RUSH: We have a montage. Democrats are trying to re-create Operation Chaos in Michigan, and the media loves this one. They didn’t like the original Operation Chaos, but they looove this one.
ANDREA MITCHELL: … a plan by some Democrats in Michigan to create chaos in tomorrow’s Republican primary.
ERIN BURNETT: Are the Democrats kneeling at the altar of Rush Limbaugh?
SGT. SCHULTZ: Does Rick Santorum have some sort of an Operation Chaos of his own going on in Michigan?
JAMES CARVILLE: Rush Limbaugh had an Operation Chaos.
SEAN HANNITY: Democrats are trying their own paradigm of Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos.
LARRY O’DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh was advocating vote for Hillary Clinton as long as possible.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Rush Limbaugh talked about Operation Chaos in 2008. It’s not unheard of before that people have thought along these lines.
BRIAN KILMEADE: Rush Limbaugh said that with the Hillary campaign.
STEVE DOOCY: Operation Chaos.
RUSH: Operation Chaos. And of course, as I say, the Democrats looove this one. Let’s get started some of the robo-calls. This is a Democrat robo-call starting their own Operation Chaos push to embarrass Romney.
MAN: Next Tuesday Democrats will have the opportunity to vote in Michigan’s open primary. All we have to do is ask for a Republican primary election ballot. Democrats, to help embarrass Mitt Romney and expose him as the weak front-runner that he is, by supporting Rick Santorum on Tuesday. Please press 1 if you are committed to voting for Rick Santorum in next week’s GOP primary. Please do not waste your vote on Ron Paul. Rick Santorum on Tuesday, February 28.
RUSH: (laughing) Yes! Those are the Democrats: “Please don’t waste your vote on Ron Paul.” So the Democrats, that’s a robo-call from the Democrats to other Democrats in Michigan urging them: Hey, it’s an open primary. Go ahead, cross over, vote for Santorum. But do not waste your vote on Ron Paul.
RUSH: Now, I am told… We don’t have it on the sound bite roster. Maybe it’s not in this campaign. I know that Romney has run his own ad. It’s either an ad or a phone call. Snerdley, you might know. Either you watch the ad or you answer your phone, and it is a tape of Santorum endorsing Romney in 2008. Now, we know Romney’s running that. I just don’t know if it’s a robo-call. I can’t recall. But I know that it’s an ad, at least. Maybe a call. So let’s look at the timeline here. Romney is running robo-calls of Santorum endorsement from 2008, which was clever. That’s a very clever move. In fact, I think all of this is very clever. None of this bothers me, just so you know.
I think it’s all very clever, especially… Well, I don’t want say “especially,” because I’m giving away a preference when I do that. Romney runs robo-calls of Santorum’s endorsement from 2008. Now, Santorum is running robo-calls encouraging Democrats who support him to vote for him! My guess is that Romney never dreamed any of this would work. Remember the Republican grand pooh-bahs all thought this was gonna be over by now. You have to put yourself in their heads, in their shoes. And they’re discombobulated right now. This was supposed to be… (interruption) It was a robo-call. I knew it was a robo-call and it ran over the weekend. That’s right. Even when I’m unsure, I’m right. Even when I think I’m wrong, I’m right.
But I don’t think Romney ever dreamed any of this would ever work, is the thing. I don’t think so. If you ask me, 90% of you never thought Santorum would be here where he is. To 90% of all of us, Santorum was never going to be anything but a fringe candidate. None of us accountable for this. The Republicans, combined with their disbelief, are scared. This is the last thing they thought would happen. Of all the candidates, including Ron Paul, I would submit to you Santorum is the last guy they ever even gave a second look to. Santorum probably the last guy they ever considered in any remote way seriously. And now look. So they’re flipped inside out. They’re totally confused. And Romney…
And who could blame him? Romney never dreamed any of this would be happening. So now in Michigan, Romney’s home state, the polls show it as tight as can be, depending on the poll, there’s a tie or Romney’s up five or Santorum’s up seven or wherever. It’s tight as it can be. So Romney, for the first time in the entire process, is crying about dirty tricks. A lot of people, like Newt and Rudy and Fred Thompson from 2008, are probably chuckling privately to themselves, because they’ve all been victimized by the tough campaigning that Romney is famous for. But let’s face it, folks, by all that’s reasonable, by all that’s logical, Santorum shouldn’t be anywhere near where he is, much less in Michigan. Santorum shouldn’t even be within striking distance in Michigan, but he is.
And he could win it there. He could pull it off. For all this talk about Santorum being scary, myopic, out of touch, and an oddball and a kook and a nerd and whatever else, he’s tied with Romney in Romney’s third home state. Despite being outspent by millions. And, of course, he’s the subject of an unrelenting negative TV campaign. I don’t think anybody… I don’t think there is anybody outside of Santorum who predicted where we are today. You know it and I know it. So a lot of people are gonna be discombobulated here and out of sorts trying to explain it, react to it, account for it and deal with it. Continuing on now. This is the Santorum robo-call, throwing in with Democrat Operation Chaos in Michigan.
