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RUSH: Bob Dole has issued a statement. ‘On Face the Nation on Sunday, General Clark called Republican presidential candidate John McCain untested and untried, claimed that McCain had no executive responsibility, belittled his leadership of a naval unit because it wasn’t a wartime squadron, and stated, ‘I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.’ The attack by General Clark on Senator McCain’s war record and qualifications for the presidency is beyond comprehension. Clark’s absurd remarks signal further erosion in our nation’s political discourse. He should have stayed in bed Sunday morning. It is unfortunate that a former general who ran for the presidency on his own war record thinks that it is appropriate to attack a distinguished veteran and former prisoner of war in this way. Senator McCain’s entire life has been devoted to public service. His achievement and experience constitute unparalleled qualification for America’s highest office.’ I love Senator Dole on this, but what does it say, that the one firebrand in the Republican Party is Bob Dole, and it’s two days after the fact. But, better late than never. Audio sound bite time. Jim Webb last night on PMSNBC jumping into this fray.

WEBB: John McCain’s been a longtime friend. If that is one area that I would ask him to calm down on, it’s that. Don’t be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them, because they don’t, any more than when the Democrats had political issues during the Vietnam War. Let’s get politics out of the military, take care of the military people, and have our political arguments in other areas.

RUSH: Get politics out of the military? John McCain needs to calm down? This from a rookie Senator Jim Webb. Needs to calm down, don’t be standing up and offering your political views and implying that all people in the military support them. This is again more smoke and mirrors. None of this McCain is done. But Webb gets up and says it, the Drive-Bys report what he says, and that becomes the official record of what McCain says, i.e., what Webb says that McCain is doing. Who infused politics into this? Who infused the military into politics? It was Clark who claims, by the way — grab audio sound bite number four. Here’s Wesley Clark last night on MSNBC, asked for his response to being criticized for his remarks.

CLARK: I wasn’t representing the Obama campaign in anything I said yesterday about John McCain. I want to assure you, I would never, never diss someone’s service. When people choose to serve in uniform, I honor it. I came home from Vietnam on a stretcher. I was shot, I took a burst of AK, I got four rounds, so I think I know a little bit about what it’s like to honor men and women who serve in uniform. And I do, and I would never dismiss somebody.

RUSH: Twilight Zone time. This is after he did diss somebody. This is after he did diss somebody specifically on the basis of their military service. Claire McCaskill on MSNBC Live today, the infobabe asked her, ‘General Clark is not backing down from those comments that were critical of Senator McCain. What’s the campaign’s response to hearing that he’s not stepping away from those comments?’

MCCASKILL: Senator Obama has been very clear. It is inappropriate in any campaign ever to devalue anyone’s service to our country. That’s what they did to John Kerry four years ago. He will not be a part of it. This campaign will not be a part of it. I think he respects the service of General Wesley Clark. I think Senator Obama understands that General Clark is speaking from his own perspective. But for this campaign, for the Obama campaign, it is never about devaluing someone’s service to our country. Patriotism is about serving your country and your community, and that’s what Senator Obama wants this discussion to be about.

RUSH: What does this remind you of? Here we have two Obama supporters, Claire McCaskill from Missouri, a senator, and Jim Webb, both recasting reality. Obama, (paraphrasing) ‘Our campaign never said anything, why, we would never do this. We’re not going to put up with this. We would never, ever do it.’ Webb said, ‘McCain’s gotta calm down.’ I wish McCain would act in a way just one day that somebody could legitimately say ‘calm down’ and have it mean something. The Official Obama Criticizer nailed this in his critique in the first hour of this program. Barack Obama and his campaign, he is the first black Clinton. He will not be the first black president because that’s Clinton’s. But he is the first black Clinton. That is exactly what’s happening here. Living in an alternative reality, and knowing full well that the Drive-Bys are going to cover for you and make reality whatever it is you say in response to things. So Clark gets a total pass. Obama gets a total pass. Obama gets treated as though he has rebuked what Clark has said, when he hasn’t, and then Webb goes out and says that McCain’s the one that needs to calm down. Meanwhile, the only official response from some elected Republican has been Bob Dole’s.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here’s Wayne in Prescott, Michigan, nice to have you on the program, sir.

CALLER: One month early, but congratulations on 20 years of excellence in broadcasting.

RUSH: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

CALLER: I have dittoed everything you have a said, except for one thing you said yesterday.

RUSH: What’s that?

CALLER: About McCain’s reaction.

RUSH: Yeah?

CALLER: I believe that he might have been more or less biting his lip and trying to keep his composure, and I think that this is what they’re trying to do is get him to fly off the handle.

RUSH: Well, let’s listen to it again. We happen to have McCain’s reaction. You can listen to it with me here, Wayne.

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: You want to do that?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: Yeah, and then you can tell me if you still have your same opinion.

MCCAIN: I think that that kind of thing is unnecessary. I’m proud of my record of service and I have plenty of friends and leaders who will attest to that, but the important thing is, if that’s the kind of campaign that Senator Obama and his surrogates and his supporters want to engage, I understand that, but it doesn’t reduce the price of a gallon of gas by one penny; it doesn’t achieve our energy independence, make it come any closer; it doesn’t help an American stay in their home who are in risk of losing it today, and it certainly doesn’t do anything to address the challenges that Americans have in keeping their jobs, their homes, and supporting their families.

