RUSH: It's Friday night on ABC's World News Tonight. The senior political correspondent, Jonathan Karl, interviewing Romney. And Jonathan Karl says, "The Obama campaign suggested that you may have committed a felony." Now, I know he's gotta ask this. Karl's not a bad guy, at least when he was at CNN he wasn't a bad guy. He may have been totally turned now by ABC. I don't know. Romney, a felon? I learned this early on in my career. Some nameless, faceless journalist would claim that I said something or that I think something that was totally bogus or off-the-wall, irresponsible. Then came requests for interviews. "What do you say to your critics who say that you are X?" And for a while, I made the mistake because nobody told me, nobody taught me, I had to learn this stuff on my own, how to answer it.
I tried to change the journalist's mind, thinking it was possible. Thinking that's why the journalist was asking me. Well, how little I knew. There was no changing the journalist's mind. The journalist didn't want his mind changed. The whole thing was about putting me on the spot and making me look defensive. "Limbaugh responded vigorously to the claim that he hates one-eyed mules in Alabama. Must be something to it. Limbaugh visibly upset at the charge, obviously upset that somebody has discovered it." It was obscene. So finally I stopped doing interviews, and I stopped responding to these claims and stopped responding to the premise.
Now, Romney's in a different situation running for president. After three days of this stuff the Romney campaign decided they needed to do television network media blitzes to deal with it. I saw they were gonna do it, and I said, "Well, okay, maybe he'll have some success with some viewers, but he's not gonna change these journalists' mind, and he's not gonna get them off the story. This is not gonna end the story." Well, no, even if he hadn't done the interviews, that wouldn't have ended it, either. They woulda just said Romney refuses to talk, must be something there, whatever. This whole technique is never employed against the left. You know, during the Swift boat stuff, do you know the media never interviewed the Swift boat guys? (interruption) What do you mean they couldn't?
Well, but the point is, they didn't want to. They didn't care to hear the truth from the Swift boat guys. All they did was run stories impugning the Swift boat guys. Military members who had served with John Kerry were running ads and doing television appearances talking about the fact that he was making a bunch of stuff up in his military record and he wasn't qualified to lead anybody or be president. And they didn't like that, so they did stories trying to impugn and otherwise destroy the Swift boat guys, but they didn't dare actually go talk to them.
Now, two reasons. They weren't gonna dignify these guys. They also didn't want these guys telling the truth on their air. So all they did was try to destroy them on their air. They're not interested in the truth of anything. All they care about is forwarding the agenda. And so the agenda of the day, as it's come from the White House, is Romney's a felon. Okay, that's the narrative, which is a story, that's the template, that's what we're doing. So the editor calls Karl, "Okay, we're giving you Romney and the whole theme is he's a felon. Just ask him about it and then we'll deal with it." So here's what Romney had to say when Jonathan Karl said, "The Obama campaign suggests you may have committed a felony."
ROMNEY: That's ridiculous and disturbing and beneath the dignity of the president and his campaign. The president needs to take control of these people. It's Chicago-style politics at its worst. He ought to disavow it and rein in these people who are running out of control. He sure as heck ought to say he's sorry for these kinds of attacks that are coming from his team.
RUSH: Okay, count to five here. One, two, three, four, five. Well, because I needed to make sure I didn't lose my composure, is why I had to count five. Governor Romney, it is Obama whose running the operation. Stephanie Cutter is a puppet. The words in her mouth have been put there by Obama. It's not that Obama's people are out of control. Obama, you might want to say, is the one who's out of control, if that's the theme that you want to establish. It's Obama running this show. He ought to disavow it? You're asking him to disavow himself. He's not going to disavow himself.
Now, I know, Romney's campaigning for the independents. The theme is that Obama is a nice guy. He doesn't know what he's doing. His campaign people are out of control. His campaign people are a bunch of mean, extreme, really off-the-wall nuts. Obama's gotta get control of these people. It's demeaning the office of the presidency. He's been doing that since January of 2009. He really ought to say he's sorry. He sure as heck, you know, golly, gosh, he really ought to sure as heck say he's sorry for these kind of attacks. Yeah. Yeah.
