RUSH: Betty in Newport, Rhode Island, nice to have you on the EIB Network today. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. Um, I’ve been listening to you — I’ll preface my call like everybody else does — ever since you’ve been on the air, but I think you’re becoming terribly rude. I thought you were terribly rude to Keith, the caller that called you a little while ago. You insulted him, and he was just criticizing you. You say often that we’re not saints, none of us are. I think you think you are!
CALLER: You can’t be criticized.
RUSH: Oh, come on!
CALLER: Well, that’s no reason to insult somebody who criticizes you.
RUSH: How long has this trend, do you think, been going on?
CALLER: Well, for some time now. I think you’re kind of rude to some of the people that call you to tell you that they love you, and if they want to criticize you, why is that bad? I mean, you do make some mistakes. You’re not a hundred percent.
RUSH: I understand this, but I’m working on it.
RUSH: Well, but the point is, I don’t mind genuine criticism. I can take anything. I get more abuse out there than most public figures can ever hope to get if they want to.
CALLER: Well, you did mind it from him. You insulted him.
RUSH: Because he was wrong. I did not insult him! How did I insult him?
CALLER: Well, you said, ‘Next time get your facts straight,’ [sic–see transcript] or something like that and just hung up on him.
RUSH: No, I did not ‘hang up.’ We ran out of time.
RUSH: I’m the most polite host in the country. You know that, and I don’t hang up on people. He said he was disappointed in me particularly and talk radio in general. I just reminded him that I am talk radio and asked him to get that right next time he called.
CALLER: I didn’t say it like that. I mean, you were just… I thought you were rude. I really did, and I love you and I listen and so does my husband, but there are days when I just have to turn you off because you just can’t put up with some people. You probably can’t put up with me now, either, but I had to tell you.
RUSH: I think I’m doing a good job. I’ve got lots of experience at this. I’m a former husband.
CALLER: (snickers) Well…
RUSH: Was that being rude?
CALLER: No, of course not. All right. Well, we’re still loyal, and we will be, but please, don’t change. You have taken criticism in the past and not been rude to people.
RUSH: I promise you I’m not going to change.
CALLER: I’m sure.
RUSH: And I’m not going to use the excuse that I’m miserable here with a horrible chest infection.
CALLER: I know. I realize that.
RUSH: You know what most hosts would do in this situation?
CALLER: Just stay home.
RUSH: No. Most hosts, getting a call like yours, would immediately become rude and hang up on you with great fanfare —
CALLER: I know it.
RUSH: — just for the showmanship of it. But note that I am above that.
CALLER: Well, I hope you feel better, soon.
RUSH: So do I, and I appreciate your good wishes and your criticism.
CALLER: Well, we love you.
RUSH: Thanks very much.
RUSH: (sigh) (long sigh)
RUSH: Torrance, California. Daniel, welcome. You’re next, sir.
CALLER: Mr. Limbaugh.
CALLER: I’ve been a Rush Baby for the last 20 years.
RUSH: I don’t care.
CALLER: (laughs) I believe my first words were ‘Rush,’ actually.
RUSH: (laughs) Sorry, I can’t pull it off. Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.
CALLER: I’m a student in Pasadena. I’m a film student, and I wanted to just let you know that you’ve always stuck to your guns, and you’re also a man who doesn’t really back down. My thing that I want to know is, being an artist, you are on a radio show and you say things and people use you. You just had that montage back there of all the things that you say, like go ‘under the bus,’ and everyone is just going on about using your lingo, your words that you used.
RUSH: Yeah, but let’s be honest here. Throwing somebody under the bus is not exactly a phrase I invented. It’s been around a long time. I just happened to use it yesterday in this case, and the Drive-Bys did pick it up. I mean, there’s no question about that.
CALLER: It’s good to know they’re listening to you.
RUSH: They’ll never admit it, but we have proof on things like this. We know they’re out there.
CALLER: Yeah. It’s true. Well, I’ve been listening to you a long time, and you actually inspired me to make a film not too long ago. I wanted to send over a copy to you. I guess I gotta send it over to Kit or something.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. Send to James. Send it to Kit. Send it to Cookie. Send it to anybody.
RUSH: You can send it to anybody, and I’ll get it.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: Sounds good, Rush. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
RUSH: Okay. Thanks, Daniel, very much. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Here’s Ann in Manhattan. I’m glad you called, Ann. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Fine. Thank you.
