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RUSH: Let’s start with the Fox News Channel’s Special Report, Brit Hume, during the roundtable with the Fox all-stars. Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke of Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, they say here that Mitt Romney is the only hope for conservatives and that the only hope for Romney is me. Listen to this.

BARNES: Look, he annunciates all their issues. They just don’t think he got there soon enough, some conservatives, but that’s their only hope, is Romney.

KONDRACKE: It’ll have to be organized by Rush Limbaugh.

KRAUTHAMMER: And it will fail.

RUSH: That was Krauthammer complaining. So Barnes says, yeah, well, Romney annunciates all their issues, but Romney’s their only hope, and Kondracke said it will have to be organized by Rush Limbaugh. Krauthammer says it will fail. He didn’t say I will fail. I know Charles. We interviewed him for the Limbaugh Letter, and he thinks the effort will fail. But, look, all this talk about I’m going to have to do this? Where is the candidates’ responsibility in any of this? Now, let’s go a little montage here. We opened the program yesterday with my political announcement that I was not conceding. I was going to stay in this for the long haul, the fight would continue. Some of the Drive-Bys didn’t get it! You know, I’m bouncing off of them saying I’m finished, Limbaugh’s over, he was defeated by McCain. So I did my little announcement yesterday that I’m not defeated, I’m not conceding, and they did a serious analysis, some of them did. Here’s a montage where we got Chris Matthews, Ron Claiborne of ABC, who just gets it totally wrong, although not in this bite, Neil Cavuto, Bill Whitaker, CBS, and even Sean Hannity.

MATTHEWS: Take a look Rush Limbaugh today hitting McCain.

RUSH ARCHIVE: Senator McCain’s been able to cobble together enough votes to win in a few states, fine, he deserves credit for that, but to pretend that Senator McCain is the choice of conservatives when exit poll data from every primary state show just the opposite.

CLAIBORNE: Attacks from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH ARCHIVE: He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment.

CAVUTO: Rush Limbaugh is today vowing to continue attacking John McCain’s record, despite his Florida win.

RUSH ARCHIVE: He is not the choice of conservatives.

WHITAKER: McCain is routinely savaged by Rush Limbaugh.

HANNITY: Rush Limbaugh on the issue of Senator McCain.

RUSH ARCHIVE: I will not retire. I will not concede. I will not drift away. I will not fade away until every American agrees with me.

RUSH: Now, this is an example of what I’m talking about. Criticism from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Attacks on Rush Limbaugh. Vowing to continue attacking John McCain’s record. Pointing it out is not attacking. This is what I mean, it’s like the Clintons, tell the truth about them, it’s a personal attack and they stick the opposite research on you. Anyway let’s move on. This is last night on PMSNBC, DNCTV’s Tucker Carlson show, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., talking to senior McCain advisor Mark McKinnon about me. Now, McKinnon ran all of George W. Bush’s media in 2000 and 2004.

CARLSON: Wouldn’t it just be easier to fly down to Palm Beach and take Rush Limbaugh out to dinner and slobber all over him? Why not suck up to Rush Limbaugh? I mean, wouldn’t that just kind of fix some of your problems right away? Why don’t you do that?

MCKINNON: I think Senator McCain is going to communicate as he has with others in the Republican Party, extend an olive branch, communicate on the issues that are important to him, that I think are important to Rush Limbaugh and everybody else in the Republican Party, and I think the rift will be healed.

RUSH: Well, he’s gotta go out to everybody in the Republican Party? Not everybody. He’s got the Jurassic Park base, these old blue-blood country club dinosaurs and velociraptors. What do you mean, when am I going to get healed? What would happen if there was an outreach, if McCain came down to slobber all over me, to suck up to me? I don’t know what he could do. I’m not going to foreclose it, don’t misunderstand, just thinking out loud. Kudlow and Company on CNBC last night, Kudlow and the pollster Scott Rasmussen had this exchange about your host, me.

KUDLOW: Does McCain have to literally go to see Rush Limbaugh and sit with him? Is there any way out of this? Otherwise, they’re going to be pounding McCain on a daily basis right through Super Tuesday.

RASMUSSEN: The best thing for John McCain right now is to be attacked by people like Rush Limbaugh, because it helps his general election prospects. And that’s what he has to be concerned about now.

RUSH: Now, how would it help his general election prospects to continue to be attacked by me? Exactly right, Snerdley. The libs would love it. I told you I was with these entertainment libs last night here at this HBO screening, Susan Sarandon movie, they all love McCain. I think one of the reasons they love McCain is that a lot of conservatives, they hate conservatives, they hate Bush, and McCain doesn’t like Bush so much or has made it plain that he disagrees with Bush a lot. So this is what Scott Rasmussen means. Because clearly the so-called attacks, which are not attacks, just criticism of McCain’s record, it’s not sending conservatives to vote for McCain. My so-called base is not rushing to vote for McCain. It’s the independents and the moderates out there that are doing that. One more, Kelly O’Donnell about a conversation she had with McCain about me.