RUSH: Folks, I'm just gonna tell you, if Romney is not careful, this could very well end up with him being perceived by the public as a felon. You think it's ridiculous? I'll tell you why it's not when we come back after the break here at the top of the hour. If they don't understand what's going on here pretty quickly, then Obama and company are gonna get away with convincing a lot of people that Romney's a felon. You wait. They've done it before. I'll explain.
RUSH: Now, you and I... actually, I won't speak for you. I am just gonna speak for myself. I think that this assertion that Romney's a felon is pathetic. I think it's empty. I think it's a sign of how little they have. I think they've run out of stuff. They can't say one thing positive about Obama and his regime, his campaign, his record. I think it's a sign of how pitiful and pathetic and incompetent these people are. I think it is the epitome of gutter, low-ball, and, to me, there's no way, literally no way this could work. I have too much faith in the American people. And yet, it can. Because it has. It is not like the Swift boat attacks. You know, all these media people are running around, "Hey, Swift-boating Romney."
No, no, no, no. The Swift boat attacks were true. You don't tell the truth about liberals and live to talk about it if they have anything to say about it. You don't tell the truth about liberals. But the Swift boat attacks on John Kerry were the truth. Those were people that served with Kerry, who are telling the truth about Kerry. The liberals want people to believe the Swift boat attacks were lies, and they probably told themselves that a bunch of lies derailed their favorite son. Yeah, they had this great guy with the wealthy wife, oh, he was gonna be the greatest president ever, and then these Republicans started lying, came up with these Swift boat guys. Well, the Swift boat attacks were true. But what's being done to Romney right now -- and the Romney people had better realize it -- is exactly what the Democrats did to Bush. And I hate to have to admit that that worked.
Now, it took 'em six years, but it worked. A relentless six-year attack on the character, the honor, the dignity, and the trustworthiness of George Bush worked so well that a sizeable number of Americans today still do blame Bush for this economy. That's how successful it was. You go back after 9/11, and pretty much after his dad, too, after Gulf War I, George H. W. Bush was in the 80% approvals and ended up losing. George Bush 43 was known as an honorable, truthful man. He had incredibly high approval numbers after 9/11. His strength was his character. People have forgotten.
I'll tell you a story. About three weeks after Bush was inaugurated in 2001, I happened to be invited to a dinner at the White House the president threw for a bunch of baseball people. Cal Ripken Jr. was there. There were 16 or 17 of them. Don Baylor was there. Tom Glavine, Atlanta Braves, was there, and their wives. Sixteen or 18 of us. I was there 'cause I had been in charge of ceremonial first pitches and national anthem singers at the Kansas City Royals. I can't tell you how many people at the dinner... and I myself offered a toast to the president, expressing the joy, happiness of a nation that he'd been elected, and that morality and character were now once again in the Oval Office. Remember, we're coming off the Clinton years, Lewinsky.
I've told you this story. He gave us a tour after dinner, and in the Oval Office, a lot of people wondered, "Where was the room with Monica?" And I thought, isn't this great, here we are in the Oval Office of the White House and people want to see the room where Clinton did the nasty with Monica Lewinsky. I mean, nobody said, "Can I see that room?" Amongst themselves they said, "Which room do you think it was?" But when I made that toast, I think it was Tom Glavine's wife, said, "I agree with everything he said." And a lot of other people did. We all felt the same way. This was the time on the tour when we got to the Blue Room and one of the women said, "Is this where state dinners are?" And Bush said, "No, they do the state dinners in the State Dining Room." And we all thought "they." He wasn't even thinking of himself in big terms. Everything was, in his mind, still bigger than he was. And he always did.
He had profound reverence for the office. Never sullied the office. That's why he never got political with it. So you have this guy who was Mr. Trustworthy, dignified, character above reproach, and look what six years of relentless media and Democrat attacks did, combined with the Iraq war, when he leaves office everybody thinks this country is despised around the world because of George W. Bush. Everybody thinks that the country's financial crisis is because of George W. Bush. Now it's true Bush never defended himself at all against any of this, and Karl Rove has said, in retrospect, that that was a mistake. But my only point is, they did it.
I sit here and I laugh. Romney, Mr. White Bread, Mr. Milquetoast. My God, if there's anybody clean and pure as the wind-driven snow, it's Mitt Romney. I laugh at the notion that these people make the country think that Mitt Romney is a felon? But they've done it. This is all they've got. They don't have any more. And they're shooting all this stuff out pretty soon. They're early with this stuff. I think it's a sign of panic, frankly, but it doesn't matter. By the time they got through with Bush, this "Bush lied, people died," you remember that? "Bush lied, people died," never responded to, never reacted to, never defended. Bush's reputation was in smithereens. It was in tatters. What the left always does is go after their opponent's strength.