CALLER: I’m very nervous. This is the first time that I’ve called, but I’ve been listening to you since the late eighties.
RUSH: That would be from the beginning.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: And I just wanted to say that I disagree with your other caller. I have never heard you to be insulting. I think you are the most decent, wonderful, honorable, respectable talk show host —
RUSH: (Kissing sounds.)
CALLER: — of anyone that I’ve heard at any time. You genuinely are a good, wonderful, decent human being.
RUSH: Well, so —
CALLER: I may disagree with you on some things —
RUSH: Like what?
CALLER: Well… (giggles) I just wanted to call to compliment you, and I hope you feel better.
RUSH: Thank you so much. You know what really bothers Betty? That’s the woman you’re referring to. She’s confusing something. She says I’m being rude. But what really bothers her is she doesn’t understand my extreme braggadocio attempt at humor. You know, she thinks that I’m really, really serious, and I have a huge, just out-of-control large ego, and that’s what I think bothers her, and she just referred to that as being rude. But there are a lot of misguided people who have the best of intentions, and we are tolerant of all of them here.
RUSH: John in Santa Barbara, as we go back to the phones. It’s great to have you with us, sir.
CALLER: Hello. I just want to support you on cutting those people short that called to scold you. I think that they shouldn’t be doing that.
RUSH: Oh, you mean the woman Betty who called and [found] me being rude?
RUSH: You know, it’s amazing. Thank you, John, very much. I appreciate it. I thought her call was innocuous. It was harmless. We occasionally get calls — it’s mostly women — very rarely, but we get ’em, who will accuse me of being rude. Folks, every call Snerdley’s getting we could put up there and we could make the whole topic today whether or not I’m rude, and whether or not she was right. There has been this incredible reaction to what Betty said, and we got a couple more coming up. You just heard John in Santa Barbara. We got Elizabeth in Port Charlotte, Florida. (That’s one of my all-time top-ten favorite female names, by the way: Elizabeth. Not the shortened version of it, not ‘Liz.’ Elizabeth. It’s gotta be the whole thing. Liz doesn’t qualify. It’s a nice name. Beth is not in the top ten. Not every name can make it. I mean, there’s only ten slots. (sigh)) Anyway, the reaction to this is dumbfounding, even to me.
RUSH: Mark in Cathedral City, California, welcome to the program, sir.
CALLER: Yes, Rush. I want you to know where I’m coming from. I would throw my body in front of an assassin’s bullet for you. I love you, but for the last month I’ve considered you gone slightly off track by being so self-absorbed. We hear… I know everything about you, and I hear it constantly. It’s as if you are the important person in the show rather than what’s going on around in the world is important. That’s all I have to say. You seem to be so much, lately, off track, and —
RUSH: I’m eager to learn from criticism like this. Could you give me some examples of how I’ve been self-absorbed? Because it’s actresses and people like that that are self-absorbed. I mean, I don’t walk in front of a mirror and stop and look at myself every time I see a mirror like actresses do.
CALLER: Well, you speak more about yourself than I’ve ever heard you speak before.
RUSH: Like what? Well, how?
CALLER: Every way.
RUSH: No, I give my opinions here.
RUSH: I give my opinions here. I can’t avoid talking about myself in that sense.
CALLER: You talk about yourself all the time lately in the last month. I know more about you personally than I ever knew, and I ran into you 20 years ago, almost 20 years ago, at 21, and you were a simple, sweet guy, and you really still are, but it’s almost as if you’re taking yourself seriously, and that’s not you, and it frightens me to think…
RUSH: (sigh) If I’m to fix this, you’re going to have to give me some examples of the self-absorption that you’re talking about.
CALLER: Well, your golf. You constantly talking about your golf and how you go to Hawaii and how your friends and you smoke your cigars with your to friends, your wealthy friends, and you’re constantly talking about your private life, and, uh, maybe I’m off kilter. I’m willing to admit it, but —
RUSH: Well, what about my private life have I said recently that shocked you?
CALLER: Huh. Huh. There’s too many things to talk about.
RUSH: Well, no, because I don’t talk about my private life. I’m very guarded and private about my private life.
CALLER: No, you’re not! No, you’re not. You’re not private at all.
RUSH: I most definitely am.
