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A Look Back at the 2009 CPAC Speech

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is the CPAC weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference. Big weekend, conservatives get together. And they're gonna have a pretty good lineup, even without me this time around. They got Sarah Palin there; the presidential candidates. Marco Rubio went on today. I wanted to go back to the Grooveyard of, in this case, not Forgotten Favorites. February 28th of 2009, I was the keynote speaker at CPAC. And I learned that day, maybe the day before, that all the cable nets were gonna telecast my speech live. I had no idea that that big a deal was being made of it, outside the hotel. I think it was the Shoreham, Omni Shoreham where the convention was. So driving into town about two hours before I'm scheduled to speak...

I landed at Dulles and driving into Washington, I think, "Okay, what am I gonna say?" I never think about a speech much in advance because I just can't. I can't write speeches so I never think about it 'til right before it so what I think about is fresh in my mind -- don't forget it. So, as I was driving in, I say, "You know what? I'm gonna treat this as my 'First National Address to the Nation,' since it's on television," and that's what I did. And after 45 minutes or an hour they said, "Could you keep going? The place is pretty hopped up. Can you keep going?" I said, "Sure." So I went for an hour and after. I'm not gonna play all that. We got some excerpts, since this is CPAC weekend and let's just start and relive speech that framed the 2012 presidential campaign. And since it was my First National Address to the Nation, and I knew that people outside the ballroom would be listening, thought it would be good to explain conservatism.


RUSH AT CPAC: Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. (applause) When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere -- when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere -- we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- (applause) what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American -- the person that makes this country work -- we do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government. (applause) We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. (applause) We believe that the preamble to the Constitution [sic] contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, (applause) liberty, freedom, (applause) and the pursuit of happiness. (applause) Now, those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.

CROWD: (wild, sustained applause)

RUSH: And, by the way, the applause went even longer. We edited the applause here, folks, for brevity. Here is the -- the next excerpt, I think even more relevant today when we are discussing the importance of articulating conservatism.

RUSH AT CPAC: For those of you just tuning in on the Fox News Channel or C-SPAN, I am Rush Limbaugh and I want everyone in this room and every one of you around the country to succeed. (applause) I want anyone who believes in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness to succeed. And I want any force, any person, any element of an overarching Big Government that would stop your success, I want that organization, that element or that person to fail. I want you to succeed.

CROWD: (wild applause)

RUSH: Again, we edited the applause to make it shorter than it was. It kept going and on and on and on.

RUSH AT CPAC: Also, for those of you in the Drive-By Media watching, I have not needed a teleprompter for anything I've said. (applause) And nor do any of us need a teleprompter, because our beliefs are not the result of calculations and contrivances. Our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology. (laughter) Our beliefs are our core. Our beliefs are our hearts. We don't have to make notes about what we believe. We don't have to write down, "Oh, gee, do I believe this? Do I believe that?" We can tell people what we believe off the top of our heads and we can do it with passion and we can do it with clarity, and we can do it persuasively. Some of us just haven't had the inspiration or motivation to do so in a number of years, but that's about to change.

CROWD: (applause)

RUSH AT CPAC: Yes, I think it's time. I keep forgetting we edited the applause for brevity's sake here. Let's do one more before we go to the break, and this is where I addressed the whole controversy. This is still brewing. This was February 28th. It was January 16th, 2009, where I had famously said, "I hope he fails." When I was asked by the Wall Street Journal to write 400 words, I said, "I don't need 400 words. I'll do it in four or five words: 'I hope he fails.'" So it was at this element, this point in the speech where I explained this, and it's important. As you listen to this, remember: Turn on cable news any night of the week, and you can still hear liberal commentators still fuming that I said it, believing that I wanted the country to fail.

RUSH AT CPAC: This notion that I want the president to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we've got. That's nothing more than common sense, and to not be able to say it? Why in the world do I want what we've just described, rampant government growth, indebtedness that has -- wealth that's not even been created yet is being spent. What is in this? What possibly is in this that any of us want to succeed? Did the Democrats want the war in Iraq to fail? Well, they certainly did. And they not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail, they proclaimed it a failure. There's Dingy Harry Reid waving the white flag, "This war is lost."

CROWD: (cheers and applause)

RUSH AT CPAC: They called General Petraeus a liar before he even testified.

CROWD: (booing)

RUSH AT CPAC: Mrs. Clinton --

CROWD: (crowd booing)

RUSH AT CPAC: -- said she had to suspend, willingly suspend disbelief or whatever to listen to Petraeus. We're in the process of winning the war. The last thing they wanted was to win. They hoped George Bush failed. So where is it, what is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?

CROWD: (Cheers and applause.)

RUSH: And we take a brief time-out and be back with much more right after this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Back to my CPAC speech.  This is CPAC weekend.  To want go back to February 28, 2009, relive elements of the speech.  It's hard to say highlights because the whole thing was a highlight so you can't say that but we're just picking various parts from it.  This is adding more to this whole notion of wanting Obama to fail, the country to succeed.

