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. Always Blue Maryland

    Did Limbaugh say that those former Secretaries of State who endorsed McCain did so because he and they are white? The double standard is disturbing but not unexpected....America still has people like this guy who either don't really understand racism or feel it is their duty to to keep it alive. I feel SO GOOD that I just dropped off my absentee vote for Obama and Biden - and because I'm white I guess I did it because I think that Obama is the best candidate not because we're both black.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. JWheeless`

    This drug addicted racist needs to be removed from radio!

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Oh my god Rush, did you forget to take your pain meds again? You can't do that! You know how you get when that happens.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Mike in ATL

    This are the kind of people killing McCain situation. When you keep injecting all this stupid crap into the campaign. The secret service really need to investigate and protect Obama cos this is really gettin ugly.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    CNN I can't take this anymore. I am so tired of fat Limbaugh and other WHITE people in general, saying that Powell endorsed Obama because of race. The Republicans I hate to say it, are VERY prejudice, when Powell was doing all the good that he has done he was a "TRUE" american. Now he see's that McCain is not the best for the job and now Powell is racist. He hasn't voted for any liberal whites because he didn't like their views. And damm it why do some white people think they have a damm lock and key on morals and what someone should and shouldn't think and feel. It just divides us more, because it makes me angry and then I start thinking about all the crap that whites have puts us through here on earth and I want to scream. And yet Obama just keeps pressing on, he has an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulder and he is riding it out like a champ. He loves this country even though some of them don't love him.


    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. S.M

    Is anyone surprised by what Limbaugh says anymore? If Limbaugh looked hard enough he might find some African american blood in his family too.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Peter from Arizona

    I totally believe Rush at face value when he says it is about race.

    And I totally believe Colin Powell when he says it is not about race.

    The question is: who has credibility & who has actually served his country with honor and patriotism? (and I don't mean fake rhetorical patirotism)

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Jose

    It's comments like these from right-wing extremists that make the case for the GOP being a party that excludes people. In seeing Colin Powell's interview I got the sense that he was talking straightforward and there was no hint of him voting for Obama based plainly on race. Limbaugh's comments only prove how bitter the GOP has gotten because they are losing support from all sorts of people, including high prominent Republicans who aren't happy with how the McCain campaign is being run. Name calling and lame attempts at trying to distract voters is the name of their game. Pretty pathetic.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. joseph

    I love Limbaugh he is not PC and I love it! I especially LOVE reading you whinny libs complaining about everything he says without listning to the show. Carville said that blacks would riot if Obama wasnt elected, is that not racist, were is the outcry, wait hes a Demotard so its Ok for him to be racist. AND NAME ONE WHITE LIBERAL INEXPERIENCED GUY POWELL HAS ENDORSED, YOU CANT CUZ THIS WAS ABOUT RACE.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Lima

    The same argument can be made of an the Lieberman endorsement of McCain. Fortunatly for the majority of we do not see the world just in terms of black and white.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. CO Voter

    Colin Powell outlined a convincing argument, which stated his reasons for endorsing Obama.

    To suggest anything otherwise is disgusting... which is exactly what Limbaugh is!

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Bit

    Rush Limbaugh is a..............well, I won't be stupid because he is. Anyway, as CBS' Bob Schieffer said this morning; and I quote:

    "What Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive. I think Colin Powell said aloud yesterday what some Republicans, at least, are saying privately."

    Smoke that Rush!

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. james

    Disgusting... absolutely disgusting. I never agreed with his talk show in the first place but I listened just because it was entertaining to hear a right wing nut-job ramble on and on about nonsense. Never again will I listen just for entertainment. In my opinion this comment is worse than Don Imus' comments and he should be held responsible for his Racist remarks.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Tony

    Is this moron (limbaugh) relevant? Who gives a rats-_ _ _ about his opinions? Only dumb people listen to his radio show and all of them are neocons!

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Army Vet in Charlotte

    Looks like Rush is on the Pills again.

    Kudos to General Powell. Keep it up and they'll start calling you a "Maverick".

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The funny thing is that Rush the Junkie hates John McCain. Before McCain became the nominee, he went on several hillybilly heroin fuled rants against McCain. Now he's all for McCain. Limbaugh is a complete joke.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    It has more to do with his (Powell's) disapproval of the Bush administration than it has to do with race. Powell resigned from the Bush administration because of his disagreement. At the time he resigned, Obama wasn't even a household name. Rush likes to make everything black and white. Rush is as racist as they come.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Brian

    I have no words horrible enough to say about this guy. He's only after causing a riot with his words which in turn get him ratings boost. But to say something like this is... I'm speechless. The man is Scum.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Kay Kline

    This coming from a convicted drug addict. Rush, you're a loser!
    What about all of us white-bread Americans choosing to support Obama? We're doing it because he's the BEST candidate. I'd listen to General Powell any day of the week over a junkie windbag like you.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. North Dallas Thirty

    Funny, the Obama campaign is the one who's claiming that not voting for Obama makes you a racist.

    Therefore, as we see, it IS all about race. Any disagreement with Obama on anything else makes you a racist.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Michael

    "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."

    Here is one that Powell endorsed: George W. in 2000. He was white, he was inexperienced, and Powell (as well as many others) mistakenly thought he was liberal like his father!

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. rice, bryan

    i told you all on thursday, that a repulican would bring out the race card, go figure had to be limbaugh. the grand wizard himself.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Charlie

    The last time I heard Rush Limbaugh's radio show, a well spoken, articulate caller disagreed with him. Rush's brilliant comback was to call him an idiot. That was about 40 years ago. For me, it placed him on the fringes of the Human Race.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. tulsa

    Hey Rush, didn't Powell endorse Bush in 04'?
    I guess ol Dubya wasn't white then, if you use YOUR twisted logic.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. mary ca

    He is having no credibility,,, at all. Who care about this guy he is just a nut

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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