RUSH: All right, audio sound bite time, Robert Gibbs, this morning, White House press briefing, unidentified reporter. Now, get this question. It’s a butt boy question. ‘The Republicans are criticizing the White House for engaging in the Rush Limbaugh issue. You and the president have used the term ‘cable chatter’ a lot. You guys have kind of decided that you’ve also said — I’ve heard administration officials derided sort of superficial food fight political reporting, but you’ve repeatedly engaged in the podium with CNBC reporters as well as Rush Limbaugh, seems to feed that process that you’re criticizing…’ It’s actually not a butt boy question. I take it back. I misread it when I read so hurriedly. ‘It seems that you guys are a little hypocritical, Mr. Gibbs. You decry what you are encouraging.’
GIBBS: It may be counterproductive. (snickering) I’ll give you that.
PRESS POOL: (laughter)
GIBBS: Look, are there days in which I just turn my television off? Yes. (nervous cackling) I wish I had a radio. I don’t.
WOMAN: HA! HA! HA!
GIBBS: Maybe I should just hook my iPod up. Look, there — there are days in which, yeah, y-y-y-you — your head throbs from listening to arguments that aren’t necessarily centered on d-delving into some important issue but founding two people at completely opposite ends of the spectrum to yell loudest in a seven-minute segment before we go on to something else.
RUSH: What? What I gather from that is that Mr. Gibbs doesn’t have a radio. We can do something about that. We ought to buy Mr. Gibbs a radio and send it up there — again, not using taxpayer money. I’m sure my Washington affiliate — the giant AM 630 WMAL — would be happy to assist me in getting a radio to the White House press secretary. Perhaps at the next press briefing somebody at WMAL could arrange for one of the reporters in the press briefing to actually present the radio to Robert Gibbs so he would have one. By the way, folks, I need to ask a question real quick. We just did the story here on the victims in the Obama War on Capitalism. Private sector jobs fell 697,000. What we’re not being told is how many jobs were ‘saved.’ The president promised to ‘create or save’ three and a half to four million jobs, but I haven’t seen the ‘saved job’ figures. Has anybody seen the ‘saved job’ figures? I’ve not seen that report, and if somebody has that data — maybe they’re still working on that bureaucracy at the Labor Department — I’d like to see the data on saved jobs. The unidentified reporter, by the way, answered Gibbs with this. ‘Shouldn’t the White House lead the way in elevating the discourse?’
GIBBS: I won’t kick the cable people out of the briefing room. I’m certainly opposed to doing something as radical as a — as an idea as that. Look, it’s out there, we deal with it, I don’t — I certainly criticize it and I even occasionally watch it.
RUSH: They’re asking about cable TV (laughing) when in fact Rahm Emanuel and his merry band are targeting with an inside the White House operation — a plumbers operation — targeting me, an average citizen. Yes, a public figure, but not an elected figure. Targeting me and making me the leader of their opposition. And Gibbs says, ‘Ah, I can’t kick the cable guys outta here,’ taking no blame for any of the partisanship that exists within our culture. All right, back to the phones. We’re going to go to Hartford, Connecticut. This is Ferris. I’m glad you waited. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Well, we are certainly all Joe the Plumber, but no one more than yourself. I’m sitting here hammering away at my computer with your noise in the background, trying to make a dollar out of the 99 cents as are many people who are still productively working. And, oh, by the way, I do have the saved job figures. It’s a percentage. It’s 110% of all public, government sector jobs have been saved. Just as a sign.
RUSH: There aren’t any layoffs and nobody is getting fired in the government. You’re absolutely right. I hadn’t thought of that. I shoulda thought of that myself. All these government jobs are indeed being saved.
CALLER: Well, we who are about to die salute you. ‘Nos Morituri Te Salutamus’ is what the gladiators used to say, but we say it for a different reason, and I’m sitting here working away and thinking, ‘Somebody has to express gratitude for what you’ve done,’ and what I say for what you’ve done, nobody can understand the breadth of that, comparatively speaking. Very few people would know what it takes for a man to bring himself to the point you’ve brought yourself, and to rise to the level, to be able to be the leading voice —
CALLER: — for the opposition —
CALLER: — that’s coming from the far, far, far left.
CALLER: And I’m sure I speak for all my brothers, including my friend Cameron in Allison Park.
RUSH: Don’t forget sisters.
CALLER: Well, I think we must forget the sisters because, I’m going back to the days before we had women in combat, and the kind of combat that we’re facing now, I have more respect for the ladies than to ask them to step up and follow people who lead like you do.
RUSH: But they want to, and many of them are. You can’t leave ’em outta there.
CALLER: I did.
