February 12th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Limbaugh: I'm McCain's 'most valuable asset'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/12/art.limbaugh.mccain.afp.gi.jpg caption="Limbaugh has been highly critical of McCain, but on Tuesday the talk show host said he is actually doing the Arizona senator a favor."](CNN) - He's aggressively targeted John McCain ever since the Arizona senator began his meteoric rise in the polls, but conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday he may actually be the Arizona senator's "most valuable asset."

Commenting on the mainstream media's fixation with his feelings about McCain, Limbaugh said there may be more to his criticisms than meets the eye.

"If I really wanted to torpedo McCain, I would endorse him," Limbaugh said on his radio show. "Because that would send the independents and liberals who are going to vote for him running away faster than anything."

"What people don't realize is that I am doing McCain the biggest favor that can be done for him by staying out of this," he continued. "If I endorsed him thoroughly and with passion, that would end the independents and moderates, because they so despise me and they so hate me."

Limbaugh, along with several other prominent conservative radio hosts, have long spoken out against the Arizona senator over his stances on a range of issues and his history of working with Democrats on issues such as immigration and campaign finance reform.

Limbaugh's attacks in particular got so heated that former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole wrote the talk-show host last week defending McCain - calling him a "mainstream conservative" who supported the party on critical votes during Dole's time as the Senate Republican leader."

Limbaugh later said of the letter that McCain was "manipulating" Dole.

Yet despite the fiery rhetoric, Limbaugh on Monday suggested members of the media weren't digging deep enough into his comments.

"Couldn't it be said, if somebody wanted to…that I am secretly supporting McCain, because I secretly do want him to win, but I know full well that if I come out and endorse him, he's cooked?" Limbaugh asked. "Who may be in this whole kit and caboodle, this who shebang, the most valuable asset McCain has?"


- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (425 Responses)
  1. Neal

    Rush Limbaugh, the most modest man on the planet...

    February 12, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Bob Smedlap

    Nice Limbaugh. Way to position yourself as actually supporting McCain now that he's likely to get the nomination.

    Is there anything you can't do? LOL.

    The ego has landed indeed....

    February 12, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Dan

    Mental Illness is special. It's nice to have a hightened sense of self. Best of luck to Rush.

    February 12, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. One helluva Texan

    Limbaugh's right– he's actually trying to help McCain. No matter how much he dislikes McCain because of issues such as immigration, do you really think he wants to see a liberal as president? He already knows that Huckabee would have zero chance against Hillary or Obama, so McCain is his best option. Besides, McCain will be tough on terrorism and favors a strong military, which I'm sure satisfies Limbaugh somewhat.

    February 12, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Neil

    Er.... Somebody has an inflated view of his own importance... doesn't he?

    February 12, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. ILoveAmerica

    CNN, why do you persist in reporting on the mindless utterances of the idiot Rush Limbaugh?

    February 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Chuck

    What an idiot.

    February 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Chris - Orlando, Florida

    Limbaugh's trying to cover himself. If McCain wins (as he's expected to) then Limbaugh's going to say his criticism was a ploy...if McCain loses then he'll insist he was on the right side (no pun intended). Either way, he's trying to hedge his bets so that he doesn't come off as if he's lost his persuasion over conservatives. He's the poster-boy for conservative liars.

    February 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Praetorian, Fort Myers, FL

    This could be a graceful "dodge the bullet"–because since he's being seen by many as shooting off the toe's of the Republicans by negatively portraying McCain–and creating "fodder" for the Dem's in the National Election....

    Or this could be due to the fact he is losing audience because his negative portrayal of McCain has embitter a large number of his audience–who seem to represent a shift in the majority of Republicans towards something closer to the center....

    What it clearly is not–is his secret support of a McCain Presidency.

    He never says or does anything that won't make money–or to grow listener's.

    February 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Carol Young

    Rush: Leave off the " e t " – that's more like it.

    February 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Bart

    Of course. Rush Limbreaker engages in hate speech against McCain because he actually supports McCain. This is why millions of listeners agree with Rush because they all know that he is lying. This is the same Rush who led the parade to impeach a president for lying. Rush really means the exact OPPOSITE of what he says on the airwaves. Thanks, Rush, for helping us, with your lies, to see the truth.

    February 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Erik A

    Who CARES what some has-been DJ has to say about the campaigns? Please stick to covering actual issues and stop acting as this guy's daily PR machine.

    February 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. irrelevant blow hard

    well well well, mr. limbaugh sure thinks highly of his opinion, doesn't he?
    unlike his listeners...the 'liberals' that might be voting for mccain probably employ a more complex decision making process than "what did rush say?" when casting a ballot.

    if only his audience did the same.

    February 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Dan

    Rush Limbaugh obviously has been deluded into believing his own press. I personally do not care one iota what the overblown windbag says about anything, and I certainly wouldn't let the egomaniac influence my vote. Why do you keep covering what a jumped-up DJ has to say anyway, CNN?

    February 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Joe

    Limbaugh is wrong on so many levels. Moderates and liberals don't go running from what he says. They simply choose not to listen at all.

    February 12, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Steve AuBuchon

    Please stop covering what LImbaugh says. No one really cares. I boycott every radio station that carries his show. Don't make me shut off CNN

    February 12, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Shawn

    Why does the media care about has-beens like Rush?

    February 12, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Kellie

    Rush, hate is a really strong word. Hate is a component of love. We Democrats and Independents think of you more like a little bug that won't go away. I will say it's maddening that you actually believe this stuff. You actually believe that you turn the earth, and that is the most annoying trait you have. 2006 should have proved to you that you do not hold the electorate in the palm of your mighty hand. You are a bobble head, a shrill voice people mindlessly tune in to for 5 minutes on their way to work.

    February 12, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Mike S., Nawlins

    First Limbaugh goes down on McCain, now Limbaugh is all high on McCain.
    Up down, up down. You'd think maybe he was on something.

    February 12, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Mary

    Wow!...What an egomaniac!...Does this guy seriously believe that his endorsement of anyone would make a difference anywhere?

    February 12, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Tom Wittmann

    For once, I agree with Rush. Anybody rational would run away from McCain if he
    had endorsed him !!

    But it seems that the Press, the conservatives and McCain himself did understand HIS MACCHIAVELLIC STRATEGY !!

    Now that he discloses it, I hope that McCain will stop to woe Rush's alike thinking people and that all the conservatives will vote for him in droves now and in the
    General election.


    February 12, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Wayne, Greenville TX

    To paraphrase what Sandy the Squirrel said to Patrick on an episode of "Spongebob Squarepants", does Rush have to be stupid somewhere else? 🙂

    February 12, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Hilsey

    Like there's not enough reasons to hate this excuse for a human being. But now the arrogant blowhard thinks he alone can make or break McCain's campaign?

    Endorsements mean nothing. And when they come from trash like Rush they mean even less. I feel sorry for all who listen to his show. How they must not have any self worth or an original thought.

    A ditto head is a synonym for lemming. But go ahead and endorse McCain. I wouldn't vote for a Republican or McCain anymore than I would consider Rush a human being.

    February 12, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Emil D.

    Rush's pompousity is as healthy as ever. The problem with people like Rush? They are incapable of actually providing any real goodness to the American people. They have to create a bubble in which they themselves, along with their crony political constituants are able to fuel a cuase which really has no worth.

    February 12, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Daniel from Kansas

    What a doofis.

    February 12, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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