RUSH: Maria in Rexford, Idaho. Nice to have you. By the way, I’m wondering, in the next Miss America Pageant, will we be allowed to have a Miss Idaho?
CALLER: I hope so. She would be a great representative for the United States.
RUSH: Well, but I mean it’s the name of the state, Miss Ida-ho.
CALLER: No, you say Idaho.
RUSH: I know, but it doesn’t matter. The views expressed by the host on this show are not necessarily those of the staff, management, nor sponsors of the station. How are you doing, Maria?
CALLER: I’m doing well, thank you.
RUSH: Thank you, thank you.
CALLER: Okay, my question is, the day after Columbine, you had Chris Matthews on as your guest host, and I’ve always wondered how that deal went down.
RUSH: Well, what was that, 1999 when Columbine happened? Chris Matthews and I were on speaking terms. I was guest on his show now and then and he was a good broadcaster. We thought it would be interesting to try out. You know, the 2000 election changed a lot of people, particularly the media. They’ve chosen up sides. There’s clearly a line of demarcation in the media now. Back then that hadn’t happened, and Chris, one of the reasons I was intrigued is because he was saying a lot of things, not regularly, but enough to make me think that he was not just a hard-line liberal, that he had some libertarian or conservative thoughts. So we brought him in. We’re always looking for new voices as guest hosts.
CALLER: Do you still talk to him?
RUSH: I haven’t spoken to him in a long time. We had a couple e-mails back and forth.
CALLER: Because he’s just crazy. I can’t even stand to look at him.
RUSH: He’s very honored because he won our poll on which MSNBC host should resign and make way for an African-American host. Well, they’re good liberals over there, and they’re upset that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who are right about this, MSNBC is ‘all white, all night.’ And these are good liberals over there, and they’re telling everybody else what they ought to do to end racial discrimination and promote harmony. But you can’t find any African-American or minority hosts there. So we ran a poll here on my website, and Matthews won it 49 to 47 over Olbermann, and Tucker Carlson got 4%. Matthews is a little upset. He wanted a recount because there was no paper trail on this. He didn’t believe Tucker Carlson got 4%. He wanted more than 49%. He wanted over 50.
CALLER: Well, there’s always a spoiler in every race.
RUSH: I just made up that last story as a little joke here. We did not hear from him after the vote. But when I’ve been with Chris — in fact, the first time I met Chris Matthews was at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and it was the first such time I had been to the White House Correspondents Dinner, and this was the night where Bill Clinton told a joke implying that I’m a racist. At the end of the dinner, we’re all lingering around on our way out and Matthews comes up in typical Matthews fashion (screaming), ‘You can’t let him get away with that! If I were Rush Limbaugh, and if you’re the Rush Limbaugh I know — you’re Rush Limbaugh! You don’t let the president of the United States call you racist! You can’t put up that! That is intolerable.’ He wouldn’t stop. Spittle was flying all over the place — and that’s the first time I met him.
CALLER: And you still had him on as your guest host?
RUSH: You know, I love Open Line Friday. Are you still doing a slow burn about that? Are you upset that he hosted? I mean, that’s 1999.
CALLER: No, I’m not upset. I just find it interesting that he would be a choice. I thought it was a good show and it was a good time for him to be on, the day after Columbine. I thought it was a really good show. It just always stuck with me.
RUSH: Look, I have to be honest with you about this, Maria. Finding guest hosts is tough. There is not another me out there.
CALLER: This is true, and it’s certainly not Chris Matthews. Hey, one more thing, Rush. I’m not the ‘ho from Idaho,’ okay?
RUSH: Oh, gee.
CALLER: The views expressed on this program…
RUSH: (Bleeps) Did we catch it? Did we catch it? You’re going to get me in trouble. That certainly, that was not the view of the host.
CALLER: No. That was the caller from Idaho.
RUSH: Okay. Maria, thank you so much.
RUSH: I really appreciate the help.