RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, in the last half hour, Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate and proceeded to spend five-to-seven minutes denouncing me, spreading the smear that started last week on this phony soldiers business. He has prepared a letter to be sent to the CEO of the company that syndicates this program, and that letter he asked as many senators as possible to sign, offering them the opportunity to demand of my syndicator that I be condemned for something that I did not say, which Harry Reid knows I did not say. The House of Representatives, I have just learned, is going to introduce a resolution this afternoon along the lines of the MoveOn.org resolution that was introduced last week, tit-for-tat, they want a vote in the House to condemn me, a private citizen, for something I did not say. These people have had three, four days now to learn the truth about this, and they no doubt know the truth, which doesn’t matter. What they are trying to do is flood a false story into the Drive-By Media and have that survive and suffice as the evidence and as the story of what I said when it wasn’t.
This is not just the anatomy of a smear. There’s much more going on with this than just smearing me. There is an attempt, I think, as they have done throughout my career, to discredit me. No matter how many signatures they get on their letter in the Senate, no matter how many votes they get on their resolution in the House, the idea was offered, and so far no Republicans have spoken up, but it’s early. After Harry Reid finished reading his letter and then castigating and excoriating me for something I didn’t say and didn’t do, he then went to normal business and Chuck Grassley is up there talking about some piece of Ted Kennedy legislation. There has been no response by Republicans to this yet, and I don’t know that there will be. I have no clue. We have some sound bites here of Dingy Harry on the floor of the Senate this afternoon. There are four of them, and here is the first of the four.
REID: Last week, Rush Limbaugh went way over the line, way over the line. While I respect his right to say anything he likes, his unpatriotic comments I cannot ignore. During his show last Wednesday, Limbaugh was engaged in one of his typical rants. This one was unremarkable, indistinguishable from his usual drivel, which has been steadily losing listeners for years, [sic] until he crossed that line by calling our men and women in uniform who oppose the war in Iraq, and I quote, ‘phony soldiers.’ [sic] This comment was so beyond the pale of decency, and we can’t leave it alone. And yet he followed it up with denials and an attack on Congressman Jack Murtha, who was a 37-year active member of the Marine Corps, combat veteran.
RUSH: (laughing) I don’t quite know how to deal with this. I mean, it’s not a laughing matter, although it is a laughing matter because this is such — you talk about Kafkaesque. I have just finished an interview with Clarence Thomas talking about the lies and stuff spread about him during his confirmation hearings, and now I, little old private citizen, Rush Limbaugh, the subject of Senate action, the subject today of House of Representatives action, all based on a purposely told lie, which they know is a lie, and yet they are persisting in this. Followed it up with denials? I followed it up with setting the record straight. By the way, on my website, folks, all of this is there. It’s been up there all weekend, and we added something last night that you have to see.
A week ago today, ABC News, Charlie Gibson, World News Tonight, did a feature with Brian Ross, their investigative reporter, on phony soldiers! Last Monday, one week ago today. I don’t see ABC being denounced. Their story was on Jesse MacBeth, the same soldier I was talking about one week ago. That video is up at RushLimbaugh.com, as well as an exposé by Brent Bozell’s group, the Media Research Center, on just who Media Matters for America is. As to Jack Murtha, I just did a story today saying that he has been sued by a soldier for calling him a murderer. I just reported the news today, and yet this is reported as an attack on Congressman Jack Murtha. This is Kafkaesque, it’s McCarthy-like, and I think I told you this on many occasions. My father would not believe any of this, not because of the Senate, he just wouldn’t believe that his son has become the focal point of Democrats in the House of Representatives in the Senate, someone targeted for destruction and smear, as a private citizen. Here is number two of Senator Reid.
REID: Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to attack the courage and character of those fighting and dying for him and for all of us. Rush Limbaugh got himself a deferment from serving when he was a young man. He never served in uniform. He never saw in person the extreme difficulty of maintaining peace in a foreign country engaged in a civil war. He never saw a person in combat. Yet he thinks that his opinion on the war is worth more than those who have been on the front lines. And what’s worse, Limbaugh’s show is broadcast on Armed Forces Radio, which means that thousands of troops, overseas, and veterans here at home, were forced to hear this attack on their patriotism. Rush Limbaugh owes the men and women of our armed forces an apology.
RUSH: (laughing) He’s gotta be a nut. I cannot believe that they are actually going this far with this. I did apologize today to the troops, Senator Reid, for you, and for Media Matters for America. If anybody in this country has been trying to demoralize the troops, it is you, sir, and your members of the Democrat Party. You have waved the white flag of defeat. You have claimed that they cannot win. You are trying to shift the focus from your perception, the perception, accurately, that people have of you and your party, to me, who everyone who has listened to me any length of time whatsoever knows that these allegations are just totally untrue. As to why I’m on the Armed Forces Radio network, it was President Clinton’s defense secretary, Les Aspin, who secured an hour of this program on the Armed Forces Radio network, and because I was requested. They did a poll of the troops back then, and the troops requested that this program be on Armed Forces Radio. Did you notice in this bite, since I’ve never been to combat, I’m not qualified — which is another liberal assault on free speech. If you haven’t done something, you’re not allowed to talk about it, Senator Reid says.
I have made troop visits to Afghanistan, Senator, and I have been to Walter Reed Army hospital, and I have been to several military bases after the Gulf War one, participating in welcome-home festivities for the troops coming back from that conflict. Perhaps I should remind you of the story, Senator Reid, back in the summer of 2003. I went home one day and there was a Federal Express package for me. I didn’t recognize the sender, but I opened it anyway. Inside, in a Ziploc bag, was an American flag. There was a letter written by hand on a piece of yellow legal paper, and there were five certificates showing different aircraft. I read the letter and found out that that flag had been flown in all five of those aircraft during the original invasion of Iraq in 2003, in my honor, by each of the five pilots that piloted those planes. One was a tanker; the others were bombers and attack aircraft. I looked at this, and I started crying. Doing this in my honor? I doubt, Senator Reid, if this happened and it’s happened a couple times since, that if I were really held in such low regard by the members of the US forces, this probably wouldn’t be the case.