RUSH: So you think that was McCain biting his lip?

CALLER: It sounds terrible the way he says it, but I do think that he was trying to bite his lip. I hope he was. Let’s put it that way, I guess. I don’t support him wholeheartedly like I would other candidates, but he’s the best that’s out there.

RUSH: Well, this is up or down on Obama. We can’t afford Obama, any number of ways, can’t afford him financially, can’t afford him foreign policy. We can’t afford Obama. We can’t afford him in charge of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, any number of ways. I listened to this response, his qualifications have been assaulted and attacked, and his service as prisoner of war has been deemed to be meaningless. His flying fighter jets over Hanoi in the Vietnam War has been stated here as irrelevant and meaningless, and I don’t know. I think I know when McCain bites his lower lip. When he’s biting his lower lip, he’s mad, and I’ve seen him when he’s mad. He wasn’t mad yesterday.

CALLER: Well —

RUSH: I think what he’s rather doing is trying to stay above the fray of all this. You may be right that he’s trying to avoid getting sucked into their level down there and, you know, sucked into the level of Wesley Clark, who is a nobody, and perhaps if it had been Obama who had said this, that perhaps McCain would have had a more forceful response. But I don’t think he was biting his lower lip.

CALLER: Okay, I will agree that way. He wasn’t biting his lower lip, but he’s keeping himself above the fray, and it’s hard on him. That’s gotta be extremely hard.

RUSH: Of course it is, but George W. Bush has tried to same thing. He’s tried to stay above the fray. One of the reasons he does not respond to his critics is because he thinks that it demeans the office of the presidency. He thinks he’s above it, that politics is politics and people are going to say dastardly, mean, diabolical things about any president, and you got a job to do, and all that stuff that people say doesn’t matter. But the job of president also takes place within the realm of politics, and that means you have to get elected to it and you have to get reelected to it. That means your voters have to feel like they’re being led, that somebody is out there leading them somewhere, standing up for what they believe in. If you’re going to continually get ripped to shreds in a political sense like this and not fire back at it — I mean the time is right — there are wrong times to do it, wrong people to react to. It might have been better for McCain not to react to Wesley Clark. I mean Wesley Clark is a nonentity and a nonfactor. But the fact of the matter is, it is, whether he says it or not — nobody will convince me otherwise — a coordinated effort from the Obama campaign. You have Clark on Sunday reiterating his thoughts yesterday and today. You have Rand Beers, somehow noted foreign policy expert, worked for Kerry in 2004, coming along and seconding the impression and the notion left by Wesley Clark.

They’re trying to do more than take McCain off his game. They’re trying to do far more than that. They know they’ve got a wuss as a candidate compared to McCain, in terms of experience, military experience, understanding aspects of national security. They know Obama’s a wuss. They know they can’t build Obama up into something he’s not. They can’t make us believe that Barack Obama was at D-Day. They can’t make us believe that Barack Obama was anywhere near Vietnam. They can’t make us aware that Barack Obama has even been to a recruitment center. So what they have to do is tear down McCain in that area and make it sound like he’s nothing, that it’s no big deal. And that’s why you’re going to see more and more people citing the fact that he did a propaganda video while he was being tortured and that he might have ended up saying traitorous things to save his life. They’re going to do everything they can to destroy that aspect of McCain’s service and of his life because their own candidate can’t compare to it in any way. So rather than compare and fall short, you tear down what your opponent is. And, at some point, if you’re in the process of being torn down, you have to make sure you take steps that that doesn’t happen. I appreciate the call nevertheless, Wayne.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Jeff in Albuquerque. Great to have you here, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.

CALLER: It’s really great to speak with you, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much.

CALLER: If I could also point out real quickly to some of your listeners, that Albuquerque is north of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

RUSH: Be happy to know that.

CALLER: Well, you know, I just don’t know what General Wesley Clark is thinking. John McCain, you know, flew for 23 missions in Vietnam, he’s 22 and one. He was shot down in one of those missions. He was head of one of the largest squadrons in the Navy. He has 20 years of experience in the military. Over 20 years of experience in the Senate. Three of his sons serve or have served in the military. And what type of resume or service —

RUSH: Wait a minute. What do you mean? You don’t know what he’s thinking?

CALLER: I don’t. It doesn’t make sense.

RUSH: It makes total sense. In the first place, he’s a liberal! Liberals are diabolically mean-spirited people. Number two, he’s part of the Obama campaign. He wants some kind of job in the Obama presidency or administration. He is doing what liberals do. It’s no different than taking on Robert Bork if you’re Ted Kennedy. It’s no different than what they try to do to judicial nominees in the Senate Judiciary Committee, liberal Democrats. Liberals are liberals. They destroy their opponents. They try to destroy their character and their lives and their reputations because they can’t compete. Wesley Clark couldn’t hold John McCain’s coffee cup.

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