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Rick's Cringe-Worthy Team Player Moment

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Santorum is getting creamed.  I cringed when I heard him say this.  Santorum is getting creamed for the team player comment.  Now, let me explain that to you, because I have on this program several times. 

This is not a defense of Santorum.  In fact, if you look at the first hour last night of that debate, all of that inside baseball talk about earmarks and Title X. I don't even know what Title X is, folks, and I am an expert in this stuff. And I don't even know what Title X is. Then they start talking about Title XX, and I don't know what Title XX is.  I had to go look this stuff up.  So it's very inside baseball, but here's the thing.  Of all of the things said in the first hour, there's one guy that appeared as though he had nothing to do with inside Washington stuff, and that's Romney.  If you had just landed from Mars and you tune in that debate, and you are of the opinion that we need an outsider, Romney appeared to be the outsider. Romney appeared to be the guy that had no roots in Washington.  In fact, Romney doesn't have a federal record.  Everybody else does.  Santorum does, Newt does, Paul does. Romney doesn't. 

Romney is immune to any criticism.  There isn't any.  He hasn't done anything in the federal level.  He is outside it.  Santorum, Newt, Paul, all look like insiders.  And, of course, in every primary season, base voters claim to want an outsider and you have all these people during the course of a campaign trying to make it sound like they are the outsiders.  Even though they've lived there 30 years, they're the outsiders.  Santorum looked like an insider.  Newt did, too.  Nothing they coulda done about it.  This is not a criticism.  This is an observation that redounds to Romney's favor, if anybody's watching it in that context. 

Look at the questions that were not asked.  There wasn't one single question about the gasoline price.  And nobody brought it up.  There wasn't one question asked about Obama's plans to reduce our nuclear arsenal by 80%.  Some people tried to bring it up, but there wasn't a question about it.  They're in Arizona.  There wasn't one question about Fast and Furious.  Joe Arpaio is in the audience, the sheriff of Maricopa County.  Not one question.  In fact, there wasn't one question to these guys about Obama.  There might have been a couple of scattered, but the moderator, John King, did everything he could to keep this away from anything to do with Obama.  There was not one question about No Child Left Behind and Obama's recent waivers, even though they're talking about No Child Left Behind and what kind of screw ups these Republicans had made with No Child Left Behind.  There wasn't one question about Obama's waivers that he's been granting for it.  Or the waivers for Obamacare, et al, in toto. 

If you look back, there have been precious few questions about Obama. And what does that lead to? That leads to, psychologically, the assumption that our economic circumstances now are the norm, a new normal. And what are they? We have 13 million Americans unemployed. We have 46 million Americans on food stamps. We have nearly 30% of mortgage holders underwater. This is the new norm. It didn't get discussed much. Now, understand, this is the last debate, and this is when the guys hit each other with bare knuckles and fisticuffs. But back to Santorum and the team player business. I know what he was trying to say and I know what he's doing.

What he's trying to do is be brazenly, blatantly, up-front, honest as a means of distinguishing himself and his candidacy. What he meant by, "Look, I voted all these times. I was a team player," is: We had a Republican president, and all of us were practically forced to go along with all of his proposals and all of his spending; otherwise there would have been cracks in party unity; we would have had to deal with those allegations and charges. There was already enough criticism of Bush going on.

It wasn't, if you'll recall, until 2007 when the House Republicans finally stood up and said, "no more," to immigration. I remember on this program I'd get calls from people just ripping the House Republicans from one end of the room to the other for all the spending, and I said, "They're a little caught between a rock and a hard place here. Their president is the one proposing it!" Tom DeLay. To this day, if you run into Tom DeLay, he will tell you that the Medicare entitlement is the best thing that he did as a member of Congress. He will tell you that, and we don't do entitlements! The Republican Party doesn't do entitlements. But we did. Was that Medicare Part B, D, whatever, I forget. Title X, Title XX, Title 69?

I don't know what they are. It was Medicare part something or another, the new entitlement, prescriptions or something. Anyway, the White House really wanted it, and if you talk to him -- even to this day -- DeLay will tell you, "No, no, it's good." He's argued with me about it when I mentioned it to him any number of times. "That contains private sector reforms. That is something that's gonna be great." To this day, they sing the praises of it. But there was pressure brought to bear from the highest levels of the White House to all these Republicans. Santorum finally gave up. You know, look, you're in close proximity. You are now the perceived front-runner. Everybody's aiming at you.

After a while, you get sick and tired of defending yourself 'cause you know that doesn't sound good. You know that doesn't look good. And, by the way, let that be a lesson to you. People have called here and asked, "Rush, why don't you respond to all this stuff?" I said, "Once you start, you never stop. Once you start defending against all these charges, that's all you are is on defense and nobody ever won anything defending it," and I direct your attention to last night. Now, Santorum had very little he coulda done about it, other than stop talking about some of these things a little sooner than he did. But what he was trying to do here on the team player business was simply say, "Look, I was just being loyal to my president."