CALLER: You talk about the big house that you live in and all the television sets that you have, and all about your trips and your (choking) playing golf and how you have these, uh, personal cigar meetings with these, uh, important people. It’s as if you have taken yourself seriously, rather than say, ‘Hey, this show is not about Rush Limbaugh. This show is about everything going on in the world, not around me,’ and I’ve never heard you do that, in all of the years that I’ve listened to you and loved you. That’s all. Nothing changes. I still think you’re the best person ever.
RUSH: Okay, I appreciate that, but I just want you to know something about my private life. There’s a lot more to it than televisions and airplanes and cigars. There’s a lot more, but you don’t know it because I don’t discuss it.
CALLER: But you don’t have to discuss what you do discuss. I know there’s a lot we don’t know and we shouldn’t know.
RUSH: Since this program started I’ve always done that, I’ve always done that. In fact, I do it a lot less now. When this program started, every Monday the first half hour was what I did on the weekend. That’s back when this program started. I can’t do that as much because of security concerns. I’ve gotta be much more guarded about my privacy than ever before because I got all kinds of people poking into it.
CALLER: I realize that.
RUSH: You want me to talk about it? Let me give you a little story. I’m going to give you a little story. You think you know about my private life? A year ago, I got a phone call from a real estate agent saying, ‘I have somebody who will pay you, sight unseen, X-amount — just an exorbitant amount of money — for your property in Florida.’
I said, ‘Well, who is it?’
‘Well, the buyer wants to remain anonymous.’
‘Pfft. That’s not got a chance.’
‘Well, I want you to know, Mr. Limbaugh, that the buyer says if he could get in and see the house, he’ll probably pay even more.’
I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to do it. There’s no way somebody I don’t know is getting in here until I find out that you can prove to me they can pay what they’re offering.’
It turned out it was a tabloid reporter who had fooled a real estate broker, and was trying to get in to take pictures for who knows what reason. Now, you’re probably going to get mad at me for telling you this story.
CALLER: No, not at all. I understand.
RUSH: Well, I’m pretty self-absorbed telling you this, but I’m telling you this story to tell you that I do not divulge a lot of stuff that happens. I am more guarded about my private life than ever before. I may tell you I’m going to Hawaii but I don’t tell you where.
CALLER: Well, let’s put it this way. You were less involved with saying anything about yourself in years before.
CALLER: But I know more about you now, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not interested.
RUSH: We’re a family here. If I tell you stuff, it’s because I want you to know it. I happen to be proud of myself. I like myself. I like my life. I want to bring as many people with me as possible.
CALLER: So is every one of your listeners proud of you.
RUSH: Well, that’s good!
CALLER: But I don’t want to see you fall off with the wheels come off by you talking about yourself so much.
RUSH: We wouldn’t be talking about me if you hadn’t called. I would be talking about the issue.
CALLER: Well, the issue is what you always talked about, but you’re not an issue.
RUSH: Oh! (sigh) That’s debatable. To the Democrat Party, I’m an issue. There are people trying to discredit me left and right.
CALLER: No, I don’t… No, that’s the last thing I want to do.
RUSH: No, I don’t mean you. I’m talking about political opponents and that sort of thing.
CALLER: Oh, I understand that. Everybody that listens to you and loves you understands that you’re beating back all of these horrible monsters —
RUSH: Absolutely, absolutely.
CALLER: — for this country.
RUSH: I can’t do it without talking about myself. Look, Mark, I appreciate it. I think I know really what bothers you. It’s not so much that you think I’m self-absorbed and talking about myself, because I’m not talking about myself any more than I unusually have over the course of my star-studded broadcast career. I think you’re paralleling the same sentiments expressed by the second caller today, Betty, who said I was rude. I think what she’s upset about, and what may be bothering you, is my ego, my confidence, my bravado, the fact that when I tell you about my private life, I sound like I’m lauding it over you, like I can do it but you can’t. I think that’s what’s really bothering you. I’m not under the impression I’m actually saying it that way, but I think some people are actually hearing it that way.
RUSH: Lincoln, Nevada. This is Travis, and welcome, sir. Nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Big fan for years.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: You bet. I was calling about your last caller in the last hour.
CALLER: It amazes me the arrogance after all these years that some people have. I don’t know how he thinks your career has survived all these years without his counsel. But, you know, I am a radio junky. And it blows me away; not only are you number one, but you’ve been number one for years and years and years.
