RUSH: Let's go to the audio sound bites. This is the very beginning of it. This is John King opening the debate on CNN.
KING: Mr. Speaker, I want to start with that this evening. As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview at the Washington Post, and this story has now gone viral on the Internet. In it she says that you came to her in 1999 at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?
GINGRICH: No. But I will. (cheers and applause) I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. (cheers and applause.)
RUSH: That's another standing O for the Newtster. I told Cookie, "Don't cut the applause. I mean, gotta cut it at some point, but leave enough of it in so we get the idea for people who didn't see it." It was on CNN last night, not everybody saw it, I guarantee you. So the sound bites will be useful today. So Newt says, "I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that." Under his breath he says, "even though I knew exactly you were going to do it." Nobody will be able to convince me Newt did not expect this at the top of the debate and was ready for it. He might have been appalled, but he was ready for it. Here's John King retorting.
KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?
GINGRICH: Let me finish.
GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine. (applause) My two daughters, my two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it, and I am, frankly, astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate. (cheers and applause)
RUSH: "Even though I fully expected it! Even though I hoped for it. I wanted them to ask me this question! I was hoping they would ask me this question; I was prepared to answer this question. I knew it was coming. I wanted to tell 'em what reprobates they are, a bunch of people that appall everybody -- and they never do anything like this to the Democrats. They run out and they do everything they can to protect Barack Obama." It was red meat! People ate it up. Standing O after standing O, two of them in one week for Newt Gingrich. John King continued, then...
KING: As you noted Mr. Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I'm not --
KING: I -- I -- I get your point. I take your point.
GINGRICH: John, it was repeated on your network. You chose to start the debate with it.
GINGRICH: Don't blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.
AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)
AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)
GINGRICH: Now let me be quite clear.
GINGRICH: Let me be quite clear: The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They're attacking the governor; they're attacking me. I'm sure they'll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul. I'm tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.
AUDIENCE: (wild cheers and applause)
RUSH: Right on, mama!
AUDIENCE: (sustained cheers and applause)
RUSH: Oh, yes, right on! Right on, right on.
AUDIENCE: (sustained cheers and applause)
RUSH: The audience is eating it up! They're eating it up off the floor. They're sucking it up with straws! They love it! Now, let me tell you one thing here, folks: You cannot shame the mainstream media. If any of you are thinking that the media learned a lesson -- if any of you believe that the media finally had it handed to 'em, if you believe that the media had their eyes opened and they are fully awake now and they understand what they're dealing with -- forget it. John King is proud of what happened last night. John King is a hero in the Main Street media because he didn't back down, because he continued to illustrate how it is that the media does really control the agenda. That was a demonstration of the power they hold over every public figure's head, that they choose to hold like a guillotine.
John King... There may even be some jealousy and envy within the journalist ranks (well, not journalists; within the Democrat Party ranks) because John King is a guy that got in Newt's face, stared him down -- and the fact that Newt told him off? It's a badge of honor. If you are thinking that John King was embarrassed and ran away with his tail tucked between his legs and learned his lesson and it'll never happen again? Ah, ah, ah, ah. You cannot shame the mainstream media. They are proud of this. They delight in their power to destroy candidates that they don't like. They revel in the fact that they can keep so many conservatives from even thinking about getting into politics. A lot of the so-called journalists watching this probably were pumping their fists.
A lot of the journalists watching this were doing the Obama cheer: "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!" and do not doubt me. If you think King was embarrassed -- if you think he was suffering from an elevated heart rate during the middle of this, if you think he felt shamed, if you think, "Oh, my God, Newt's beating the crap out of him" -- you are dead wrong. He got exactly what he wanted out of this. Do NOT doubt me. At the end of the day the message to every conservative who hasn't run for office is: "You want a piece of this? You want some of this? You want Brian Ross hounding you and your ex-wife and then you want me asking you about it on national TV the next night? Come on in. We're ready." That's the message from John King and CNN last night, and do not doubt me on this.
RUSH: Here's John King, sound bite number four. Very quickly get this one in...
KING: It is an issue in the debate. Some of the other candidates are talking about it; voters are talking about it in this state. It was my judgment, my decision, and mine alone. If we're gonna deal with it, let's deal with it up front; let's not try to sneak it into the middle of the debate somewhere and people at home either agree with that or disagree with that. You make a decision; you ask the question -- and this is politics. This is politics. He's trying to promote himself, promote an agenda. Of course he's gonna attack us. I don't take that personally. We had a nice conversation afterwards. I've had a long relationship with the Speaker. We don't always get along but I get how the business works.
RUSH: That's John King afterwards accepting accolades, by the way, from the CNN analyst bench on the way he did this. I mean, that is a homerun for John King last night, and don't think otherwise. Don't doubt me.
RUSH: No, no, no, folks. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not criticizing Newt on the John King back-and-forth and I'm not saying it was pointless -- and I'm not saying it shouldn't happen. I think it's great. What it does is illustrate that they can be dealt with. But you can't beat 'em. They're not gonna be shamed. They're not going to be shamed into stopping the coverage of conservatives as they do it. It's going to continue. No matter what kind of shame you think they suffer in a contest like that -- no matter how much money they lose, no matter how many of them get fired, no matter how many magazines or TV stations or newspapers get shut down -- they are not gonna change. They are hard-core, leftist radicals right out of the White House.
That's where they get their marching orders. That's why I call them the State-Controlled Media, but Newt's standing up to them the way he has shows that Republicans can win doing so. How many consultants have told Republicans never to do what Newt does? How many consultants say, "Don't ever do that! You can't win with the media. Don't ever do that. They're gonna come back and hate you twice as much and destroy you," and that's why most Republicans don't do what Newt did this week, and it's a reason why so much of our candidates don't do it, either. But I ask you: Did Newt win or lose last night by doing this? Did he get hurt? Let me put it that way: Did Newt hurt himself with South Carolina voters or Republican voters at large by taking on John King that way?
