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HANNITY INTRO: Rush Limbaugh has been the focus of the political world in recent months. He has been viciously attacked by the left and even criticized by so-called members of the Republican Party, like Colin Powell. I sat down with Rush earlier today to get his thoughts on all the criticism that he has faced and his reaction to Obama’s “Muslim nation” comment and also his thoughts on the country’s turn toward socialism. Here is Part One of my exclusive interview with nationally syndicated radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.


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HANNITY: Rush, great to see you.

RUSH: Great to see you, Sean. Welcome to paradise.

HANNITY: It is paradise. You look great! What…? I was last here in February.

RUSH: Right. I weighed 290 in February, and it was fun, believe me. It was fun getting there. (laughing)

HANNITY: (laughing)

RUSH: It really was. But it got to be too much, so I’ve lost 58 pounds now, and I’m at 232. So I figure 32 more to go. I want to look like you.

HANNITY: (laughing) You want…?

RUSH: Yeah.

HANNITY: I work out a lot like your brother.

RUSH: I don’t work out at all. I play golf, and that’s it.

HANNITY: Listen, you’ve been commenting a lot on your show about “state-run media.” You actually used the phrase, “I have become an American piata.”

RUSH: Yeah.

HANNITY: “The new game in the Beltway is the ‘Bash Rush.'” You’re in the news almost every day. What’s going on?

RUSH: Well, I think it’s primarily because the Republican Party or the — let’s say, whatever, that the opposition to Obama has not surfaced politically in Washington. So it’s us. You know, those of us who are consistent on the radio and on television criticizing him, we become the focus. For whatever reason, the Republican Party at any level has chosen not to take Obama on and has chosen not to try to attach him to any of the disastrous things that he’s doing. I do. And, of course, liberals need a villain; they need a demon. They can’t win a debate in the arena of ideas. They need a demon, and they need somebody to demonize, and I’m it, and I’m happy to be it.

HANNITY: Apparently, it was even focus grouped and it was polled by Greenberg and Carville and the rest of these guys.

RUSH: You know what? Here’s the way I look at that. I’m a guy on the radio. I can’t raise anybody’s taxes; I can’t send anybody’s kids off to war. I can’t take over General Motors. I can’t do anything. I can’t exert control over one other person’s life. I can’t. And yet they’re polling me!

HANNITY: (chuckling)

RUSH: I take this as a major career achievement. They are polling me as though I am a legitimate political figure seeking office. So the result of the poll, whatever the approval number is, is irrelevant to me.

HANNITY: Your ratings have never been higher.

RUSH: No, they haven’t. And —

HANNITY: Congrats.

RUSH: Nor… You know, we’re not having a recession on our business side, either.

HANNITY: I agree.

RUSH: So they can do all they want to try to make me this demon and villain, but to me it’s a major career achievement to be polled as though I’m a political figure that can change people’s lives, with power. I mean, I can change their lives with inspiration or influence, but I have no power over anybody.

HANNITY: All right. So last time I’m here, I asked you this question that ended up, people talked about it for how many months, and the question was: “Obama’s and your views, they are the antithesis.” And I said, “All right. So do you want him to succeed?” You gave a very long answer that got reduced to, “Rush wants Obama to fail.”

RUSH: Right.

HANNITY: Which wasn’t what you said.

RUSH: Well, in a sense it was. It was. I mean, I don’t hide from it. I do want and I still want Obama to fail. Let me try it this way. And I’ve seen your interviews with that great guy from the UK, what’s his name?

HANNITY: (Daniel) Hannan.

RUSH: Right. And all these other people and the Republicans are saying, “Well, that’s a horrible thing. We don’t want the president of the United States to fail! Why, we want our president to succeed.” Okay, you want him to succeed. Does that mean you want Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court? Does that mean you want the government running the mortgage business in America, having control over most of the banking system? Do you want the government making automobiles that nobody wants to buy? Because that’s Obama succeeding. If you want the president, Barack Obama, to succeed, then you want the government taking over more and more of the average daily life of the American people? I don’t want that. I define America succeeding by virtue of Obama failing. I love America. I want everybody to succeed. He’s making it harder for that to happen — particularly, Sean, the middle class. We can talk about what he plans to do to the rich or people that make 250 grand or more. But he’s closing off the American dream to people. It’s the middle class in this country that historically has made this the greatest country on earth because of their pursuit of the American dream, however they define it. It’s their pursuit of excellence, trying to be the best they can be, working hard, and to move themselves up the economic ladder. He’s just shut that off.

HANNITY: But it’s interesting here. But you were very clear. You had said if he adds Reagan to FDR —

RUSH: Right.

