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. sorryexcuse

    errr.. colbert king's entire column in the washpost on Sunday was about what racists we'll be if we don't elect Obama. So that's uncontroversial, but pointing out that people (white and black) are voting for Obama because he's black is evidence of horrid, disgusting racism. I get it. Unless you're for Obama, you can't mention race. Glad I now understand the fairness doctrine.

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

    This Rush guy is so quick to comment on everything – comments that only the ignorant ones believe.

    But it is surprising that Rush has not made comments about Palin's SNL appereance – how about it Rush? Or is there simply a desire to hide the huge humiliation?

    btw, look at Rush's website – no one in their right mind would believe anything this guy says!

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

    Then lets get this straight, Rush...

    You are supporting McCain because of his race.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. values


    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. windfall

    Limbaugh didn't endorse McCain 8 years ago, or 4 years ago.

    Powell's reasoning for supporting Obama was incredibly well thought out and quite logical.

    Limbaugh is scared little baby who will be unhappy no matter who wins the election, but he'll have to pretend for at least 4 years that he's thrilled, should McCain win. Rush is another great Divider.

    it must terrible to be Rush.

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

    Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Judy Miami Fl

    Rush – Maybe Palin will take him with her back to Alaska! I'm sure President Obama has a little extra cash from Sept donations to buy him a one-way ticket.

    Early voting in Florida started today
    Be sure to vote early – polls were full this moring at 7am.

    Lots of young people with Obama pins and t-shirts at the polls today at 7am – didn't even know you could wear things like that.

    Obama – Biden 2008

    October 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. How to vote

    Limbaugh is the embodiment of chaos.

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

    Rush you are the biggest jerk out there you said Micheal J.Fox was faking now you make a commment abour Powell well I will say this much for you you Chicken Hawk . You who got caught getting drug should not have many thing to say period.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. MNR

    Is this the best Rush can do for the country? Just because you have the right to talk doesn't mean you should. Please keep your racist, stupid opinions to yourself. You create noise......

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. A. Rohani

    Rush is a disgusting, but in this particular instant, he happens to be right to a certain extent. I think race did play a role in Powell's endorsement, but most likely because Powell believes that Obama's race will help improve our image in the world and strenghten our relationship with our allies.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Scott M

    Dear Repubicans:
    You have some good people in your ranks with good ideas and love this country.
    Please listen to them instead of people like Limbaugh.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    Obama has brought up race and the media just dismisses it, but Rush makes a comment and he is a disgusting human being.
    The point that everyone misses is – Powell doesnt share alot of the same political views as Obama, but still supports him?? I am sure that will look good when Obama appoints him to a position in his administration.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. asdf

    Finally, someone that speaks the truth.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Paris

    The reason Obama hasn’t gotten the same scrutiny like Plain and even John McCain that has been in public life all his life is only because of Race.
    The liberal media refuses to go deep in Obama’s life and past because they are afraid to be called racist.
    Obama and his supporters are using race as a fire wall to protect themselves from any question.
    You question anything about Obama and you are called a racist. The same tactic was used on Hillary.
    Obama uses the race accusations to bully the opponent and his critics and the liberal media is the weapon of choice.

    Any other reason that CNN still hasn’t done a single analysis of Obama’s relationship with Acorn, Ayers, Frank!!!, Wright and much more.

    It is either race or a cover-up. Which is it?

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. observer

    Mr. Limbaugh seems to be a bag of hot air. Mr Powell said in an interview on Sunday that had his endorsement been based solely on race he would have done it months ago. So don't make things up. Sen. Obama is simply a better choice. Get over it. I've met many Republicans that are doing the same.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. jess

    The more you talk like this, Rush, the more votes Obama gets.

    Thank you..........

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Pam

    But the whole thing is about race, that's why it will be so historical when Obama wins. If it was another white man, there would be nothing historical about that!

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Gene

    Look.. I'm not gonna say that race had nothing to do with it.. but, Powell gave a full list of well thought out, logical, and legitimate reasons for endorsing Obama.

    So say what you will.. the fact is that he truly believes that Obama is the best candidate. I agree with Rush though.. we shouldn't have any reason to admit the obvious... Race does have a lot of influence in this election.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. wreed

    Finally someone comesout and admits what this election is about . RACE . Mr. Limbaugh says what we all know to be true and the media wants to beat him down for this. There has never been so many outspoken blacks back another "inexperienced, very liberal, white candidate", as we see for Obama. Myself and many others support you Mr. Limbaugh.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |

    The truth sometimes hurts. Rush is right.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Surrealist

    So....would you want to be in Powell's shoes–the last black public figure not endorsing Obama?

    Clearly Obama is a powerful enough candidate in so many other ways– so Gen. Powell did not need to resort to race. Powell could recite so many other defensible good qualities and aptitudes–race didn't even have to be addressed.

    And the General is right–Obama promises to be a globally transformational leader for the first time in many decades.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Kimberly

    Good grief people! The last I checked, white men have held the job for over 200 years. So what if General Powell endorsed Senator Obama? No one was whining when Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean. I did not hear any whining when Geraldine Ferraro endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton. I think that General Powell endorsed Senator Obama because Obama represents the future and the American Dream. I think that Senator Obama will work hard to help restore our standing in the world.

    October 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Phil

    Limbaugh makes a legitimate point. Obama's race is the number one factor in the mobilzation of African American voters this election.

    October 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. mb

    Rush should be taken off the air until after the election. He has caused enough damage. Also Pat Buchannan should be suspended until after the election.
    What would their comment have been if Gen. Powell had endorsed mccain? That Obama was not good enough even if he is Black?

    These guys are unhappy and miserable and everyone knows that misery loves company.

    Thanks should be given to Mr. Powell for really putting 'Country First'

    October 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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