I change that bookmark?

    October 19, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Mel Springfield, Oregon

    Here we go again. Rush on drugs, Rush needs a drug screen, Rush this, Rush that by the Liberals. But if somebody says anything disparaging about Liberal Candidates (Hey, somebody ask Bill Clinton last time he inappropriately "felt somebody's pain?") boy there would be hell to pay.
    Double standard.
    Yet again.

    October 19, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. Lionel New York, New York

    CNN is such propaganda and is so biased. They somehow neglected to mention that Rush will match the bid dollar for dollar. Reid in hearing about the letter came in and tried to take credit. They're are senators who signed that despicable piece of paper who can afford it and none of them are contributing. Liberals are in fact such caring and giving people

    October 19, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Chiara, Sacramento CA

    I heard the 'phony soldier' comment as it aired, and due to it's lack of any foundation in reality, found the controversy it caused commical. I realise that admiting that I actually listened to the show and understood the context of his comments will automatically disqualify me in the eyes of the Limbaugh haters who want to see him brought down a notch and don't care whether or not the truth is utilized in doing so, but it was clear during the show that Rush was speaking in the context of people who bear false testimony of fabricated atrocities, not genuine anti-war soldiers. Media Matters' doesn't. If it did, Reid wouldn't have looked as small as he did today.

    October 19, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. chum, philadelphia, pa

    Rush is to be congratulated! What a sheer stroke of genius to turn that letter of condemnation into such a huge donation to a worthy charity. Absolutely brilliant!

    October 19, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. Shaughn, Portland, Oregon

    Coming from a lawbreaking drug abusing, womanizer with so few morals to begin with is quite humerous and somewhat obscene. Our country will be a much better place when we stop listening to the filth spouted by blowhards like Mr. Limbaugh...he is irrelavant and the only reason anyone listens at all is because news organizations allow him to USE the media for his own self glorification.

    October 19, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Mike , Virginia Beach

    Rush Limbaugh said nothing wrong. Sen Reed was completely wrong in taking what media matters fed him as fact. Sen Reed is bad, Rush is right!!!!!

    October 19, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  14. Ann Coulter

    I love my brother Rush.
    My Mom, Dr. Laura and our dad Adolph (god rest his soul) are so proud of him. God is on your side Rush.

    October 19, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. tokalion, Albuquerque, NM

    Next these right wing wacko's are going to auction off nooses to hand in Jena, Louisiana. Rush and his loyal wacko followers only marginalize themselves...just like the Klu Klux Klan.

    October 19, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    Finaly when the letter is sold on e-bay CNN picks up the story. A story that has been covered on FOX since it started. No matter how many liberal, Commie, Queer, (I can now use that word thanks to the TV show Queer Guy)anti-american, pro-illegal, pro-Castro, pro-Chavz, pro-aboration idots post on this story. The fact is that Rush won!! Not only did he prove how much of an idiot Harry Reid, and the other 40 Senator's who signed the letter are, he put his money where his mouth is. Wake up America, most of the folks who signed the letter have millions of dollars that the did not earn on the public dole. How much money are they giving to the troops.

    October 19, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. Andy, San Francisco, California

    Rush Limbaugh, pill popping drug addict chickenhawk with a boil on his butt... What a joke.

    October 19, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Not too often in the arena of politics and commentary that one gets to "have their cake and eat it too". Score two for the cigar smoker.

    October 19, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Greg, Barrington, IL

    Here's the simple truth. The conservative "mainstream" are really what is wrong with America today. (How many wackos have voiced their opinion about what is "wrong" with America today?) Oh well, anyway, the fundamental problem is this: Political conservatives are inherently not intelligent enough to govern us and protect us in a world that becomes more and more dangerous to our safety and well-being. They continue to focus on the 1600s pastime of identifying and isolating those American citizens that are "not moral enough" to live among us. Can we ever get past the Simple-Simon cretins like Limbaugh and go ahead and be the world leader that we could be? Even if they dont like it, the world would accept the fact that we are the strongest and most acceptable voice of reason and justice if only they could see that we attach no value to the proponents of the 1800s mentality of racism, bigotry, hatred, meanness and greed that are the cornerstones of political conservative thought in modern America. I have a real problem with the low moral character of the modern conservative... Can it finally be time to make it clear to them with a resounding majority: "Enough. There is nothing moral or respectable in your political platform of hatred, greed, and exclusion, no matter how many times you roll your eyes toward the sky and avow your belief in religion". The Ku Klux Klan are real religious and they are scum... Osama Bin Laden is real religious and he's a mass murderer. How long are we going to allow these barbarians to mask their true nature behind non-existant religion and patriotism? Move forward America or we are going down...

    October 19, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  20. Blayze Kohime, Columbus OH

    I do not agree with Rush, but the statement he made is something that I would have not even seen as significant if listening to his program. It seems that even the people whose side I am closest to being on do idiotic things now.

    October 19, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. ed, liberal, ks

    Why is Reid still talking? Hmm let me have a media battle vs. the 20 year king of talk radio. Great idea.

    Cant wait for the strategy on how to blow the seemingly unblowable 2008 election. Thanks again Harry.


    October 19, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  22. YouKnow Staunton, VA

    Sorry, I forgot. In addition to being a fat pig junkie, he is also a draft dodging traitor. Hope this helps!

    October 19, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. Brian, Denver, CO

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

    I'm sure how I feel about this bit of high melodrama. McCarthy? Internment camps? Indeed, Guantanamo?

    No, clearly this letter calling on his boss to reprimand has just gotta be one of the worst. So up on the cross of victim-hood for poor, downtrodden Rush.

    October 19, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Sam

    Limbaugh , you are a waste of space and all you pathetic republicans supporting this fool have ruined our nation. You are all hypocrites and without question- fake Americans.

    October 19, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. josh, fairlawn, oh

    Screw rush limbaughs

    Phony soldiers vs. "betrayus", a nickname from Petraeus' own soldiers used on blogs, since 2004....

    Disgusting hypocrite rush!

    October 19, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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