SEAN HANNITY: And welcome to Hannity & Colmes. We get right to our top story tonight. Joining us now live in a Hannity & Colmes exclusive, the one and only Rush Limbaugh. Rush, how are you?
HANNITY: Thanks very much. Look, first of all, you've got to tell us: What's the update here, in terms -- I understand it's up to $851,000, this smear letter that you're auctioning off.
RUSH: ... $851,100. It's amazing. (laughing)
RUSH: It's just absolutely amazing. This is more fun than I've ever had in my life.
HANNITY: Look, you know, for those that don't fully and completely understand the whole story here, Rush, why don't you just explain it to them?
RUSH: Let me make it as brief as I can. I had a call on my program on a Wednesday. I guess this was about two weeks ago now. I'm still amazed how long this has survived. And two days prior to that, NBC -- or ABC's World News Tonight had done a story on Jesse MacBeth, the phony soldier, one of the many people who's never served, didn't even survive through boot camp, and claimed he had been in Iraq, claimed he had been a Green Beret, and a Purple Heart and all of this, and saw all these atrocities, sort of like John Kerry in Vietnam. And on the day of the questionable call, I had done a Morning Update on Jesse MacBeth. And I think this is Wednesday when this all happens. The guy calls and claims to be a Republican and claims to be a soldier, says we're losing, why don't I just admit we're losing? Why can't we get out of there and save the soldiers, and so forth. Another guy calls after that and says, "You know, I hate these guys. The media always goes and finds these guys that do not support the mission." And these guys that never served, and they're just fake. And I said, yeah, "the phony soldiers."
Two words that I uttered have been now magnified and blown up into like hundreds of thousands of words by now. I have, in 20 years of my broadcast career, never denigrated a serving serviceman, regardless of his political opinions, whatsoever. I was strictly talking about these fakes, these phonies that never served and claimed that they did; saw all these atrocities that they didn't see -- and it happened to happen a week or so after the General "Betray Us" ad, so the left totally had that backfire on them, after Petraeus showed up at the congressional hearings, the Senate and the House. The American people loved the guy. The MoveOn.org ad in the New York Times just backfired totally. So they had to deflect that, and they thought they would focus on me. And this led to Senator Reid accepting the words of an organization called Media Matters for America, which is just a Hillary Clinton front group, which is designed to get her elected president, and went to the floor of the Senate, read a letter -- asked as many senators as possible to sign it -- condemning me, and asking the syndication partner of mine, Mark Mays, the CEO of Clear Channel, to also condemn me, make me apologize, spank me, this sort of thing. And we got a hold of the original letter. Mark Mays gave it to me. We put it on eBay to auction it off. We're up to $851,000, because this -- Sean, this is one of the most -- in my lifetime, one of the most focused abuses of power that I've ever seen.
The U.S. Constitution is to protect private citizens like you and me and anybody else from this kind of neo-Stalinist act of the U.S. government. So we put the letter on eBay to auction it off, with the proceeds going to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. I'm on the board of this foundation. And what it does is raise money to provide college scholarships for the children of Marines and federal law enforcement officers that are killed in action. We're up to $851,000.
RUSH: When I left the studio this afternoon after my show, we were like at $180,000. It's just going through the roof. It ends at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. And it's just -- this is just -- I'm just a kid from Missouri who grew up to be on the radio, and I've got the United States Senate focusing on me, and trying to intimidate me, and discredit me, and impugn me, and this sort of thing. My parents wouldn't believe it. It's just an amazing thing. But the exciting thing is, is that this kind of money -- we're probably going to top out at $1 million, I would guess, because I knew that the big money would wait until the end of the week to get in so as not to bid it up any higher than it had to be. And this is going to be -- I'm going to match this. Wherever it ends up, I'm matching it. So we're looking now at least $1.6 million going to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, thanks to Senator Harry Reid.
ALAN COLMES: Hey, Rush, it's Alan Colmes. Thanks for doing our show. I joked the other night that I was going to buy it and put it back on eBay, and take that money and give it to the ACLU. Some people got upset about that. But thanks for doing our show. We really appreciate it.
RUSH: You bet. Well, Alan, you know that I admire you and like you. I think the reason people got upset about that is because they misunderstood. They thought that you were going to take the money away from the Marine Corps and give it to the ACLU. (laughing)
COLMES: (laughing) No, no, no.
RUSH: In fact, if you did buy it --
COLMES: Then everybody wins.