RUSH: We have two more Harry Reid sound bites. By the way, in the second sound bite, he refers to my dwindling audience or whatever. In his dreams, ladies and gentlemen, is this audience getting smaller. (laughing) There’s nothing in any of this that’s truthful. There’s nothing in any of it to believe. And I would caution you: You know the truth of this, so listen to it for what it is. Now, I mentioned earlier he’s prepared a letter that he wants to send to the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, which syndicates this program, and he wants as many senators as possible to sign it. Here’s the bite explaining the letter.
REID: Here is what we wrote: ‘Dear Mr. Mays.’ Here’s the letter, Mr. President. ‘At the time we signed this letter, 3,801 hundred American soldiers had been killed in Iraq. Another 27,936 have been wounded. One hundred and sixty others awoke this morning on foreign sand far from home to face the danger and uncertainty of another day at war. Although Americans of goodwill debate the merits of this war, we can all agree that those who serve with such great courage deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.
RUSH: When have they ever had it from you?
REID: That’s why Rush Limbaugh’s recent characterization of troops who oppose the war as ‘phony soldiers’ is an outrage. Our troops are fighting and dying to bring to others the freedoms that many take for granted. It is unconscionable that Mr. Limbaugh would criticize them for exercising the fundamental American right to free speech. We call on you to publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments.
RUSH: This is unreal. All of that bite is unreal. This is like a man who has proclaimed the US military incompetent. They cannot win. The war is over. It shouldn’t be fought. He’s done everything possible to demoralize these troops, and now he’s trying to turn that around. They’re trying to get that back. I told you they’d gone over the cliff. They’re trying to get back on the page that they love and support the troops, and they’re doing it by trying to suggest I’m the one who is saying things like they are. Don’t forget his second lieutenant, Durbin, and what he said about the troops and the people that work for us at Club Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and a number of other of these prisons where we were housing prisoners of war and terrorists. Here’s the final of the four bites that we have.
REID: Mr. President, just as patriotism is exclusive realm of neither party, taking a stand against those who hate and impugn the integrity of our troops is a job that belongs to both parties, all of us. I’m confident we will see Republicans joining with us in overwhelming numbers. ‘Confident’ is the wrong word, Mr. President. ‘Hopeful’ is the right word. So I asked my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to join together against this irresponsible, hateful, and unpatriot[ic] attack by calling on Rush Limbaugh to give our troops the apology they deserve — and I hope that all would sign this letter.
RUSH: All right. Well, somebody needs to tell him I did apologize to the troops earlier today, FOR him and FOR the Democrats and FOR the group that has fed this smear campaign, this bunch of lies that he knows is false, but he just wants to get this in the Congressional Record now. This is in the Congressional Record, and he wants it there permanently. This is a way to discredit me and rehabilitate the Democrats — and notice who they use to try to rehabilitate themselves: a private citizen. I would say this. What I want to do now is demand that Harry Reid come on this program and confront me like a man. Live, unedited, come on this show and let’s go at it. I’m not going to allow hack politicians to lie about what I said, to cover up what they have said and done. These are partisan character assassins. They’ve attacked me just as in the past they’ve attacked Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and scores of other conservatives. Senator Reid, it is time for you to stop hiding behind the speech-and-debate clause and your Senate immunity.
You want to come on this program and call me unpatriotic, come on this program and call me unpatriotic. You want to call me a liar, you want to tell me that I did not say what I said, you come on this program and you tell me to my face that I said what I did not say. Stop hiding behind your special protections as a senator and spewing the talking points of an embarrassing, partisan hack media group called Media Matters for America. Hillary Clinton didn’t serve in the military, by the way, Senator Reid. She just voted against General Petraeus. Barack Obama did not serve in the military, Senator Reid, and he didn’t even show up to vote in support of Petraeus. John Edwards didn’t serve, and after voting to send our troops to war, he has undermined them ever since. It is unconscionable for an esteemed United States senator to launch an all-out assault on a private citizen, which is a lie from front to back, in order to cover your own actions and words, which have been the true demoralization of the US military — and if anybody owes the military of this country an apology, Senator Reid, it is you. It is Jack Murtha. It is Dick Durbin. It is any and all who have joined your effort to secure defeat of the United States and the United States military in not only Iraq, but the war on terror.
Sir, have you no decency left? Have you no shame whatsoever?
RUSH: Well, now it’s a full-fledged assault. Senator Tom ‘Dung Heap’ Harkin is on the floor of the Senate denouncing me. Once again, Senator Harkin, Senator Reid: Face me like a man and stop hiding behind the microphones in the Senate where you can say whatever you want to say. Come on my program and say all of these things to my face and let’s go at it. You know, Harry Reid… We’ve had liberals here, folks, what they’re trying to do — one other thing — is put words in the military’s mouth. They lie about the premise, then they speak on behalf of the military which they claim to be upset about, which is what they’ve been lying about in the first place! They are the ones who have been condemning the military. They are the ones who have been demoralizing the military. They are the ones who have — I can’t say this more powerfully enough — trying to secure defeat for the US military. They know it and everyone else does, and now they try to turn the tables and make it sound like one of the most ardent supporters of the US military is being ‘unpatriotic,’ this to cover their own lack of patriotism.