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How Should Romney Combat Smears?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Decatur, Illinois.  Joel, thanks for calling, sir.  Nice to have you here.

CALLER:  Thanks so much, Rush.  What an honor, what a privilege to talk with you.  I've listened since the '80s, watched you in the '90s.  I'm saving up for an iPad, and you can bet the first app I'm going to get is Rush 24/7.  I want to talk in regards to the "Romney Killed My Wife" ad.  I'm not really surprised about liberals doing this.  Their playbook is predictable; it's well-worn.  The thing that really gets me is Romney's weak and passive response.  I want to compare it to a guy in 1988 who had the same lack of response and lack of moral outrage, and that was Michael Dukakis.  Whenever they asked him: "What would you do if your wife was raped or murdered?" he gave this passive response, and I think this was his Dukakis moment.

RUSH:  Weeell, not quite yet.  If this had happened in a debate, yeah.  This is just an ad right now, and they did go out and respond to it.  But I agree with your seminal point here.  But if this had happened in a debate? If like Bernard Shaw is called out of mothballs and he says, "Mr. Romney, it's been said that you're responsible for a man's wife's death because you're rich and don't care about people." And Romney says, "If that guy's wife lived in Massachusetts she would have had health care," then yeah. Sayonara. 

CALLER:  What I'm looking for, what I think a lot of conservatives are looking for, is backbone. And, if need be, if somebody attacks you, your wife, your credibility, get pissed off.  You know? In sports, whenever a coach throws a chair, whenever he questions a play and risks getting ejected out of the game or the technical foul, he's showing he has as much skin in the game as the players, and that rallies the team.  We're looking for it.  We need it.

RUSH:  Well, I can tell you that most Republican consultants advise against that, because they fear that a reaction such as that which you have advocated here on this program would irritate independent voters.  And it would not therefore be advisable to react in a high, emotional, dudgeon state over something like this.  The danger is that here you're in the midst of a smear. And if you accept the premise of the ad in a smear in your response, then you've got a problem.  What you're asking for is what I've heard people call this program and ask for over 24 years. 

Leadership and passion!

Conservative leadership and passion is what you want to hear. 

And you're not hearing it. 

Now, the Olympics might be a factor here.  When they end, I think a whole lot of stuff is going to change. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Dick Morris has an idea on what Romney could do.  He was on O'Reilly last night.  O'Reilly said, "Look, if I'm Romney, I'd do the fact-check we just did and I say, 'Look, this is what we did.  That's why we bought the guy's company. This is what happened.  We tried to save the company.'"  See, this is the advice that people give Romney.  Go out and tell the truth about the company. Go in there and say, "No, no, no! We took over the steel company because they asked us in! 

"We saved that company for three to four years longer than it would have had a life.  The people that worked at that company had jobs and health care for four years longer than they would have.  If we hadn't gone in there, that company would have gone bankrupt.  This woman had health insurance from her own job, when her husband was laid off.  He was offered a buyout." There's a theory that you go in and tell the truth.

And it sounds good.

But the problem with that is you're accepting the premise and you're always on defense.  And what has to happen here is somehow Obama and his team need to be the one on defense.  Otherwise, the Romney campaign is always defending themselves.  Against lies! When you start defending yourselves against lies told about you...  I've been there, folks.  When people lie about you and you try to defend yourself, you're still defending.  You're still on defense.  And, in the process, you are accepting the premise.

People still think it's important to get the truth out. Which is it?  Does it matter, really?  It doesn't matter to the people that the Obama campaign's targeting here.  By definition the truth doesn't matter.  They're hoping that people that don't pay any attention to politics will see it. They're never going to turn on Fox News.  They're never going to listen to talk radio.  They're just on Twitter and Facebook all day.  They might spend some time watching Dancing With the Stars or E! or MTV or whatever.