There's another strategery that is "go after your opponent's weakness." But the left goes after the strength. What's Romney's strength? Romney's strength is, he's Mr. Steady, he's Mr. Backbone, he's Mr. Fix It, he's Mr. Morality, he's Mr. Character, he's Mr. Dignity. That's where they're headed. They chip away at that. They think Romney's got nothing else going for him. So, of all the things that Romney's got, and of all the things that Romney's touting, is his stellar business experience. He saved the Olympics. He ran Bain. He created all these jobs. He's a great businessman, proven track record, knows how to create jobs, can revive this economy. That's what they're aiming at.
You combine "Romney is a felon" with Obama out there saying, "These rich people, they didn't do anything on their own. They stole everything they've got." Obama sees business owners as people who steal other people's property or steal their labor, steal their work. You combine Obama making that statement, bouncing off Elizabeth Warren, with the notion that Romney is a felon, and then you add to it the media giddiness here at thinking they're now being able to Swift boat Romney, and they're not gonna give this up. And so Romney, "I think you ought to apologize. I really, by golly, by gosh, you should apologize for that."
This is American politics and people don't apologize. And you want to hear what Obama said to that? Friday night, Washington, DC, WJLA-TV's Eyeball ABC 7 News, senior political correspondent Scott Thuman interviewing Obama, said, "What about Bain Capital? Big issue, big 24-hour issue here. Romney's campaign says he left in '99. You say he left in 2001. That's a significant difference, Mr. President. Is he being dishonest? Is Romney being dishonest to the American people?"
OBAMA: Ultimately Mr. Romney, I think, is gonna have answer those questions because, if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you're ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations. But, you know, again, that's probably a question that he's gonna have to answer, and I think that's a legitimate part of the campaign.
RUSH: Yeah. He better answer this charge. It's a serious charge. Romney better answer that. He's gotta be responsible for his operations. This is after Romney has said, (paraphrasing) "The president needs to take control of these people. They're out of control. He needs to apologize," and what's Obama come back with? (Imitating Obama) "I don't think he knows what he's doing. I understand what that means. Romney doesn't have any idea what he's talking about. He's gotta be responsible for his operations. It's all Bush's fault, Romney's gotta be responsible." This is in Richmond, Virginia. This is on Sunday. Andy Fox, correspondent for WAVY Eyeball TV News 10, asked Obama if he would apologize.
OBAMA: No, we won't be apologizing. Mr. Romney claims that he's Mr. Fix It for the economy because of his business experience. And so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know, well, what exactly was that business experience?
RUSH: Yeah, so Mitt, this is the guy that's the author of this campaign that you're a felon. It's not his campaign staff's out of control. They're following orders, Mitt. Obama thinks you're a felon. Obama's telling everybody you're a felon. Obama's telling his people to tell everybody that you are a felon and that you have something to answer for now and you have some explaining to do. You claim to be Mr. Fix It. So they're going right after his strength. They're going after his reputation. And don't think, as sorry as it is, as absolutely sorry and pathetic as it is, Obama's got forces working with him that can hammer away. Can they do it in three months' time? I don't know. I do know that they're gonna continue to try. That's all they've got.
So this morning on Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel, Romney showed up, Eric Bolling, cohost said, "When you hear --" like Rahm Emanuel's out there telling Obama to stop whining. Did you hear that? Rahm Emanuel said you ought to stop whining, buddy. Rahm Emanuel said yesterday morning on This Week that Romney should stop whining about all these attacks on his Bain record and just defend himself. Stop whining about it. That's the Chicago way. You don't whine, you know, whatever is said about you, you get in there, you roll up the sleeves and you punch people out, do whatever. You got gangbangers murdering people in Chicago. You don't complain about it. You just tell 'em stay away from the kids and murder other people. Don't whine about it. Of course these are the people whining about George Bush every day. See, they allowed to whine. When it's Bush's fault it's perfectly fine to whine and moan and childishly complain. (crying) "Look what Bush did to us. Hey, Mitt, stop whining."
