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My Take on the GOP Debate

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Of course I'm gonna discuss Trump.  Of course I'm gonna discuss the Republican debate.  Actually I think I've got that figured out, too.  I think I know what happened there.  I think I know what the objective was.  I think I know what the game plan was. (interruption) Well, not to terrify the party.  That's the end result.  I don't know that was the objective.  No, just wait 'til you hear it then you can start poking holes at it.  Don't start poking holes at it before I've told you what I think.

I know you're gonna poke holes anyway.  Everybody does.

Just wait 'til I've told you what I think went on there.  There's a whole bunch of things at work -- and I'll tell you what it boiled down to.  It boils down to the fact that... Here, let me just give you one caveat.  George Will was on television and he just said, "This is it," and William Kristol has said, "This is it." Trump's behavior in that debate, that's going to show up now.  We're going to see Trump lose some support.  They are confident that that's gonna happen after Trump's performance, behavior, whatever you want to call it, however you want to characterize it on Saturday night. 

I'm here to tell you that if it doesn't -- and I'm not gonna make a prediction on that because I really don't know.  I can tell you that in any other case, anybody else, any other time in American history, they'd be finished.  That would be the end of it, no matter what the establishment wanted, the supporters would abandon that candidate.  But I don't know that that's gonna happen this time.  And if it doesn't, it is just going to add about 10 exclamation points to how ticked off people are at the people running this country.  Which I still don't think they understand inside the Beltway. 

I still don't think they get it.  I think they understand there's some anger out there, but I think they think it's fleeting and temporary and irrational and will eventually die out and go away.  I don't think it's taken seriously.  I know full well the establishment of both parties not gonna respond to it.  They're not gonna react to it in a way that says, "Okay, I guess we're gonna have to modify or change."  They haven't reached that point yet.  All this anger and support for Trump, as far as they're concerned, is still irrational and uninformed, and so they're not gonna react to it yet. 

And it's those people who think that this is the straw that broke the camel's back, this is the step too far.  We will see.  And if that doesn't happen, if Trump doesn't lose support or a significant amount of support, it's just going to mean they still don't get how angry people are.  What if Trump gains support?  Nobody's even thinking about that.  What if his support goes up because of this?  But I'm getting ahead of myself because I haven't gotten into my analysis of why it was all done. 

I've spoken to nobody, folks. 

I really haven't.

I'm a... I really don't do that.  It's very rare.

I mean, they call me sometimes, but I do not make an effort to reach out to people to get inside, behind-the-scenes information so that I can share it with you without actually telling you I've got it.  I don't do any of that.  I'm just like you.  I have news sources available to me that you have to you. But in this instance I've not talked to anybody at any campaign before that debate and I haven't talked to anybody since that debate.  And nobody has reached out to me to.  Nobody has tried to talk to me about it.

So... The only thing that happened was that Chris Wallace on Thursday night said, "You know, I got a great idea..." He sent me an e-mail. "I got a great idea.  Why don't you come on Fox News Sunday Sunday morning and analyze the Republican debate.  Man, that would be fun." But I can't. I said, "Chris, there's not enough lead time here.  I've got something I can't move and you're going live, and I can't. I need to do it in my studio for my hearing challenges and all that."  So that didn't happen.  I ran into Brit Hume on the golf course Saturday. 

I was just finishing my round down here. 

I was just finishing my round.  I was in the locker room on my way out, and somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hi, I'm Brit Hume." (chuckles)  I know it's Brit Hume. "It's Brit Hume! Hey, how are you?"  We had a little five- or ten-minute conversation about The Haney Project he had watched.  He's a golf nut.  He watched The Haney Project. He told me he'd watched every episode and was asking me questions about it.  So I had to leave, and he was just heading out to play when I was coming in.  But I was unable to do the Fox News Sunday show yesterday, so nobody knows yet what I think of any of this that happened.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I was analyzing the Republican debate on Saturday night, Trump, and what I think he's doing, or what I think he was trying to do Saturday night. And if you know something, you should know this.  To this day a majority of Americans still blame today's economy on George W. Bush. The recession and the home mortgage crisis, all of that is still majority blamed on Bush.  Obama does not get blamed for it.  He may be criticized for ineptly dealing with it, but it isn't, to this day. No aspect of this economy is his fault, and nothing in foreign policy is either because of Iraq. 

