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RUSH: Barbara Walters has her Ten Most Fascinating People of the Year special. It runs tonight at ten o’clock, after Grey’s Anatomy. I am one of the ten. I didn’t realize this. The first time she did this show in 1993, I was one of the twelve. There were twelve most fascinating then, and since then it’s been reduced to ten. I sat with her three weeks ago for the interview and one question was, ‘We gotta do a what-if.’ It was known that, you know, Hillary and her camp had leaked the fact that Obama was thinking of nominating her to be secretary of state, but it was still in the leaking stage and the denial stage and negotiation stage, and Barbara Walters said to me, ‘Well, I gotta ask you a question just in case he nominates her and she accepts it, what you think of it. I said, ‘Oh, okay.’

So she rolls tape, asks me the question, I gave her the answer, and the Drive-Bys are all over my answer. Some of them are getting it, but most of them have totally misinterpreted what I said. They said I gave my blessing to this. They say, ‘Oh, a brilliant move on the part of the Obama,’ as though I agree with the concept that there be nobody better at secretary of state than Hillary Clinton. It’s stunning to watch. The Drive-Bys love me. From NPR to The View, they love me because of this, it’s incredible. A couple of them got it right.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This was Scarborough’s show today, MSNBC, the cohost Mika Brzezinski plays a clip of the Barbara Walters special with me and here is the exchange.

WALTERS: What do you think of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state?

RUSH ARCHIVE: I’m stunned that she took it. Hillary has always worked for herself. I think this is a brilliant stroke by Obama. You know, the old phrase, you keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

WALTERS: Hm-hm.

RUSH ARCHIVE: He puts her over at secretary of state, how can she run for president in 2012, no matter how badly he does. I’m sure he’s figuring that if she goes over there, she’s going to have to quit in 2010 — running for president’s a two-year job — and then she’s gotta run against the incumbent and be critical of him, the one who made her secretary of state. So I’m surprised she took it.

RUSH: Okay, so that’s the clip they released and they’re playing it all over the place. We just happened to take that from Morning Joe today. So that’s what I said. Now, Snerdley, you heard that. What does it sound to you like I’m praising Obama for? Pretty stealth political move ’cause here’s Hillary Clinton, who you know wants to be president — the one thing that I forgot to tell Barbara Walters, you go back in hindsight and fix anything, but I forgot to say, ‘Plus, Barbara, there’s one thing I should point out. It would be much easier to undermine his administration from within it than from over in the Senate.’ But I forgot to say that. So, anyway, I’m praising Obama for taking her out of the presidential sweepstakes in 2012, because she’s gotta start running in 2010. You know how early people start running. I mean, even if you’re going to run against the incumbent in your own party, you gotta start raising money, make obvious moves that you’re doing it. That would look like an act of disloyalty, and to go after the first black president in your own party, very, very difficult move. And I am surprised she took it, on that basis. So, let’s now take a tour around the rest of the Drive-Bys. Tuesday morning, CNN’s American Morning, here’s a montage of Jim Acosta’s report about the nomination of Hillary as secretary of state. You’ll also hear Krauthammer in this.

ACOSTA: This is not the honeymoon Democrats expected. Some high-profile Republicans are praising Mr. Obama’s national security team. Republican reaction to Barack Obama’s national security team is being described as a love fest.

KRAUTHAMMER: Boy, that’s a change I can believe in.

ACOSTA: Hillary Clinton as secretary state, a brilliant stroke, says Rush Limbaugh. Ditto, says President Bush’s former media guru, Mark McKinnon, who applauds Robert Gates staying on at the Pentagon. As for all this gushing from the right, it may have less to do with Mr. Obama’s pragmatism and more to do with a bipartisan desire for the country to get on the right track. As one Republican strategist put it, ‘Enjoy it while it lasts.’

RUSH: These people are hopeless. That is one of the most idiotic bits of analysis. Who is this guy? Jim Acosta says, ‘It may have less to do with Obama’s pragmatism and more to do with the bipartisan desire for the country to get on the right track.’ They throw me in with bipartisanship? (laughing) You people with elderly parents or young kids, do you ever get frustrated over how long it takes them to understand what you mean when you’re saying something as plain as day? I mean, if there’s one person in the Big Media who has been consistent and definable for 20 years, it is me. And now all of a sudden I have become a pragmatist with one lifted bite from a Barbara Walters interview. Here’s NPR gushing over the whole thing.

INSKEEP: President-Elect Barack Obama’s national security team has won praise in surprising quarters. His choice for defense secretary is acceptable to the Bush administration, since President Bush chose the same man.