That's where they're going to see that this guy's wife died because of Romney.  So is responding to lies with the truth the way to go?  That's what most people's gut reaction is.  But I'm telling you: When you do, you're accepting the premise and then on defense. Do you remember my saying, "By definition, when you're on defense, you're not advancing the ball.  You're not moving forward."  What has to happen -- and I don't know that I'm smart enough to know how to do this, folks. 

I'm not in politics.  I think I know what has to happen.  In terms of how to do it? I don't know.  If I knew how to do this kind of stuff, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.  I wouldn't have time.  Everybody who's being lied about in America would be paying me to fix it for them.  But what I know is that you've got to turn around, you've got to get off defense, and you have to be on offense.  Sometimes you win games on defense.  But what do you do, recover a fumble or intercept a pass?

In baseball, how do you win a game on defense? 

How do you score a run on defense in baseball?  You don't.  In football, you can, but it's really unique.  It's not a common occurrence.  You're never advancing the ball on defense unless you recover a fumble or intercept a pass.  You're just holding ground.  And that's the problem with it.  I think instinctively that's what all of us want to see. We want to see these guys under assault.  We want to see them on defense.  We want to see them running for the hills.  The problem is we're not willing to lie about them to do it. 

Here's Morris' idea.  This is what he said to O'Reilly last night.

MORRIS: I would put Ann Romney on, and I would have her say, "Barack Obama is running an ad saying my husband is not sensitive to people with cancer and in fact accusing him of helping to kill, aid in the death of a woman who died from cancer.  Well, as you may know I battled breast cancer.  And I had no more a supportive person than Mitt Romney." 

RUSH:  Hmm.  How does that hit you?  Romney goes on TV and acknowledges the ad.  "They're running an ad saying a woman died of cancer because I didn't care.  Well, my wife had cancer.  My wife battled breast cancer.  Here she is right now. This is Ann Romney. She battled breast cancer.  And there was nobody more supportive." So put her up there.  "I had cancer.  There was nobody more supportive of me when I had cancer than my husband, Mitt Romney." 

My problem with that is that it makes it look like it was news that Romney would support his wife when she had cancer.  Wouldn't we assume that?  If you have to tell people that Mitt Romney supported his wife with cancer, isn't there maybe an admission that there was some doubt about it? That's why I've always said that when people go out and deny something that has not been alleged, they look nervous. 

"Wait a minute.  Nobody accused you of that!  Why are you denying it?"  You see the problem here?  Did you think this was a good idea, Snerdley? (interruption) You don't think it's a good idea.  Why do you think it's a horrible idea?  (interruption) Okay.  Okay.  That's fine.  He said, "Everything you just said, I agree with." Well, I know. When I say it, there's not much left to be said that's actually true.  Here's Jeff in Tampa, Florida.  Welcome to the program, sir.

CALLER:  Thank you, Rush.  First-time caller, big-time fan. 

RUSH:  Thank you, sir.

CALLER:  As a proud American, I'm really disgusted in how Romney is being portrayed as an insensitive murderer in this.  I don't even like to say it, as a matter of fact.

RUSH:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  I just thought of something.  There is a guy who didn't support his wife when she had cancer.  He's a Democrat and his name is John Edwards. 

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  I just remembered that. Sorry to interrupt you.  I just had a brain explosion there and I had to say that before I forgot it.  Start again.  You said you're disgusted at how Romney's being portrayed here as an insensitive murderer.

CALLER:  And even to say it, it hurts my heart.  But the question is: What does it make Obama with the Solyndra, a premeditated murderer? He knew that the company was failing, driving it into bankruptcy? 

RUSH:  Well, that was one of my first questions?  How about all these dealerships that Obama shut down when he bought General Motors?  How about all the people, the two million people who do not have jobs today that did have when Obama was immaculated?  How many of them have gotten sick and died?  How many of their wives or family members have gotten sick because they lost their jobs because of Obama?  I'll guarantee you this, folks -- and this may be one thing to do.

You want to start talking about killing jobs?

