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RUSH: The Drive-By Media, ladies and gentlemen, two days later is still fascinated with my claim that I am actually the greatest asset Senator McCain has. Because were I to endorse him — said I — it would send all the moderates and the independents and the liberals that are supporting him scurrying away, such is their dislike, their hate, their loathing for me. So this is being discussed still on the cable shows. Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough had Mary Matalin on as a guest on the phone. Scarborough said, ‘You agree with Rush that it’s the moderates and not the conservatives that are really embracing McCain right now?’

MATALIN: Rush is a genius. He’s a genius on philosophy, he’s a genius on policy, but most importantly, he’s a genius on being able to communicate difficult ideas and make them accessible to people. And it bears repeating, something the mainstream press doesn’t seem to understand. He reflects his audience, which is highly informed and active and curious, and they participate in this process. He does not direct them. If Rush did endorse him then all the moderates and independents who don’t listen to him and don’t understand what he’s about would have a knee-jerk reaction. He’s just a genius.

RUSH: (laughter) Mary Matalin. She wasn’t done. She kept plowing on.

MATALIN: He’s helping McCain in a very significant way, which is while McCain is regrouping, and he got a really good start at CPAC. You were there, Joe. It was a great event. And he did a great job starting to rally and unite and articulate core conservative principles and the policies that would flow from them. Rush keeps informing people and making them understand what those principles are the policies that would be better for this country. So he’s a huge help to McCain every conceivable way.

RUSH: The secret’s getting out. You know, the secret’s — once the secret’s out it’s not a secret. When you have a marketing plan, you don’t tell people about it because that prepares ’em. You just execute it. I gotta come up with another marketing plan here to stay a couple steps ahead of the game. They also discussed whether I’m secretly helping McCain on Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.’s, show on DNCTV. He was talking to another guy, Joe Mathieu, a radio host. They had in exchange about moi.

CARLSON: Rush Limbaugh — who I think is a really talented guy, a witty guy — lost control of himself a couple of weeks ago on the question of John McCain. Got hysterical and hissy on the air. It would destroy the Republican Party if McCain’s the nominee. Now that McCain essentially is the nominee, here is what Rush Limbaugh is saying — which I don’t buy for a second. Quote: ‘If I really wanted to torpedo McCain,’ (boy screams) ‘I would endorse him, because that would send the independents and liberals that are going to vote for him running away faster than anything. What people don’t realize is, I’m doing McCain the biggest favor that could be done for him by staying out. If I endorse him thoroughly, with passion, that would end the independents and moderates because they so despise me, they so hate me.’ That is quite a narcissistic view about the electoral system — it’s all about Rush Limbaugh, but — do you think that’s true?

MATHIEU: I actually think there’s a certain amount of truth to that, especially as maybe he was just saying, how important the independent vote will be for Senator McCain in a general election.

RUSH: There you go. So the radio host sets Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. straight. (interruption) See, this is the thing. This came up last Friday, maybe it was Monday. I went to the little riff here on all this criticism. I don’t take it personally. You can’t. There’s just too much of it. I don’t give people that kind of power over my feelings. I am not going to sit here and take all this criticism personally. I have been criticized over 20 years more than your average presidential candidate in one campaign cycle! You can’t take it personally. So ‘this little twit,’ according to Snerdley (that’s what he called him in the IFB just now), called me narcissist. See, what happened in that conversation, Dawn and everybody said… (Oh, by the way, Dawn, I gotta tell you, Dawn sent me a humidifier. They got so alarmed when I said that I was going to put a pot of boiling water on the stove here to keep the apartment humidified during the cold weather up here so I didn’t lose my voice like I did last time, they sent me a humidifier. Dawn did it, but she signed Snerdley and Brian’s name to the card. I know they had nothing to do with it. (laughing) Well, yeah, you bought doughnuts, but yip yip yip yip yahoo.) So, anyway, Snerdley, they said last week when I was going through this riff about I don’t take things personally, said, ‘Well, we take it personally for you.’ So he listens to Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., call me a narcissist, or narcissistic and ego-driven and demands that I respond to this. ‘How dare this little guy?’ Snerdley, it’s not… I would have already been through the next sound bite by now, if you hadn’t interrupted me on this, and the audience will agree with me. I get e-mails: ‘You tell Snerdley to quit interrupting you!’ So, anyway, Chris Matthews. Let’s see. He can’t buy my McCain theory, either. This is what he said.

