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HEMMER: Hillary Clinton losing support from a longtime family nemesis. For months now, Rush Limbaugh urged listeners to cross the party lines in open primary states and vote for Hillary Clinton during an effort called Operation Chaos. Well, that move aimed at keeping the nomination fight alive and to — in Rush Limbaugh’s words — bruise up Barack Obama a bit. Obama’s campaign now blaming Limbaugh for Clinton’s narrow primary victory in Indiana on Tuesday. What does he have to say for that? Rush Limbaugh on the phone now in Florida. Good morning, Rush.

RUSH: Bill, how are you? It’s great to follow those little crumb crunchers. Thanks.

ANCHORS: (laughing)

RUSH: Thanks for the lead-in.

HEMMER: You call ’em crumb crunchers? Cute. Listen, this is the first time we’ve had you on television to talk about this reaction from the Obama campaign. What are you saying about this, Rush?

RUSH: You know, two days after the Pennsylvania primary when I think Operation Chaos was indeed a major factor, I advised the Obama campaign, ‘Look, if you guys want to shut this down, all you have to do is acknowledge it and simply say that a number of Mrs. Clinton’s votes are tainted because they come from people who actually have no intention of voting for her in November,’ and they didn’t take that advice then. They coulda shut it down. As the commander-in-chief, Bill, I’ve told everybody in advance what we’re going to do and how they can stop it, and they haven’t been able to. And finally the Obama campaign did come out and say, ‘Hey, this operation is responsible for seven bumps, seven points that Hillary got, and that pretty much tainted some of her victory. It was very close.’ So, it’s actually a very smart political move on the part of the Obama campaign.

HEMMER: You know, Rush, a lot of your listeners have called in — and we have heard them say — that this was an effort by you to help Hillary Clinton, and they — they — they — Well, they were opposed to that because they thought this was helping her. And you said all along that no, this is counterintuitive. But yesterday you said support Obama.

RUSH: You know, I’ve gotten up today and I’ve been doing my Show Prep here. I’m amazed at the number of Drive-By Media outlets who totally missed what I said yesterday. Operation Chaos is not over. The whole purpose of Operation Chaos was not to get either of these two particularly nominated. It was to create the chaos and get Obama bloodied up. Now, remember, when this started, it was right before Texas, Ohio, Mississippi. The McCain campaign, Republican Party, made it clear they weren’t going to be critical of Obama — and he was a messiah at that point. He was saying nothing better than anybody else has ever said nothing in my life. People were fainting. I said, ‘This guy’s going to have to be bloodied up politically, and who better to do it than the Clintons?’ And she couldn’t do it if she weren’t in the race. So the point was to keep her in just to keep the Democrat Party in chaos, not to get her the nomination. I mean, he was the fait accompli nominee way back then anyway. So everybody’s missing it. I’ve been as open about this for months as I can be, and the reluctance of people in the media to understand it is striking to me and is a great lesson to me on just how much their agenda drives reporting rather than facts.

HEMMER: You know, Rush, you said something yesterday I think that was very interesting. I’ll just take your words here. ‘The Republican Party doesn’t have the guts to do Operation Chaos,’ you say, and Senator McCain, ‘will not be critical of Obama because they’re afraid of racial charges.’ Explain that.

RUSH: That’s exactly right. Well, Mark McKinnon — who is a friend of mine, I’ve met him a couple times — actually said a couple months ago that if the McCain campaign wants to produce ads critical of Obama along the lines of Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers or whatever, that he’s going to quit the campaign. The Republican Party is — I guess understandably — scared to death of being charged with racism, and McCain is obsessed with running this ‘honorable campaign’ filled with integrity; not talking about these kind of things. And if they do that, they’re going to lose 49 states. You know, political campaigns are what they are; liberals are who they are; and while Obama may try to stay above the fray, his team is going to be out there attacking. I don’t think Senator McCain has any idea what’s going to hit him in this general campaign, so yeah.

HEMMER: You know, before we get to that point, what do you think Hillary Clinton does now? I mean, what’s your theory about yesterday coming out and saying, ‘I’m going to stay in this race until there is a nominee’?

RUSH: I don’t have a whole lot of time here. I mean, you don’t. Let me make this as brief as possible.

HEMMER: Sure.

RUSH: Hillary Clinton has spent the last two and a half decades of her life for this moment. Everything that she’s done, everything she’s put up with is for this moment. She controls the rules and bylaws committee that meets on May 31st to decide Florida and Michigan; and if she’s smart, she’ll say, ‘The Democrat Party has engaged in the greatest disenfranchisement of voters since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.’ If she’s smart, she will say that the only way Barack Obama can get the Democrat Party nomination is if the Democrats do not count all the votes — and she can extend this for as long as she wants, and I think she should, if she really wants it. Ted Kennedy went to the ’80 convention down 700 delegates. You know, the media wants this over with because they want a new story line. They want a new action line. They’re bored. But I think she should stay in it ’cause this is everything in her life. This is what she’s lived for.

HEMMER: Rush Limbaugh, thank you.

RUSH: You bet. Thanks. It’s always a pleasure to be with you guys, even after following the young kids.

ANCHORS: (laughter)

HEMMER: Crumb crunchers.

RUSH: Future anchors. They all looked like they wanted your jobs, you guys.

HEMMER: And someday, they’ll get them! See you, Rush, on the radio later.

RUSH: Thanks much.

HEMMER: Okay.

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