I don't have time to go further in analysis, but stick with me 'cause all of this will be made clear as we unfold.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, let's move on to the Republican debate on Saturday night.  Let me cut to the chase and tell you -- and again, I've talked to nobody, nobody's called me, I haven't called anybody.  I don't ever call anybody.  I don't reach out.  I don't try to get to know people on campaign staffs and ask 'em questions.  I don't want to be spun.  I may hear from them now and then.  It isn't very often.  So my point is that what I'm about to tell you is the result of conversation with nobody.  Or, more properly said, is the result of no conversation with anybody. 

If you look at South Carolina, it is an open primary, meaning Democrats can vote.  We took advantage of this, Operation Chaos, Democrat side back in 2008.  Democrats can vote, independents can vote.  And the things that Trump said and did Saturday night came out of nowhere.  They didn't make any sense.  Here we are in a Republican primary, and Donald Trump, out of the blue, starts blaming the Bush family for 9/11, for knowing that the intelligence was made up, that there never were any weapons of mass destruction, and they knew it, Trump said. 

Michael Moore doesn't even say that.  The World Trade Center came down when George W. Bush was president so don't anybody tell me, Trump said, he kept us safe.  He jumped all over the Bush family and the Iraq war and claimed that he was on record way, way back as always being opposed to the Iraq war, that it was going to muddy up the Middle East and cause a quagmire.  Nobody can find any record of Trump having opposed the Iraq war in 2001, 2002.  They asked him about that, and he said (paraphrasing), "I wasn't a politician back then, so the things I was saying weren't getting noted like they would be had I been a politician, but I said it." 

On the stage at a Republican debate, Donald Trump defended Planned Parenthood.  Not the abortion stuff, he said, but the fact that they do great things for women's health.  Folks, there were a number of occasions where Donald Trump sounded like the Daily Kos blog, where Donald Trump sounded like the Democrat Underground, sounded like any average host on MSNBC.  And I said to myself, "Now, wait a minute.  What's going on?"  Trump is not -- I don't care what any of you think, he's not stupid.  He has political advisors.  He has a lot of people who are conservatives who are there to tell him where the boundaries are, and he crossed those boundaries on Saturday. 

I don't know how many people in his circle knew where he was going Saturday night, if he was gonna go there and how far.  But on a Republican debate stage, defending Planned Parenthood in language used by the left, going after George W. Bush and Jeb Bush and the entire Bush family, for the most part, using the terminology of Democrats, people think that Trump was out of control, that he had emotional incontinence that night.  You like that term?  Emotional incontinence.  Lost control.  Was out of control.  Well, maybe, but I still think there was a strategy going into this. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Short version, I think Trump strategically was making a move on independents and Democrats in South Carolina since it's open.  And I think that he wants to wrap this up ASAP.  I think he wants a blow 'em out, going-away win in South Carolina.  I think he just wants to wrap this up.  I think he thinks he can.  I think the audience booing him ticked him off.  It's been happening the last couple, three debates.  The donors have gotten a majority of the tickets.  I don't recall any Republican debate with the amount of booing that I heard on Saturday night. 

I remember debates with very little applause, but not outright booing.  And it wasn't just Trump.  It was Cruz as well.  The establishment's trying to rig these debates as they are seen on TV.  The establishment was trying to humiliate and embarrass Ted Cruz and Trump.  And I think it really ticked Trump off and may have been -- I'm wild guessing here -- may have been one of the reasons why he was a victim of emotional incontinence.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Right.  Grab sound bite 21.  And let's grab number 20, 21, 22.  Anyway, greetings.  Greetings.  Welcome back, folks.  Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network. 

So, Trump literally with Democrat lingo -- liberal Democrat lingo -- in the debate on Planned Parenthood, on the Iraq war, on 9/11, on weapons of mass destruction.  Never before has he said it, but never before have we had an open primary yet.  This is an open primary.  Democrats and independents can cross and vote.  If there's something else going on here, that Trump lost control, and who he really is surfaced, then it was gonna happen at some point, and it happened on Saturday night.  If that's what really happened. 

If this was strategic, as I have described, coupled with... I don't think that you can overestimate how angry... Did you see...? By the way, this moderator, John Dickerson? You can't get more Democrat operative.  This guy's George Stephanopoulos without the job at the Clinton war room.  John Dickerson is the son of a Drive-By Media person.  He has lived in Washington his whole life. He grew up in Washington.  That is all he knows.  He is a Democrat Party hack.  He's liberal through and through. 

