RUSH: Let’s go, the audio sound bites, as promised. As you know, I don’t like opening the show with this stuff because there are things far more important than what was said about me on TV the night before. But here we go. First up is a montage revved up by what I said yesterday about Newt not really wanting to take Romney out like Perot wanted to take Bush out.
HUME: Rush Limbaugh today was down Gingrich’s smokestack on this, likening it, his attacks, to those coming from Occupy Wall Street.
MOLINARI: You have people like Rush Limbaugh who are attacking people like Newt.
YELLIN: Newt Gingrich came under attack by Rush Limbaugh.
ZELENY: There’s a lot of backlash today from Republicans, from Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: Rush Limbaugh went on the attack.
WILLIAMS: I’m quoting The Limbaugh, “Using the language of the left.”
HAYES: Zing. ThatÂ’s a tough criticism from Rush Limbaugh.
SCHMIDT: Rush Limbaugh condemned Newt Gingrich.
SMITH: Rush Limbaugh cut through all of it and about sliced him to pieces today.
STEIN: Rush Limbaugh, I mean, that is an amazing thing for Romney to get.
GEIST: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are driving Rush Limbaugh in the arms of Mitt Romney.
RUSH: That’s just a montage. That’s every network that you can think of. Here is Steve Schmidt specifically. Schmidt ran McCain’s campaign. Schmidt, once a week on these shows. Not even asked, just volunteers. I don’t change the way people vote. He points out that, you know, I didn’t want McCain in 2008 and we ended up with McCain. Limbaugh doesn’t change the way people vote. He was on MSNBC’s primary coverage last night for the New Hampshire primary, and Lawrence O’Donnell said, “There are decisions people make about how they will not make their money. I donÂ’t think Mitt RomneyÂ’s ever made a decision, based on what we know of his economic history so far that, ‘even though thatÂ’s legal I donÂ’t want to make my money that way.’ Evangelical Christians have things that they will not do for money that are legal, including casino involvement. So I do think that this something that is going to be a problem haunting Romney for the way he’s talking about the way he earned his money.”
SCHMIDT: The attacks on Mitt Romney are grotesque distortions of what his record is. It will be interesting to see, I think, in the next two contests whether the Republican candidates who are making that line of attack back off on it. There’s huge push-back in the party, huge push-back in the talk radio world. Rush Limbaugh condemned Newt Gingrich, condemned Rick Perry today. So it will be very interesting to see how this plays out in a contest that in a lot of ways fundamentally is shaped up as a litmus test as to what is and what is not conservative.
RUSH: Now, again, this is Schmidt who ran McCain’s campaign and is establishment in all the way for Romney. So now I’m a good guy, at least for last night. John Sununu, George H. W. Bush’s chief of staff from the first term. This was on Boston TV, WCVB, coverage of the New Hampshire primary, and one of the anchors said, “You’ve known Newt Gingrich for a very long time. What’s your message to Newt in light of the fact that he’s gonna go after Mitt Romney?”
SUNUNU: You know, I don’t have to say anything. Even Rush Limbaugh and the Club for Growth, they’re all chastising Newt Gingrich for being against free enterprise. Newt’s got a problem now, not Governor Romney. He’s not as bright as he thinks he is, and, frankly, it’s not the new Newt, it’s the old Newt all over again.
RUSH: You can see that in establishment Republican circles, they do not like Newt at all. And I’m telling you, it’s rooted in the fact that Newt is conservative. There are other reasons, but the fact that Newt’s conservative is one of the reasons there is such vitriol. This morning on The Daily Rundown, PMSNBC, F. Chuck Todd had a big panel out there, including former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton. F. Chuck Todd played the bite where I suggested that they rerun the ad and tag it with, “I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.” Because it was the same line of attack that Obama’s gonna take against Romney, and I said, “Newt, just put that on there.” And then F. Chuck said to Bill Burton and some of the others on the panel, “Is Rush right about this?”
BURTON: I’ll tell you what, I think that Mitt Romney’s vulnerable on this, but mostly because he has such a hard time explaining what it was he was doing when he was in private —
TODD: Newt Gingrich using the language you would approve of?
BURTON: I think he’s actually going after him in a way that is gonna be effective with conservatives, and if you look at the polls this is something that is resonant even with Republicans, which goes to show why it’s gonna be so resonant in the general election.
COSTA: Conservatives donÂ’t want a war on free enterprise. (crosstalk)
BURTON: Rush Limbaugh doesnÂ’t.
RUSH: See, people are mad at me, “What you did yesterday, I mean you’re giving the left all this ammo. The left is now quoting you.” Hey, I didn’t do this. I’m not the one running this line of attack. I’m not the one assaulting capitalism. I’m not the one using the language of the left.