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. Terry

    So let me see if I get this right... A Black Republican is ONLY supporting Sen Obama because he's Black. However, a White Republican can support him without race being a factor? Now I'm suppose to believe a man as intelligent as Mr. Powell isn't educated enough to see past race, but Sen. Hagel (a white man) sees no color? Based on Mr. Limbaugh's logic, I gues Sen Lieberman is only supporting Sen McCain because he's white.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Rush Slimeball is Correct this Time

    As much as I loathe Limbaugh, I have to admit, this one's a no-brainer.

    I never doubted Powell would endorse anyone but Obama. How could he not?

    Every Black friend I've spoken to told me the reason they bailed on the Clintons, who have helped them for decades, is because, "You HAVE to vote for a Black man if you're Black. After Iowa, we had no choice."

    Get serious folks, is there one person who posted here who wondered, even for a second, who Powell was going to endorse?

    These are the same people who thought PA whites were racist because only 40 percent voted for Obama, while praising the 93 percent of Black who voted for Obama for being "empowered" and "proud."

    It takes a lot to make Limbaugh look sane . . . you people are doing it with aplomb.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Chikersal

    Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a hypocrite. I do not understand why people waste their time listening to this useless and idiotic man. Get a real job Rush...

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. TAYO, NY

    Rush is a Moron.

    Why are we paying attention to him?

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Marge

    Could someone answer this. Black people all over this country are calling white people racist because they are not going to vote for obama. WHY IS IT WRONG FOR A PERSON TO QUESTION THE MOTIVES OF A REPUBLICAN...who has been a republican, who worked in a republican administration, who had no qualms about accepting two supreme justices. NOW because there is a black man running as a democrat and this black man endorses him, there should be questions. Because if you look at the record he is only doing it because he is black and I am sick and tired of people being called racist because they don't support obama.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Ryan

    Powell wasn't only endorsing Obama based on "experience" but as a transformative figure, a person who can inspire the nation, etc.. Things that Rush decides to forget about so he can make racially charged statements.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |

    Please take Rush off the airwaves!

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Archie H.

    Rush is so right and you all know it !!!

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Donna

    He just can't keep his big mouth shut long enough to stay out of trouble.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Obama-Junkie, IL

    The real question is that why do so many people give Rush Limbaugh such attention. A guy with no college degree who is paid hundres of millions of dollars for just spouting ignorance and non-tolerance.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Dennis

    This is about race, whether we like it or not. If Obama had been white, he wouldn't have been given a second notice by the Dems. The Dems have "used" the black Americans by feeding them just enough to keep them on their side, while not really caring if they succeed as individuals. It has been along time since a Democratic politician told Black America – you don't need welfare, you don't need handouts – you can succeed as an American using your own intellect and resources. Black is akin to being "gay" in America (I am not insinuating that blacks are gay) – but it is the "in thing" to be in the political arena. Blacks have been "beaten down, mistreated and shunned by white America, so they are "owed" the chance to have a black President (although he is half white). Personally, I couldn't care less about his race – it is his ideaology that scares the hell out of me. In our useless 2 party system, McCain and the Repulicans are bad, Obama and the Libs are worse – unless, of course, you want welfare, government funded abortion, gay marriages, weak defense and all of the other "social ills" that come with Socialism.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Bulldog

    You can't disagree with Rush or Hannity without being called nasty names. It's just the way they and their loyal fanbase are. They are sore losers.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Jason

    Powell is concerned about affirmative action policies being upheld in the supreme court. He knows Obama will uphold affirmative action policies. He mentioned the supreme court.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Roger Porter

    It is one thing to say that Americans ought to be proud of the fact that an African-American has got as far as Obama has, and may be the first black person to be elected to the Presidency. It is quite another thing to say that Colin Powell has endorsed Obama BECAUSE of his race. Of course much should be made of Obama;s historic candidacy; but nothing should be made of race as a justification for Powell's backing him, since it is obvious that that consideration played no part whatsoever.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. fred m

    And BIG BAD SARAH is a pig with lipstick-oh my-don't take me out of context.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Mark

    Typical... Rush is who he is.

    He's always looking at events and facts in a way to support his preconceived opinions. Too bad his intellect is by far exceeded by his ability to always have something to say.

    I am sure if Obama wins, we'll be hearing many more controversial soundbits from him in the years to come. Here's hoping he suffers the same fate as Imus.

    October 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Sue

    Colin Powell should be in the Obama camp with all the other turncoats. Powell himself says he still thinks the war was the right thing to do, but when the going got tough over there he quit. He is moving toward the right group, a bunch of sniveling liberals headed by his own likes, Obama.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Denver Carol

    Has this jerk been in his medicine bottles again? Why does anyone even listen to him. He is so yestersay.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. OIF VET

    Rush and his right wing nut jobs that are all over the radio is the reason that Powell wanted the nation to know that the party of Lincoln has lost its soul.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Pete Collins

    As a life-long Republican, Limbaugh hasdisappointed me before. Many times. But for him to try to make this entire campaign about race is for me, the straw that broke the camel's back. I've been disgusted with McCain and Palin and their smear tactics and their failure to speak to the issues in any coherent and sustained fashion. Now Rush and the other neocons have openly sunk to the lowest possible point. They have played the Race Card, and they have dealt it from the bottom of the deck. This is right up there with Palin stating that people in communities that don't support her and McCain are "unAmerican". Only in Rush's little world is there any place for this in America. Early voting has begun and I am voting today for Obama.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Sukka MC

    All Rush is missing a nazi armband and a salute.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. Fred

    Get real people. Can any of you name a white liberal with limited experience that Powell has endorsed? When he endorsed GW weren't GW's opponents a lot more qualified than Obama with a lot more experience. The diffference, they were white.
    Let's try to at least be honest.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Mary

    It's not about race at all.

    It's about QUALIFICATIONS.

    Powell endorsed Obama because he is the superior presidential candidate.

    Old white conservative dudes are the WORST losers, eh.

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Billy

    Why do republicans continue to allow despicable people like Limbaugh to be the face of their party?

    October 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Frank

    Did Powell endorse Kerry? Gore? Mondale? They are all closer to the Republican philosophy that Powell said he still held to.

    It is not a crime for him to want a black as President. Why can he not just admit it?


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