RUSH: Let’s go back to Thursday, March 22nd on this program. This, said I.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I’m telling you, this is to jumpstart the campaign. This is to see if it will jumpstart the campaign, and we’ll find out the next three or four days or whatever, week, if that happens. This business about this being a surprise makes me think that the leak that was planted today was purposely wrong, to create surprise, make sure everybody thought, ‘Oh, we know what’s coming,’ and have it blown away. ‘The campaign’s going to go on! Ooh, the campaign is going to go on! Well, we thought it was going to be suspended.’ You know, we all get all these press releases in advance of the State of the Union Address. We all know what’s going to be said before it airs. There’s no surprises. This was surprise. It may have been done on purpose.
RUSH: This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I said on this program the day of the John and Elizabeth Edwards cancer press conference. Jumpstart the campaign. I of course took mountains of grief for this in a number of quarters. ‘How could Limbaugh be so callous,’ when in fact I was not the first to say so, I was not the first to categorize this and analyze it in a political sense. The Drive-Bys beat me to this led by Howard Fineman. Now, let’s go to CNN, The Situation Room, last night. Host, Suzanne Malveaux filling in for Wolf Blitzer, interviewed Senator Edwards, and she said, ‘A lot of people have really set up this race as Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama, but these poll numbers show you second to Hillary and neck and neck with Obama.’
EDWARDS: I’ve been moving up. We have some momentum now. I think this is going to be a serious race where voters get a chance to look at the differences in our positions and our personal characteristics to be president.
RUSH: ‘I’ve been moving up,’ he said. ‘We have some momentum now.’ Would somebody…? You fill in the blank. What was it that caused the momentum? I mean, there wasn’t momentum before the press conference. What was it that caused the momentum? It is clear what caused it. But this, ladies and gentlemen, is the pièce de résistance. I am holding this in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. This is from the Washington Post blog today: ‘When you visit the John Edwards for President Web site, you’re invited to send a sympathy note to the Edwardses. And tens of thousands of well wishers have done so since that heart-wrenching news conference two weeks ago at which Elizabeth Edwards courageously discussed her incurable cancer. What those well wishers get in return — e-mail messages soliciting contributions to Edwards’s campaign.’
So if you went to the Edwards website and you saw the opportunity to send a sympathy note to the Edwardses — and tens of thousands am people did — every one of those people has registered on the Edwards website and every one of them has received an e-mail message asking for contributions to the Edwards campaign. ‘Visitors to the Edwards site who choose to ‘send a note to Elizabeth and John’ are first taken to a heartfelt letter from the candidate that was written the day after he learned that his wife’s cancer had returned. Edwards thanks readers for their ‘prayers and wishes,’ vows that he and Elizabeth will ‘keep a positive attitude always look for the silver lining’ and declares that ‘our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly.’ Anyone who then chooses to send a note of sympathy to the Edwardses — and, thus, provide his or her e-mail address — automatically becomes part of the Edwards campaign’s online e-mail database, a list that is crucial to any campaign’s ability to raise vast amounts of money over the Internet. If you sent a note to the Edwardses before the critical March 31 end-of-the-quarter fundraising deadline, you would have received frantic e-mail solicitations from the campaign, such as the one on March 28 from Edwards campaign manager David Bonior titled, ’96 hours to show substance works.’
”The solicitation asked for ‘$25, $50 or any amount you can afford to give,” and you only had 96 hours to do it. This is what it is. Do I need to analyze this? Do I need to add commentary to this? (interruption) You think I do, Snerdley? Well, that means people out there can’t figure this out. That means people are not going to understand the point of this without me telling them. I refuse to believe that the people in this audience are that dense. Well, of course there are liberals listening. There are always liberals listening to this program. They’re always spying, studying. Okay, what word would you associate with this, folks? Crass? Ballsy? What word would you use? Opportunistic? Some might say, ‘Hey, Rush, it’s politics. It’s no big deal. You send a note to some candidate’s website, what do expect you’re going to get, Rush? I mean, come on. Everybody knows if you sent an e-mail to a candidate’s website, you’re on the list and you’re going to get solicited for money. Come on, Rush! You’re making too big a deal of it.’ No, no, folks. You are invited to send a sympathy message, not donate. The first thing that happens is, you want to send a sympathy message.
Well, my gosh, look at the number of people who never knew Princess Diana who left notes, letters, pictures of themselves all along the cortege route. So the campaign had to know that there would be a lot of people who wanted to send along well wishes and sympathy and so forth. That’s the first thing people were asked to do. They weren’t asked to donate. It’s only after sending in the sympathy card or message that you are then solicited. I’m sure they said, ‘Thanks for the great sympathy note. We really appreciate it. It means a lot to us. By the way, 96 hours left to show that you have substance, or that there is substance, $25, $50, or whatever amount you can donate. There are only 96 hours to go,’ from campaign chairman David Bonior. (Laughing) HR just said in the IFB he could have at least done that part under separate cover. What do you mean? A separate thank-you note? A thank you, and then a follow-up? They at least could have done that? Well, that’s time-consuming and it removes you one step from the sale. Anyway, this should put to rest among anybody who’s reasonable out there, that this is being seized upon as a political opportunity, and I predicted it and said, ‘See if it jumpstarts the campaign,’ which it has, financially, poll-wise.