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RUSH: Here’s Steve in Chicago. You’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Rush. How are you? Longtime listener and great admirer of yours.

RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.

CALLER: Rush, I’ll tell you the reason I’m calling is first of all, you know, I’m glad to see that you’ve come around on this immigration issue. It’s been a major issue for conservatives around the country for the last several years, and you —

RUSH: Maybe I came around on it but it’s been years ago. I’m the one who said a couple years ago that if the Republicans don’t get their act in gear on this that they’re going to lose the election in November of ’06, and I said it’s going to be largely because of this.

CALLER: Well, I think you’re right. However, I think that you’re not being totally honest with your listeners as to the source of the problem, and I think the biggest source of the problem is Bush. Bush has been shilling for amnesty for illegals since before 2000.

RUSH: Look, I have said this before, too. Let me take the cigar out of my mouth. When the Bush administration first proposed the plan that has become what this is some years ago, I cannot mention any names, but within two days an emissary from the White House was dispatched to my home to try to get my mind right on this. At breakfast, and featured a phone call from the president afterwards. And have you heard me waver on this? Now, I have not made Bush a primary target here because —

CALLER: I think he is —

RUSH: Bush is a lame duck, he’s not going to be standing for reelection anymore, and so, yeah, it’s the Bush-Kennedy-McCain bill, there’s no question about it. But look, I am a Republican. When you think I did this thing on the elites yesterday, you think I was not talking about all Republican elites looking down and thinking we don’t understand this, we gotta be taught how this is right? I ripped my own party to shreds yesterday on this, so much so the Washington Times quoted it in their news story today.

CALLER: You know, I think this immigration issue is greater than party affiliation.

RUSH: That’s the point. But you must understand my perspective. This is clearly an effort desired primarily by Democrats politically. I think Bush’s view on this is not really political. I think some may think in the White House this is a way to get Republican votes. I know that Republicans in the Senate think it is, and maybe some Republicans in the House. But I think Bush, he’s a man of faith. I think he views himself as helping the downtrodden step up in life. I don’t know that. It’s just a wild guess. But my focus on this, if you think it’s a bipartisan issue, it is, but the Democrats are the ones that stand to gain by this, and it is they who are doing everything they can to destroy the traditions and institutions that made this country great, and then rebuild the country in their own image, and what frustrates me is the Republicans have no knowledge, they have no ability to see that that is what they’re party to.

CALLER: You know, I think part of the problem is that you’re correct in what you’re saying, but somebody should maybe explain to Bush that in fact this is what’s going on.

RUSH: He’s not going to change his mind on this.

CALLER: Well, the fact is, then, that the Republican Party will go down with Bush, because, you know, I myself am an immigrant, Rush, and I want to tell you, when we came here, not only did we have to have a sponsor, we had to have someone that would sign an agreement that they would financially support us if we were unable to support ourselves. When I came here, I went to second grade, there was no bilingual education, it was sink or swim, I had to learn English and assimilate. And when you’ve got millions and millions of Third World, uneducated people —

RUSH: I understand all this. I’m surprised that you even know I’ve come around, because you’re saying things to me as though you don’t think I know them, and I’ve been talking about it for the past week intensely on the very subjects that you are raising.

CALLER: I do think that you understand the issues.

RUSH: Well, thank you, thank you. I appreciate that.

CALLER: (Laughing.)

RUSH: I don’t think that the importance of the issue has been highlighted enough. It’s been an important issue for quite a long time. I think our country is going down the drain. We can talk about wages, we can talk about —

RUSH: I sit here in stunned amazement because at the same time you’re telling me we’re not hitting this hard enough, I got people on my own staff and in my e-mail saying, ‘Will you drop it and get on to other things? I’m tired of hearing about it.’

CALLER: Yet, you know what? Your staff may be saying that, but people out here are not saying it.

RUSH: No, some people are. I don’t follow all this. I don’t put this program together based on anecdotal e-mails or comments from the staff. I always follow my own instincts on it, but you gotta be careful. You can stay too long on anything and you’ll run people’s emotional reservoir dry. They just won’t want to hear it. It’s impossible for people to stay angry and revved up and passionate about something for years. You have to be very careful about this. There are other things happening at the same time. But trust me, be confident, the things that are bothering you, I’m on it, and have been on it intensely here for a week ever since this bill, ever since they came out and said, ‘Hey, we got a deal, we negotiated it in private,’ which was last week, have been hitting it hard, and for many, many years prior to that. I think what you’re really getting at is, you want me to hammer Bush. That’s what this is really all about. You really want me to do that.

I’m not hammering anybody by name in this, other than McCain, people that put their names on this thing, and the Democrats. Because Bush is a lame duck. He’s not going to change his mind on this. He’s as committed to this as he is to the war on terror. So you deal with it in other ways. But I resent this notion from people that I will no longer have credibility or I can’t have credibility if I won’t attack my own president. Ask him if I haven’t. I have. I’m back to thinking there’s going to be a requirement on this program. If you call, you have to listen three hours every day five days a week. Yes, Mr. Snerdley, I’m thinking of putting that requirement out there, and pictures for the women. If I compromise, you’ll — just kidding about that.

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