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Gergen: Obama's Tactics are Working

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Back to the phones and to Chicago.  This is Carol.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Rush, I'm so excited to be talking to you.  I can't believe I got through.  I'm very nervous.

RUSH:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

CALLER:  I drive in my car and I listen to you. I'm constantly yelling at the radio every day.  So I'm glad I have my time to speak.  (giggles)

RUSH:  What are you usually yelling at when you're yelling at the radio? 

CALLER:  I'm just frustrated.  Every four years I get more and more stressed out when it comes to the political arena.

RUSH:  So you're not so much yelling at me.

CALLER: I'm not yelling at you.

RUSH: You're yelling about the things I'm discussing.

CALLER:  Right.  Exactly.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: I'm very engaged.  Anyway, two points I wanted to make.  I worked in government for a long time.  And my first day on the job, a very astute coworker said, "Two things about working in government.  The first thing is: Never legitimize that what is illegitimate, and the second thing is: You have to be like Teflon. People are going to throw things at you and you just have to let them bounce off."  So in a lot of ways I think that by lowering themselves to even talking about these ads that they're putting on and all this trash that they're throwing on Romney, it just brings them down to their level.  What do you think about that?

RUSH:  Well, I've been through this countless times over the years.  There are all these schools of thought.  I'll tell you what happened to me.  When I first started this show nationally in 1988, it wasn't long before -- in places all over the country -- I was seeing stories about being a racist and a bigot.  I'm neither.  Nobody that's ever known me thinks I hate anybody or am a bigot or a racist or any of that, and nobody prepared me for it.  I didn't have the brains enough to realize that it was going to happen. 

So it was all a big surprise.  And then the dilemma hit: What do I do about this?  And there were as many different suggestions as there were people I spoke to.  And a lot of people had your theory. "You can't react to that.  If you react to that you're just legitimizing it. And if they think they got under your skin, they're going to do more. They're going to say, 'Oh, Limbaugh is responding? It must bother him,' and they'll pile on." Others say, "You can't let them say that about you! You can't just ignore it. If you let this racist stuff stick, you're going to be destroyed. They're going to wipe you out."

And other people would have their theories.  It went on for four years, and I tried everything.  I tried everything, and it's 24 years later and it hasn't stopped.  There is no way to stop it, is the bottom line.  So then the question becomes: If it's not going to stop -- if it's going to be continual, if it is now a part of my career -- what do I do? What I had to do... And this is really something I had no preparation for.  There was nobody that talked to me about this or warned me.  I don't know that there was anybody who could have. 

I had to do a major psychological reorientation with myself, and I had to learn to accept -- well, not just accept.  I had to learn to appreciate that being hated was a sign of success.  Now, most people are not raised that way.  Most people don't grow up wanting to be hated and most people are not told to be hated.  Everybody's parents tells them to do whatever it takes to be liked and everybody wants to be liked.  They want to be liked universally.  They care more about what other people think and say of them than they care about anything. 

And here I had to reorient myself and say, "The fact that they hate me is a sign of my success," and then learn to smile about it, because it wasn't going to go away.  There was no way to stop it, as these 24 years have shown.  So that was just for me.  The best piece of advice I ever got really came inadvertently and accidentally. A guy just said: "You know what? Laugh at it.  Just laugh. That will drive them crazy.  Just laugh at it and make jokes about it."  So, for the most part, that works.

CALLER:  You have to play the game on their playing field and this is what they do.  And so it's hard to.  It really is frustrating.

RUSH:  No, if you play the game on their playing field, then it's the opposite of the advice you were given.

CALLER:  Right. But it seems like I'm very idealistic.  It's like, put the facts out there.  Put an agenda out there that's really going to tell people what you're going to do to make changes to this country, and people will listen.  There are very intelligent people in this country that will listen to that."

RUSH:  Hang on just a second. Since you said that, grab sound bite 16.  This is David "Rodham" Gergen on CNN last night with Anderson Cooper and he's talking about Obama's dishonest attacks.  It goes right to what you were saying. You said, "Just put your agenda out there.  Just tell people what you're going to do and they're going to listen."  Here's what "Rodham" Gergen's theory on that is...

GERGEN:  Does it help one of these candidates? Clearly the Obama people feel that having a campaign based on this -- this is a different campaign than he conducted four years ago -- is helping them.  If you look over the last few weeks, this was a very close race.  It was a one-point race about three, four weeks ago, and President Obama has now opened up a lead especially in some of the battleground states.  So I think it actually -- right now, generally speaking -- is working in Obama's favor.  He's discrediting Mitt Romney in a way that people say, "Oh, I really don't like Obama is doing, but I can't vote for Romney. I guess I have to vote for Obama."

RUSH: That's it. "I don't like what Obama's doing, but I just can't vote for this Romney guy." That's the interpretation of the measure of success of the, for example, ad saying Romney killed the guy's wife.

CALLER:  Well, it's too bad.  It's very sad, I have to say.

RUSH:  I disagree. I don't think that Obama's opened up this giant lead here that David "Rodham" Gergen implied. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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