RUSH: Too many years to really count.
CALLER: Yes. I think the reason that you’re number one is your delivery. You know, you say that not only do you like what you say, but you like hearing yourself say it. I do, too. As crazy as it sounds, when I first started listening to you years and years ago, I got out of the Navy and I was working as a floor installer in San Diego, California, and my boss used to listen to you, and I had worked previously as a part time deejay and I just loved radio, but I had never listened to talk radio, and I knew very little about politics. And hearing you was like listening to Chinese. I didn’t even understand a word you were saying, but I loved your delivery. And I got to the point where I was addicted to your show. I don’t like cats. I don’t smoke cigars. And I don’t like football. But I love hearing you talk about all three. And, to me, that’s an indicator of good radio. And I’m not trying to flatter you. It’s just a fact. It’s your delivery and how you make things so interesting. And people just don’t get that. They think it’s only information. That’s part of it, it’s the information and the delivery, I think.
RUSH: Well, you know, you’re very astute, and I appreciate that. Your perception here is — you don’t really know how profound an observation you’ve made when you say you don’t like cats, golf, jets, or cigars, but you like listening to me talk about them. That is a profound realization on your part. With most people, I don’t expect that kind of profundity and realization. Magicians don’t expect their tricks to be understood. Not saying I’m a magician, that this is all tricks, I’m just saying that —
CALLER: Can I make another point?
RUSH: Well, please, make another profound point, yes.
CALLER: I hope I don’t get myself in trouble here, but I worked as a fill-in host at your Reno affiliate for years, and I left a while back on great terms, and I love everyone there, and they’re the best, but I gotta tell you, it even blows me away how some people, some of the higher-ups, you’ve told stories in the past about how some of your bosses have challenged you. Well, it’s one thing for you to be challenged years ago before you had the credibility, but now for people to challenge Rush Limbaugh, and I can’t believe some of the advice that I was given and the counsel, hoping to someday turn this into a full-time career, and some of the advice was completely contrary to advice that you would give over the air, and it blew me away.
RUSH: So who did you listen to, the people who have never actually done it, or to me, it best in the world at it?
CALLER: Well, some of these, folks, Rush, actually had done it and were very successful — not nearly as successful as you, but I’m talking PDs and some pretty successful — and good folks, good folks who had my best interests and were coaching me. I remember one time we got a newsletter, from some guy, some suit who had probably never been behind a microphone, but he has a business where he counsels radio people how to speak behind the microphone.
RUSH: Yeah, there are gazillions of them out there.
CALLER: It goes out to all the deejays, so it was primarily for morning shows. But this guy went on in detail to explain about how you shouldn’t talk in the mornings about what interests you. You need to find out what your callers are interested in and talk about what they are. I gotta tell you, I said to myself, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, Rush does.’ Now, I’m not Rush Limbaugh. I’m not a nationally syndicated guy. I’m not even a local guy. I’m just a little fill-in guy. But, Rush, I would go on the air and talk about things that were near-and-dear to my heart, whether it was family or marriage or work —
RUSH: Let me cut to the chase. This guy is absolutely full of it. I don’t care what you talk about on the radio, you have to talk about it with passion. It is passion that causes the magnetism. It is passion that reaches out of the radio and makes people unable to turn away and to turn it off and to change stations. That’s why, when you hear me talking about my cat and you don’t care about cats, it’s the passion I’m using to discuss it. You can only be passionate about things you care about. If I sat here and tried to please or talk about what I think my twenty-million listeners want to hear, I would fail. It’s impossible to please everybody, and you certainly can’t do it the way this consultant was telling you to do it. This business is so filled with people that have no clue about what they’re doing. They’re just trying to come up with something different to be different from all the other consultants out there, and you wouldn’t believe the number of consultants that I’ve never met who claim to have had a role in shaping me as a young host out there. Success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan, and I of course am a success, with many fathers out there, most of them I never met, and none of them are supporting me.
