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JAMIE GANGEL: You raised it on your show before (air quotes) “the critics” could raise it. You resigned from ESPN because of the comment about Donovan McNabb.

RUSH: Ah! It was a “comment” about the media.

JAMIE GANGEL: A comment about the media, about Donovan McNabb. This…

RUSH: Look. See, a lot of people ask, “Don’t you just you want to apologize?” No. I said exactly what I meant, and if you want me to, I’ll say it again. Let me paint the picture here for you. In the production meeting the day before, I hear what everybody is going to discuss. They’re all wringing their hands, “What’s wrong with McNabb?” And I said, “Guys, I don’t think that much is wrong. He’s just a little overrated. The defense has held the team together. I think McNabb is benefiting a little bit because of social consciousness in the media. The league wants black quarterbacks to do well.” Bam! I do believe that there is a lot of social consciousness racism in the media, sports media especially.


RUSH: I think they’re obsessed with it. And so I simply made that comment, but it was not critical of McNabb because he’s black. Remember the production meetings: “What’s wrong with McNabb?” I’m sitting there thinking, “He’s not as good as you guys are making him out to be.” That was the point of my comment.

JAMIE GANGEL: You love football.

RUSH: Yeah.

JAMIE GANGEL: I assume you loved that job. If you had it to do over again, would you not have said that comment because —

RUSH: No. See, you can’t live that way.



JAMIE GANGEL: It has been announced that you will be a judge in the Miss America Pageant.

RUSH: Isn’t that a shock?

JAMIE GANGEL: Why are…? (laughing)

RUSH: A noted conservative sexist asked to come out and judge fifty-three women to see who is Miss America? Why, the world may stop spinning over this!

JAMIE GANGEL: Why are you doing this?

RUSH: Well, I grew up watching this pageant. The last thing I ever thought I would ever be is at it. They asked me to do it. I thought about it. You know it’s a huge work commitment? They sent me the week-long itinerary from last year. The first free night is Thursday night.

JAMIE GANGEL: Heavy lifting. (laughing)

RUSH: (laughing)Yeah, yeah, yeah. And people said, “This is going to be hilarious! You judging the evening gown competition?” But it sounds to me like it’s going to be fun. You know, I’ve got myself in a really great place in life that few people ever get to, and it’s another example of how blessed I am. I don’t have to do very much anything I don’t want to do anymore. Do you realize how many people will never be able to say that?


RUSH: I can do it if I want to, and I chose to. I just got a wild hare. I thought about it for two or three days and said, “You know what? I’m going to do it,” and I know part of the fun of it is going to be it’s on the heel of the news that came out about the football team, the Rams deal that I’m in. Then this hits. These critics of yours that you have mentioned, they’re just going to go nuts because this is the kind of stuff they have been trying to make sure didn’t happen to me! All this stuff is “the mainstreaming of Rush Limbaugh” from off this far-right-wing fringe they’ve tried to put me in. Here I am. I just keep tiptoeing into the mainstream, and it just irritates them, and I go, (arm pump) “Yeah!”

JAMIE GANGEL: (laugh) Considering you are rather famous for mocking feminists, the word ‘feminazi’ —

RUSH: Mmm-hmm.

JAMIE GANGEL: — comes to mind. I have to ask: Will you be a fair judge? Could…?

RUSH: (laughing)

JAMIE GANGEL: Would you vote for a liberal Miss America?

RUSH: If that’s the way it comes down. The ideology of these people… I don’t know. I’ve never done this, so I don’t know if you learn much about that until we get to it. They’re all going to say they want world peace, and they’re all going to say they want an end to pestilence and so forth or something. I mean, that’s —

JAMIE GANGEL: But you saw what happened last year with the gay marriage question.

RUSH: Yeah, but that was the Miss USA Pageant. That’s not Miss America.

JAMIE GANGEL: You don’t think you’re going to…?

RUSH: No, I’m not going to penalize somebody that does not agree with me. This is not the Miss America “Conservative” Pageant.

