RUSH: To the phones! We’ll start here in the Arizona desert, the arid Arizona desert. This is Hildy. Hildy, welcome to the EIB Network. It’s great to have you with us.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call. I can’t believe I’m the first caller and I have to reprimand you. Why are you acting like a little schoolgirl about meeting Mr. Clinton? I mean, this is your world. This is where you belong, and I want to throw back something you said about the NFL players. Remember a couple of years ago when you —
RUSH: Wait, wait!
CALLER: — NFL players get into the end zone doing their little dance, little antics —
RUSH: Whoa, whoa!
CALLER: — and you said, ‘When the football player gets to the end zone and makes the touchdown, he has to act like that’s where he belongs.’
RUSH: Yes. Yes.
CALLER: And this is your world. It’s where you belong. You know, the notion that you’re excited about meeting this stain on our consciousness, Bill Clinton, is —
RUSH: Oh, come on! Wait a second. I have left a stain on you?
CALLER: No, no. Oh, Rush, don’t mix my words. That’s not what I said. The fact that you talked about Bill Clinton that way, I just don’t know how much I can take in this next election cycle hearing about Bill Clinton again.
RUSH: I knew this was going to happen. I didn’t talk about Bill Clinton anyway, other than describe what happened, which is what I always do on this program. You know, it used to be ‘stick to the issues.’ Now you’re accusing me of acting starstruck, is what you’re doing.
RUSH: Well, I wasn’t. I was the one minding my own business.
CALLER: I understand, but do you think he got on his e-mail when he got home and e-mailed all his friends that he met you?
RUSH: I got on my e-mail to make a prediction! Look, you missed a very funny central element of the story, Hildy, based on what you have commented to me on. The e-mails that I sent to friends were to describe the story, not, ‘Hey, hey! Guess who I met? Guess who I met?’ The reason I sent the e-mail was to describe what happened, and some of it you have apparently missed, and if you missed it, that’s too bad. Some of it went right by you. But, look, I’m the one that was minding my own business. I’m the one that looked up and saw a looming presence, and it was the former president. I did not leave my table other than one time to went to the restroom. I never left the table. He left his once and approached me as he was coming in. What am I to do? Farris in Hartford, Connecticut. Farris, you’re next on the EIB Network. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Good day, Rush.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: On your near death experience there meeting the former president.
CALLER: I’m reminded of the time that he commented to a talk show host, complaining that Rush Limbaugh comes on his airwaves afterwards and has three hours every day.
RUSH: That was KMOX in St. Louis.
CALLER: That was reminiscent to me of the little Fairness Doctrine talk we’re having now. But I commend you on your handling of the interlude with Slick Willie.
RUSH: In that phone call he said, ‘There’s no truth detector.’ He was badgering the guys, the morning team at KMOX in St. Louis, ‘Rush Limbaugh is going to come on after you, and he’ll have three hours, three solid hours, and there’s no truth detector,’ and he was complaining that he, as president, couldn’t compete with my three hours on the radio. He’s got the bully pulpit!
CALLER: But he didn’t complain about that to you when he met you last night?
RUSH: No. As I say, look, in a social setting, it would have been inappropriate anyway and I wouldn’t have been able to hear him anyway had he done anything like that. I don’t know how to describe this. I don’t know how to explain it. I am not rude. I am a gentleman. I was sitting there, and he came up and said hi. This seems perplexing to have to explain. I’m not going to turn my back. I’m not going to ignore him. I’m not going to pretend I don’t recognize him — and then he came back with the mayor of LA. It was what it was, nothing more, nothing less. Rodney in Alton, Illinois, nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Yeah. Great to talk to you, Rush. First-time caller, long-time listener.
RUSH: Rodney, is it Alton, Illinois?
CALLER: Alton, A-l-t-o-n, right outside St. Louis.
RUSH: Yeah, right across.
CALLER: Yeah. I thought the story about Former President Clinton was great. You treated him with respect and dignity, and every former president should be treated that way.
RUSH: He was behaving in the same manner.
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: Well, you’re absolutely right. You’re showing an amazing level of maturity out there, Rodney.
