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. John, Charlotte NC

    Reid is a dope. He slams Limbaugh early in the week and then today is trying to somehow get credit for raising $$ for charity. Does he really think that America will buy that. Even Moveon.org liberals will see thru that.

    Note to Nevada: stop smoking crack on election day. what other explanation could there be for that dope getting elected?

    October 19, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. ThirstyJon, Adelaide, SA, Australia - from the U.S.A.

    And the score is:

    Limbaugh - 4 million+
    Military Children - 4 million+
    Reid - ZERO


    October 19, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. Andy, Connecticut

    Everyone complaining that this letter was not the worst abuse of federal power, you are absolutely right, the worst was the murder of 86 people, including 17 children under age 10, at Waco during Clinton's watch. Kind of makes accusations against the Bush administration pale in comparison.

    October 19, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. guy mc. A, charleston sc

    Harry Reid and those who support him are the reason this country is so divided. Dems are supposed to be


    all you see is vile hatred against Rush Limbaugh,who did nothing more than makeONE comment complaining about phony soliders. So what.

    October 19, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. Horner Cosby

    The whole Reid fiasco is a debacle. First his accusations on the senate floor and now his face saving comments today on the senate floor, concerning Rush Limbaugh.

    I consider myself a moderate but this congress is pushing me over the edge. The Democrats are out of control and not focused on issues. If they drop their partisanship fanaticism I would regard congress in a better iight.

    I am fed up and will make my voice heard in the next election.

    I am confident that most moderates feel this same way as well however I can only base this on my conversations with my friends. HC

    October 19, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. Rob , Ft. Lauderdale

    Rush is admirable to turn this stupid political attack by Harry Reid into a benefit for the Marines and law enforcement. He could have taken it personally, he could have whined, but he quickly thought of a way to put his millions where his mouth is. He's much more patriotic and has a history of being much more giving to the various charities that give to our troops than Harry Reid

    October 19, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Cory, San Diego, CA

    This is awesome! Thank you Rush and the Republicans! You'd never see any Democrat out raising money for the soldiers (They're too busy suggesting soldiers illegally kill innocent people in Iraq as the disgraceful Rep. Stark did). Rush raises money for soldiers/Marines all the time.

    October 19, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. ronnie knoxville, tn.

    there's no more weasly character in politics than Harry Reid .ALL THREE sons of his and his son-in-law are lobbyists. That's creepy and almost nepotistic (is that a word?) He's a career politician. Let's see the roll call of 41 Washington blow-hards match Rush's 2 million donation. Let's just see

    October 19, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Bill, Denver CO

    Yep, Rush doctored the audio.

    He also sent out that secret frequency that deleted the memories of all of his listeners who were hearing his original broadcast and know that he in no way made any of the comments Hillary's Media Matters organization or any of the Democrats in Congress accused him of.

    Then again, the truth has never been important to the Democrats in Congress, so why start now?

    October 19, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. dave , antioch , ca

    If you lefty's are waiting to expose "rushes lies " you will wait till hell freezes , The missing parts are available and have NOTHING to do with cover up ( the fave cry of lefty's)

    October 19, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    There ARE a number of phony soldiers who lie about or exaggerate their mil service. Even ABC did a report on it. ABCNews coined that term for the report.

    Those my friends are facts. Check it out.

    October 19, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. Jeff, Dubuque, Iowa

    I was surprised CNN put this on. What would really be impressive would be for them to post the transcript and weigh in on the fact that Limbaugh's comments were distorted. More impressive yet would be a story on the phony soldier who lied about his service and accused real soldiers of butchering and burning innocent civilians. That would be impressive indeed.

    October 19, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  13. Ben, Omaha Nebraska

    I thought drug addicts were suppose to be behind bars and not running a talk show? At least that is according to Republicans. Weird how that worked out.

    October 19, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  14. S. Wright

    Hey, Senator Reid, Lenin called; he says he wants his playbook back since you are obviously too incompetent to employ his tactics. He also wants you to get the copy Madame Speaker has, too.