RUSH: There is —
CALLER: I just did, though.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. but you can’t. I’m begging you. I’m asking you not to leave the ladies out here. They fully understand what is going on here, just as you do. Look, I really appreciate what you’re saying. I don’t quite know how to respond to it, other than say thank you, but I really… I know you’ve thought about it, and you do understand what you mean and I appreciate it.
CALLER: Well, I’d like to say thank you very much.
RUSH: You’re welcome. I appreciate it. I’d love to expand further, but this isn’t really about me. Thanks very much. I appreciate it, Ferris. John in Wilmington, North Carolina. You’re on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: What I discussed with Mr. Snerdley, my call was the Democrats are giving you a great opportunity here in the fact that they have so much mainstreamed you in the media, and I can cite my wife as an example. She’s probably one of the most outrageous liberals that walk the face of the earth. (chuckles) How we got along is strange, but anyway, we do. The point being that now she’s actually paying attention to what you say; and for years she used to criticize me for even paying attention to you at all. So I think the Democrats have jumped the shark a bit here because I think they’ve run out of options and they’re afraid of you. If they weren’t afraid of you, they would just totally not even mention you.
RUSH: Well, here’s the thing. If you read the Politico story, you find out that all this is being done on the basis of polls, that they went out — Greenberg, who was also part of the flunky team of Carville and Begala, went out — and did a poll of Republicans, and they found I had the highest negatives, even though I’m not in politics.
RUSH: They said, ‘A-ha! Limbaugh is the guy.’ Now, Carville tried to caution Bill Clinton not to do this back in the nineties, which is why it’s Emanuel running the show. This actually goes against James Carville’s instincts.
RUSH: So they’re putting me up there. They’re totally focused on polling data. I don’t deal in polls. I deal in principle. And they have expanded my reach and given me a bigger shot at changing people’s minds.
RUSH: You gotta hear this ’cause it dovetails in a way with the Politico story today about how Obama’s minions — well, his capo de capo consigliere, Rahm Emanuel, and the minions, Paul Begala, James Carville, made a project to elevate me to the leadership of the Republican Party last fall and then to begin targeting me from the White House, using leaks to butt boy media like Politico and columnists. It’s working like a charm as far as they’re concerned. So this morning on Morning Joe, the show hosted by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski on PMSNBC, they talked to Lesley Stahl of CBS’ 60 Minutes and here was Mika’s question. ‘I want to ask you what your take-away is of this whole Rush Limbaugh thing, and also the White House getting in on the conversation and then engaging TV hosts, that would be Santelli and Jim Cramer, certainly a departure from the White House we’ve covered in the past. You’ve covered in the White House. I wonder what you think in terms of your historical perspective, but also tactically.’
STAHL: What we’re looking at is a little bit of a cross between Reagan and how that White House operated, the good Reagan, first term, that was successful, and Clinton, because they’re taking from Clinton I think the war room approach, the sunniness aspect of Reagan. He never really attacked with anger, and there’s a lot of humor in what the White House is doing.
STAHL: It’s kind of velvety and molasses really than the hard hit, and letting the Republicans hit back hard. We talked about the no-drama Obama. I really do think that the watchword right there is no anger.
STAHL: And Reagan’s personality was so appealing for that reason.
RUSH: All right, so what we have here is White House velvet and molasses in their take-downs of Santelli, Rick Santelli, CNBC, Jim Cramer at CNBC, and of course yours truly, El Rushbo, the new leader anointed by them. ‘It’s like Clinton, taking from Clinton in the war room.’ They’re not taking from Clinton. It is Clinton’s war room. It’s Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Paul Begala, and Stephanopoulos over at ABC. It is the Clinton war room. I don’t remember, by the way, her references here to Reagan and how the White House operated. I distinctly remember both terms of Reagan he was despised. The media was as disrespectful of him in press conferences as they were of George Bush, and they thought the same thing of Reagan. They thought he was a dunce. They thought he was an idiot and they were always trying to trip him up, but he did remain sunny, he did smile all the while, and I guess that is why Lesley Stahl thinks that he won because he was really vicious, he was vicious, and Reagan was mean, but he did it with a smile. It was the other way around.
But now contrast this not to Reagan, but Nixon. If this were Richard Nixon doing this, Mika, if you ever get Lesley Stahl back, what you need to do is ask her the same question, but ask her to go back beyond Reagan and ask her how this measures up with Richard Nixon and say his enemies list, and then ask her what she thinks of going after private citizens like this. Mika, this is a huge, huge evolution in the Drive-By Media. In the seventies when you had an administration — now, admittedly it was already the enemy, it was a Republican administration — but when that enemies list was discovered, there was outrage, and it was part and parcel of the media support for impeachment once the Watergate stuff hit. There was some jealousy among those not on the list. But still, it was thought to be horrible, it was rotten, it was just terrible, why this is unbecoming of the president. They called it un-American, or it was not in America’s best interests or what have you. So what you need to do is get her back on there and ask her to compare what this administration is doing with what Nixon did. That would be the more interesting answer from Lesley Stahl. I can’t have her on, Mika. I have to keep this show open for if Obama accepts my offer to debate.