RUSH: -- you would have to give -- your money would go to the charity in the first place.
RUSH: (laughing) But, you know, I think it's gotten beyond the ability of a whole lot of people to get this letter now. I just -- I'm sort of humbled and awed by this at the same time, because it's -- this kind of money for this -- you know, both you guys, this is a collectible item. You know, when you talk about collectors, they need to verify signatures. This may be in our lifetime -- I'm 56 years old -- this may be in our lifetimes the single greatest example, and the only example, of the greatest deliberative body -- by reputation, anyway, in the world -- singling out a private citizen for abuse and censorship and a number of other things. We've got the signatures. And we've got signatures of presidential candidates on the Democrat side. We've got Barack Obama; we've got Hillary Rodham Clinton. Chris Dodd is on there. This is a collector's item, and the investment, whoever ends up with this, is going to have an investment far beyond whatever it is it costs them on eBay to buy it.
COLMES: Let me talk to you for a second about the phony soldiers comment, because those who criticize you have pointed out you said "soldier-s" plural. And then when you played it back a couple of days later, you edited out about a minute and 35 seconds of time. So it wasn't clear initially you were talking about one particular soldier.
RUSH: I did not edit -- here's what we edited out, for the purposes of my website. You know, Alan, "Brevity is the soul of wit." That is what Shakespeare said. The second caller, after discussing the phony soldiers, went into a discussion of weapons of mass destruction. At the time he's doing that, I am talking to my producer on the other side of the glass of the IFB, I'm saying, "Find the commentary I did yesterday morning on Jesse MacBeth," who, by the way, whose birth name is Jesse Al-Zaid. Find me that commentary. This guy is going on. He's got diarrhea of the mouth about weapons of mass destruction. I'm asking people to find this commentary so I can illustrate what I mean by phony soldiers. We edited -- that was about a minute and a half, or a minute and 45. When we put the transcript up -- and I finally told this guy, I said (summarized), "Look, weapons of mass destruction is a moot point now. Whether they're there or weren't there, it's not relevant because the situation in Iraq has gone way beyond that." We just edited that out. It had nothing to do -- there was nothing hidden. There was nothing I was trying to cover up. You've got to stop listening to these partisans and these propagandists at Media Matters for America. They are nothing but a bunch of hacks who are producing the primetime at MSNBC. If they ever went dark, Media Matters, MSNBC would have nothing to say. They do -- Alan, you have a radio show, and I have a radio show. You have a website. I have a website. All you have to do is turn on the radio to listen to each of us, or go to our websites. The Drive-By Media does not listen to my show, does not go to my website. They take for granted whatever Media Matters says about what I said is true. It is irresponsible. It's journalistic malpractice, and it's silly. We edited that out simply for the sake of brevity and to stay on point. When we got to the -- when I found the commentary, when they printed it out to my printer behind me, that's when I got rid of the call, and that's when I started in repeating the commentary on Jesse MacBeth that I had aired the previous morning.
HANNITY: Hey, Rush, it's Sean again here. Look, I've been a fan of your show. You've been on the air now 20 years as one of the strongest, staunchest, most ardent supporters of our men and women in the military. You were one of the most-requested shows on Armed Forces Radio that they have there. I want you to comment, if you can, a little bit in more detail here. You've got these groups, Media Matters, the Center for American Politics (sic), Hillary has bragged that she has in part been responsible for founding these groups. They're listening to every word you say. They're taking words, two words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, in the hopes that they're going to catch you saying something that they can use against you to silence you. This whole Center for American Progress, structural imbalance of talk radio, Fairness Doctrine. Explain what the atmosphere is like out there for conservatives like yourself speaking out forthrightly.
RUSH: Actually, I think we're in a pretty strong position, Sean, because as this episode illustrates -- and most of the episodes that have preceded this, like, in my case, the Michael J. Fox episode, the Donovan McNabb episode -- they have to lie. What I think people need to understand is that liberalism needs a monopoly with no counteroffensive, no alternative point of view expressed, in order to flourish, because liberalism is basically a lie. And liberals lie about what they do, and they lie about what you say, they lie about what I say. They will not engage us in the arena of ideas and debate us for two reasons. One is, they can't win. The second reason is, they can't be honest about what they really intend for this country to look like. So rather than engage us, what they have to do is try to discredit us. Now, this next point is key. They know they can't discredit us with our audience. Our audience is a firm foundation. What they're trying to do is make sure that the people who don't listen to us, have an opinion of us that will make them no longer -- or not at all -- interested in listening to us. They're trying to limit our growth. But it's all being done with lies. And this is typical of Mrs. Clinton's procedure.
