RUSH: All right. Let's go to the phones, and let's see what excitement is lurking out there behind those blinking lights. We go to Anaheim, California. Johnny, you're up first. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Good morning, Rush. It's a real thrill to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I really found the debates last night very interesting. But one of the most interesting things I found were their post-debate polls on who won.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah, postdebate polls.
CALLER: Yeah. I feel that probably Ron Paul got a real boost from the Democrat listeners. They found a real soul-mate there.
RUSH: Did Ron Paul sound like a Democrat to you?
CALLER: He sure did.
RUSH: Well, you know... (Laughing)
CALLER: Pretty much.
RUSH: I've had a couple of people make that comment, saying there's not that much difference. I'll tell you what's happening out there. Let's play the bite just to bring it up to speed here. Five and six out there, Ed. This is the debate last night at University of South Carolina. Wendell Goler says to Ron Paul, "Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?"
PAUL: I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, "I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier." They've already now (chime), since that time, have killed 3400 of our men, and I don't think it was necessary.
RUSH: Oh, these ridiculous chimes, too. I'm getting so sick of these "time's up" zap little sound effects in what are supposed to be debates. Giuliani then responded to that.
GIULIANI: That's really an extraordinary statement. It's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11 (applause) and I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that.
RUSH: And Ron Paul didn't do that. Here's what's happening out there, folks. Ron Paul has a lot of supporters. He's got supporters, and they are spamming polls on the Internet. They are spamming radio talk shows to try to defend Ron Paul against what happened. He's got a lot of energetic and passionate supporters. I've been getting them on e-mail. I got a threatening e-mail from a Ron Paul supporter, and it was very cleverly done, by the way. "Rush, I was watching TV last night, and I've been listening to the radio this morning, and every other talk show host has been predictable on this. I'm looking for you to stand up and stand out from the crowd by being honest about what a great American Ron Paul was and what he did and didn't say last night," and... (interruption) Where? This next one? Let's go there. Cory in Norfolk, Virginia, welcome to the EIB Network. Nice to have you with us, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. I'm 30 years old and I've been listening to your show on and off for half my life for 15 years, so --
RUSH: A Rush Baby! Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Well, you know, I'm just wondering. You said that you consider yourself a conservative first rather than a Republican. Would that be correct?
RUSH: Yes, I've said that many times on this program, behind this very microphone.
CALLER: I just don't understand. I consider myself a conservative, with, you know, admittedly Libertarian leanings. You know, you look at Ron Paul and you look at the other field out there this year, it seems to me that if you go down the issues, you know, Ron Paul is the only one who speaks strongly against, you know, larger government and other things. You know, he's very socially conservative. I don't understand why you don't support him.
RUSH: Uh, well, I haven't made up my mind on any of these candidates yet.
CALLER: Well, that's true.
RUSH: I'm going to be honest with you out there, Cory. It's not my job to support these guys and give them a boost. Their job is to go out and get the support. Their job is to go out -- and they're the ones hunting for votes. I'm just going to be honest with you. I don't think Congressman Paul has a snowball's chance.
CALLER: Well, I think that, you know, I mean again, you said that your reasoning is not to promote a particular candidate, but if you were to decide that he was the candidate that most identified with your, you know, conservative nature and you supported him in that way, you have the power yourself to make him the Republican nominee. Enough of the base listens to your show that you could effectively change the balance, as it were.
RUSH: That is very true. You do not know how right you are. That is why I must exercise this power responsibly, not as a cheerleader, not as somebody trying to demonstrate that awesome power. I have to do this responsibly, which is why I'm not picking a name right now, because I understand exactly what you said. I alone have the power to move the base.
CALLER: Can we talk for a second about the 9/11 quote in the debate? Here's my concern --
RUSH: He said what he said. Now, he said what he said, and you can -- I've gotten e-mails from Ron Paul supporters talking about, "Hey, he was totally misunderstood." Okay, you guys have to understand: politics is perceptions. The perception of what he said was not good for him.
RUSH: And you're not going to be able to clean this up with e-mails and polls and phone calls to talk shows. You're not going to be able to clean it up.
CALLER: That's the media's perception, though, and that's where you're good at pointing out where the media gets it wrong.
RUSH: It wasn't the media's perception. It was Rudy's perception, too. Every Republican on that stage last night wanted to take a swipe at this. It's just Rudy got in there first. Look, I can't believe I'm doing this. The big flaw in what Congressman Paul said was that we've been attacked long before we ever went to Iraq. We've been attacked by terrorists -- and he said they're not attacking us because they like our freedom and like our liberty and so forth. They're attacking us because we're over there. We listen to what they say! (Well, you can selectively listen.) I do listen to what they say, and they're promising to wipe us all out because we're infidels. His position on this is Libertarian: "We got no business going anywhere, and US national interests be damned."
It's not realistic.