RUSH: This is West Caldwell, New Jersey. Oh, Sopranos territory! This is where the Sopranos live. Tony Soprano’s house is in West Caldwell. This is John. It’s nice to have you on the program, sir.
CALLER: It’s great to be with you, Rush.
RUSH: Yes, sir, my pleasure.
CALLER: Fred Thompson for president. What’s your take?
RUSH: (Laughing.) You know, you’ve taken me into our next series of audio sound bites. I continue to receive a plethora of e-mails from people who are excited about Fred Thompson, and the Drive-Bys now are starting to do stories about, ‘Well, you know, the Republicans really aren’t that excited about the current crop.’ Let’s go to the audio sound bites. Let’s start with CNN. This was last night on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, a portion of the report by info babe Mary Snow.
SNOW: Republican strategists say conservatives are particularly interested in Thompson’s possible presidential run. So is conservative talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH ARCHIVE: He is thought to be authoritative, to have a lot of presence, so forth and so on. So it gets more and more interesting out there.
RUSH: Now, let’s listen to what I said in context. Because the Drive-Bys, Mary Snow and CNN, have me all revved up about Fred Thompson. They have me out there saying, “Yeah, this is finally my guy,” but this is what I actually said yesterday on this very program behind this very golden microphone.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I got a bunch of e-mails from people over the weekend, after this had been announced, that were very excited. Look, this is anecdotal. I’m not saying this means anything. I’m just sharing with you some of the reaction. But I haven’t gotten it about any of the others. The closest to it would be Giuliani, I guess, but not in the scope of what I got from people talking about Fred Thompson. He is thought to be authoritative, a lot of presence, so forth and so on. So it gets more and more interesting out there.
RUSH: I was quoting, essentially, what e-mailers were saying to me about Fred Thompson. I’m not complaining. I’m not demanding a correction. It’s chump change. I just want to put it in perspective here and in context. CNN was out making it look like those were my sentiments — and why are they doing that? Because they cannot forget this! Here’s a montage of the last time the press reported that I was not revved up about any of the candidates.
Miles O’Brien: Rush Limbaugh. (Sound effect) He told his listeners none of the current Republican candidates rev him up.
Chris Matthews: With all these guys angling for the job of Mr. Conservative, the base is under whelmed. Here’s conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH ARCHIVE: There’s nobody out there that revs me up. So why should I pretend that there is?
RUSH: Now, this is January 30th and February 5th of this year. They’ve all got it in their Nexis database that I said nobody out there revs me up, so talking about Thompson and reporting some of the e-mails I got about him yesterday caused, ‘Ooh, ooh, ooh! Limbaugh’s getting excited about somebody in the race!’ As to your question, John, you’re just another in a long line of people here thrilled as they can be with Fred Thompson. I don’t know what to tell you. How many times do I have to say this? I will have to admit, this is exactly what I was talking about three weeks ago, four weeks ago when everybody was demanding that I pick somebody and get on board and start being proactive about this. I said, ‘It’s too soon. Anything can happen.’
We don’t know who’s going to get in this race yet, and we might have some of the so-called underdogs come out of nowhere and lead the pack. You never know what’s going to happen. McCain has now snubbed the Club for Growth, the fourth conservative group in not too long a time that’s asked him to speak. He didn’t go to CPAC to speak. Steve Moore’s bunch, by the way, is the Club for Growth, and he’s not going there. McCain’s sort of corkscrewing down in the polls. Giuliani is riding high at the moment. So this is a classic example of what I meant when I said it’s too early here to pick somebody and start getting on the bandwagon. Way too soon. First primary is not for nine months. I have a tradition and a histoire of not getting involved in primaries ’til we’re down to the final two. That’s been my history, and it’s just my instincts, folks. If there were somebody out there that I said, ‘This is it. This is the answer,’ then I would tell you this. But so far, I have to be honest, I can’t say that yet.