That's what the Specter endorsement was, and this is why people got so ticked off at politics in 2006. "Look, if you can't stand up for principle, if you gotta follow the party wherever it takes you, then what good is that?" But Santorum was simply being a good soldier. What's his name, Specter, was the incumbent and was from Santorum's state. The rule book says: "You endorse the incumbent. He's a Republican. It doesn't matter what else he is." That's the rule book. Santorum was simply trying to explain to people, "Look, I was a loyal foot soldier. I was a team player." It didn't go well with what he's trying to break out and become.

It was situation where he's between a rock and a hard place, and has everybody gunning at him. I think the "team player" thing probably is offered at that point in time where he just felt frustrated by it. "Okay, I was just being a team player, okay? Let's leave it at that." I heard it, I looked at Kathryn, and I said, "There's gonna be hell to pay for that one," 'cause I knew that Santorum opponents, both from the left and right, were gonna harp on it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: It's one of the problems, by the way, that senators and members of Congress who run for president have: They've got voting records. Romney does not have one. So Romney cannot be hit on his voting record. Romney cannot be criticized on anything that he's done in Washington 'cause he hasn't done anything in Washington, other than help design Obamacare, which... (laughing) I know, I know!

Romneycare was 70 pages, Obamacare is 2,700 pages, but Romney's got his advisers out there saying that's what happened. I'm just having a little fun with you, folks. But by the same token, Santorum has got a record, and Newt's got a record. They voted for things. And as you heard last night... Did you hear Santorum trying to defend his votes? "Well, sometimes it's an appropriations bill and another thing has to pass, and you vote for it." It doesn't play well, but that's the way it goes. It doesn't sound good. It sounds like he's making an excuse. Here's a guy who's supposed to have courage, talk about his leadership, but he votes to go along with his party.

Members of Congress, how much stuff do they vote for they don't even read, as we learned about Obamacare? This is one of the inherent risks that you run. (interruption) Oh, I'm told I'm wrong here. It's not just voting records. It's when you're in Congress you have to work with the team, and this is what Santorum was trying to say, and just being blatantly honest. He's the whip in the Senate; he is supposed to round up the votes for his president. But when you get into this degree (even with me now) of trying to explain it, it sounds defensive. It sounds like you're making excuses. Even though you can adopt a tone that perhaps, at its optimum, is educational (look, I've gotta teach you a little bit how things work...) It still sounds defensive no matter what.

No matter what you say, how you say it, at the end of the day when you are being criticized for the way you voted -- and the way you voted contradicts what you're saying on the trail -- and then you start to explain why, and he says, "Well, you know, I had to! I'm a team player. The president wanted this to pass." Where do you go with it? It's an unenviable position to be in. My only point is, Romney has an advantage in that nobody can go at him in that way because he's never been in the federal system. He does not have a voting record. And, to his credit, he made good use of the advantage last night. I mean, if you're a Romney fan, you gotta be saying that this alliance with Ron Paul is brilliant campaign strategery. I mean, it's a brilliant tactic. Go for it, bro! Best to you. People are gonna have opinions on this from all sides of it. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: David in Oklahoma City.  I'm glad you waited, sir.  You're next on the Rush Limbaugh program.

CALLER:  Hello, Rush.  My opinion is, on the Santorum equivocation, he just needs to cut equivocating.  He needs to apologize.  He's a politician.  Just apologize.  Everybody else running as a candidate for the nomination is a politician.  Just apologize.  Romney has not even acknowledged his responsibility, his culpability in Obamacare, much less apologize for it.  I respect, you know, someone who does something that is pragmatic to get a job done, but I also have a problem with doing things against conservatism.  He just needs to apologize for being a politician and let that be it.  I would support that.

RUSH:  That's only going to compound the problem.  For example, Romney very deftly is out today building off of Santorum's "I took one for the team" comment.  Romney's line today is, "Well, I wonder which team he was working for.  I'm working for the American people.  That's who's on my team.  I'm not working for a bunch of Washington insiders."  For Santorum to --

CALLER:  Yeah, I'm a Republican.  I look at it, the team is Republican right now, the team is America in general.  Right now it's primary time.  I want to know who I'm gonna support come Super Tuesday.  And, you know, the equivocation is not gonna help.

RUSH:  Who is equivocating?  I'm not disagreeing.  I just want to know who you're talking about.

CALLER:  -- equivocating for why he made votes as a Senator that are not conservative.

RUSH:  You want him to explain it? 