O’DONNELL: I asked him about Rush Limbaugh. He did not use Rush’s name, but said the party has to unite and people have to come to terms with that to have any hope in November. He acknowledged that Democrats have higher favorability on issues, those were his words.

RUSH: Right, and that’s who he’s trying to please. I don’t think he cares about uniting the Republican Party, folks, he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need the Republican Party to win.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I was watching the endorsement of Senator McCain by Governor Schwarzenegger in California. What a picture this was. You had Schwarzenegger up there at the microphone; he was doing his endorsing. You had Rudy on the left of the screen. You had McCain on the right side of the screen smiling and nodding, and Schwarzenegger was endorsing McCain, and he starts out talking about solar panels. Apparently, they’re at a plant, a factory that makes solar panels. Then Schwarzenegger started talking about how we gotta reduce CO2 levels to 1990 levels. Ain’t possible! Number one: It’s not possible because we all exhale, and there are more of us. But beyond that, it isn’t possible. People that have signed on to the Kyoto accords have tried it, and they’re in arrears. They can’t do it. They owe big fines to the UN, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That formed the basis of the endorsement of Senator McCain by Governor Schwarzenegger — and I’m looking at the picture, and I’m seeing McCain surrounding himself with the left wing of our party. These guys are Republicans, but they’re the left wing of our party. So he just got the endorsement of a big-taxing, big-spending, socialist health care, eco-extreme governor, who says the Republican Party needs to follow him to the left. Now, we’ve had all these sound bites today about how McCain needs to reach out to conservatives. All these pundits say that he has a prayer, he’s gotta reach out to conservatives — and he’s embracing here, or been embraced by Schwarzenegger, who has done a Kennedy-Shriver 180 and has gone full-fledged left out in California. So McCain got the Schwarzenegger-Shriver-Kennedy endorsement today from the governor of California. Sam Donaldson weighed in on this on Good Morning America today. They were talking about this Schwarzenegger endorsement, and Diane Sawyer said to Donaldson, ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger going to weigh in for McCain. Big impact out there, Sam?’

DONALDSON: Some impact on the margins, but remember, McCain needs conservatives in Republican ranks to believe that okay, he’s conservative enough, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (laughs) is not the guy. You should have Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH: Well, that’s right. Add Donaldson to the list of pundits out there who are saying McCain, if he needs to go all the way, is going to have to build a bridge to conservatives, and he didn’t do that with his endorsement of Schwarzenegger. But, look, he thinks this is going to help him in the California election on Super-Duper Tuesday. Lets stick with the audio sound bites. The Today show today, Matt Lauer talking to Chris Matthews. Matt Lauer said, Schwarzenegger is not going to do anything for the conservatives that still doubt this guy because of his stance on taxes and immigration.

MATTHEWS: He’s still got three problems: The regulars that work in the fields for the Republican Party, the radio people, and the right — the Rush Limbaugh crowd, they don’t like this guy — and that movement conservative crowd are not going to like him. The question is, ‘Will they get in line?’ The old line is that Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. Republicans are now in the process of falling in line. They’re not going to like it, but it looks like they’re going to accept McCain as their guy.

RUSH: That’s Chris Matthews on the Today Show today with Matt Lauer. Now the Drive-Bys next weigh in. This is last night on ABC’s World News Tonight, an exchange between the reporter Ron Claiborne and former Bush strategerist Matthew Dowd talking about McCain’s win in Florida.

CLAIBORNE: Even as the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee, McCain still faces stiff opposition.

DOWD: He basically is not going to answer to anybody, um, especially the conservative pundits or the conservigentsia, and I don’t like that.

RUSH: You know, I’ve seen this. Matthew Dowd has said this a bunch of times. Basically what he’s saying is that people like me — Hannity, Levin, others on our side — we’ve got our noses out of joint because McCain won’t respond to us, or McCain won’t answer to us. Somebody like that that’s given an opportunity to do commentary on TV has got to get a little bit more informed. This is a guy that worked for Bush and Cheney, and look at what a lack of understanding even he has about the way his own party and base work. This is not personal. Anybody who thinks that this is about ego is just insane and is missing what really is going on, and is missing the whole purpose of this program. You know, we on this program are devoted to ideology and principle and ideas. We’re devoted to the concept of a more informed, engaged, educated public participating in the political process. But then they’re free to do what they do. Nobody gives marching orders here. Look, I can’t speak for others there. There may be people out there that got ego problems who want to have these guys, politicians, respond to them so they get attention. I don’t know anybody that’s that way, but there may be, but it ain’t here, and I know that’s not Hannity’s problem. Hannity doesn’t say what he says just to make sure these guys snap to and pay attention. That’s not what we’re doing.