Anyway, about these callers today, and I appreciate your assessment. Who are they to challenge me? I’ve got a 19-, almost 20-year, track record here. All of a sudden, this month, I’m talking about golf, like I haven’t been talking about golf for ten years since I started playing it? All of a sudden I’m talking about cigars this month? Well, I’ve been talking about cigars since I started smoking them in 1992. Maybe it was ’94, forget which. No, had to be ’92. So there’s something going on here. I don’t think these callers are actually legit. They’re being inspired, let’s put it this way. We know it, but it’s fun to take these calls because look at the reaction it’s getting. People are coming out of the woodwork wanting to defend me because they know the score about it. These people are trying to get my goat. ‘You’re being rude.’ Really? Think so? I don’t think so, ma’am. They expect me to be something that I’m not. What if I started critiquing all of you? What if I started critiquing all the callers? What, if after every call, I critiqued you? How would you like it? Well, you would probably say, ‘Well, you’re the expert and you’re the guy, so we do get to critique you, but you don’t get to critique us because we’re amateurs.’ Oh, yeah? If you’re going to critique me, I will critique you.
I was an amateur once, and I’m way beyond amateur status now. I was a rank amateur one time like most of you people still are in terms of broadcasting and calls. I love you. Don’t misunderstand this. See, I’m being rude again. We used to do caller clinics on this program because people didn’t quite get the purpose for calling the program. We’ve done this in the past. But I sit here and I’m very gracious, and I take all this criticism as though I don’t know what I’m doing and you all do. What if I turned it around? But I’m not rude and I’m not mean. I don’t do that.
RUSH: This is Elizabeth in Port Charlotte, Florida. Nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: Hi. Good afternoon, Rush.
CALLER: It’s a pleasure, a distinct pleasure to talk with you. Rush, two things about the insulting comments and self-absorbed — this is on a good note, by the way — I don’t believe that you insult people at all, as the prior caller indicated. I believe that you tell them the truth, and they don’t like it.
RUSH: Well, some of them don’t like it. You’re talking about the second caller who told me I was rude?
CALLER: Yes, and a couple of other little things that I heard.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah.
CALLER: But I’d like to go on to say that I like your directness and I feel that you try to be honest and that you act on facts. I listen to you whenever I can. As my husband will say to me when you come on the radio, he’ll say, ‘Elizabeth? Your favorite person’s on,’ and, indeed, you are one of my favorite people.
RUSH: Well, that’s very kind. (Kissing sound.)
CALLER: I love the things you say, and also the person that said you were self-absorbed —
CALLER: — I believe you feel comfortable with yourself?
RUSH: I like myself. I’m proud of myself. Everybody should like me!
CALLER: Yes, and sharing it is very, very nice. It makes you vulnerable, though. But I think it’s a beautiful thing, and that means that you feel very comfortable. Some people may be jealous of this, because of their inability to do this. So I think you’re a great person.
RUSH: You do not know how right you are. You have no idea.
CALLER: I tell my husband I love you, and I say that in a pure way. I think you’re an intelligent man. I love everything that you stand for, and I’m a Christian. I’m a Catholic Christian, but even if I wasn’t, I’d still love you. (giggle) So God bless you, and may everything go well for you in your life. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
RUSH: Thank you, Elizabeth.
CALLER: All right.
RUSH: I’m flattered beyond my ability to express it. I thank you so much. You’re very sweet. You’re very kind, and I am —
CALLER: Thank you.
RUSH: — happy and honored to have you as a member of the audience. All right, let’s take a brief break here so I can cry off-mic.
RUSH: Debbie in Olympia, Washington, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush! I just cannot believe that I’m speaking with you right now.
RUSH: Well, thank you. You are.
CALLER: It’s awesome. I just want to tell you that, you know, how great you are. You knew this phone call was coming. You are great, and there is just no other talk show host like you, and there never will be. I mean, you’re just making history, and I think the other caller was kind of painting a little halo over your head, and I really like the sarcastic side of you. I don’t want you to tone it down. Keep being feisty, you know?
RUSH: Well, I appreciate it. I can’t tone it down because then I would not be me.
RUSH: These calls today that have so upset a lot of people, I want you all to know they don’t upset me. I enjoy it. I get a big kick out of it because I know where they’re coming from. I know how this is all happening. I know what’s inspiring it, but even without that, I enjoy dealing with whatever people have to say to me, especially when they’re wrong. It’s fun to toy with them and have fun with them, and when it generates all this love and admiration and support from people like you, I couldn’t have a better day than what I’ve had today with the reaction of all of you have had to this. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s been just another fabulous, great show, folks, as they all are, and they are all spontaneous.