MAN: Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president. This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.
RUSH: I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Why in the world is this happening to us? Ah, Rush, why did you let this happen? You have to know we’ve got Democrats and robo-calls throwing in with Santorum, and, Rush, admit it: You know why they’re doing it! It’s ’cause they know Santorum can’t possibly win. There is no way Santorum could beat Obama. Democrats know it and they can taste it and they’re excited about it. So the Democrats are throwing in, they’ve got their own Operation Chaos, and they are happy that Santorum has joined ’em. Santorum’s got his own robo-call. Santorum is also asking Democrats.” You hear this? Listen to this again. Play audio sound bite number three. Remember, now, you answer your phone, and this is a Democrat Party phone call. It’s a Santorum robo-call throwing in with the Democrats and their own Operation Chaos in Michigan.
Listen how Romney’s described here.
MAN: Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president. This call…
RUSH: All right, stop the tape. Stop. “Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney.” Here we are in Michigan. This is a state Romney’s born in. “Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney. … This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women.” Now, just to remind you again: I know how you feel, particularly those of you who are major Romney supporters. You are throwing things at your radio, you are shouting at me, you’re trying to get me to shut up. You’re calling in, you can’t wait for Snerdley to screen you. You want me to shut up! I’m destroying the party; the media was right yesterday, because Santorum cannot beat Obama. Santorum cannot beat Obama.
How many of you thought Santorum would be where he is today? So, after all of that, Santorum can’t beat Obama. What if Romney can’t beat Santorum? “Mr. Limbaugh, that’s a good question for your audience, but let me tell you the answer…” Mr. New Castrati wants to weigh in here, and I know what you all are thinking: “Romney can beat Obama! Romney… Romney is not himself! Romney’s being distorted who he really is. Romney’s a guy that can beat Obama. Romney is Mr. Smooth, he’s Mr. Slick, he’s the good-looking guy. He’s got everything down pat as far as what you have to be on television. He sounds smart, he is smart, he’s quick thinking.
“But this Republican nominating base is so fringe right and so oriented toward the social issues that nobody but a priest could win this thing! If Romney could get past this, I know you Romney supporters are thinking, “there’s no way that he could lose to Obama, or at least he’d have the best chance of beating Obama.” I know that’s what you’re thinking. I still have to ask the question: If he can’t beat Santorum, where is it written that he’s electable automatically over Obama? Or is that an unfair question? Or is it a question of apples and oranges? I don’t know. You tell me. All I know is that not even I — the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-feeling, all-everything Maha Rushie — not even I, as recently as December, would have told you that Santorum would be the lone-surviving opposition to Romney and the Republican primary. Not even I. And certainly not six months ago. Nobody predicted this.
Zilch, zero, nada.
RUSH: Last night on Hannity, Hannity interviewed Santorum, said, “You did support Romney in 2008. You said he was a conservative. You endorsed him. And Romney has played that endorsement in his robo-calls. Is that one of those moments you regret, Mr. Santorum, or do you look at it as the circumstances? What’s changed from your endorsement of Romney four years ago?”
SANTORUM: Romneycare wasn’t — and none of the issues of health care were an issue four years ago — but it’s the central issue in this race, Obamacare, which was born from Romneycare. Unfortunately, Governor Romney’s a good man. I have nothing negative to say about Governor Romney as a person. The bottom line is, because of his record in Massachusetts on health care, he is uniquely unqualified to take on Barack Obama on a bill that’s identical to the bill he supported, and to say I’m against it only because it’s a federal program instead of a state program is not the best way to make the case that government-run health care is a bad idea.
RUSH: And of course the pull-quote from that sound bite is, “Romney uniquely unqualified against Obama.” I’m just telling you there’s not a single person outside of Santorum, and maybe not even him, who thought he would be where he is today, and certainly nobody in the Romney camp did. They should have taken Santorum out when they were taking Newt out, taking Perry out, taken Bachmann out, shoulda taken ’em all out. Santorum was there to fill up the end of the row, to provide balance on the row of the candidates. They were probably thinking Ron Paul had a better shot at this than did Santorum. So Hannity said, “Governor Romney said it was a low moment in the campaign, your robo-call urging Democrats to vote for you. That’s a low moment in the campaign. I figured I’d give you a chance to respond to it.”
SANTORUM: You mean when he runs a robo-call of my voice from four years ago saying good things about him, that’s not a low moment? And when I run a call basically calling Democrats who are eligible to vote here to vote for us, encouraging people to come and vote for us because — and we talk about our manufacturing plan and what we’re gonna do to create jobs? It’s a very positive robo-call talking about, you know, what we’re doing to create jobs here in Michigan. Of course, it’s interesting he criticized me for attracting Democrats because one of the things that Governor Romney and his people say is, oh, he can’t attract Democrats.
