RUSH: Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has just posted the following statement on his website. It says: ‘Statement from Fred Thompson Regarding Harry Reid’s Attacks on Rush Limbaugh — Congressional Democrats are trying to divert attention from insulting our military leader in Iraq and pandering to the loony left by attacking Rush Limbaugh. He is one of the strongest supporters of our troops. Yet Democrats claim he’s not being strong enough. I wonder who General Petraeus and his troops think is most supportive?’ Fred Thompson. I didn’t talk about this last week, but Mitt Romney issued a statement much like he issued against — who did he throw under the bus? Oh. Larry Craig. He issued a statement: That’s reprehensible what Limbaugh said, horrible, whatever it was he said — and then later in the day somebody from his office called our office. ‘We just found out that this is a smear, and Mitt will say this if he’s asked about it.’ He hasn’t been asked about it, so his statement still stands. McCain sort of halfway threw me under the bus by saying ‘if’ what Limbaugh said as reported is correct, blah, blah, blah, then it’s disgusting and horrible and so forth and so on. So I want to thank Senator Thompson for issuing this statement. It’s a rare act of courage.
You know, people have asked me… I’ll be blatantly honest with you here, folks, people have asked me, ‘How come there hasn’t been more elected Republican support.’ Actually, there has been quite a bit: Jack Kingston and Lindsey Graham. Jon Kyl has come out with a definitive statement now. Fred Thompson. But you have to understand, when these things happen — I’m going to give you a little political lesson here — when these things happen, it’s sort of like, the analogy is if you’re with a bunch of friends and a boat you’re in sinks, and you’re drowning, they will stay away from you, because they’re afraid that you will take them down with you, if they try to save you. So they see if you can save yourself first. This has happened to me, by the way. (laughing) I fell off a raft on the Sacramento River during some whitewater rafting and I was laughing when I went over because it was a stupid thing I did to fall off the little raft. I caused the raft to capsize, everybody in it, about four or five people in it. And when I went in, I was laughing so much, I swallowed some water. I surfaced, and I was panicking, and those guys were staying totally away from me, because they know somebody is floundering, is going down, is going to grab on to whoever and take them down with him. The same thing here in politics. When something like this happens, you are on your own for 48 hours. You really are. They see if you can swim.
Well, look at Trent Lott. Look at all of these people. You are on your own for 48 hours to see if you can survive it, and then if you can survive it, then the support will start trickling in. But it starts at a trickle, because the fear is not the facts. The fear from an elected official’s standpoint, particularly Republicans right now, is you’ve got the lie out there, but it doesn’t matter that it’s a lie. It’s in the Drive-By Media, and the politicians say, ‘My gosh, this is what America thinks! If I go defend this guy, I’m going to get tarred and feathered about the same thing. They’re going to say the same thing about me,’ so they’re going to back off. Anybody in the same situation is on their own. I, of course, triumph in these situations, I am a loner, and I got a close-knit circle of friends and I got a great support group. Don’t misunderstand. But I understand that something like this for the first 48 hours you’re on your own. You gotta see if you can survive it yourself, and then once you show that then it gives people a little confidence. Plus in the 48 hours that ensue after the initial charge — in this case smear — if you do a good job of getting the truth out to enough people, then they come on board, and that’s what’s happening now. And, in those first 48 hours, some people who do not think and do not care to get the facts and do not check into it, will immediately do what they can to distance themselves from somebody in the situation I was in last week, precisely so as not to be impacted by it themselves.
Politics, you know, it ain’t beanbag, and it’s dog-eat-dog and everybody-for-himself and so forth, and so the big mistake that people make when they find themselves in situations like I found myself last week, is waiting for people to come to their defense. It generally isn’t going to happen. Then you throw in other human characteristics, like I’m sure a lot of people would love to see me go down who are not on the Media Matters team, who are not on the left per se. It’s a very competitive world out there. This, I understand. So that’s how it’s manifesting itself. So it’s been a week. Do you realize it has been a week since this all started? It’s still dominating the news and so forth, in an incorrect way. In fact, the New York Times, after a week, has been dragged into this. The New York Times, the Washington Post, had not mentioned it. USA Today had not mentioned it. Carl Hulse in the New York Times apparently got dragged into this story. He totally parrots the Media Matters smear without any detail, because detail would expose the Media Matters lie. He doesn’t want his buddies to get mad at him, either. I mean, he works at the New York Times. If he does anything in the story that defends me or gets the facts right, all he’s going to do is get grief from the Media Matters people, ‘How dare you sell us out! We demand a correction,’ and so forth and so on. They’re Stalinists.
The difference between the Petraeus MoveOn.org ad is that no Republicans have signed on to Harry Reid’s letter, and not even all the Democrats did. The Petraeus ad, a lot of Democrats signed on to it and a lot of Republicans did, too. So the tit-for-tat didn’t work. Harry Reid is another failure here on this. He couldn’t even get all of his Democrats to sign his letter to the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, asking them to make me apologize and so forth. You have to say, ‘Only 41 senators? Another defeat for Harry Reid,’ versus how many votes they get for the Petraeus resolution, 72? They get 41 for the resolution condemning me or the letter.