MATTHEWS: Is Rush Limbaugh actually John McCain’s best buddy secretly, his saving grace, his biggest booster? Sort of, at least according to Rush himself. Here he is, the man on the radio.

RUSH ARCHIVE: If I really wanted to torpedo McCain, I would endorse him — if I wanted to torpedo McCain — because that would send the independents and liberals that are going to vote for him running away faster than anything. What people don’t realize is, I’m doing McCain the biggest favor could be done for him, by staying out of this. If I endorsed him thoroughly, with passion, that would end the independents and moderates, ’cause they so despise me and they so hate me.

MATTHEWS: I love the way he lowered his voice there: ‘They so despise me.’ Anyway, still something tells me that John McCain right now would gladly like nothing more than a Rush Limbaugh big, fat endorsement.

RUSH: So Chris Matthews not buying my secret plan, and neither did Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. One more, before we go to the break. This is John King. (Is this right?) It was CNN’s election center. The anchor is Campbell Brown, there’s a panel discussion now. Larry Elder, Jeffrey Toobin, and John King about me and McCain. And Campbell Brown says, ‘You know, the talk radio issue, there was enormous anger coming from that crowd toward McCain. Are they that influential?’

ELDER: There’s Rush Limbaugh and then there’s everybody else in terms of influence.

TOOBIN: I just think the talk radio thing is more a symptom of the personality disorders of the talk radio hosts.

ELDER: Hey! Hey! Hey!

TOOBIN: Rather than — present company excluded.

ELDER: Let’s take it outside. No, no, no. I’m fine with you.

BROWN: Isn’t in their interest to be against whoever, whether John McCain or a Democrat in the White House?

TOOBIN: They’re trying to show how important they are, rather than trying to affect a policy debate. I don’t think they matter very much.

KING: They thrive on conflict. The conversations are under way. Friends of Rush Limbaugh, who are friendly with John McCain started the conversations.

BROWN: Is there going to be a summit?

TOOBIN: That’s right.

KING: They’re beginning the quiet diplomacy with them.

TOOBIN: That’s right.

KING: You watch. John McCain is going to show up on these shows in the next weeks and months.

RUSH: Whoa! Is this happening, H.R.? Snerdley is no doubt, after listening to this bite, seething over Jeffrey Toobin saying, ‘They’re just trying to show how important they are, rather than trying to affect the policy debate.’ I don’t know if Toobin read the TIME piece. But even if he reads the TIME piece, he will ignore what I said and stick with his narrative and template, which is 180 degrees wrong. John King, what did he say here? ‘Conversations are underway. Friends of Limbaugh, friends with McCain have started the conversations. They’re beginning quiet diplomacy.’ I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen: If this is happening, I am unaware of it. Well, it’s possible we’ve been infiltrated, and there might be people claiming to be my friends who aren’t my friends; talking to McCain’s friends. I don’t know, but I don’t know anything about it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: George Skelton, who writes for the LA Times from Sacramento, the headline is really all you need to hear on this LA Times story. ‘Heading Starboard Could Sink McCain in California.’ Going left was the most promising route in California, McCain better stay to the port. He goes starboard, he embraces Limbaugh, it’s over in California. He’s not going to win California anyway. This is my point. Let’s say I went out to California, I have reasons to go there, and let’s say I endorsed McCain, that would kill him in California because the independents and Democrats that were going to vote for him, ‘Not now. Not that Limbaugh is on his side, no way.’ It could be fun.

Curt in East Bay of San Francisco. Hi. Nice to have you on the program, sir.

RUSH: Well, thanks, Rush. Mega dittos from the California Republican.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: I have two points. For one of the few times that I know of since listening to your show, conservative talk radio and most of the mainstream media have a common goal, and that is the demise of the Clintons and Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. That’s my first point. And the second point is, a few years ago you said that candidates that Bill Clinton endorses generally lose. I’m going to hang up and listen to your reply. Thanks, Rush.

RUSH: I did say that, but what do you want to know about that? Wow, that’s the fastest hang-up of somebody who wasn’t mad that I can remember. He doesn’t help. Look, he hasn’t helped her. He’s created all kinds of problems in South Carolina, now he’s back in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and didn’t look happy in the crowd. As to the Drive-Bys and talk radio being on the same page, anti-Hillary, I’ve not made up my mind on that. In terms of, if you’re going to express a preference on the Democrat side, who would you rather run against and then who would you rather have as president, Obama or Hillary, I know that there’s a lot of people that would just celebrate the demise of the Clintons, whenever it happens, the sooner the better. Get ’em outta here, it would be happy days. The Drive-Bys may like Obama right now, but I will guarantee you if Hillary becomes the nominee, the love fest will kick back in gear full speed ahead because they’re not going to end up touting our side.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Doug, Fayetteville, North Carolina, nice to have you, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.

