RUSH: We are going to do something today in a little less than a half hour that we’ve not done before, and that is simulcast this program with a television program. For those of you in Rio Linda, simulcast means we’re both going to be on the air at the same time. The program is Live Desk with Martha MacCallum, Fox News Channel. She has asked me to be a guest on her program a number of times, and I just could never do it because our programs occur at the same time during the busy broadcast day. So she then said not long ago, ‘Well, next time you’re in New York, could you walk down the street and we do a pre-tape?’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to do that. It’s right in the middle of show prep, show prep’s intense time,’ and I came up with the idea of doing a simulcast. I said, ‘Why don’t you just put a camera right here in our studio, just a little camera, put a Fox camera in here, and you’ll be in New York, I’ll be here, we can simulcast it, and you can conduct the interview that way.’
Well, that led to an entire Fox crew coming down here. Martha is right now doing the first half hour of her show from another studio here at the EIB Southern Command. We’ve got Fox equipment all over the place. These poor guys have been here since seven o’clock this morning setting up, and we overloaded our power supply, uninterruptible power supply with all this stuff, and it blew. We think we fried it. (interruption) Okay, we’re not going to get it back until the program ends. So we’re going to have to reboot the thing, it’s a major reboot, but regardless if you’re watching the Dittocam, that’s why the neon Rush Limbaugh sign is not on, the fluorescents above the desk are not on because they’re on that power supply, and so we don’t have it. What is so funny in there, Snerdley? You’ve got some idiot on the phone? Okay. I’m sorry. It’s an inside thing. He’s been telling me all day how tough it is out there on the phones. It’s Thanksgiving week. You gotta figure this is not a period of normalcy, Mr. Snerdley. Go with it. You know, run with it. Remember the primary rule for any caller is to make the host look good.
Anyway, here’s how this is going to work, folks, when we get into the next half hour and the simulcast actually begins. During the bottom-of-the-hour break at 1:30 p.m., Martha will come in here and she’ll sit right down across from me at the desk. Now, this is her show. That next half hour is going to be her show. Remember, she invited me. So she’s going to be, in effect, running things, even on the EIB Network, which has also never happened. For example, I want you affiliates along with the EIB Network to understand this, when we come out of the break and all of our breaks in the next half hour, it will be Martha MacCallum as though this whole thing is on the Fox network, which it is, but she’s going to be getting us in and out of breaks and so forth. See, our breaks, our commercial breaks float in the half hour, some of Fox’s are hard breaks, got commercials and are going to run the commercials anyway. So we’ve worked all that out. I have no idea what she’s going to ask me. It’s like any other interview. A blonde will be controlling the program. Exactly right.
This comes on the heels of shocking news today that men tend to dumb down when they are confronted or see blondes, even a picture of blondes. And the research is that that’s because of stereotypes, that men think blondes are dumber than brunettes, and so they automatically, because of stereotypes, dumb down. I, my friends, am going to have to watch this very carefully. We’ll put this to a test. Actually, as I mentioned in the first hour of the program, I learned this from the four years that I had my own television show, and each subsequent time that I have guests on a television show, and that is, people are so enamored of my appearance that they seldom remember what I say, and so I waste brilliance when I am on television. I don’t want to waste brilliance, if people are so enamored with what I look like. So I’m going to keep all of that in mind. But it’s going to be fun and it will start at 1:33 p.m. Nothing untoward or unusual for you affiliates on the line is going to happen during the half hour in terms of execution of the programming format. It’s just that it will be Martha MacCallum getting us into and taking us out of our commercial breaks.
MacCALLUM: From the studio of Rush Limbaugh, this half hour of the show we’re doing something totally different today, as an exclusive simulcast. You can hear me on the radio right now, which is a little bit scary for me. I know you have a much bigger audience than I do. You can see Rush on TV on the Live Desk. We’re in sort of interesting territory today. We’ve had a few technical glitches, but we’re just rocking and rolling and making it happen throughout the day. So, hi, Rush. Thank you for having us.
RUSH: It’s great to have you. Oops. I forgot to turn on my mic.
MacCALLUM: There you go.
RUSH: You have engineers who do that for you.
RUSH: It’s great to have you here. I just did this study about how men go dumb when they see blondes.
RUSH: (laughing) So I got my guard up to protect my IQ with you sitting here.