There's nobody in Barack Obama's league! Mitt Romney saves jobs. 

Mitt Romney and Bain Capital saved jobs.  That is their objective to go in and save companies which are failing.  Barack Obama is a job killer, and every bit of that is true.  It might even work to put them on defense a little.  They clearly, by the way, they don't like being on the defense.  You can tell the way they reacted to this ad that Romney is running accusing Obama of stripping the work requirements out of welfare.  They don't like that at all. 

And the media doesn't like it at all.  So it's possible to put these people on defense.  You've just gotta -- once it happens -- keep them there.  Bain Capital saved 150 companies from bankruptcy.  And there were people that worked at these 150 companies.  And they didn't go into bankruptcy.  That means the jobs there were saved.  But, yeah. You can't assume that everybody would support their wife when she had cancer.  John Edwards didn't. (pause) Well, you tell me where I'm wrong.  You tell me where I'm wrong. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Remember this, ladies and gentlemen: Nobody benefits from driving companies into bankruptcy, except maybe unions and the Democrat Party.  Certainly not Mitt Romney.  Certainly not Bain Capital.  Nobody benefits driving companies into bankruptcy except maybe unions and the Democrat Party.  Snerdley told me that we had a drive-by caller, a caller who didn't want to go on the air, didn't have time.  A little old lady, is that what you said?  Sweet, sweet little old lady.

She said, "You tell Rush that Mitt Romney was sure able to lie about Newt Gingrich, so why can't he lie about Obama? He can lie about Rick Santorum! He can lie about every Republican in the primary! He knows how to lie! Let's see it!"  Something like that, right?  She has a point.  Well, it was Romney's super PAC, but those Newt ads had Newt fit to be tied! He was so ticked off and he didn't know what to do about it, primarily because he didn't have any money. 

But those ads that Romney's Super PAC ran against Newt arguably took Newt out of the race in Iowa.  And I do recall saying that myself, from my own oral cavity. I remember asking, speculating, "Will Romney be as hard hitting against Obama as he was with the conservative Republicans in the Republican primary?"  Now, the Olympics.  I mentioned that a little while ago.  I don't think that the Romney camp is going to spend a whole lot of money (I never thought they would) while the Olympics are on. 

Nobody's paying attention. 

Believe me, the standard operating procedure in professional politics is that the vast majority of voters are nowhere near paying attention to the election right now.  They're watching the Olympics or they're on vacation or what have you.  And they're not going to start paying attention really until the conventions, but not even then.  It really doesn't start until after Labor Day.  That's when the real spending starts.  That's why all this fundraising is going on now.  Now, to a certain extent that's true.  But I think we've cited enough evidence, polling data and the like, to suggest that people are paying attention. 

We know enough people are paying attention that 65% do not want Obamacare, for example.

Here's Linda in Las Vegas.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello. 

CALLER:  Hi, Rush!

RUSH:  Hi. 

CALLER:  This is just awesome, because I've listened to you forever.  I've been a Dittohead for years and years.  I cannot believe I even got through. 

RUSH:  Well, you did.  It's your big showbiz break.

CALLER:  Whoohoo!  I'm a cancer patient, and my husband's job may be coming to an end soon.  Because of that I will be losing my health insurance.  So I'm looking now at what I can do before that, if that occurs.  And I feel that the ad that Obama's campaign has put out is trying to -- without saying -- make it look like or tell that type of Democrat that is always looking for the entitlements, that even when you hire on and get insurance through your company, when it no longer exists anymore, it's an entitlement for that company to give you insurance. Even though it's not.  But that's their mentality.  And for myself, I need to find my own insurance and take responsibility for my own life.

RUSH:  Well, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer.  I don't like hearing that about anybody. But you could always blame Romney.  That's what the Democrats are doing.  But you don't want to do that?

CALLER:  No, I could blame Obama because of what his health care plan has done already has ruined insurance. 

