RUSH: Now, here’s Major Garrett’s sound bite. This is from yesterday afternoon, Special Report with Brit Hume, last night, six o’clock. Major Garrett reporting on immigration, President Bush versus Rush, which I don’t think it was. I know a lot of people took it personally. I don’t think the president had anybody personally in mind when he made his comments about conservatives not understanding what’s going on here and being fed a bunch of emotion not based in facts. The fact of the matter is it’s the pro-immigration bill bunch that will not debate this on facts. They can’t win on facts. They can’t win on the details of the bill. They’re not going to debate it in that regard. In the process, that’s why they wanted to hustle this through without all the extracurricular politics under the cover of darkness. Anyway his report includes audio from me, from President Bush, and Tony Snow.
GARRETT: Rush Limbaugh, mandarin of conservative talk radio, said the immigration reform debate had broken the back of the president’s loyalist base.
RUSH ARCHIVE: But there are people who are saying, I’ve had it, I’m through, I’m through defending the guy. This is the last straw because he’s attacking me here.
GARRETT: Bush appears to have infuriated conservative talk radio listeners when he said this yesterday, defending comprehensive immigration reform.
THE PRESIDENT: If you want to kill the bill, if you don’t want to do what’s right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it. You can use it to frighten people.
GARRETT: The president also accused critics of throwing around generalities like amnesty to intensify political opposition.
THE PRESIDENT: If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill’s an amnesty bill. It’s not an amnesty bill. That’s empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our fellow citizens.
GARRETT: At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow denied the president was trying to demonize GOP immigration reform critics.
SNOW: He believes that finding a solution is what’s right for America. And no, there was no attempt to try to be cute. The invited politicians at the event were Republicans! The president is the leader of the Republican Party. He is not picking a fight with Republicans.
GARRETT: Limbaugh’s listeners rendered just the opposite verdict.
RUSH ARCHIVE: This criticism of his base is going to be problematic for him because the left is going to keep up their incessant harping on Iraq, and he needs people to support him on this. He needs to have a base of support that will not waver.
RUSH: Yes, that’s the point that I made yesterday, that’s the sad thing about this is that he’s going to continue to need support for whatever policy in Iraq continues to prevail. I’m going to tell you, folks, it’s been a long time since I have seen — and this is a good thing, by the way — it’s been a long time since I have seen such a divide between the elected elite political class and the average, common, ordinary American. And you common, average, ordinary Americans know who you are. I think it’s good. I think it’s good that the people of this country understand just how insulated and removed from daily aspects of life some of these people are in terms of understanding what it is that your life is like on a daily basis. This is going to lead to good things down the road eventually. You might look in the middle of things that you think are bad or tragic or horrible, but there’s always good in everything that happens, if you look for it, and I don’t think we’re going to have to look very hard for the good that’s occurring in this divide. This will eventually, if it keeps up, if the emotional level remains peaked, and I think it will because the emotional reservoir is nowhere near running dry on this, elected officials are eventually going to have to come around on something, at some point, usually as we near election time. And people are going to be distrustful of that, too, because if they wait that long to come around and be responsive on this, it’s going to be too late.