RUSH: Frank in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, nice to have you with us, sir, on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Rush, mega dittos, sir. You are a national treasure. You have frustrated the Drive-By Media so much that they have now become the kamikaze media, Rush. They’re throwing everything at you! They don’t care about the integrity, the credentials. They’re just trying to hit you with anything and everything. Rush, you, sir, are one of the best entertainers, a radio talk show host extraordinaire. You are not the elected leader of the free world. They anointed you as such. Rush, I’m very happy for your success and I’m happy that they are so frustrated that they have picked you as a target and not the socialist agenda of Obama or the fact that… I’m a school director here in Pennsylvania. Obama says he’s going to get additional funds for school teachers? Rush, in Pennsylvania the taxpayer could be dead on the side of the road, they would never help a teacher. There is no problem with funding teachers in Pennsylvania. The media has to point this out. It can’t be cart blanche, ‘Rush Limbaugh is no good, Obama bad.’ I’m just very happy for you, sir.
RUSH: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Folks, let me be serious about this. I don’t know how to address these compliments other than to say, thank you. I really don’t. I’ve got so many people who are worried about me, and I hear from them when I get home at night, and they ask, ‘Are you okay? How are you bearing up under all this? I understand, they may be using your name, but it’s not just you they’re going after. We’re going to be there for you,’ and so forth. I appreciate all that. I really do. But, you know, when I’ve talked about work over the course of the years I’ve hosted this program, when I’ve talked about how lucky I was to learn at age eight, if not earlier, what I wanted to do — that’s so important to success. It’s actually finding out what you love and then being able to do it, do it the best you can.
That’s success. So I’ve been doing this all of my life. And I have — ever since I started hosting talk shows, I have — been subject to criticism and attack. Now I’ve got the people saying, ‘Can’t you sue them for what they’re saying about you.’ No, you can’t. It’s just the territory. It comes with it. What I tried to do is slap it right back at them and have fun with it. Frankly, folks, I don’t want you to worry. I’m enjoying this. I am. I’m enjoying it. I was made for this. I was built for this. Let me expand on this work business. I admit if this were happening my first year behind this microphone, I would probably be a little panicked and I’d be backing off and I’m sure my broadcast partners would say, ‘Ooooh, maybe gotta back away here, a little bit too out front there,’ blah, blah.
But I am at a point where destiny has taken me, and the experiences that I’ve had leading up to it have prepared me for this. I’m made for this. I was built for this. I’m doing what I was born to do — and don’t worry. Without my enunciating it, ’cause, you know, magicians don’t give away the tricks, but I have not lost focus of who I am and what I do, and that is my focus. (interruption) What? (interruption) Snerdley is so itching to say something, and you’re distracting me. What? (interruption) All right. Okay. Okay. Okay. (sigh) Snerdley says, ‘This is different than anything that you have been in. This is the full force of the government coming at you. This is the full force of the president coming at you in the open, right out in the open, with the media proudly leaking the story of the operation.’
It’s not really the first time. This is my point. Don’t forget Clinton telling a racist joke about me in front of 1,200 media people in Washington. Don’t forget Bill Clinton tried to blame me for the Oklahoma City bombing. Don’t forget that Clinton tried to get our radio station in St. Louis to button down on me when he called them from Air Force One, when he was going in to dedicate some train station or something in St. Louis. Of course, if you watch cable TV, I’m mentioned and attacked and mischaracterized all the time. To me it’s not that big a step up from what I’ve been going through. So it’s not impacting me the way it is people who are close to me. They think it’s far more serious than I do. I think it’s serious, but I think it’s a teachable moment.
I think it’s a learning opportunity for a lot of people. This is the Obama government in action. And also, here’s the bottom line. That CPAC speech, when I accepted that, I said, ‘Okay, I’ll come and do it.’ I did it only because they’ve asked me for ten years and I haven’t gone. Okay, I’ll do it. That CPAC speech has had more far-reach, deep impact than anybody will ever admit. That CPAC speech is largely why they’re ramping up all this stuff at the White House. I know that. The White House is presenting me an opportunity to branch out beyond the confines of my normal format, radio, and at least get to the minds and hearts of Americans who normally aren’t here. So to me it’s an opportunity. I thank all of you for your support and kind words. I really do. I just don’t know what more to say than that, and I feel like I should, so this is it.