HANNITY: — and to Lincoln. A lot of context and texture now has evolved, a lot of the things you’re saying.

RUSH: Right.

HANNITY: He’s apologizing for America’s arrogance. He’s taking over car companies.

RUSH: Right.

HANNITY: They want to dictate CEO pay. All of these things have been unfolding.

RUSH: Right!

HANNITY: Socialism is America, the Obama vision for America.

RUSH: And fascism. We must not be afraid to use that word, either. It’s a combination of the two. No, I don’t back away from anything I’ve said about President Obama and his policies and his plans. I don’t know him personally. I don’t wish him ill as a human being. But he’s my president. He’s all of our president. His ideas and his policies matter. I can’t remember who said this, but, you know, this is something that I thought long and hard about repeating in this interview with you. “If Al-Qaeda wants to demolish the America we know and love, they better hurry because Obama is beating them to it.” He wants to impose his values on America. He’s running around apologizing for the country. Sean, I’m telling you, this guy has grown up, he was taught that there is something inherently immoral and unjust about America — and now that he leads it, he thinks it’s great. Finally, America is moral. Finally, America is just, and it’s his duty to run around the world and apologize. Because he thinks… He’s been taught that everybody around the world hates us and doesn’t like us to the degree that he doesn’t like the country the way it was constituted.

HANNITY: Well, he said, when he went to France, that’s when he first use the term America is “arrogant.” He goes to Prague, talks about a vision of a world without nuclear weapons. The morning after, hours after North Korea fires a missile over Japan, Chavez, Ortega sits through a 55-minute —

RUSH: Okay, stop right there. Two things.

HANNITY: Okay. (chuckles)

RUSH: Two things. First the nuke business.

HANNITY: Yeah.

RUSH: It’s okay for Iran to have nuclear power. It’s okay for the North Koreans to have nuclear power, as long as neither nation makes a bomb out of it, right? What are we doing? We’re going windmills?

HANNITY: (laughing)

RUSH: We’re going solar power? We’re going to build little lawn mowers with two seats on them that nobody wants to drive, at his direction? We’re letting the rest of the world go nuclear and we can’t because of a single movie, The China Syndrome? Hugo Chavez. You don’t know this today because you got in late last night and you’ve had to prepare for this interview. Hugo Chavez, a story just broke this morning, made a joke. He said, “Fidel Castro and I, if we’re not careful, are going to end up to the right of Obama.” This guy has nationalized General Motors. I mean Hugo Chavez is praising Obama as being further left than he, Chavez is! Now, there’s a running competition. You could keep a chart here of who’s nationalizing more, Obama or Chavez. Now, you could say Chavez has nationalized more businesses, but the ones that Obama is in the process of taking over are probably worth more.

HANNITY: Right.

RUSH: So it’s probably neck and neck.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

HANNITY: You’ve been in the middle of this running dialogue, let’s say, with Colin Powell. And he’s saying, “No. Rush isn’t going to get his way.” Now, I thought that the Republicans had their moderate candidate in the last election. Conservatives didn’t win the nomination. It was John McCain, who was a moderate, who Colin Powell said he liked. And now Colin Powell’s mad at you. Colin Powell voted for Obama.

RUSH: Yeah. This is something that somebody smarter than I am is going to have to explain to me. How is it that all of these quasi-conservatives and Republicans are running around saying, “Oh, my gosh! We’ve gotta keep Colin Powell in our party”? Would somebody tell me what Colin Powell has done for the party? Name an issue that he has championed for the Republican Party. I can’t think of one. Name anything Obama is doing that Colin Powell has disagreed with. I can’t think of one. You’re right. Colin Powell endorsed Obama, strategically at a point in the campaign to destroy the McCain campaign. He endorsed Obama. Why in the world do we need somebody who lovingly voted Democrat, endorsed the Democrat, after the Republican Party nominated the classically moderate candidate Colin Powell says this party needs to nominate? It goes, “Well, we’ve gotta get the Hispanic vote, Rush. That’s why we can’t be too harsh on Sotomayor.” Right. Well, we had a president and a presidential candidate author amnesty for illegals, and that didn’t get us the Hispanic vote, did it? So, pray tell, what in the world has Colin Powell ever done for the Republican Party that makes him so valuable?

HANNITY: How do you go…? My question for him is: How do you go from supporting Reagan, whose values are the antithesis of Obama’s — or even W — to supporting the socialism, the worldview of Barack Obama?

RUSH: Yeah. I have the answer. I have all the answers, and I’ll explain them to you.

