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RUSH: On the Republican side, the big news all day today, I’ve got a bunch of e-mails from people saying, ‘Rush, you can’t repeat this. It’s between us, but Romney’s not going to buy any television for the February 5th super-duper primaries,’ and the signal there was, ‘Well, I guess Romney is throwing in the towel.’

Then, mere moments ago, I receive the following story: ‘Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to run a ‘significant’ level of television ads in California and other states that vote Tuesday in essentially a national primary, aides said Thursday, signaling a willingness to aggressively try to derail Republican front-runner John McCain.’ Apparently, from what I’m hearing, Romney is really PO’d. He is fed up with these personal attacks from McCain. He’s fed up with McCain’s attitude at the debate last night. You know, McCain does have this St. John of Arizona type attitude. You’re not supposed to ask him about his past record. He just continued with this lie about Romney not supporting the surge and wanting timelines for troop withdrawals and so forth. McCain got a little testy in there last night, and people saw it. I don’t know if it’s going to have any effect, you know, these debates, you never really know. But apparently Romney is fed up here and is going to run some ads, and Romney’s ads have not been personal. McCain’s attacks have been. Romney’s ads are just attacking McCain on issues, votes, records, that sort of thing and McCain’s kind of like the Clintons in that sense, you tell the truth about them and they think it’s a personal attack.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Our first caller — I’m not going to get to the calls yet. It’s Steve from Margate, New Jersey. Steve, hang on. He’s got a great point. I can tell what it is just from the message line up there. McCain last night attacking Romney’s wealth, ‘patriotism over profit.’ I mean, we had John McCain, the leading Republican in the primary field right now, attacking economics on the basis of class envy. That’s the kind of stuff that just rubs me raw, folks. I mean, when we’ve got Republicans start talking like liberals and using liberal language and so forth, it just… I don’t know. It just sits wrong. It just grates. Now, I want to share with you in a very modified detail, one of my brother’s theories as he’s brainstorming with himself here over his next column. He says this: ‘Isn’t it a little ironic that being in a state of war is having the effect of diluting the impact of conservatism.’ In other words, if there were no war on terror, there probably would not have been a Rudy Giuliani in the field, much less in contention, and it might even be the same with McCain for different reasons, because if there were no war on terror, then one of the apparent strong suits of McCain would not be on the table. This is a big ‘if,’ because, you know, we are at war, and there is a war on terror, but people are looking and trying to explain the fracturing of the Republican base, the conservative base.

I think I did a very good job of it yesterday. I’ll go through it again if people want to know. But this is another explanation. ‘Okay, we’re at war. The war on terror is itself helping to tear apart or fracture in a temporary way, the Republican base.’ It’s sort of like changing our perspective or our emphasis. So in picking a president, the overriding concerns of the war — not just for us but even some libs, apparently — militate in favor of picking a candidate who’s perceived to be adequate to the task of commander-in-chief, even if he’s woefully inadequate on other things. I thought this was an interesting theory. I hope he develops this further and writes the column because what will happen is that many people, when they see it, will think he has copied me (laughing) when, in fact, I have given him full credit here. In addition to that, I got a blogger here. See, what’s the blog? I don’t know what the blog is. It’s a blogger. I don’t know where the blog is from. But the guy was going through the exit poll data and has analyzed it, via the CNN website and their exit poll numbers and he says they reveal some surprising things from Florida. Romney won pro-lifers. Romney won the mainstream religious. Huckabee won the very religious, which is less than one-fifth of the pool.

Romney won the Protestants. Romney tied Huckabee with evangelicals. Romney won the pro-George W. Bush voters. Romney is the primary second choice of Giuliani voters and Thompson voters and McCain voters. Romney won the immigration hardliners. Romney won the upper middle class earning between $100,000 and $200,000 annually. Romney won the terrorism-oriented voters. Romney won the self-identified conservatives and the self-identified very conservatives. Romney won the values-oriented voters. Romney won the white voters. Romney won the tax-cutting voters. As this blogger writes, ‘In short, Romney won the Republican Party’s idea of itself, and that, too, is a big deal. If you’re white, Protestant, anti-abortion, you go to church on Sunday, you think well of the president, you want lower taxes, you hate terrorists, you make a good living, you want to do something about immigration, you live in Florida; chances are you voted Romney. The question before Florida was whether McCain could win in a closed Republican race, and now we know he can. The question now is whether he can win with conservatives, and in Florida McCain did not.’