So Eric Bolling says, "You hear Rahm Emanuel say, 'Stop whining'? What do you say back to him, Mr. Romney?"
ROMNEY: (chuckling) When people accuse you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard. I'm very proud of the record that I had in my business career, helping turn around the Olympics, and as the governor of the state of Massachusetts. But what does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in this campaign is attack me? A campaign based on falsehood and dishonesty does not have long legs. The president has only one thing going, and that is constant attacks on me. And they're dishonest, they're misdirected, and I think the American people recognize that kind of politics as something in the past. It may work in Chicago, but it's not gonna work across America.
RUSH: Well, but it has. It does. They had better understand that it can work. And he can't make the mistake that I'm making. I'm making the mistake of thinking, "People aren't gonna buy this." I said the same thing before. "They're not gonna be able to blame Bush for this after six years," and they did. This is why you people call me and tell me you think people in this country are stupid. I don't think that but I do lose faith now and then. I have such reverence for the American people that I don't think they fall for stuff like this.
But they do, and then I get disappointed and say, "Oh, my God, what kind of people live in this country? For crying out loud!" I'm sitting here telling myself, "There's no way that they can make a majority of people think Romney's a felon," but I know that I'm wrong. They can if they have enough time. Well, Romney's not just standing still. After that answer, Steve Doocy said, "I know that your campaign was on defense last week, but now you're on the offensive. You want to draw attention to Obama's 'political payoffs versus middle class layoffs.' You say if you're a donor to the Obama camp, you'll do okay, but if you're in the middle class, you gotta worry about your job.
ROMNEY: There's no question but that when billions upon billions of dollars are given by the Obama administration to the businesses and campaign contributors, that's a real problem -- particularly at a time when the middle class is really suffering in this country. I don't know whether you watched over the weekend the report that was in the New York Times about families really struggling, particularly those that are single parents that are just having a hard time making ends meet. This is a tough time for the people of America. But if you're a campaign contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from the government. I think it's wrong, I think it stinks to high heaven, and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors.
RUSH: When I hear this answer I go back to Michael Goodwin's column in the New York Post a couple of weeks ago where he said (summarized), "The problem is Romney was just born at the wrong time. Campaigns and the world are different now." You could almost say the same thing about me sometimes.
RUSH: We do. We have two different eras here. Michael Goodwin of the New York Post says (paraphrased), "Romney is a nice guy, but politics has changed. He's 65 years old, and it's a different America." We talked about this two weeks ago, or maybe it was a week ago today. We had that big, long, drawn-out discussion on whether or not the economy is enough of a campaign issue anymore because of the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in the country and so forth.
(New Castrati impression) "Okay. So, Mr. Limbaugh, since you have the answer to everything, what would you suggest that Romney do if he's doing this wrong?"
You say, "Look, pal, when I was out creating jobs, investing in businesses, and growing this economy, you were at Columbia smoking weed and snorting coke. You write about it in your book. You talk about how you got into Columbia and the Harvard Law Review, and you didn't have to do anything. That's what was great about it to you! You loved getting into Columbia 'cause all you had to do was go to class, get your grades, and smoke a little weed! Well, I was out building the country when you were doing that."
That's the kind of stuff I'd say!
This is the Chicago barroom guy who doesn't care about the aftermath as long as he wins. This whole meme about Romney is a felon? Folks, the regime, Obama, doesn't care if Romney's a felon or not. This is about: "How is it polling? Is this working?" It doesn't matter whether any of it's true. If they convince people it's true and if that helps 'em in the polls, then they're gonna keep at it. It's that simple. But there is a gold mine of ways to attack Obama that he himself wrote about in his book, and it's all made to order! But, you know, this is bare knuckles. This is not two gentlemen squaring off in the ring under some sort of Queen Elizabeth rules (sic) or whatever the hell they are. I don't know.
RUSH: All right. I know, I know. It's the Marquis of Queensberry Rules. I just couldn't think of it off the top of my head. But I know that's what it was. I just... Look, folks, Romney knows how to do this. He did it to Newt, and he did it to Santorum. He knows full well how he has to do this. But I know what they think they're up against. They got "the first black president" and the independents. "See, it's easy to go after Newt or Santorum, 'cause they're conservatives and everybody hates conservatives, anyway. But we can't go after poor ol' Barack that way 'cause he's a minority and all this other garbage.