MacCALLUM: I’m not going to count on that. I’m just going to plan on you, you know… I don’t think that’s going to happen to you. I saw that this morning. That’s pretty funny. I’ve never really experienced that, but let’s see what happens. You know, one of the stories I just did with Major Garrett, who’s out in Iowa. We were talking about this back-and-forth that Bob Novak wrote about, where supposedly Hillary’s camp says: We have something really nasty on Barack Obama but we’re simply, you know, too big and too above it to disclose what it is.
RUSH: They just disclosed it. By letting that out, if they’ve got it, they just disclosed it.
MacCALLUM: So what do you think? Do you think they have something?
RUSH: Of course! It’s the Clintons. Of course, they’ve got something. They’ve got that and more. They’ve got that on everybody. I don’t think the Clintons released this. The Clintons would not actually do it this way. This is somebody trying, I think, to burn, or sabotage the Clintons, and Novak said he never talked to anybody in the Republican Party about this. He doesn’t make up items. So somebody in the Democrat Party, or in the Democrat organization somewhere, is leaking this stuff to them.
MacCALLUM: So, you know, in terms of Barack Obama and his response, then the Clinton camp says to him, you know, ‘Oh, this kind of stuff happens all the time. You really shouldn’t have jumped on it.’
RUSH: Of course. ‘Everybody lies about sex,’ you know? Everybody lies to grand juries. Everything the Clintons do that is under the table, borderline illegal, ah, that’s their excuse: ‘Everybody does it.’ I’ve been kind of fascinated with the press reaction to Obama’s reaction. What’s he supposed to do? You know, he’s —
RUSH: Here’s the subtext. I don’t know if your guests talked about this earlier, but the subtext is: ‘He’s black, and here is a powerful, white woman — the presumptive nominee — apparently has dirt on him.’
RUSH: There’s a racist component here, too, that I think makes this very interesting. But I don’t doubt for a minute the Clintons have all that and more about a whole bunch of people.
MacCALLUM: But just by saying it, you’re suggesting there is something out there and there doesn’t even have to be once you’ve said that.
MacCALLUM: So, another thing I wanted to ask you about happened over the weekend, or started really on Friday. Mitt Romney is the subject of some push polling in New Hampshire, and they’re getting people on the phone, asking them a few basic normal questions about the election, and then they’re sort of going into this territory where they say, ‘Well, do you realize that Mormons think that the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible?’ A lot of outrage about this. Let’s just play the sound bite and get Rush’s reaction to it.
ROMNEY: I think anyone recognizes that attacking a person based on their faith is un-American, and simply wrong. And, at a time like this, the irony with attacking a person on their faith, as we celebrate the founding of a nation, which welcomes people of different faiths, is not lost on any American.
MacCALLUM: What do you think?
RUSH: I think he’s got a point. Attacking people’s faith, the last time this was really done — and I thought we overcame it — was when Jack Kennedy ran in 1960. Everybody was worried about whether the pope would actually be running the country. Now people are worried about whether Joseph Smith is going to be running the country.
MacCALLUM: It’s a different situation, though. I mean I know that comparison exists. You have 42 million Catholics I think in 1962 in America —
MacCALLUM: — and now, maybe 5.5 million Mormons in the United States. Do you think that the Mormon religion is an issue for Mitt Romney in terms of his possible nomination?
RUSH: Well, it is in the sense that Republican primary voters are largely made up of evangelical Christians. You know, there are ways that he can deal with this. I think he’s right to be somewhat offended by the push polling, but this is politics. I hate to sort of echo the Clintons here. I remember down here in Florida when Jeb Bush was running for governor the first time against Lawton Chiles, Lawton Chiles was running push polling on Jeb telling senior citizens he’s going to cut off their benefits and their housing and so forth. This kind of thing happens. The religious component here makes this sort of fertile ground. If Mitt would just say, ‘Hey, look, I have a vision for the country, and this is what it is: A, B, C, D, and E,’ and, ‘I believe in God, and I have a great deal of faith in God’s relevance to this country’s founding,’ and then move on.
MacCALLUM: That’s what he’s tried to. I mean, that’s what he’s been saying. But there’s also been this move to do the speech, like John Kennedy did, and say, ‘You know, I won’t be ruled by the Pope,’ in Kennedy’s case. Do you think it’s wise for Romney to consider doing that speech? Do you think he is considering it, or do you think he says, ‘That’s something I’ll do down the road’?
RUSH: I don’t know. I’m sure he’s considering it. I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s going to do. His circumstance right now — the reason this is happening to him, in part — is because he’s leading everywhere in a lot of places in these early primaries, New Hampshire and Iowa, and I think he probably may be in a little bit of a protect-the-lead-mode by not amplifying this stuff beyond what it already is.