CALLER: Sir, I appreciate you taking my call very much.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: By the way, I love your promos. They’re great. I was wondering, something I’ve been asking people and I haven’t gotten a good answer from anybody about, so I thought I would ask you, it concerns McCain. For years he’s been the media darling, the maverick, he goes against his own party, they love each other. And my question was, if he becomes president, then he’s no longer going to be a maverick, he’s going to be the establishment. And what’s going to happen when all of a sudden the media turn against him because he’s no longer the lovable maverick that they’ve had before.

RUSH: Well, I think that might happen before he wins the presidency or is inaugurated. It depends. But if he wants to hold on to the maverick label, it would be simple as pie to do it, especially if he wins the White House, it would be easy. We talked about this yesterday. You have to think, just based on voter enthusiasm — I hope this is not true. This is conventional wisdom right now, but even the Republicans whose business it is to calculate these things, will tell you that the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate are going to increase. Right now they’re pretty narrow and they can’t get a lot done, plus they got Bush vetoing things but they’re going to have a bigger margin. All they need is 60 votes in the Senate. If they get up to 53 to 55 Senators, they’re going to have four or five liberal Republicans that will join ’em to get to 60. The House majority, Nancy Pelosi says if Obama wins, he’s a going to bring 75 new seats to the House for Democrats. If all that happens, McCain’s going to have no choice but than to work with the Democrats, because all presidents want to get things done. And unfortunately today, you define getting things done by the number of bills you pass in a bipartisan way and how much you advance the liberal agenda. That’s how getting things done is defined.

All presidents want to be thought of as, ‘I got it done.’ McCain’s going to find it so easy to continue being maverick, just agree with the Democrats. He’s going to practically have no choice, if these projections are right. I don’t see any problem for him holding onto the maverick status. It’s this particular stage leading up to the convention, at the convention, and then on to the general election, that’s where he’s — in fact, let’s go to sound bites. I got a couple sound bites. Ron Reagan — I’m not going to play the sound bite. Ron Reagan was on Larry King Alive last night, and Larry King Alive is back to his old tricks, talking about people like me as wackos. He asks Ron Reagan what his dad’s version of the wackos today might be. Ron Reagan gives his answer, but he does say, ‘Look, if McCain starts naming cabinet members to mollify the right wing of his party, i.e., the base, a lot of independents are going to look at that and say, ‘I don’t want any part of this.” So Ron Reagan, thinking that he’s agreeing with Larry King that I’m a wacko, is essentially agreeing with my secret plan to not endorse McCain because, were I to do that, I’d drive independents and liberals away from McCain just like Ron Reagan thinks a conservative cabinet or vice president would do the same thing.

Later on in the program, they brought in James Carville, and Larry King said, ‘James, most of the time politicians win the nomination and they run to the center. Does McCain run to the center?’ Now Larry, I know you got a distinguished career, but McCain is already at the center, and he’s got a tip-toe or two on the left. Look at this. Everybody’s talking about McCain’s conservative rating, conservative voting record, lifetime voting record, and he is touted as an 82 on conservative issues. Well, Ann Coulter ran the math. His rating in 2006 was 65. Jon Kyl from Arizona in 2006 was 97. In the past ten years only four Republicans have had a lower conservative rating than McCain: Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and the maverick Arlen Specter. But the past two, three years McCain has not been anywhere near the top of the ranking in conservative votes in the Senate. You have to go and take his whole Senate career and average it out to get that 80 number. But the last ten years he hasn’t been that. So he’s at the center, Larry, anyway. Anyway, here’s Carville’s answer to this idiotic question.

CARVILLE: I don’t know, 51% in Virginia is a pathetic number. And I mean I don’t say that as a Democrat. Virginia is typically a very orderly state. I think the brief between McCain and the conservatives is real, and it’s not just Washington or the radio talk show people. Those conservatives out in the hinterland don’t much care for McCain and I suspect he doesn’t much care for them either.

RUSH: Carville is on to something. He may be irritating now and then, but he’s not stupid. He knows it’s not just conservative talk radio McCain has a problem with. There are people — he refers to them as the hinterland. I refer to it as the place where the people that make the country work live. But he’s at least right about that.

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