    Have you checked your favorability ratings in Nevada, sir? Does the name Tom Daschle strike a chord?

    You schmuck, you.

    October 19, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  15. Josiah

    How many meals could $2.1 million provide or how many gallons of heating fuel could $2.1 million provide?

    What we waste our money on in this country in the process of promoting hatred and bigotry!

    October 19, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. John, San Antonio, TX

    Hey RB In case you did not know our soldiers, all of them, are volunteers that serve this great country. Don't pretend that you are concerned about the brave men and women in service overseas just for political crap. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS when it comes to the soldiers.

    October 19, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. Seam, Philly, Pa

    I don't get people in this country. Someone paid how much for a stupid letter? There are starving kids in the world.

    October 19, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  18. Rachel Lee, Chicago, IL

    This is ridiculous. Reid is an idiot; it wasn't his idea to raise money for charity – it was Rush Limbaugh's idea to raise money for charity. Reid was trying to stifle Rush's first amendment right to free speech and then try and steal the praise when it backfired on him. What a loser. Reid should put his money where his mouth is.

    Rush made a brilliant move here.

    October 19, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |

    ALEXANDER MOODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY RUSH SAID AND IN WHAT CONTEXT AND IF THIS PRODUCER OF THIS STORY DOES NOT TELL THE TRUTH THEN HE IS TO VEIWED AS A DEMOCRAT PARTY HACK FOR ONLY TELLING THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY AND GETTING IT WRONG ABOUT WHAT RUSH REALLY SAID.a transcript from Limbaugh's Sept. 26 show suggests the "phony soldiers" remark specifically addressed the case of Jesse MacBeth, an anti-war activist who claimed to have witnessed atrocities as a Purple Heart recipient in the Army Rangers. MacBeth never served in Iraq and was expelled from the military after 44 days in uniform.

    October 19, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  20. Pat, Cincinnati, Ohio

    I listened to the Rush broadcast. Anyone that disagreed w/ the war was a phony soldier. It was shocking.
    Then to see how he deleted this segment on his website and in transcripts really opened my eyes.
    Any respect I had for him is gone.

    Please open your eyes and ears.
    Don't be led like sheep.

    October 19, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. C Raddad San Jose CA

    Dingy Harry is now claiming it was his idea to auction the letter!

    What a dirt-bag is Harry!

    Why can't CNN report on Harry's Land Swindles and Bribes from Casinos?

    October 19, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  22. James, New York City

    The Left seems to be in a snit over this. Rush did not lie. Kills you does it not? Rush has a 20 year record of being consistant in regard to supporting the troops. Harry declared the "Surge" a failure Before all the troops were in place. So who is supporting the troops and who hopes we lose? Hmmmmm?

    October 19, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. Vicky, Cleveland, OH

    Paper and envelope – 25 cents

    Tax payer money wasted by very low rated democratic senators to discuss and compose a letter – $1,000's

    The way Rush handled the proof of their incompetence – $2,100,100.00 to Priceless!

    Soooo, to all the Rush bashers, just when do you think these democratic senators are going to step up to the plate with some donations?

    Rush Rocks!

    October 19, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  24. Willy Brown, Chesapeake, VA

    Nevada now has it's own village-idiot along with the other 40 who signed that letter.

    October 19, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. Zeus Racine, WI

    If " Limbaugh is a true Patriot..." then Osama bin laden is the greatest Republican ever!

    No one should IGNORE the sheer stupidity and drivel frothing from this clown, probably enhanced by this buffon's continued addiction to pain pills, as it only fuels his totally mindless base – you know, those people in America who think the Flint Stones are a documentary.

    He needs to be challenged on his constant lies and mis-characterizations of the truth.

    I would be opposed to SHUTTING him up, even if we didn't have FREE SPEECH in America; his value is the same as Senator Craig, Senator Foley and all of those religious right conservatives: They give me and RATIONAL PEOPLE all over America something to belly-laugh at daily...

    October 19, 2007 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
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