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JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now from EIB Election Headquarters: Rush Limbaugh is about to make an important statement.

AUDIENCE: (sounds of milling about)

RUSH: (tapping the microphone)

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen?

AUDIENCE: (applause)

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Thank you very much for coming. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: No, no, no, no. No. Thank you. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, to all of those gathered here — my loyal staff, my enthusiastic supporters, those of you who spread the word to every neighborhood, every precinct — thank you. Thank you so much for all of your tireless hard work. We all work tirelessly, even I. I personally travel from my home to my studio, and back — and I travel from my Florida studio to my New York studio. But, alas, we did not win. Now, I know that there are reports of campaign irregularities, but I want to point out to all of you: This is no time to quit. This is no time to feel down. This is no time to feel defeated. (wild applause and cheers) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The same media… (boos) The same media that could not call New Hampshire right still… (boos) Ladies and gentlemen, please. The same media that couldn’t call New Hampshire right still shamelessly in the prediction game, is predicting my demise and your demise. (boos) But I say, ‘Bah!’ The same media that’s losing circulation and readers and viewers and respect (applause) is predicting my demise.

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: Thank you. Thank you.

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: Thank you. Thank you. We did not win. But we did not and we have not lost. I know of all these reports of campaign irregularities. It has been revealed and documented, ladies and gentlemen. My name was left off the ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, Broward County. (boos) My name was not to be found on the ballots in Orlando, Jacksonville, in Tampa, St. Pete. (boos) No, no, no, no. Elections are what they are, and one thing we know is there will always be another. This election might have been stolen from us, ladies and gentlemen, but let me assure you we will not — I repeat — we will not. We will not pull an Algore and sue anybody. (applause) We will not look at hanging chads, nor lawyers, no lawsuits. Thank you.

AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)

RUSH: Thank you. Thank you. (cheers and applause) Thank you.

RUSH BABE: We love you, Rush!

RUSH: Thank you. I love you, too.

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: My friends, my friends, there is reason for optimism, there is reason for hope. By the way: ‘Change’ is a stupid slogan, and so is ‘hope,’ but I know some of you want hope. Be of good cheer. From the shadows of this setback, let me offer this uplifting thought. In Florida, half the liberals voted for Mrs. Clinton. One-third of the Republicans voted for Senator McCain. Our friends in the media predicting my demise (boos) talk about how conservatism is dead. Let me ask a simple question, ladies and gentlemen. Why is it that all of the Republican candidates claim, to now carry the mantle of Ronald Reagan? Senator McCain is the most recent. ‘McCain Claims Conservative Mantle.’ Said McCain (doing McCain impression), ‘It shows one thing: I’m the conservative leader who can unite the party.’ How can I be said to have lost, ladies and gentlemen, when what I stand for is rock-ribbed conservatism, and each one of these candidates — each one of them flawed, by the way, which has caused many conservatives to be wandering aimlessly in the electoral woods. How can it be said that I have lost or that conservatism has lost, when all of our Republican candidates claim to be conservative and to carry the conservative mantle?

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: In fact, it looks to me like Fred Barnes’ candidate, Rudy Giuliani, has now dropped out. It looks like David Brooks’ candidate, Mike Huckabee, has no traction — he hasn’t won anything since Iowa — and he needs to get out. Tom Brokaw’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, she’s in deep trouble going into Super Tuesday. The race card didn’t work. She needs the ‘firewall’ of the Latino vote. But Tom Brokaw’s candidate is floundering. Tim Russert’s candidate, Barack Obama, seems to be doing better than expected. Good for you, Tim. I’m proud of you. Olbermann’s candidate, Kucinich, is now gone. He’s back in Ohio, trying to keep his seat against a primary challenger. Mort Kondracke’s candidate, Ron Paul, gets weirder by the minute. (boos) Thank you. And I want to stress once again, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your support, and I want to assure you that I cannot — and I will not — leave the Golden EIB Microphone. (applause) I will not retire. I will not concede. (cheers and applause) I will not drift away! I will not fade away, until every American agrees with me —

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: — as I have always said.

AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: Thank you. Thank you. (wild cheering) Here is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen. I think this is it. There was a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. It’s simply indisputable. But there was no figure in our roster of candidates who rose up to challenge him or galvanize conservative support. All the candidates on our side, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse — and so, just as I predicted, the base has fractured. Some going here, some going there. Senator McCain’s been able to cobble together enough votes to win in a few states. Fine. He deserves credit for that. But to pretend that Senator McCain is the choice of conservatives when exit poll data from every primary state show just the opposite… He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment — and that distinction is key. The Republican establishment, which has long sought to rid the party of conservative influence since Reagan, is feeling a victory today as well as our friends in the media. But both are just far-fetched and wrong. Thank you. Thank you very much for your steadfast support, and I trust it shall continue because I shall.

AUDIENCE: (applause) Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

RUSH: Thank you.

AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush!

RUSH: Thank you.

RUSH BABE: We love you, Rush!

AUDIENCE: (applause)

RUSH: What is that, Mr. Snerdley? What do you mean, ‘How do I keep going?’ (tearing up) How…? How…? How do I do this? (voice breaking) You know…I have such a… a vision for this country. (sniffling) I…

HILLARY: I have so many opportunities from this country. (voice breaking) I just don’t want to see us fall backwards. (crying) No.

AUDIENCE: (smattering of applause)

HILLARY (emotional): So, it’s not just political. It’s not just public. I see what’s happening. We have to reverse it. (quivering voice) And some people think elections are a game. They think it’s like who’s up or who’s down.

RUSH: (sobbing) I don’t want to fall backwards, either. (sniffle) Do you think this will help me with the women’s vote?

END TRANSCRIPT

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