MacCALLUM: You know, in terms of Iowa, it is getting a little bit tighter. We’ve got some interesting sort of undercurrents going on with Huckabee, and also Barack Obama giving Hillary a run for her money in Iowa as well. Do you see any scenario where there’s a surprising shakeup that happens in the beginning of January in Iowa?
RUSH: Well, I don’t think it — let’s look at the Democrats first. I think ABC has a poll out today that makes it appear, even though it’s not even December yet, that she may lose what I call ‘the Hawkeye Cauci.’ She can afford to lose Iowa and move on. If, on the Republican side — and even though it’s unlikely, you mention Huckabee, it’s very perceptive, because he is starting to make a move. If he finishes a high second, then what’s governing all this right now is conventional wisdom, and the conventional wisdom is Hillary’s the nominee and she’s the next president and Rudy is going to be the Republican nominee and they’re going to duke it out, and all those scenarios. Now, something comes in to upset the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom is set by the Drive-By Media covering this, and they love excitement. They hate boredom. So Huckabee comes in and shows a strong second — or even if he won it, that would cause an explosion and create all kinds of momentum. It would upset this conventional wisdom going into New Hampshire. So if he finishes a strong second, it could have some ripple effect on the Republican side. I don’t think he’s going to get the nomination, but it could shake things up.
MacCALLUM: You said that you are Hillary Clinton’s biggest fear. Why are you her biggest fear, Rush?
RUSH: Well, (laughter) I’ve got bull’s-eyes on both sides of me. I think I’m the one that stands in the way of her ability — because of my audience reach, because of the loyalty and the size of my audience. Mrs. Clinton is right now trying to get away with saying nothing specific about anything because she wants to hide her true agenda, which is as close to socialism as the country will have ever been, if she gets her way, and she’s trying to do the exact opposite. So anybody who’s telling the truth about her and trying to warn people about what her candidacy and presidency represents, you become a target. And since the Republicans haven’t chosen a nominee yet — and, by the way, the Clintons don’t just try to defeat people they consider their opponents. They try to ruin them. They try to destroy them, in terms of their credibility and so forth. There have been a couple — I’m drawing a blank, but there have been a couple — of instances just recently. I don’t think for a minute that the Harry Reid smear letter — she signed it.
RUSH: That was an episode that was designed to impact negatively my ability to do business using the force and the power of the federal government. These things are… Nothing is coincidence with the Clintons.
MacCALLUM: All right, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back with Rush Limbaugh. Let me take you to Tim who is in the newsroom with some breaking news out of North Carolina. Tim, what are you looking at?
(Sade bumper music)
MacCALLUM: It’s nice to play with that new power.
RUSH: And we are back. Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, Rush Limbaugh, on the cutting edge of societal evolution. Broadcast history for us here today. We’re simulcasting today with Martha MacCallum’s Live Desk on the Fox News Channel. Fox is still in a commercial break, waiting for their return. They had a breaking news story before they went to their break, so we beat them by a minute. They’re going to give me a countdown when she’s ready to come back. I had no idea, when you went to the break that picture of me and the raft, I did not send you that picture. I didn’t even know we were going to do a personal segment. Oh, these things are just fantastic.
MacCALLUM: These things. I haven’t seen that picture. Yes, I didn’t see that picture yet, either.
RUSH: Oh, you hadn’t?
RUSH: Oh, you didn’t choose the picture?
MacCALLUM: No, I didn’t.
MacCALLUM: I like that one, though.
RUSH: Well, the audience should know that you were looking at it and saying, ‘It’s so cute,’ like you had seen it before.
RUSH: Anyway, can you give me a little… No, I can’t ask you to do that.
MacCALLUM: We have just a couple seconds back from our break, so I’ll tell you in just a couple of minutes.
RUSH: Three, two, one, take it. Yours.
MacCALLUM: All right, we’re going to jump right in. We’re going to talk to Rush Limbaugh a little bit about what it’s like to be Rush Limbaugh. You know, you look at some of what you say about yourself on the radio and, you know, the Era of Rush — which I know came from another publication in terms of yourself and talent borrowed from God.
RUSH: I was blamed for the writers strike.
MacCALLUM: I know. I saw that.
MacCALLUM: You know, what do you say to people who, you know, are not among the 20 million people out there who listen to you all the time and who hear phrases like that and say, ‘Gee, that’s pretty pompous?’ What do you say about that?