Did you see when he was asking the first question of the debate when he was going through series of questions with Ted Cruz, and he started correcting Cruz? Did you see the stare that Ted Cruz gave him? Cruz was a milliliter away from launching on this guy and kept it back.  He did not do it.  But this guy went Candy Crowley on him. This guy went Candy Crowley on Cruz, the way Candy Crowley did on Romney.  And it was about statistics and so forth on a certain thing.  And this guy said, "I just want to make sure you're factually correct." 

And this guy cannot hold an intellectual candle to Ted Cruz.  Ted Cruz says what he means, means what he says, likes saying what he says and is right about it, is a great debater, and is not taken off his game. And this like the fourth debate in a row that I read where Cruz didn't really stand out. Ted Cruz remains the guy that continues to climb in the polls.  Ted Cruz is the guy who continues to outperform the polls.  Ted Cruz is the guy lurking around out there while everybody else is watching the fireworks in other places. 

But the Republican National Committee is stacking that audience with people who were there to disrupt a debate taking place within their own party.  And it wasn't the first time, but it was the loudest.  This was the most obvious that the audience was stacked.  Trump made the point again that he couldn't get any tickets for his people.  He got a maximum of 20 or 24.  Cruz couldn't get any tickets.  These guys were in there cheering Jeb (cheering the guy with three or four points in the polls), cheering Rubio, cheering John Kasich. 

Don't get me started on that. 

Oh, let me tell you. You talk...? (interruption) No, I didn't. (interruption) You talk about...? No.  (interruption) What positives?  (interruption) Yeah, let's all be... (interruption)  No, that's... (interruption) Yeah, the old Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?"  You know, if that kind of stuff worked... I mean, this is the exact... It's no different than, "I'm the guy can cross the aisle! I'm the guy can work with Democrats."  That's like saying, "I'm the guy that can talk Obama out of his judicial nominee and nominate somebody that we approve of! I'm the guy."

BS.  Nobody's gonna talk Obama out of being a radical president and putting a radical judge on the court. Nobody's gonna talk him out it with behavior and being nice and all this other malarkey.  Now, again: I don't know if the booing finally got to Trump but it looked like it did to me.  It looked like he was getting ticked off.  He didn't even have to say anything. He'd just open his mouth a couple syllables and here came the boos, and it did appear to distract him off the point that he was getting ready to make a number of times.  I don't remember specific points. 

They did the same thing to Cruz.  I've never seen anything like that that I can recall, watching intraparty debates.  I never seen it on the Democrat side.  I mean, I've heard of smattering of boos here, but I've not seen a whole audience stacked to the express purpose, and it was done specifically to make it look on TV, like no Republicans like Trump.  They didn't tell you the audience was a bunch of donors.  They didn't tell you the audience was a bunch of people that support amnesty.

They didn't tell us going in that the audience was a bunch of people that are basically RINOs.  No.  The audience was supposed to assume that in South Carolina, the Republican Party hates Trump.  That's what they were trying to create, and he knew it.  And they did it to Cruz as well.  Now, I want you to listen to George Will.  This was on Fox News Sunday yesterday with Chris Wallace, who said, "George, what's your reaction to the debate, to Trump's apparent search-and-destroy mission against Jeb Bush and George W. Bush?"

WILL:  The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back didn't break the camel's back.  It was the critical mass, the accumulation of straws.  Last night I think he may have passed the frontier.  The man who has supported partial-birth abortion and gun control and eminent domain and all the rest, last night adopted the most vicious line of the hard left in this country: "Bush lied; people died."  I think that if there is such a thing as a critical mass, he's approaching it.

RUSH:  So not necessarily saying that it's happened yet, but we're closer now to people abandoning Trump, is what he's talking about.  It's getting harder and harder, in his view, for supporters of Trump to stay with him.  It's getting harder for Trump's supporters to defend Trump. It's getting harder and harder for people to stay with him -- and while they might publicly say they continue to be -- if people know they're already a Trump supporter -- they might, in private, not support Trump when we get to the election on Saturday. 

Trump is continuing to hit Ted Cruz.  What is...? I just had the latest sound bite thrown my way.  I know. I put it... Grab number 26.  This is what tells me that it might be much closer in South Carolina. We don't have a lot of polling doubt out of South Carolina.  I don't think we have a valid post-debate poll yet, do we? (interruption) We don't.  We have pre-debate polls where Trump was skyrocketing way ahead of everybody.  I haven't seen a post-debate poll yet.  Trump's in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, this afternoon, and this is among the things he said about Ted Cruz...