RUSH AT CPAC:  My friends, I know what's going on. I know what's going on. We're in the aspects here of an historic presidency. I know that. But let me be honest again. I got over the historical aspects of this in November. President Obama is our president. President Obama stands for certain things. I don't care, he could be a Martian. He could be from Michigan. I'm just kidding. It doesn't matter to me what his race is, it doesn't matter. He's liberal, is what matters to me, and his articulated, his articulated plans scare me. Now, I understand, okay, "We can't say we want the president to fail, Mr. Limbaugh, that's like saying --" this is the voice of the New Castrati, by the way, guys that have lost their guts. "You can't say, Mr. Limbaugh, that you want the president to fail, because that's like saying you want the country to fail." No, it's the opposite! I want the country to survive! I want the country to succeed! (cheers and applause)  (crowd chanting "USA, USA")

RUSH:  February 28, 2009, three years ago, and I forecast exactly what I thought would happen.

RUSH AT CPAC:  Do you know that President Obama, in six weeks of his administration, has proposed more spending than from the founding of the country to his inauguration? 

CROWD: (booing)

RUSH AT CPAC:  Now, this is not prosperity.  It is not going to engender prosperity, it's not gonna create prosperity, and it is also not going to advance or promote freedom.  It's going to be just the opposite.  There are going to be more controls over what you can and can't do, how you can and can't do it, what you can and can't drive, what you can and can't say, where you can and can't say it.  All of these things are coming down the pike, because it's not about revenue generation to them.  It's about control.  They do believe that they have compassion.  They do believe they care.  But, see, we never are allowed to look at the results of their plans.  We are told we must only look at their good intentions, their big hearts.  The fact that they have destroyed poor families by breaking up those families, by offering welfare checks to women to keep having babies, no more father needed, he's out doing something.  The government's the father, destroy the family, we're not supposed to analyze that. We're not supposed to talk about that.  We're supposed to talk about their good intentions.  They destroy people's futures.

CROWD: (cheers and applause) 

RUSH AT CPAC:  The future is not big government, self-serving politicians, powerful bureaucrats.  This has been tried, tested throughout history.  The result is always been disaster.  President Obama, your agenda is not new, it's not change, and it's not hope. 

CROWD: (cheers and applause)

RUSH AT CPAC:  Spending a nation into generational debt is not an act of compassion.  All politicians, including President Obama, are temporary stewards of this nation.  It is not their task to remake the founding of this country.  It is not their task to tear it apart and rebuild it in their image.

CROWD: (cheers and applause)

RUSH:  And we have one more.  This is from my February 28th, 2009, CPAC speech in Washington, the last excerpt.

RUSH AT CPAC:  So as you leave here, as you leave here, optimism, confidence, not guilt, it's not worth it, there's nothing to be guilty about. Don't treat people as children. Respect their intelligence. Realize that there is a way to persuade people. Sometimes the worst way is get in their face and point a finger. Set up a set of circumstances where the conclusion is obvious, let 'em think they came up with the idea themselves, then they'll think they're smart that they figured it out. Who cares how you persuade them, the fact that they can be persuaded is factually correct, it's possible. The main thing to do here: stop thinking that we are a minority.

CROWD: (applause)

RUSH AT CPAC:  Stop thinking that it is being in the minority that liberates you. It is your beliefs, it is your core principles, it is your confidence that liberates you. It is not being in the minority. In fact, for those of you watching my first national address, if you're still hanging in there, we're really not that happy about being in the minority and we're out to change it.

CROWD: (cheers and applause)

RUSH: That CPAC speech... You can think about it this way: It was so long ago, Congress had just passed their last budget. That was it. The last time we had a budget: Three years ago. Congress passed the last budget. And the media reacted to this afterwards, and we put together a montage. I'm not gonna mention all names here, it would take too long, but you might recognize some of the voices.

DAVE BRIGGS: It was passionate. It was intelligent. It was everything we've come to expect Rush Limbaugh to be.

JAMIE COLBY: Man! Did he bring down the house!

GERALDO RIVERA: Rousing red meat speech that had the faithful jumping out of their seats in rapture.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: A fiery hour and a half speech.

BRAD BLAKEMAN: I think he hit a home run.

AINSLEY EARHARDT: He rocked the crowd.

GREGG JARRETT: A stemwinder of a speech.

ALEX WITT: Rush Limbaugh, he was one that wowed the crowd.

BETTY NGUYEN: Rush Limbaugh fired up the crowd.

PAUL STEINHAUSER: He got pretty much a standing ovation throughout that speech.

RANDI KAYE: People on their feet, fist bumps, pounding his chest. What do you make of all this?

DONNA BRAZILE: Rush Limbaugh is the quite the entertainer.

MARK PRESTON: A firebrand speech. Many times standing ovations.

JULIA PISCITELLI: It was a fabulous piece of entertainment. It was the beginning, if it hasn't started already, of the Rush 2012 presidential campaign.

RUSH: Now, that was Julia Piscitelli from American University, if you're wondering the last comment. Julia Piscitelli. There you got it. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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