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Don't Doubt the Limbaugh Effect

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Last night on DNCTV's Decision '08, political analyst Norah O'Donnell reported this about the exit poll data.

O'DONNELL: There are some Republicans who are choosing to vote in the Democratic primary. First, let's look at the party identification mix in Ohio. Look at the Republican crossovers down here. That's really interesting: 10% this year. That's five times as many in the last election. Also in Texas there is again that bigger Republican crossover in this primary than in the last election. Remember, Rush Limbaugh has called for Republicans to cross over and vote for Clinton, essentially to "bloody up" Obama. Those were the words he used. So he may have planted that idea in a sense, quote, unquote, giving permission to Republicans to cross party lines. But that is a significant number that has decided to vote today.

RUSH: But CNN had a little bit different take on their Election Center last night. Soledad O'Brien and their political analyst Bill Schneider had this exchange about the effect in Texas.

O'BRIEN: ...Rush Limbaugh, who was urging in Texas who can vote in the Democratic primary, to go out and vote for Hillary Clinton so we wanted to see if that was going to have some kind of effect on this race.

SCHNEIDER: Mmm-hmm?

O'BRIEN: What did you find?

SCHNEIDER: Nooooot much. (laughter) Only 9% of the Texas Democratic primary voters were self-described Republicans and they voted for Barack Obama, 53... 46%, almost half, voted for Hillary Clinton so maybe that was some influence from Mr. Limbaugh.

RUSH: But not much. So PMSNBC and CNN disagree with their numbers. Then on PBS last night, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Amy Walter of the Hotline took a neutral position. She's not sure about the Limbaugh Effect.

WALTER: Rush Limbaugh got into it, saying, "Hey, go out there and vote for Hillary Clinton, Republicans, so we can keep the Democrats fighting and keep this going on for some time." So we don't know. So much of that early voting when we've seen those numbers, are coming from Republican counties turning out and picking up Democratic ballots!

RUSH: Hmm. Hmmmm. Sounds like the conclusion here is rather unmistakable. Moving on now to Chris Matthews, Election '08, PMSNBC; here is an apoplectic Chris Matthews describing to a T why we needed Hillary to win in this primary to continue.

MATTHEWS: You have to wonder if you, uh, are a Democrat tonight and you want to win the general election if any of this tonight is good news. Is it useful for the party to face seven weeks in Pennsylvania, six media markets, $30 million spent in both directions blasting each other out of the saddle --

VOICE: Mmm-hmm!

MATTHEWS: -- in a state you absolutely, positively have to carry? It's not good news to spend seven weeks in Pennsylvania blasting each other, if you're Democrats. This country's in a rut on the war in Iraq and pending wars elsewhere in the Middle East, the economy! Everything! We're in a rut! We can't fix anything, whether it's Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security! We can't fix our health care system! Nothing's done since '65 when we did the civil rights bill. People want something done. Will that something get done if we have an election that bogs down in Pennsylvania with seven weeks of Democrats killing each other?

RUSH: Aside from the gibberish about nothing getting done in this country, does that not make my point (laughs) of what we are trying to accomplish here? This is the last thing the Democrats wanted to see, and they're going to have to see it, and it's not just Pennsylvania. Forget Pennsylvania, forget April 22nd. You are talking June the 7th, Puerto Rico and beyond! Now this business about "nothing having gotten" done since the Civil Rights Act. Here's the problem. Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the health care system: All of those things got done, and they are a disaster, and who got them done? Who is preventing their reform? Who's preventing these programs from being reformed? The very people Matthews is concerned about being bogged down in the campaign for six weeks going into Pennsylvania. That's what this stuff is all about! These things are going to break the bank, and there are ways to fix them. He left out the public school system and a number of other things which have gone wrong. On CNN's Election Center, Carl Bernstein said this about Hillary Clinton going negative.

BERNSTEIN: Her only shot is to go so negative on Obama that something sticks and makes these superdelegates say, "We don't want 'em," and as one Clinton strategist said to me today, "We gotta mess him up."

RUSH: I rest my case! Carl Bernstein, of Woodward and Bernstein fame, talking to a Clinton strategerist. "We gotta mess him up." Exactly right, because our side is not going to. They gotta do it -- and, of course, they're the only ones that can do it. Folks, you don't realize... (sigh) I don't even have the guts to say it. You don't realize what a brilliant thing this has been. (interruption) Of course it's been as respectful as hell, Mr. Snerdley! (laughing) Of course it's been respectful. Has it been respectful? It's a good thing it's not Monday, because if I'd have had this much laughter on Monday I'd have been in coughing spasms, I'd be in a hospital.

Pete in Woodbridge, Virginia. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello, sir.

CALLER: Just fine, Rush. How you doing?

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: There's at least eight or nine different reasons for voting for Hillary, and you've enumerated some of them for almost two hours. First of all, fear is Hillary's most effective message against Obama, and that's also McCain's message. So as long as she's running her 3 a.m. ad, she's helping to make McCain's point about the importance of experience and national security experience.