He did not hurt himself. Now, we're told -- Republicans and conservatives are told -- by our consultants, "The independents don't like that kind of thing. The independents don't like that kind of confrontation! The moderate voters don't like that. Moderate voters want us to get along, want to work with each other. Don't treat Democrats that way, don't treat the media that way," but look! Three standing O's for Newt this week. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying do it all the time. Just don't think that these people are shameable. Don't think that they're going to start loving us. Don't think they're gonna start agreeing with us. Don't think that that can happen as a result of this.
That's all I'm saying. Nothing more. I'm not suggesting Newt shouldn't have done it. Quite the opposite. It lets everybody on our side know that they're not alone, that they're not isolated. There's all kinds of upsides to doing it, but one of the upsides that isn't gonna happen is the media saying, "Gosh, we've been so mean to these people and so unfair. You know, maybe we ought to start being fair." That's not going to happen. It just isn't, and I don't mean to be depressing you here, but it just isn't gonna happen. We're gonna get to the phones here in a second, but two sound bites: David "Rodham" Gergen's debate analysis on CNN after it was over.
GERGEN: This is one of the most explosive moments we've seen in debate history, and one of the harshest attacks we've seen on the press that I can remember in a long, long time. Very personal in the beginning. As a political matter I think Gingrich saw a fastball coming and, for this audience, he smacked it right out of the park. I think there's a reasonable chance, after talking to people there, that he could win South Carolina based on that answer.
RUSH: Sooooo! David "Rodham" Gergen... If you want to know what Washington conventional wisdom is -- if you want to know what Washington, DC, groupthink is -- just listen to what Gergen says, and "Rodham" Gergen there said Newt could win South Carolina because of this answer. He could win South Carolina because of that. (interruption) What's so funny in there? (interruption) Oh. (interruption) If they don't, they'll figure it out at some point in time.
RUSH: We're gonna start in Washington with Eric. I'm glad you called, sir. You are up first and it's wonderful to have you with us.
CALLER: Rush, good afternoon. It's nice speaking to you again.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Well, the question to me is -- Gergen stole my thunder here a little bit, but -- why would the Drive-Bys, Mr. King, lob this fastball down the middle of the plate for Newt to hit it out of the park? The only thing I could come up with is that they misread the way he was gonna answer.
RUSH: No. Mr. King told you the answer in his sound bite. Grab sound bite number four. Stick with me on the phones. John King told us himself why he did this, and I'm gonna add to it. But here is John King explaining his decision to do it and do it first.
KING: It is an issue in the debate. Some of the other candidates are talking about it; voters are talking about it in this state. It was my judgment, my decision, and mine alone. If we're gonna deal with it, let's deal with it up front; let's not try to sneak it into the middle of the debate somewhere and people at home either agree with that or disagree with that. You --
RUSH: All right, that's enough. "Not sneak it in. If we're gonna deal with this, let's do it up front." In other words, "I'm gonna show you my courage." In other words, "I'm gonna show you my guts." It was all about John King. It wasn't about setting Newt up. The hope was that it would be a curveball for Newt, that he would somehow flub it up and they could take him out. Remember, their objective is to take all these people out, Eric, at one time or another. Their objective is to take Romney out. Their objective is to take Newt out. But this was all about John King going first. "Look at me! Look at my gonads! Look at my guts! I am the man here tonight. I am fearless." That's the answer to your question.
RUSH: Hello? Testing, one, two, three? Are you there?
CALLER: (laughing) No, I hear you, Rush. So are you eliminating the possibility that they misread the way that Newt was gonna answer?
RUSH: No. No. I think they knew that he was probably gonna be prepared for it. They're not idiots. They're hoping he botched it. They're hoping that he would flub it up by being embarrassed. But they had to know Newt has been getting standing O's attacking the media. They had to know they're setting him up to attack them -- and it's like I told you in the last half hour: This is a badge of honor. For the media, for John King, that whole back-and-forth is a badge of honor. He told us. (summarized) "I'm not gonna sneak it in in the middle. That would be cowardly. I'm not gonna play a trick here. I'm gonna be Mr. Up Front! I'm gonna do what most people think is not gonna happen here -- and to those who do think it's gonna happen, I'm gonna let 'em know they're right."
I understand this. I understand the psychology. Look, I know liberals, folks. I know exactly why they do what they're gonna do before they do it. I told you I had an e-mail from my old buddy Andy McCarthy who wanted to set up a little office pool yesterday on the percentage, the odds that the whole Marianne Gingrich thing would come up in the debate. He said, "I'm gonna tell you guys it's 75% it will come up." I wrote and said, "Andy, it's a hundred percent from the top. It's the whole reason for tonight. That's how the debate's gonna start; and that's gonna tick off the Santorums, it's gonna tick off the Romneys -- and if Paul knows what's going on, it's gonna tick him off because it's gonna give Newt the stage for the first ten minutes in a way that they will not be able to match the rest of the night. That's the theory. Remember, they're there to take all of these people out.
That's their agenda. King probably thought that he could return to the question near the end of the show and bring it up again as he set them up for their closing statements, closing arguments, but Newt kind of shut the door on that. You know, Ed Sullivan put the Beatles on at the top of the show. Ed Sullivan didn't play the trick of waiting 'til the last half hour of the show. He put 'em on at the top of the show and he brought 'em back for an encore at the end of the show. That's what was happening. This was a show, folks -- and it was a performance for Newt. He knew this was coming. He knew it was coming. I'm not belittling it in any way. I've told you honestly and up front exactly what I think of all aspects of this, that was a win-win for him.