As we all know, he won with the seasoned citizens in big numbers. He won with the Latino and Hispanic community in south Florida and Miami-Dade, and he won the moderates and the independents. Now, you had to be a Republican to vote, but you come out of there and talk the exit poll, ‘Are you a Republican?’ ‘I’m an independent, but I’m a Republican,’ and people are proud to say they’re independents. It really impresses the pollsters. So these things just keep adding up, and we find out that McCain is in a lot of these places not actually the Republican candidate, he is the candidate of enough Republicans, but independents and moderates and probably even some liberals. Today’s Washington Post story by Dan Balz and Anne Kornblut includes this paragraph: ‘Republicans, on the other hand, see the prospect of a clear future in their coalition as a result of the nomination contest. McCain is winning important primaries, but he’s doing so without the support of the party’s conservative and religious base.’ Well, what more needs to be said? He is winning for the reasons that we’ve laid out here. He’s facing a fractured Republican field with no candidate galvanizing conservatives. That’s what Romney’s choice is now.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The Washington Post also today writes this. It’s a David Broder column, and he writes in his column today, ‘Unelected conservative ideologues Rush Limbaugh and George Will can mutter in frustration, but Republican politicians recognize what was written here as long ago as December 2,’ meaning in his column, Broder’s column. Quote, ‘If the Republican Party really wanted to hold on to the White House in 2009, it would grit its teeth, swallow its doubts and nominate a ticket of John McCain for president and Mike Huckabee for vice president and president-in-waiting.’ These insights, ladies and gentlemen, from an unelected liberal columnist, are worth less than the paper on which they are written. It’s always… I love getting advice what we Republicans need to do from liberal Democrat pundits. They are not conservative. They are not Republican. They presume to tell us! They say we’re muttering? George Will and I are ‘muttering around.’ We’re supposed to take the advice of liberals. Look at what’s happening here. Too many of us are: We’re taking the advice of liberal Democrats on what our party ought to be and who our standard-bearers and president-in-waiting ought to be. Now, I have a lot of great respect for David Broder. He’s a dean. He’s accomplished a lot. He’s very smart guy. None of this is personal.

But he is the embodiment of the squishy, liberal Drive-By Media. He’s a man of liberal political views who pretends to be objective — and, by the way, it’s worth recalling… I will never forget. I was in Sacramento after Reagan’s landslide over Mondull in 1984, and Broder writes a column, Reagan’s victory a triumph of, what, ‘greed and selfishness’ on the part of the American people. Therefore, it’s important to note that David Broder was a harsh critic of Ronaldus Magnus when Magnus was president, and for the same reason. Reagan was a so-called ideologue. These liberals love ideologues if they’re liberal ideologues. They hate us when we are ideologues. You know, Reagan was a so-called ideologue. For liberals, this means you’re a conservative who takes ideas and principles seriously — and I’m telling you, liberalism is threatened by ideas. There are no ideas on the left. They’re just emotions and thoughts, hate-filled anger. We have all the ideas. We have the principles. We hopefully stick to them, and that threatens liberals. I think one of the reasons they’re able to embrace candidates like Senator McCain is that he’s been so willing to cast conservative principles aside when it makes sense for him politically, socially, or what have you. Now, before we get to the audio sound bites, I want to get to some of these phone calls because people have been waiting here since the start of the show. Steve in Margate, New Jersey. Hello, sir, and welcome. You are up first today.

CALLER: Oh, Day One dittos, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: Rush, how could anyone think that John McCain understands the uniqueness of the incredible economic engine that runs the United States of America?

RUSH: He’s admitted he doesn’t.

CALLER: Well, that’s obvious, because every chance he gets he makes fun of Mitt Romney’s wealth and Wall Street ‘greed.’ What did Mitt Romney do wrong? He’s living the American dream. This is not Keating Five money. He’s living the American dream, his family is behind him — and for a conservative to mock personal achievement makes about as much sense as a conservative saying that Hillary Clinton would make a good president and John McCain said that, too! It doesn’t make any sense.

RUSH: I know. As I mentioned at the top of the program when I saw what you wanted to talk about, that’s the kind of thing that grates on me. It’s jealousy over achievement, if the achievement has led to wealth. Romney earned it. He’s got experience doing it. The greed on Wall Street? This line, ‘patriotism over profit’?

CALLER: This is not a conservative.