CALLER: Well, thank you.
RUSH: I’m very proud of you.
CALLER: But no, he came up to you, and he treated you with dignity and class and was nice. He didn’t come up to you ask start insulting you at the beginning.
RUSH: That would have been a different story. It would have been a different, but he didn’t do that. He wasn’t going to do that in a setting like that.
CALLER: Right. So I think it’s great, and I’m like you. These people out there jumping up and down throwing a fit, they need to calm down a little bit.
RUSH: Well, you know how it is out there, Rodney. Passions get stoked. They get turned up. The temperatures get turned up. When they find out that I’m having dinner with President Carter next week, that’s when I’m going to really be in trouble.
CALLER: (Laughing.) Yeah.
RUSH: Let me tell you, look at what’s happening to the immigration bill. See, I understand this to a degree, because conservatives are just waiting for their leaders to sell out. It just happens. They get elected, they go to Washington, and the libs run the Beltway. We’ve talked about this. They run the Beltway politically, they run it socially, and Republicans get elected and go up there, and it’s not long before they all start selling out. They learn you get on TV by being critical of your own president or of your own party. Senator McCain is an example of this. But the thing that the Republicans never learn that I know is, no matter what you do the libs are never going to like us, and to do things in order to make them like you is a losing proposition. It never works because they’re not interested in that. They’re focused on total annihilation of us in a political sense.
So when my audience — trusted, devoted and loyal — hears me telling the story of meeting the president last night, Former President Clinton, experience tells them, ‘Oh, gosh! Oh no! Tell me it isn’t going to happen to Rush.’ They don’t think they’ve lost me yet, but they might. I understand the fear, but, folks, use your experience. I’ve run into all kinds of these Democrats over the years, and I am perhaps the last restraint against the onslaught that the liberals are making of this. I am your bulwark. I am your rock. I do not fade away. I do not moderate. I do not go out of my way to make the libs like me, and I didn’t last night. I was minding my own business and my territory, my space was invaded by this looming presence. What am I going to do? I did what I thought instinctively, as a gentleman, I should do. I’m through sounding defensive about this. I’m through! I don’t have to be defensive. I don’t owe anybody an explanation. I’m just sharing with you what happened, pure and simple. I’m going to analyze that, I guess, all day if we don’t.
RUSH: People want to know the name of the woman I was with last night. Folks, it’s none of your business, but there’s a way you can get it. You could probably call Bill Clinton’s office and see if they have her name and phone number. He might have gotten it last night. I don’t know. I was talking to the mayor of Los Angeles.
RUSH: Redding, California, this is Kelly. It’s nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I can’t believe I’m talking to you. My heart is beating to my chest. You’re one of my heroes along with my husband and my two children.
RUSH: Thank you very much. I appreciate your saying that.
CALLER: Okay. I just want to get right to the point and tell you that you are such an icon that even the icon on the left wants to meet you, and who can blame him for wanting to meet you? You’re a man of integrity with great wisdom, courage and strength, and he did what any one of us who are in awe of you would have done.
RUSH: He could have walked by the table. I would never have seen him, because I was not looking around at the restaurant. Because of my hearing, I position my head a certain way to be able to hear who I’m talking to. I would have never known he was there.
CALLER: Absolutely. You act like a true patriot, a gentleman, and I just want to say thank you for making the rest of us in the party look good.
RUSH: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. That’s a very mature take you have on this, a very mature position. I appreciate it. By the way, folks, a lot of people are curious not about Clinton, but they want to know the woman I was with. ‘Who is she?’ No, folks. That’s not your business. There’s a way you might be able to find out. You could call Clinton’s office and ask if he got her phone number last night while I was talking to the mayor of Los Angeles. (Laughing.) Just kidding. Lighten up. I got a note from a friend of mine. He said, ‘I don’t understand these people in your audience that are mad at you. It’s Clinton’s audience that ought to be mad at him for being nice to you. They’re the ones that go nuts when a Democrat is nice to a Republican.’ I thought that was a pretty good point. But there’s also this, folks. There’s the office of the presidency, and he held it. There is a respect for that. I remember when they had the unveiling of the portraits of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George Bush, President Bush, was the emcee, if you will. He handled the unveiling, and he gave just a beautiful speech about those two people. I remember getting phone calls. ‘How could he say that?’ Because he’s the president. He understands what a small, unique club of people have been in that office and there’s a reverence and a respect for it.
