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RUSH: To Wheeling, West Virginia. Robin, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the program.

CALLER: Dittos, Rush. I love everything about your show.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: I have a question for Friday. Have you talked to Sir Charles since his really nasty comments?

RUSH: I have not talked to Charles Barkley in years, actually. Is this the comment where he said he gets scared when he listens to Christians talk or something?

CALLER: Yes. Yes. Conservatives equal fake Christians, I do believe. I can’t remember his comments exactly.

RUSH: Oh, yeah, yeah. I remember. Charles is setting up a run for governor in Alabama, ostensibly. He’s been threatening to do this for years now. (sigh) You know, Charles is an enigma. I got to know Charles when he was with the Phoenix Suns, and Snerdley will remember this. Charles had, at the time, a fundraising golf tournament every year in Orlando at Disney World, and he invited me to attend it — I thought — and he put out the word that I was going to be there. Want to play golf. I hadn’t been playing golf at the time, this has to be before ’97. This was ’95, perhaps, ’96. And Charles even called the program one day from his car, and talking about how excited everybody was going to be that I was going to be there, and I was kind of stunned, because I wasn’t going to play golf or anything. He had a big dinner on the last night of it, or the second-to-last night of it. When I got down there, I show up in my room and Coach Westphal of the Phoenix Suns comes in, and he says, ‘You got your speech ready?’

‘What speech?’

‘You’re the featured speaker!’ he said.

‘I am? I’m the featured speaker at this thing?’

He said, ‘Yeah.’

So Cotton Fitzsimmons — who was with the Suns organization at the time — and Westphal said to Barkley, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t tell somebody you want them to show up and not tell ’em why.’

So I hastily put something together. I had no clue. I really wasn’t even sure what the charity was, and you had all of these basketball guys there, all these friends of Barkley’s that were players. Don Nelson was there, one of the coaches; the great coach Chuck Daly of the Detroit Pistons.

CALLER: Daly.

RUSH: Yeah, they were all there, and this was at a time when Barkley was saying, ‘We athletes are not role models.’ He didn’t want the responsibility. Remember, ‘We athletes are not role models.’ So I did a speech suggesting to Charles that not only are you wrong that you shouldn’t be; you have to accept the fact that you are — and that you specifically, Sir Charles, have a great opportunity to be a great one here. Now he’s going off the revelation. Now he’s on TNT on their basketball coverage. It’s sad what happens to a lot of people who go into media. They say something outrageous a couple times and people glom on to it, and they say, ‘A-ha! I found a shtick here.’ So you end up saying something more and more outrageous, and it becomes your trademark and your schtick. I’m not sure that that’s not part of what he was saying, but I don’t know that Charles has ever been conservative. He was Republican at one point. I remember also I was supposed to go to a charity golf tournament in Philadelphia and I couldn’t get away from this broadcast to go there, and Charles was going to be there. What was the name of this? It was some financial house doing this. Legg Mason, yeah, and Charles sent a message to Fuzzy Zoeller, who was there, to me, and Fuzzy said, ‘Charles said hang on. You’re not going to have to deal with Clinton much longer. (laughs) It’s going to be okay.’

CALLER: (laughs)

RUSH: But I haven’t talked to you about this, and your call… I haven’t really talked about this. I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in it. Charles is in business to get attention and to be noticed, and he’s always succeeded in doing that. He’s a great basketball player, and then he’s making a living here with his mouth and drawing attention to himself.

CALLER: Well, he lost a fan here, because he insulted me and what I believe so I don’t think he realizes when he opens his mouth how far his foot goes in there.

RUSH: He does. He’s making a calculation. He’s making a calculation with this, based on whatever his future desires or plans are and who his current friends are, too.

CALLER: Well, I’m not one of them so I guess I’m okay.

RUSH: Well, but you don’t live in Alabama. So your defection as a fan isn’t going to matter to him if he does run for governor down there.

CALLER: That’s true. That’s true.

RUSH: But that’s going to be a tough state to start running around attacking Christians —

CALLER: Exactly, exactly.

RUSH: — to win the governorship. He may be like Bill Buckley, if he wins, ‘demand a recount.’

CALLER: (laughter)

RUSH: When he ran for mayor of New York. Robin, thanks for the call. I appreciate it.

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