RUSH: One of the extensions of patriotism in our world is the US Military. What does he think pays for that? Where does he think the US government that he wants to run, gets its money? It gets it from the citizens who are pursuing profit — and the government gets a portion of their profit, i.e., their salary — and that’s what funds the military that fuels the precious patriotism of Senator McCain. I know it grates. It grates. But, look, Steve you’re going to have to face facts. As far as enough Republican voters are concerned, none of this stuff matters, apparently. None of it matters. There’s something else out there, and some other dynamic fueling this, maybe fear of terrorism. ‘We need somebody that not going to waffle and cave in to the terrorists like the Democrats are making everybody think they will.’ Prisoner of war stories, valorous, who knows? But it’s obvious that these policy things and principles, a lot of Republicans don’t care. Well, that’s not true. When we look at the exit polls in these states, some of the Republicans and conservatives are voting for Romney. It’s just that enough independents and moderates are crossing over. I don’t know. It is what it is, and we’ll see how it shakes out on Tuesday.

Alan in Mesa, Arizona, it’s great to have you, sir. You’re not far from Phoenix and the Super Bowl, Glendale and all that. Boy, you guys are going to have an amazing weekend. Five hundred thousand people in town for the golf tournament, plus the Super Bowl. You’re going to have gridlock for 48 hours.

CALLER: Well, I don’t know how many people we’ve heard about moving out of their houses, renting them out and everything else. It’s quite a party from what I can see from here.

RUSH: I can imagine, that’s what happens in Augusta every year.

CALLER: (laughs) Yeah.

RUSH: Half the town of Martinez, Georgia, leaves, and they rent their houses to the players and the media coming in, and they make — you know, it’s like their big income tax refund every year doubled or tripled.

CALLER: Exactly. Exactly. It’s a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to it. But, Rush, I just want to get right to the point. It’s exasperating. You know, you just mentioned a little earlier that CNN profiled the voters in Florida — and the way you cut it, every conservative Republican, whether you’re religious or not, you know, being religious, Protestant, evangelical, everybody is voting for Romney. So my question is: Where are all these other votes coming from that keep putting McCain ahead?

RUSH: Well, in Florida… Like in South Carolina this is true, too, we’ve talked about it on this program and it doesn’t get discussed a whole lot, there has been an exodus of New York and Northeastern liberals who have just gotten fed up — a lot from Long Island, some in Massachusetts — who are just unable to keep up economically with property taxes. The salaries aren’t enough to maintain their homes. So they’re moving south. They’re moving to Florida. They are moving to North Carolina. They’re moving to South Carolina and other places like that, and they’re bringing with them their politics — and of course you have in the Northeast a lot of, quote, unquote, Republicans and independents, moderates or what have you. When you get into south Florida, you have a lot of very liberal Republicans and a whole host of liberal Democrats. So the point of the exit poll from CNN was that Romney’s winning the conservative Republican vote, but the Republican base has sort of been watered down in some of these states by the exodus of independent so-called liberal Republicans from Northeastern states who over the years have been moving in. That’s the best I can do to explain it, because the exit polls don’t — and if we also accept the validity of the exit polls, too. That’s always up for grabs.

CALLER: Down here, for us who know McCain at this level, most of us understand he’s essentially Republican in name only. And when it comes to the biggest issues, we’ve seen him thwart so often President Bush’s attempts to bring a little bit of civility and order back into the judiciary and other points. The thing is that it surprises us that so many people seem to forget McCain’s activities in just the recent past.

RUSH: I know. That’s what we were just talking about this previous call. I don’t think they care. There are other things that make them not care about it. Remember my brother’s theory: It’s the war on terror and the fact that a lot of people haven’t forgotten 9/11, and are now concerned that such an attack could happen. So that takes precedence over some of these other things, when Republican candidates are measured against the ‘squish’ on the Democrat side. Like Obama. Obama today said, ‘If I’m elected, I’m going to have to have a summit with Muslim countries.’ You know, he and Hillary are in a battle here to see who can get us out of Iraq first and so forth. They may be scaring a lot of people with this talk. So I think the overriding factor here is that security matters to a lot of people. It’s causing them to overlook things that they think are academic, if we lose our security and so forth. That’s one possible explanation. But you sound like people from Arkansas. I remember back in 1992, when Clinton and Hillary running for the White House, getting call after call from Arkansas, ‘How come people don’t know what we know? How come they’re not…?’ Who can explain it, folks? Who can explain it? I’ve been getting calls like this from Arizona ever since I’ve been hosting the program and McCain’s been in the Senate.

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