In truth, I think the primary reason that Bush doesn’t go partisan, the reason he doesn’t very often descend into partisan politics — he’s done it a little lately, but for most of his two terms he hasn’t gone there — is because I think he thinks it’s beneath the office. The presidency is something that’s above all of that. Let underlings and let other people handle that. He’s going to have a certain manner and exhibit a certain decorum as president because of his respect for it. I think that portrait unveiling was a classic illustration of it. The problem is that when, in such partisan circumstances as we’re in now, the all-out political war that we’re in, the president happens to be the leader of the movement, and if he doesn’t go partisan, it makes it very difficult for others in the party — like senators and congressmen — to go off that reservation because then it could raise questions about party unity being lost and so forth. I think it was very much easier for Newt Gingrich to unload on Bill Clinton as a speaker of the House, because Clinton was not his leader. He was a political leader of the party. Clinton was a Democrat, and so it was easy to have elected conservative leadership in that circumstance. It’s much more difficult when the president is in your party and you also run the House, to go off the reservation. So it’s sort of stifled high-level partisan.
RUSH: Here’s Dave in Leesburg, Ohio. It’s nice to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey. Mega dittos from Buckeye country, Rush. Good to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I’ve got just a couple of quick observations to make. I personally am very happy and pleased that you were respectful and courteous to President Clinton. I don’t think very much of him, but you can be sure it would not have played out very well had you handled the situation differently, especially in light of how the mainstream media likes to go after you. That’s number one. Number two, on the right we’ve been asking for a very long time to a return of some kind of civil discourse and for a respect for the office, and you served both of those purposes very well.
RUSH: Absolutely right. I exhibited the leadership this country needed last night.
CALLER: I thank you for that.
RUSH: The Democrats are out there saying the Republicans are destroying the respect for the office. Really? The Democrats said that about us and Clinton in his first term. ‘Well, Limbaugh and the Republicans, these critics, are destroying respect for the office.’ What’s happening now? But there I was last night with the former president, admittedly a political adversary, and admittedly a political opponent, but in those circumstances it was not about any of that. It was about what it was. That’s a great point that you’re making. Civility was on parade last night, on both sides, proving that it can happen.
CALLER: And thank you again.
RUSH: You bet. I’m glad that you called.
RUSH: Here’s Dave in Houston. Dave, thanks for waiting. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: It’s an honor and pleasure to speak with you, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I was just kind of comparing, you know, Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. You know, Reagan and Tip O’Neill had a little more honor and a little more morals than Clinton did, but the last few hours you just got together and you enjoyed yourself.
RUSH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is not Tip O’Neill and Reagan. They got together for a beer after a hard day arguing over Social Security. That’s not what this was. This was a chance meeting. Well, actually, I don’t believe in coincidences with the Clintons. I’m not sure this is a chance meeting. I made this reservation last Friday. There were all kinds of chances to find out that I’m going to be there. It was for all intents and purposes, chance. He’s walking in, sees me, and stops at the table.
CALLER: You can do it after hours. You can go there and relax and, you know, enjoy the company of somebody else on the opposite side, you know?
CALLER: Where Clinton’s looking for a buddy to hang out with, you know, where it was like mayor from LA or whatever, you know, just hang out, whatever, enjoy themselves afterwards, and it was a chance meeting for you guys, but I’m just comparing you to Reagan. After hours you can just turn it off and just enjoy the company no matter liberal or not.
RUSH: Yeah, it was a social occasion. I was not out there on any kind of a work or political mission out there. Anyway, I appreciate the call.
RUSH: Yes, I am going out to dinner tonight, and it’s entirely possible I could run into Castro. Who knows? He might be there getting medical treatment or meeting with Michael Moore. You never know.