Mrs. Clinton is not interested in debating people on the merits of ideas. She won't even be firm from issue to issue about what her ideas are. Her mission is to simply destroy and discredit anybody who would say anything critical of her in a successful way, somebody who might -- like you or me, anybody, whoever it might be -- may be able to cast doubt on Mrs. Clinton's persona, as she's trying to present herself, must be destroyed. But they can't. They're the ones that are working on a foundation of balsa wood or a house of cards.
RUSH: We're engaging in truth here. The truth always will out. The truth will always survive, and the truth is what gives people like me the confidence to keep expressing it. None of this bothered me, because I know my audience has stood by me through all, through various, things, thick and thin. And they're the ones that sustain me and give me the confidence to continue to fight back on this kind of thing. It's actually kind of interesting, in the sense that Mrs. Clinton and Media Matters and all of these different groups have to make things up about what we said, take things out of context about what we say, in order to try to discredit it. They're trying to limit our growth -- and they're also trying to impinge on our ability to do business, and that is something that has to be taken very seriously.
But one of the things this episode shows is, the Dirty Harry -- Dingy Harry -- letter, and so forth, is that there's no reason to be afraid of these people. There's no reason to cower. Whenever somebody is coming at you with lies and a false premise, you don't accept the lie. You don't accept the false premise. You just laugh at them, and you fight back, and you ram it back down their throats. You think Dingy Harry, he's got to be livid over this. This is a letter with his signature. It's got $851,100 on it in terms of somebody wanting to buy it. He has to not have ever expected this would be made public, even though he read the letter on the Senate floor, which is now in the Congressional Record, and even though he issued a press release about it. He's got to be livid this has gotten out. He's got to be livid this is happening -- and look at all of their failures, from the S-CHIP program, they failed to override the veto, all of their failures when you talk about the FISA program. They totally caved. They haven't been able, with 55 resolutions, to get us out of Iraq. They don't have the guts to take away funding for the war. These two, Reid and Pelosi, are two of the most ineffective leaders of the House and Senate in my lifetime. They have to be fuming over this. They can't believe that anybody would stand up to them. You have to understand: they're used to having a monopoly. They don't have it. The Drive-By Media continues to give them cover and support whatever they say. But now there's this alternative media, you, me, all these other people out there, who do not let them get away with it. I feel very optimistic and positive. I think Media Matters is becoming -- soon to become, if not already -- a big joke. And they should have been from the get-go.
COLMES: Hey, Rush, it's Alan once again. You feel you were attacked by certain people. You claim that liberals as a whole lie and can't defend themselves. I debate conservatives every night. But you have attacked people like the family, for example, of Graeme Frost and quoting, using the words of somebody who posted on the Free Republic. "Should this family be the victim of barbs from anybody because they're trying to do best for their kid?"
RUSH: You know, Alan, that's an interesting question. I never once attacked this family. I attacked the Democrats for exploiting them. I attacked the Democrats for putting lies into the head of a 12-year-old. A 12-year-old they send out before microphones and cameras to sit there and say (child impression), "I only want health care for the rest of the American children like I got. And George Bush is against it." A 12-year-old can't write that garbage! The fact of the matter is, Graeme Frost was covered and got the health care -- he and his sister both got the health care -- they needed under the current circumstances of the program. The Democrats sent those two little kids out there to make the American people think that they would not get covered because Bush didn't want to expand the program. The Democrats are amazingly brazen in this: using kids, using seasoned citizens. I never attacked this family. I simply reported what their financial circumstances are. I actually feel sorry for them to be used. This is another thing. If you would turn on my radio show and listen to me, you would know I never once attacked him. I would not attack a 12- year-old kid! I feel sorry for the fact that the kid is having words put in his mouth. He's sent out before the whole country to lie, when he can't know any better, because he's a 12-year-old, simply to advance another lie that the Democrats want to put forth, because the S-CHIP program is nothing more than a stealth attempt to get socialized medicine inculcated over as much of America as possible.
RUSH: You can't tell me that children are 25 years and younger. You can't tell me that a family of four making $82,000 grand is "poverty-stricken," and that's what this program would have done. It is obscene.