TRUMP:  He is a liar.  He apologized to Carson after the event.  What good does it do?  Carson said, "Yeah, but I lost all those votes," and he apologized to him after. He should have apologized to me also because, frankly, I would have won. But it doesn't matter.  But he apologized. He said, "I'd like to apologize to you, Ben."  The election is over.  And what they should do, if Iowa had any guts, the people from the Republican Party -- which they don't -- they should disqualify him from winning Iowa.  I really mean it.  Because what he did was a fraud.

RUSH:  All right.  Now, this is clearly an exaggeration not only what happened there, but it's also an exaggeration of the impact on Ben Carson.  I mean, Ben Carson is not a factor at this point.  And I imagine people like Rand Paul are looking at the debate Saturday night and asking themselves, "Why is Ben Carson still on that stage?"  And I bet Carly Fiorina is as well. "Why is Ben Carson still on that stage? 'Cause we got bumped off about the same time Ben's reached his status."

But going after Trump still on the Iowa business, some people say that that means that Trump's internal polling shows that Cruz is gaining ground.  Well, here's what we're gonna find out, folks.  One of two things.  Well, there are three things that are gonna happen.  One of three.  On Saturday the South Carolina primary happens, and one of the three things is that Trump's gonna win it, according to the polling data, which means he's gonna be in the mid-thirties, he's gonna win it handily and with no doubt. 

The second thing that could happen is that Trump could, which has been the pattern throughout this entire campaign, expand his lead after this Saturday debate.  This is by no means the first time that Donald Trump has been off the reservation in this campaign, by no means. 

Now, this is new ground off the reservation that he went to.  I mean, he went to liberal Democratville, but in terms of saying shockingly outrageous things, this is by no means the first.  And each time that he's done that he has gained popularity.  So that's the second possibility. 

The third possibility is that he loses ground in this debate and ends up with a smaller percentage of the vote in the South Carolina primary.  And we won't know, of course, which of these three scenarios happen to be true until the votes are counted.  But let's take 'em one by one.  If Trump gains support, there is only one conclusion that you -- well, no, there's two actually.  The solid conclusion you could draw is that the anger at the Washington establishment is even greater than we know, and we already know it's intense.  We already know that the disgust and the lack of respect and the total loss of confidence in the Republican Party in Washington is deep. 

But if Trump gains support after this, it will mean that that degree of disgust, lack of respect, and intense anger is greater than anyone knows, and people want the people in Washington to know it.  It'll also be interesting to see how many Democrats actually cross, if any do, and vote for Trump.  There's actually another thing, an offshoot.  If Trump gains ground here, and even if he doesn't, but let's say if he does, if he even holds steady or gains ground, do you realize how this turns upside down the electoral map?  The electoral map right now, whoever the Democrat nominee is, goes in with 200 electoral votes automatically.  You give  them New York, you give them California, you give them Wisconsin and Michigan, you give them Pennsylvania, and it's possible that Trump could turn that upside down. 

It's possible that if Trump gets the nomination, that New York could be in play.  I mean, it's unlikely.  Pennsylvania could be in play.  Wisconsin could be in play.  Michigan could be in play.  If any of these things happen, do you realize what happens to the Democrat coalition, if any of these states which are automatically deadlocked blue, end up going Republican for Trump, and even if before the election the polling indicates that this is happening, and I think that there are a lot of people who think this could happen anyway regardless what happens Saturday night, that the electoral map could be blown. Because the anger in Washington is palpable on both sides, and it could well be that there are some Democrats and independents out there fed up with Hillary, don't like Bernie, and Trump comes out, says some of the things he says, and it doesn't take much, and maybe some of them go in for him.  Who knows. 

I think this is part of Trump's strategy, actually.  We'll see if it pays off.  If he loses ground, then that changes the dynamic.  That means there's gonna be more volcanic eruptions down the road like we haven't seen yet. (interruption) There is new polling data after South Carolina?  Well, yeah, Trump up by 22, but is that up or down from where he was in the same poll before South Carolina?  Okay.  Well, fine.  Trump's up by 22 after the debate, but we don't know what he was before the debate.  But still up 22 in a CBS poll.  Is that CBS/YouGov?  Okay.  I don't know that it's new.  That might be a poll Sunday, but I don't know that it has the debate results in it.  

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