HANNITY: Okay. (chuckling) That’s why we’re asking the questions. Go ahead.

RUSH: (laughing) Colin Powell, I think, is trying to — and he succeeded now — re-ingratiate himself with the Washington-New York establishment. I think two things were a factor in his endorsement of Obama. First one is race, clearly. Nobody has the guts to say that, but I mean, what else could it be? Because we just discussed, the ideal moderate Republican candidate was nominated, and Powell is off the reservation supporting Obama. So race is clearly a factor. But also, and very close to this, I think Powell is humiliated over the fact he was sent to the United Nations to make the case for weapons of mass destruction and then none were found. And I think he’s profoundly embarrassed about that, and his life since has been about rehabilitating himself and his image with the people who hated the Iraq war, who mock Bush on weapons of mass destruction. So this is about a legacy. This is about Powell trying to rehab himself with the people that matter both to him: the DC establishment. So those are the two explanations. It’s not about issues.

HANNITY: Sotomayor, about her — and we all know the quote about what she said about Latina women, “with the richness of their experience, would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male.” You said those comments “absolutely disqualify her.” And it made a lot of news, quote, “reverse racism,” because you said that’s reverse racism. I wanted you to expound on that.

RUSH: Well, you know, I got a little grief from people for saying that there’s no such thing as “reverse racism,” just call her a “racist” — and they’re right. This is a racist thing to say, and it’s bigoted; and she would bring, no question about it, racism and bigotry to the court if she is confirmed. But, Sean, I’ve been thinking about this, and there’s something else going on with Sonia Sotomayor. We don’t know what she thinks about Roe v. Wade. She hasn’t said. Now, we know that she’s Catholic. We know that she’s Puerto Rican, Hispanic Catholic. They tend to be devout. She has no record; she hasn’t said much about it. If — now, I’m speaking for me personally — if I learned, if I could be assured that she is actually a pro-life person and does think that Roe v. Wade is bad constitutional law, and if she would rule on the right side of the life issue, I might look past this racism. You can deal with that. But that’s something very, very important to me, and she could be stealth in that regard. And I know that… Well, there’s no record. Normally most liberals, they love to tell you how pro-choice they are on abortion. She doesn’t have any of that.

HANNITY: She is the reflection of Obama’s racial identity.

RUSH: Absolutely. I think Obama wants his mirror image on the court. He wants a radical on the court. Obama talks about the Constitution in terms of he’s constrained by it. In numerous speeches he said, “Al-Qaeda is not constrained by the Constitution.” He has referred to the Constitution as “a charter of negative rights.” Now, when you and I hear that, “What? How in the world can the Constitution be negative?” To him, the Constitution doesn’t spell out what government can do. The Constitution limits government. He doesn’t like that. I think he wants — and he’s said on many occasions that the court needs to take more. It hasn’t done enough on redistribution. It needs to use empathy and the law. He wants people on the court who will make policy. That’s why I think the hearings on Sotomayor ought to be full bore — whether she gets confirmed or not, full bore. Find out who she is, all about her, because we’ll learn and be able to inform the American people who Obama is. That’s key.

HANNITY: But it is interesting because that term — “racist,” “racial” — is radioactive. But Chuck Schumer said, he made the comment that you do so “at your own peril” if you go after Judge Sotomayor. And I found that comment pretty interesting, ’cause I’m thinking, “Well, that didn’t stop you and your fellow Democrats from going after Miguel Estrada.”

RUSH: Right.

HANNITY: Remember the he’s-a-Latino memo. Or Clarence Thomas or even Alberto Gonzales.

RUSH: Well, see, that’s another thing. They tell us, “Go easy on her because Republicans….” Our own people said, “We gotta go easy on her because we want the Hispanic vote.” Really? The left went after Clarence Thomas, tried to destroy him. Did they lose black votes? No. They went after Estrada, all the Hispanics you mentioned. Did they lose the Hispanic vote? No. They’re just trying to shut us up. A racist is a racist!

HANNITY: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: You know, they may think, Sean, it’s too shrill to say. They may wish I would tone it down. But nobody has refuted the charge. Nobody has said, “No, she’s not a racist.” In fact, the White House has said, “If she could do it again, she’d say it differently.” So they want a do-over. With Obama saying that —

HANNITY: Would you give a do-over?

RUSH: No. None of us get a do-over.

HANNITY: Never.

RUSH: No.

HANNITY: Did Frank Ricci get a do-over?

RUSH: No. That’s the point. She’d bring racism and bigotry to the court. There’s no other way to describe it.

END PART ONE TRANSCRIPT

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