RUSH: I don’t care. I do my program for the audience, and —
RUSH: — it’s building. You know, radio is a very competitive business. When I started this show in 1988, there were a hundred talk stations. Now there are 1200, I think. It’s just grown, and you have to cut through the noise. You know, if conservatism expressed on the radio was what got ratings then there would have been somebody long before me that was number one. There’s a show biz component here, and those are signature things. The ‘talent on loan from God,’ I actually mean.
RUSH: I’m blessed by God. Cutting edge? I am. I’m leading a movement, leading a broadcast revolution on AM radio. I’m very confident about myself, and I don’t mind telling people the things I like about myself. I don’t believe in false humility — and, by the way, we in talk radio have this thing called polarization. It’s not required that everybody love us.
MacCALLUM: Right. We’re looking right now — you can’t see it but we have — a picture of you and your dad and your grandfather that you sent to us. You talk sometimes, you say, ‘Boy, if my parents could see this.’ What do you think they would say if they could see this?
RUSH: The reason I say that is because my dad thought he was a failure as a father. He came out of the Great Depression, was a formative experience in his life, then he went to World War II, and when you come out of the Great Depression, the key to success — the key to even getting a job — was a college education.
RUSH: And I hated school from the time I was 12. It was prison, and I went to college for one year. I flunked speech twice. I gave every speech, but I didn’t outline them. They should have called it ‘Outline 101.’ I quit and moved to Pittsburgh when I was 20 to continue working in radio, which I’d started at 16. He just thought that he had failed as a father to properly instruct me and prepare me. So all of this — being denounced by the Senate majority leader, the guy responsible for the illegal driver’s license question being asked of Hillary in the debate — he would be stunned, and he would not believe it. He’d be infuriated, too, to see some of the attacks. He’d be very proud at the same time, but he died before I had really mushroomed here. The first time he saw me on television, I was debating Algore on the environment, and at the first commercial break he turned to my mother, said, ‘Where did he learn this? He didn’t go to the school.’
RUSH: My mother said, ‘From you, silly.’ He was a brilliant man. So he saw a little bit of it.
MacCALLUM: He used to yell at the television, too, right, like a lot of our dads?
RUSH: Oh. (laughing) Yeah, absolutely.
MacCALLUM: I do want to ask you a couple questions about what I know is a difficult time in your life. It was a long time ago, and not to really rehash it — it was several years ago, now — but when I told people I was doing this interview with you, a couple of them said, ‘I’ll never forget that Rush came back from his experience in rehab, and what it was like listening to him, very strong man humbled by this experience,’ and I’m curious how all of that colors who you are today. How did it change you?
RUSH: It made me better. I actually… I don’t mean this to sound perverse, but I actually thank God that I became addicted to pain pills, because the process of going through rehab taught me more about myself than I had ever known. I wish I would have learned what I learned about myself and how to use the things I learned in rehab, going through life. You know, we’re all raised to be loved. We want to be loved. We want to be liked. We care about what other people think of us, and sometimes to our detriment we let feedback and the opinions of others shape our own self-image. I was guilty of that, too — especially, you know, being in a performance industry where that kind of feedback is necessary. But in my professional life, I had mastered it. I didn’t care what the critics said. In fact, I learned to take criticism from certain people as a measure of success. But in my personal life, it was just the opposite. If people didn’t like me who knew me, I thought there was something wrong with me, and people who are addicted to substances — be it alcohol or whatever — are mostly medicating pain that they don’t have the knowledge or the will to deal with, and that’s primarily what I learned. My life has been totally changed. It has never been better since then. Those five weeks at the place in Arizona, were among the most valuable five weeks of my life.
MacCALLUM: I know there were a lot of people that you were with there, relapsed, and you feel very fortune that you didn’t. What do you attribute that to?
RUSH: I bought into the program. Plus, you know, I was addicted medically a few short years ago. Some of the people I was there with had been users for decades, and much stronger stuff than I was using. It doesn’t matter the substance. It’s all addictive. It’s all opiates. But I totally, totally bought into it. It was so life-changing. I look back on it, and I actually can’t believe I did that.
RUSH: And the idea of taking a pill again is repugnant to me.