Now, back to Carl Hulse in the New York Times. It’s also, by the way, in the International Herald Tribune. So the incident has now gone international, ladies and gentlemen. I told somebody last night my objective was to take this international, not to keep it confined to the domestic arena. I want this to go international. I went to bed feeling great last night, woke up, and found it’s gone international. The International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times. It’s the same story in the New York Times as in the Herald Tribune. Here it is, just the relevant part: ‘After the liberal media monitoring organization Media Matters sounded the alarm about his comments, Limbaugh said on subsequent shows that he had been talking about only one discredited man who claimed to be a wounded veteran.
”I was not talking about antiwar, active duty troops,’ he insisted. Yet analysts for Media Matters noted that Limbaugh’s first reference to the discredited man came nearly two minutes after his plural reference to phony soldiers.’ Now, this is illustrative of two things: the absolute lack of desire on the part of Media Matters to get anything right and, number two, their total ignorance. Let’s do the timeline: On Tuesday morning of last week, we air a Morning Update on Jesse MacBeth. I had read that Morning Update. It was on 600 of my radio stations during the morning drive broadcast hours on Tuesday morning.
The ‘phony soldiers’ comment happened on Wednesday on this program. So the timeline is, they’re saying I didn’t even talk about Jesse MacBeth ’til after I made the phony soldiers comment. I talked about Jesse MacBeth the day before in a Morning Update. This call comes in, the phony soldiers comment. Of course I’m thinking Jesse MacBeth and all the others! The US Attorney for the state of Washington, western district, had just convicted eight phony soldiers. They had a press release on Friday, the 21st. There had been a story on the Fox News Channel’s website on the 20th of May about MacBeth, the story from the 21st from the US Attorney’s office for the western district of the state of Washington was announcing the conviction of MacBeth and that’s what led to us doing the update on Tuesday morning.
The phony soldiers comment comes on Wednesday. All of this has been explained to everybody involved here. All of it has. The timeline has been explained here. It’s being ignored, like everything else. Instead, they interpret my meaning, and they interpret my words. In two words, ladies and gentlemen! The New York Times had no desire to get this right. They didn’t call you, did they, H.R.? The New York Times’ Carl Hulse didn’t call. Let’s see. The headline of the Carl Hulse story in the New York Times today: ‘Limbaugh Latest Victim in War of Condemnation.’ So the headline writer kind of gets it, but the story does not replicate that.
RUSH: Here’s Fred Thompson’s statement that he put on his website this hour: ‘Congressional Democrats are trying to divert attention from insulting our military leader in Iraq,’ that would be Petraeus, ‘and pandering to the loony left by attacking Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh is one of the strongest supporters of our troops yet Democrats claim he’s not being strong enough. I wonder who General Petraeus and his troops think is most supportive?’ It’s a great question. Do you think Petraeus would rather have me on his side or Tom Lantos or any of these — forget that — have me on his side or some of these Looney Toon fringe groups that make up the Democrat base? A searing point made by Fred Thompson on his website. Jim in Pennsville, New Jersey. I’m glad you called, sir. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Yes, Rush. I’m currently serving in the Naval Reserve, and I just returned from Kuwait in May. I didn’t hear the Morning Update, the day prior to your conversation with that one caller who started the whole conversation, so all I heard was just your conversation to that caller and it never once occurred to me — knowing your history of support for our servicemen, it never once occurred to me — that you were condemning all servicemen who disagreed with the war.
RUSH: Of course not! Of course. You have to manufacture that.
CALLER: They gotta dig pretty deep to come up with that one.
RUSH: Nope. They saw it as an automatic opportunity. They know they’ve got willing accomplices in the media, and they can get that out there, and when you go do a Google search, guess what you’re going to find? You’re going to find this. When you read the New York Times today, you’re going to find the exact Media Matters version of this. In that sense, in the Nexis-Lexis database, they got it out there as they want it to be. But, in the meantime, they’re being shown for who they are and what they are as laughingstocks. You know, there were two calls on that day, and everybody is forgetting the first call. The first call was a seminar caller. There were two Mikes. The first Mike was a seminar caller. He said — and they all do this — I’m a Republican, and I agree with you. Well, when are we getting out of Iraq? We can’t win it. I was discussing the whole notion of his defeatism with him, and he said, well, when are we going to leave? We have won. We’ve beat Saddam. Let’s get out of there. I said, no, you don’t go to war on timelines. I said, do you wash half your car because the time runs out? Is that how you run the rest of your life? The guy just got kookier and kookier and kookier. Then he threw out, ‘I’m a Republican. I’m former military,’ blah, blah, blah, blah. I said, you don’t sound like a Republican to me, sir, and, eventually, he was an un-credible nut. The second Mike then comes on and starts talking about what he talked about, and that’s where they got the ‘phony soldier,’ two words that they have turned into a week-long event by interpreting what I meant, what I thought, and what I said.