October 20th, 2008
02:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Limbaugh defends comment about Powell

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/20/art.limbaugh.gi.jpg caption="Limbaugh defended his comments about Powell Monday."](CNN) - Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday strongly defended his recent remark that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama largely because of race, and lashed out at members of the media and Democrats for appearing to take issue with his comment.

"So what if it's race?" Limbaugh said on his radio show. "Why is it so hard to admit that it's race...What's so problematic about admitting it?"

Limbaugh's original comments came in an email to Politico reporter Jonathan Martin Sunday, when the talk-radio host took issue with Powell's contention that his endorsement of the Illinois senator did not have anything to do with the color of his skin.

"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," Limbaugh wrote in the e-mail. "OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with."

The comments immediately caused a stir on several Democratic blogs and an Obama campaign spokeswoman called them "disgusting." They were also heavily reported on several news programs Sunday night and Monday morning. But Limbaugh made clear Monday he is not backing down from them.

"I thought it should be about race," he said. "I thought you liberals thought this was a historic candidacy because finally we are going to elect a black guy...why hide behind this, why act like it's not about race?"

"This was all about Powell and race, nothing about the nation and its welfare," Limbaugh added. The talk radio host also criticized members of the media for not addressing his claim that Powell likely hasn't endorsed white candidates who, according to Limbaugh, have similar political leanings and experience as Obama.

"Just so you know, I haven't come up with any," he said. "I worked diligently on this on the airplane on the trip home from Green Bay yesterday. I can't find any of these inexperienced white liberals that Powell has endorsed."

In announcing his endorsement of Obama, Powell said his decision was not based solely on race, but added "I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president."

"Should that happen, all Americans should be proud - not just African-Americans, but all Americans - that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world."

soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. Dan

    You know what Rush... I was a former republican turned independent this year and you know why I wont be voting for Mccain? The exact same reasons Colin Powell wont be. His explanation of the issues with the Mccain Camp and with his pick for VP are dead on with my views. So since I'm white, it must be a reverse racial thing!

    Give the guy a break, he's trying to make a fair endorsement for who he thinks would best be suited to be president in the coming years. Its a matter of personal opinion for him, just like it is for me. I think he has served his country more than enough to prove that he doesnt make decisions lightly and deserves the respect that anyone would give a Mccain supporter!

    Dan P. (Obama/Biden, Nebraska)

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Miss Lisa

    Is Mr. Limbaugh still poppin' pills?

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    Race is playing an enormous role in this election. I have not met a single black person who is voting for McCain. On the other hand, I have met a whole lot of white people voting for Obama. Which group is the more racist?

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Steve

    I agree with the above comments. Rush is a joke, and I can't believe he still has listeners. I hope he gets fired like Don Imus.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. qwert

    This says nothing about Colin Powell or Obama. It says everything about Limbaugh himself.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Kaye Martin

    Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh is supporting the McCain/Palin ticket simply because McCain is white. This would explain why he is unable to accept the fact that moderate Republicans are not pleased with the intolerance that is openly flaunted by the McCain campaign.

    General Powell has made a choice, as is his right as a United States citizen. Trying to undermine General Powell's decision by using the politics of racial division and intolerance will only alienate other "big tent Republicans" who are turned off by the vitriol and intolerance being promulgated by the McCain campaign.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. genek1953

    Limbaugh is right, though not the way he thinks he is.

    All you had to do is watch Powell Sunday and listen to the tone of his voice as he moved from discussing Obama to discussing the McCain campaign to see that although he will never use the word, he believes that the campaign tactics being used by McCain/Palin and the GOP are racist and his feelings about that were the thing that stuck in his craw until he had to take a stand against his own party and a man he used to consider a friend (whether he still does or not, who knows?).

    Powell's endorsement of Obama was indeed about "race;" not Obama's race, but what McCain and the GOP are trying to do with it.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Lori, Houston Texas

    The only thing Rush supports, besides his drug habit of course, are the politics of division and hate. Without his bigotry, and the bigotry of his fans, he wouldn't have a show.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Obama/Biden 08

    Limbaugh is just bitter that Obama is winning.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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