RUSH:  Let me ask you a question real quickly.  Hasn't Obama told everybody -- hasn't he promised everybody -- that they're going to have health care?  As long as Obamacare is out there, everybody's going to have health care. And, in many people's minds, it's going to be free.  My question for you is this. You're an average citizen.  You've got cancer. God bless you.  I want to ask you:  Why do you think Obama is not out saying, "This woman that Romney killed would not die in America today because of Obamacare"?  Why isn't he out touting this great achievement?  Why is he not using this great achievement of Obamacare instead of lying about Romney? 

CALLER:  Because it's not true.  After speaking to the doctors, I know it's not true.  And my doctor stressed that very much to me that, because of what care is today, I have to have insurance.

RUSH:  But Obamacare's supposed to keep your situation from ever happening.  And yet Obama can't go out there and timeout his own achievement.  I wonder why. Wouldn't it be easier to just say (impression), "Obamacare takes care of everything.  If Soptic's wife had gotten cancer under Obamacare, well, she might have survived because she would have had health care."  But he can't say that.  Why can't Obama say that, folks? 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Annette in Tallahassee, Florida, you're up next on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hello. 

RUSH:  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi.  I have a question. 

RUSH:  What would that be? 

CALLER:  In all of the years between this guy refusing the buyout and getting laid off and his wife passing away from cancer, did he not find a job? 

RUSH:  Apparently not, no.  This is Romney's fault.  But you know something? I mentioned this yesterday and I want to ask this question again.  The guy didn't have health care, right?  It turns out his wife did.  All of this is a lie, but let's discuss it just for the sake of it.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm?

RUSH: If his poor wife didn't have health care, if he didn't have health care, how the hell did she get diagnosed? 

CALLER:  Exactly. 

RUSH:  Where did she go to get diagnosed? 

She thought she had pneumonia, sat around and didn't do anything for a while. 

But how did she get diagnosed if she didn't have health care? 

The point is she had health care.  Whether they had insurance or not, they had health care.  She got diagnosed.  Now, what they did with that information? Well, that's their business. But your question is right on the money.  Six years went by! Did this guy not try to find another job? We don't know because that's not part of the story.  That doesn't matter. I think he had a job.  As I recall, he had a job making $24,000 a year.  He could have qualified for Medicaid is that point.  He was a school janitor after that job. Yeah, that's what it was.  He was a school janitor making 24 grand after the steel mill shut down.  So he's an instant qualifier for Medicaid. 

CALLER: (silence)

RUSH: Hello? Are you still there?  You're pondering that?

CALLER:  I am.  And this was during a good economy.  And this is when there were plenty of jobs out there.  I'm just wondering why. And she was not pre-existing condition at that point. 

RUSH: Mmm-hmm.

CALLER: I'm just wondering why she didn't have health care. And she may have been ill.  I don't know the circumstances.

RUSH:  She did have health care for two years from her own job after he was laid off.  She had health care for two years -- she had health insurance for two years -- after he got laid off. 

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  This is what we have subsequently learned.  This whole thing is made up. If I didn't know better, I'd say this is right out of Media Matters for America -- this whole thing has been trumped up right out of David Brock's fertile imagination -- because this has too many similarities to all these other stories that turned out to be totally fake, manufactured items that have been created by the Democrats and their allies to attract media attention, raise money, whatever. 

The impression left by the ad is wrong in every way. 

It is a lie every which way you slice it. 

But, of course, the big thing is that Romney killed the guy's wife and didn't care.  He wasn't even concerned!  I don't doubt the guy's real, no.  I don't doubt that this guy is personally vicious.  He's a union guy, for crying out loud.  I don't doubt that he exists.  I just think he's invented. I just think that the whole way that his story has been presented strikes me as artificially manipulated, manufactured, created, and put into the public square the same way all the bogus crap that comes out of Media Matters for America ends up there. 

And it always has ties back to Obama or high-ranking Democrats somewhere.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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