MacCALLUM: All right, we’re going to talk more with Rush Limbaugh and when we come back we’re going to talk about his relationship with the president, the president’s legacy; how kind or unkind he thinks history will be to the 43rd president of the United States, and also we want to get this in for you, before we take this break. Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson sentenced to one day in jail, and three years probation on drug charges for drug possession and driving under the influence in Arizona. Tyson pleaded guilty in September to a single felony count of cocaine profession and misdemeanor driving under the influence count. He faced a possible maximum of four years and three months in prison. So that news just coming across the wires. We’re gonna have more with Rush Limbaugh. We’ll talk about the president. We’ll talk about politics, all on the Live Desk right here, live simulcast with Rush Limbaugh. We’re pleased to be here in Palm Beach County. We’ll be right back.
MacCALLUM: Alright. I want to jump right into this. I want to talk to you about the president. As one of the greatest conservative voices in this country.
RUSH: THE greatest.
MacCALLUM: — do you think…? ‘The.’ So sorry, sir.
MacCALLUM: ‘The.’ Do you think that the president in any sense has blown it for Republicans?
RUSH: No, not blown it. It’s just… The president is a fine man. I like him. He’s incredibly upbeat. He’s so different in person than the guy you see on television.
MacCALLUM: In what way?
RUSH: Confident, arrogant — well, not arrogant, but cocky. He’s just a life-of-the-party kind of guy. No deliberate presidential behavior, as you see in front of the camera. I was back for two hours in August. We were smoking cigars up in the Treaty Room in the residence. It was just great. He didn’t stop talking. He took me around the world: told me what he faced, what leaders of the foreign countries faced, what we’re headed. ‘I tell these people the United States is the solution; it’s not their problem.’ He’s just bullish on the country. To your question, he’s not ‘a’ conservative. So he’s not leading an ideological movement. He is a Republican. A conservative would not have come in with the ‘new tone’ and let Ted Kennedy write the education bill, for example. But he thought he had to work with Democrats because the Republican margins were so small. But he has not hurt Republicans.
MacCALLUM: Let me ask you, we just have a minute left. So you say he’s so different, you know, when you’re with him off camera. Does that frustrate you? Do you say to him, you know, ‘This is the message that you need to be communicating to the American people’?
RUSH: Oh, I would never. No, no. I would never presume to tell the president that.
MacCALLUM: But does that frustrate you as an observer of the process?
RUSH: Yes, it does, because I think the country would love him.
RUSH: He’s such an engaging, charismatic, laughing, smiling. He was this way when I first met him when he owned the Texas Rangers. The country would love him. I would love for him to be able to do this.
MacCALLUM: I just have twenty seconds. Where do you think you’re going to be ten years from now.
RUSH: Right here. Right here. I’ve made this claim very public: I am not retiring until every American agrees with me, and there’s some work still to be done on this.
MacCALLUM: All right. This has been a pleasure.
RUSH: Thank you. It’s been fun.
MacCALLUM: Thank you very much, Rush Limbaugh. That’s it for us.
RUSH: And that’s it for us!
MacCALLUM: Yeah, and that’s it for you.
RUSH: Timing on loan from God.
RUSH: That was fun. We haven’t done that before. It was shaky this morning. I did not make a big deal out of this because we’re all professionals here and highly trained specialists, but this television business, you would not believe the amount of equipment brought in to pull off 30 minutes of a simulcast. In this room alone there are two lights, two cameras, cables all over the place, a TelePromTer. Martha did her first half hour from another studio, and we made the mistake of loading up all that equipment on our — and it’s a big UPS — uninterrupted power supply, and, well, we didn’t fry it, but we overloaded it, which caused the broadcast facilities, not the rest of the space in the building, the broadcast facilities went totally dark about 10 ’til 11. We didn’t get everything back up and running, computers, atomic clocks and so forth, until about 11:25. Brian Johnson, the broadcast engineer down here did miraculous work in getting this all back up and running. It all happened in a seamless way, it was very much fun to do, and I want to thank the people at Fox News Channel for coming down and doing this because it’s something we haven’t done before. It was a lot of fun, very unique.
RUSH: I have to share this e-mail with you. We got loads of e-mails on our simulcast with Martha MacCallum and the Live Desk. ‘Hey, Rush, I noticed that you and Martha didn’t chat during the breaks. What gives? Don’t you like her?’ You know, I am stunned at the image you people must have of me. I am a highly trained broadcast specialist. This was business here today, and I did chat with her awhile during some of the breaks, but some of the breaks didn’t fully coordinate, but we were coordinating times when her break ended and my break ended so that we could come out in a coordinated way, and she was talking with her people up in New York and her control room, too. So I’m just stunned somebody would question my professionalism in a circumstance like this.