CALLER:  No, I don't need him to explain it.  Apologize.

RUSH:  Oh, apologize.

CALLER:  He's a politician.  Just apologize for being a politician.  I'm cynical.  I'm very cynical.  I've been alive long enough to know that politicians are politicians, and attorneys are attorneys. 

RUSH:  Do you think attorney's ought to apologize too?

CALLER:  Well --

RUSH:  I do.

CALLER:  My wife's an attorney so I'm not gonna go that far.  I'm usually at fault, so --

RUSH:  Your wife's an attorney so you -- (laughing), oh, man, you get hit with a double whammy.

CALLER:  I mean she's an exception.

RUSH:  I know, but seriously now, what would possibly be helpful for Santorum to apologize for being a politician.  He'd have to follow that with, "Look, I'm Rick Santorum and at the debate last night I want to apologize for being a politician."  Then what does he say?

CALLER:  Well, you know, you can have your campaign adviser write up why you're apologizing and how it affects, you know, what you're doing, but the simple fact of the matter is whenever you equivocate for voting for pork barrel spending in doing things that are against conservatism, you're gonna get booed.  I don't support that.  I don't want to hear that.  I know why politicians do what they do.  I have a friend who's a politician and I know why he has to do some of the things, and I don't necessarily support those things that he does, but he's a member of the Republican Party as well.  I don't necessarily like that.  It's the sausage thing.  You don't want to see what goes into it.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  Whenever it's laid out there by the media and by your opponent, you need to address it, "I'm sorry, I did do that.  I'm a politician and I --"

RUSH:  Let me run this by you.  Dave, let me run this by you.  I want to see if something would work.

CALLER:  Okay.

RUSH:  I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna pretend to be Santorum.  And for you Romney people, chill out.  I am not doing anything here but getting into a think piece exercise here.  I want you to listen to me as though I'm Santorum and I'm doing everything you want me to do.  I'm not gonna say I'm sorry 'cause I don't think that would help, but I'm gonna tell you what this is all about, and I want you to tell me how you hear it, how it affects you. 

(imitating Santorum) "I know that last night a lot of people think that I really stepped in it by saying 'I took one for the team.'  I want to explain what that means.  We had a president who was under constant assault by the Democrats and the media.  He was engaged in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to attempt to protect us from further attacks after 9/11.  The Democrat Party and the media would not let this man rest, and yet he was doing what he thought was best for the country at each and every turn.  There are some things that he proposed that I wasn't crazy about, but he's the president, he's the leader of our party, I'm the whip in the Senate.  One of my jobs is to see to it the president's legislation passes. 

"Sometimes, you know, I don't get everything I want, and I don't agree with everything that I have to support, but that's the nature of the job.  And I didn't like it when it was happening, but that's what I had to do.  I took one for the team.  At some point there were a lot of things that President Bush stood for, wanted to do, that a lot of us opposed, but if we had stood up publicly and openly and opposed President Bush, it would have caused problems like you can't believe for the party. The media woulda jumped all over it: divided Republican Party. The president would have been effectively cut off at the knees, and it was a real tough balancing act. 

"No Child Left Behind, I was not at all in favor, but it was his piece of legislation, and we're duty-bound to follow our president.  I've learned from this, and I don't want to be in that position again.  And that's why I'm running for president, and I'm gonna understand that there are people that might have to go along with it that don't want to or whatever, I understand how the process works, but this is all like life is, a totally fulfilling educational exercise as well as everything else.  I can admit to you here that I made a mistake doing this.  And I'm not happy about it, but this is why, and this is what I meant, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with being loyal to my party."

CALLER:  I think that would work, and he needs to follow it up with, "And whenever I'm the president, I will expect the whip to stand by me.  The executive sees more than the legislative.  The president knew more than I knew, but whenever I'm the president, I will know more than the Senate.  I would hope that my party would stand behind me."

RUSH:  The problem with all this, it doesn't erase the fact that Senator Santorum said he disagreed and did not approve of the legislation that he eventually supported, No Child Left Behind.  Well, okay, if I say this to you, "Look, I want you people to know, this is the business we're in. This is politics. This is how things get done.  Now, we get tired of hearing you complain and whine and moan about how we don't govern as we campaigned, but this is the way the business operates.  And grow up and understand this is how it happens.  And when we make mistakes, we're going to do our best to fix 'em and learn from 'em.  (Raspberry)" Would that work?  Would that propel him down the road to the nomination? 

CALLER:  I'm not a supporter of any of them, but I'll vote for any one of them over the president, and come Super Tuesday right now --

RUSH:  See, at the end of the day that is going to end up happening here.  And all of this right now is gonna be ancient history by the time we get into the conventions in August and September.  David, I'm glad you called.

END TRANSCRIPT

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