Tom, how are you in there? Broadway actor who helped me when the Will Rogers Follies, yeah– Wiley Post, that was fun backstage after that one, wasn’t it, Tom? Remember that outside the stage door? I was accosted by many of the crew? No, it wasn’t women. (laughing) Ask Tom. He’ll tell you. I don’t want to get into it here behind the Golden EIB Microphone. Just a bunch of guys came up to me and said, ‘You’ve caused us a lot of pain,’ and then a couple women did come in and shooed them. ‘Oh, you guys shut up. Come on.’ They were just people that had been watching the play. I have not lost my place here. But the idea that I’m doing what I’m doing to get my ego satisfied because these guys respond to me, is absurd. I don’t even have that as an objective. I don’t have that objective — and somebody like Matthew Dowd, who’s been working for Bush-Cheney, should know this. The objective here of this program and many on talk radio is simply to service the audience, to build the audience, to hold it. Attract as large as crowd as you can; hold onto it for as long as you can so as to charge confiscatory advertising rates to business. You couple that with honesty, principled expression of ideas — and the whole concept of keeping people informed, educated, engaged, and have that number of people grow and have them participate in the political process.

I think it’s the people who make the country work, not these guys. These guys are our obstacles. I don’t care who they are. We have to get past these guys when they want to raise taxes, when they want to put up regulations on our business, when they want to talk about the Fairness Doctrine on talk radio. We have to work past these guys. To say that we’re trying to curry ego favor is absurd. But, you know, it may be that that’s what the McCain camp thinks (McCain impression). ‘Yeah, and I’m not going to respond that way. It’s not going to happen, Limbaugh! You and me act like I care about you? You’re the peon, Limbaugh! I’m the big guy.’ If that’s what they’re thinking in the campaign… They may be. Who knows? (sigh)

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, H.R. made a good point here during the break, trusty aide-de-camp chief of staff. Said, ‘You know, these idiots like Matthew Dowd,’ who, by the way, just so you — Matthew Dowd split with the president about a year, year-and-a-half ago and came out in the New York Times with that vicious piece, how Bush is not the man I once thought he was, is not the man that I knew, and is all wrong in the war in Iraq and so forth. He’s become a big moderate lib Republican. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s the guy that says the only thing wrong with Limbaugh is that McCain’s not answering to me. Folks, I have to tell you, H.R. made a good point. He said, ‘People ought to see your face when I tell you congressman A or senator B is on the phone. You grimace, you roll your eyes.’ I do. He comes in here, or I get an e-mail, such-and-such congressman B wants to… oh, no. That’s the last thing that I want to do, especially when they want to get on the program. We all tell ’em no. So it’s cockeyed.

People have been waiting on the phones. Up next on the sound bites, in fact, let’s get sound bite number 11, and this will wrap up the media tour of me last night. This is Hardball with Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough is on, and Matthews says, ‘Rush Limbaugh today hitting McCain, said he’s not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment. And that distinction is key. Why is that key, Joe?’

SCARBOROUGH: Well, it’s key because the Republican establishment supported Gerald Ford in 1976. The Republican establishment supported Bob Dole in 1996. The Republican establishment can support whoever they want to support, but unless you have the conservative movement behind the candidate, that candidate always loses.

RUSH: Amen. Amen. Scarborough knows it, backs it up with facts. This is why these pundits are saying McCain’s going to eventually have to move right. If he has to move right, where is he in the first place? But he’s still continuing to move left. Go back in the sound bite roster, number five. This kind of flew by. You might have missed this because it’s pretty short, 16 seconds. Kelly O’Donnell on Hardball last night telling Matthews about a conversation she had with Senator McCain about me.

O’DONNELL: I asked him about Rush Limbaugh. He did not use Rush’s name, but said the party has to unite and people have to come to terms with that to have any hope in November. He said he acknowledged that Democrats have higher favorability on issues. Those were his words.

RUSH: Democrats have higher favorability ratings on issues. Now, you might say, what does that mean? Well, to me it means that Senator McCain is interested in pleasing people who give Democrats higher approval or favorability ratings on issues. After all, it’s about getting elected, and with Senator McCain we know it’s not about being conservative or appealing to conservatives, despite the fact these people say that he’s going to. If you go out and if you want to get elected and you see the Democrats get higher favorability ratings on certain issues, and if you’re John McCain, I’m sure it’s pretty tempting for you to adopt positions similar to Democrats so that the favorability Democrats have will also extend to you, Senator McCain.

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