MONTAGNE: Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state won praise from Rush Limbaugh. The conservative radio host told ABC News it was a brilliant stroke for political reasons.

RUSH: MSNBC is so excited about my supposed support for Obama that they now want to put him on Mount Rushmore.

SWEET: I think he’s looking already towards being the fifth face on Mount Rushmore, and you want the story to be written of a smooth launch of the administration, where he was able to have some of the biggest names in our country fill key spots and that the story line is just much better with Hillary Clinton as secretary of state than with anyone else.

SHUSTER: And, Bob, what about Hillary Clinton’s perspective? I mean Rush Limbaugh told Barbara Walters that this is a brilliant stroke by Obama because it eliminates Hillary Clinton as a potential political rival and opponent. Do you think that Hillary Clinton is essentially taking her presidential aspirations off the table?

BENENSON: Well, you would have to think so, given that it would be very difficult for her to challenge Barack Obama in 2012 even if Obama has a difficult first term as president in the 2012 primaries.

RUSH: Let’s stick with MSNBC last night on David Gregory’s show. He had Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women’s Forum, and she was asked about my analysis of Obama’s brilliant stroke.

GREGORY: Such strong praise from Rush Limbaugh for this move.

BERNARD: I don’t know what Rush is thinking, but I actually know him personally so I know he’s got a strategy behind what he has said to Barbara Walters. Maybe Rush is right. If she were to start running for president while she is secretary of state, should she be confirmed, it was be disastrous and I think that she would not win and it would look very bad for her legacy, so Rush is probably correct in this was a stroke of genius on behalf of the president-elect.

RUSH: So even the people who understand that I was praising Obama’s political acumen here with this brilliant appointment are still associating me with everybody else who’s saying Obama’s brilliant, period. See, this is how easy it is, and I wasn’t even trying for this. This is how easy it is to make the libs like you. Now, I’m going to destroy it all here in the next couple hours. I mean, one five-second little comment on Barbara Walters and they love me.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is CNN Monday night on The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, I mean they seem to think that I’ve endorsed Obama’s national security team.

MILBANK: He’s getting rave reviews for this so far. Obviously the risk is down the road, whether this deteriorates. but certainly everybody from Rush Limbaugh all the way — and the far left has been quiet about it unexpectedly. So he has really gotten away with it.

BLITZER: It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. I haven’t heard a mainstream Republican complain about it at all. They seem to like it.

RUSH: Well, the clowns don’t even know I was out sick Monday. Here’s The View, this is Tuesday, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are talking about the Obama national security team, and Behar said, ‘The accusation that he wasn’t experienced enough, he certainly has overcome that by appointing every experienced person that you can find,’ and she added this.

BEHAR: The right wing love these choices, even Rush Limbaugh was saying —

HASSELBECK: Actually Hillary Clinton —

BEHAR: Aren’t you glad he won, Elisabeth? Tell the truth.

HASSELBECK: What is this? I told you, I had a very excited moment. I feel like I’m excited to see what happens. I think given the choices he’s made, I feel as though they’re sensible.

BEHAR: It’s win-win for everybody.

HASSELBECK: But if you listen to what he’s saying, he actually sounds a lot more like George Bush.

RUSH: They’re talking about the national security team. Look it, this is no surprise to me. Folks, who was it? It was I, I’ll just not even ask you the question. Who was it that told you that there’s no way the Democrat nominee for president, if he won the election, was going to hang the loss of any war around his own neck? And there’s no way he’s pulling out of Iraq before we have clearly won it, there’s no way the Democrats — this is what makes them so reprehensible and irresponsible. They were trying to secure defeat during the campaign, they were trying to secure the defeat for the United States and the US military for two to three years prior to the campaign so they could saddle it around Bush’s neck and so forth, but they’re not going to saddle themselves with defeat.

Their leftist wacko nuts are going to be very disappointed when Obama does not pull outta here. And I’ll tell you something else, he’s not going to close Gitmo. I’ll guarantee you. They’re going to find it’s going to be much tougher to close Gitmo than he actually thought. Nobody wants those reprobates that are in Gitmo. Where do you take ’em? And they’re not going to bring ’em here for trial. The left-wing trial bar may be disappointed about this and the kook left-wing fringe. Ain’t going to happen, especially after this Mumbai thing, Bombay for those of you who voted for Obama. You watch at how little is going to change. Hasselbeck here actually swerved into some things. This team is gonna end up looking like George W. Bush when they come out of the gate in January when the Obama team is inaugurated.

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