RUSH: That's right. This is actually a great ad for McCain.

CALLER: Oh, absolutely. In addition, the Democrats should be thanking you. This screening process really helps them to ensure that they aren't going to have a Gary Hart or a Michael Dukakis running against McCain in the fall. As far as on our side, it extends the time, as you said earlier, for Hillary to get the press to scrutinize him.

RUSH: Well, not only that, but there's another thing that's possible. I don't know how likely it is. But Senator McCain... I heard Karl Rove last night. Karl Rove was doing analysis on Fox, and he had a good point. He said, "Well, one of the problems with prolonging the Democrat battle is that it's going to be on page one, and McCain will now move to page two, page three, page four." Actually, McCain's going to move to Section B, Page One. He's got to raise some money. He's got some fundraising challenges ahead of him. But it's also going to give McCain a chance to campaign. He can start campaigning now, he can start traveling all over the country, making speeches and establish who he's going to be and how he's going to be it; what he's going to do and so forth, while these guys are tearing themselves up. There's an opportunity here for McCain to solidify who he is while these are still in their knock-down, drag-out. It is an opportunity, and it's a way also for him to keep himself a little bit more front and center in the media rather than Section B, because compared to what's going to be going on on the Democrat side, there's not a whole lot that is going to be happening with McCain. I didn't get a chance to listen to this because it was on when the program was on, but the president publicly, professionally, officially endorsed McCain today. They had lunch in the Oval Office or somewhere in there, and then they came out and had a little joint press conference in the Rose Garden. Now, it looked to me -- and I could be dead wrong about this, because I didn't have a chance to watch or listen to it -- it looked to me like most of the questions were asked of the president.

"Mr. President, are you going to campaign for Senator McCain?"

"I'm going to do whatever I can. If he wants me to campaign against him, if it will help him, that's what I'm going to do."

"Well, where are you going to campaign for him? Where are you not going to campaign for him?"

McCain was standing there, you know, asking the reporters for the next question, and the questions always went to President Bush. President Bush can help him with fundraising, and I'm sure that was on the table today when they had their luncheon. But this is an opportunity here for McCain to actually solidify who he is because he's not going to have to run any contests against Huckabee anymore. He's not going to have to go out and get votes and get delegates in any of these remaining states -- and then on the other side of this, everybody is talking about the momentum that Hillary has. The momentum to where? You've got Wyoming, the Wyoming caucus this Saturday. I think Obama expects to lose that. You have got Mississippi next Tuesday. Obama's probably going to win that going away. But, yeah, Hillary may have some momentum, but to where? The next big state is not for six weeks! Whatever momentum she has is not going to sustain her that long. So she's going to have to try to keep the momentum alive by doing exactly what Carl Bernstein said, and that is, they gotta mess Obama up. That's Carl Bernstein's word. My word is they gotta bloody him up -- politically, of course. Don't misunderstand.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Do you want to hear the babes on The View discuss this? Do you want to hear what they have to say? I literally marvel, I really do, at the obtuseness, the dim-wittedness, the no "there" there-ism of some of these women. Who do we have here? We've got Elisabeth Hasselbeck, we've got Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, discussing Hillary's chances in the primary voting. This is yesterday, this is Tuesday morning. And Hasselbeck says, "Look, on a political strategic level, I say stick in it because I think she'd be easier to beat when McCain goes against her."

BEHAR: That's what Rush Limbaugh is saying.

GOLDBERG: Is that why he's encouraging people to vote for her? Because he's saying that voting for Hillary will unsettle the Democratic Party, and that can only help Republicans.

SHEPHERD: Yeah, he said, "I want Hillary to stay in this. This is too good a soap opera. Clinton is more willing than the Republican National Convention and John McCain's campaign to criticize Barack Obama. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically."

HASSELBECK: You know, I don't agree with him, just so you know, like I'm not --

BEHAR: The thing about Limbaugh, I don't totally trust anything Limbaugh says, because -- I worked with him, right?

GOLDBERG: Did you?

BEHAR: Yes. I know him. And after -- when I was at the radio station with him, Clinton won. And he was so happy, because he could now be funnier on his radio show. It has nothing to do with real patriotism or whatever he's talking about. It's about his show.

HASSELBECK: So he feels as though he'd have more ammo against Clinton--

BEHAR: Yeah, he has more fun with Hillary. That's all he cares about.

RUSH: You know, Joy Behar saw me every day, and, folks, I do know about you, we were miserable. I don't want to go through that again. I do not want to live through the misery. I mean, to say that we wanted Clinton to win because it was more fun, that I was happy when Clinton won? And then this poor old Elisabeth Hasselbeck is the conservative on this program and is going out of her way -- it's pathetic. This program has the potential to be doing more damage to women than Oprah is doing. Good Lord, it's insulting. There have to be executives at ABC that understand the literal ignorance that's being broadcast on their network signals each and every day. I guess they know their audience.

END TRANSCRIPT

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