JAMIE GANGEL: (laughing)

RUSH: It’s the Miss America Pageant.



RUSH: Our culture is very odd. It’s very forgiving of the worst… Look at this Letterman business.


RUSH: He gets applauded and laughed at, admitting…

JAMIE GANGEL: What did you think of that?

RUSH: What?

JAMIE GANGEL: What did you think of that?

RUSH: I look at it as a social commentator, and I just want to shake my head. I mean, it almost the… I’m thinking, “His wife is watching this.” He didn’t get around to apologizing to his wife, and to apologize to her on television? I mean, this was Oprah Winfrey show on steroids, and this is a comedy show. I thought, “He’s out there admitting that he had sex with interns.” I mean, you know, NBC, I’m sure, has a whole department that conducts annual seminars where employees are brought in and told, “This is what sexual harassment is and what it isn’t, and you can’t do it and so forth.” I’m thinking, “This is all being applauded?” So the culture is very permissive.


RUSH: There aren’t too many guardrails on the highway, so we’re free to drive off the road now and then. His ratings went up. So it tells you that people are more curious than ever about media personalities and their personal lives. If you look at Twitter, Facebook, MySpace — is that what it is? — The people, young people in this country particularly obsessed with fame. Everybody wants everybody else to know who they are and what they’re doing. They are willing to give up all of this privacy, and it’s 15 minutes of TV, and, man, people’s lives are made! Even if it’s just a shot of them sitting in an audience. You know, it’s interesting. I think it’s going to have some fallout as these people get older and their privacy is gone, and everybody knows everything about them, and the snoops that have no good intent with the information they learn are going to be stealing their identities or…


RUSH: It’s going to be a mess.



JAMIE GANGEL: Are you partially responsible for McCain getting shellacked?

RUSH: No. I wasn’t on the ballot. He’s responsible.

JAMIE GANGEL: You know what I mean.

RUSH: No. I — (crosstalk) No!

JAMIE GANGEL: By criticizing him did you keep…?

RUSH: Now, see? Now there are probably people in media you’d ask that question to and they’d say, “Oh yeah! It was all me. I want you to think I have that kind of power and I want you to think I use that kind of power.” I’m too big a realist. I couldn’t have helped McCain no matter how much I wanted to. I couldn’t hurt him more than he hurt himself. He’s trying right now to “remake” the Republican Party. “We need to go out,” he said, I saw him the other day, “and get candidates that are in my image.” (claps hands) Well, that’s great! Let’s go out and find some more people who know how to lose!

JAMIE GANGEL: (laughing)



JAMIE GANGEL: How much of what you say is about ideology and how much of it is about good business, that the more listeners you get the more your ratings go up?

RUSH: The two are inseparable. I mean, like I told you a moment ago: I’m not an actor. But let’s face it. You know, radio is showbiz. This rap that I’m “just an entertainer” is a way that critics of mine try to discredit me. You’ll note that nobody takes me on on my ideas. Nobody argues ideas. They always say, “God, look at what… Did you hear what he said? He’s this, he’s that, he’s outrageous, he’s bombastic” or whatever. Those are attempts to discredit me among people that don’t listen to me. But the media didn’t make me and they can’t break me. I mean, they’ve been trying the same plays from their same playbook for twenty-one years as you mentioned. But radio is showbiz. There’s a lot of noise out there. There’s a lot of competition. You have to cut through it. And I love tweaking people: “Talent on loan from God!” There are actually people who think I’m saying that I’m God! That is thanking God for blessing me with the talent I do have “on loan,” because someday I’m going to die. We are all going to die despite the Center for Science in the Public Interest trying to save us from leafy vegetables that contain poison. But we are all going to die. And so I simply take these elements of entertainment and seriousness and combine them. But if I were to walk in this room meeting you for the first time, I’d never say, “Hey, Rush Limbaugh here! Talent on loan from God! How are you?” I don’t do that.


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