RUSH: That is an interesting point. I realize I’m in a no-win situation for you Romney supporters. You’re probably livid at me right now, but I’m just following the news. I have no agenda here, and you know that when it comes to primaries, 23 years here, I have no agenda. But I’m always gonna tell you what I honestly think, and I think Santorum has made an interesting point here. We’re told, are we not, that we can’t win without independents. We’re told about the Reagan Democrats Obama has abandoned. Those are white working-family Democrats, Obama is not even going to campaign for their votes. Here is Santorum making a pitch for voters outside the Republican base, and he’s being creamed for it, when the establishment says that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do to win. The establishment ought to be planting kisses all over Santorum’s face.
Santorum’s executing the policies they think that the Republican Party must do in order to win. We got to attract some Democrats. We got to attract some moderates. We got to attract some independents. We gotta go out there and we gotta get those Reagan Democrats. We just can’t win with the Republican base. And who’s doing it? Santorum’s out there making a pitch for ’em. But he’s despised and hated for it because he’s bringing Democrats into the Republican primary. I think it’s an interesting strategery that is taking place.
RUSH: I realize that I am approaching persona non grata status to many of you who are Mitt Romney supporters. I understand completely. However, I would be remiss if I ignored or overlooked what is happening. I have basically played sound bites today and have commented on where we are in the Republican primary. If you’re just joining us, if you’re a welfare recipient just getting out of bed (or one of the 49% of Americans that don’t pay income taxes that are just getting out of bed), essentially we have the Michigan and Arizona primaries today. And in Michigan, the Republican Party, safe to say, has been thrown many loops and is 180 degrees out of faze. This is not at all what was supposed to have happened.
In fact, this primary, in their wildest dreams (their hopes and dreams) was to be over by now, with Romney as the nominee and not a wasted dollar spent at this stage in primaries. Save it all for the general election. It just hasn’t worked out that way. And furthermore, the candidate who still survives — of all of them — tied with Romney in his third home state of Michigan, is the last guy any of us thought would be anywhere close to standing at the finish. And that is Rick Santorum. I also would hazard a safe bet that the last thing that anybody thought on the Republican side was that social issues would become so prominent during the Republican primary process.
And they would not have, were it not for Obama. They would not have were it not for the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party opened it up. The Democrat Party, Barack Obama, are the ones assaulting religious liberty and freedom. Whether people see it that way or not is not my problem. That is what’s happening. And this whole part about contraception and abortifacients and all this is totally in the public arena now because it was thrown there by the Democrats. So where we are now is we’re in Michigan, and there have been robo-calls run, and there’s an Operation Chaos. In fact, there are two Operation Chaos events taking place.
Santorum is running his own calls, robo-calls, to Democrat voters in Michigan urging them to come out today and vote for him. The Democrat Party in Michigan is running its own robo-calls, urging its registered voters to show up today — it’s an open primary — and vote for Santorum. Their phone call says, “Please don’t waste your vote on Ron Paul.” This has led Romney to say this is the lowest of the low in politics, these kind of robo-calls and so forth, which has resulted in people pointing out, “Well, wait. You ran robo-calls of Santorum endorsing you in 2008.” In fact, here. Grab audio sound bite 29. Santorum in 2008 was on Laura Ingraham’s show, and she asked him what he was thinking vis-a-vis the 2008 Republican primary. This is what he said:
SANTORUM: If you’re a conservative, there really is only one place to go right now. I would even argue farther than that. If you’re a Republican — if you’re a Republican in the broadest sense — there is only one place to go right now, and that’s Mitt Romney.
RUSH: That’s Santorum four years ago, and Romney’s been playing that in robo-calls over the weekend in Michigan and so forth. That’s very clever. As I said in the first hour: It’s a very effective ploy. But Santorum has answered it, and his answer has everybody all ticked off. And the reason they’re ticked off is because the Republicans listened to Santorum asking Democrats to cross over and vote for him in his own version of Operation Chaos. Now, as you know, I am the architect of the original Operation Chaos — which was Republicans crossing over in remaining Democrat primary states to vote for Hillary. And the reasons were…
Well, there were primarily two of them. “Keep that thing going.” The Republican primary had already wrapped up. McCain had won it. I had to find a way to keep this audience, to keep you interested in the Democrat side. Because, frankly, the Democrats and what their daily machinations are aren’t that compelling. But we had to keep interest in it alive for the sake of the show and for the fun of it and all that. The second more important reason was that nobody was vetting Obama. Nobody was talking about Reverend Wright. Nobody was talking about Bill Ayers. Nobody was asking all the questions that are asked of Republican candidates. This guy was being portrayed as The Messiah!
“Never before have we seen a candidate like this!”
And I thought the longer the campaign went on, Mrs. Clinton had the guts to go after the guy. The Clintons, after all, are who we’re talking about here. I thought those two things needed to happen. Now, back then that was roundly criticized by the Democrats as making a mockery of our precious and sacred electoral process. Remember that? “How could I! That’s a cheap radio trick.” I wasn’t really a political thinker. I was just a radio showman, just a radio entertainer, and I was willing to destroy the American political process all for the sake of ratings and so forth. But now? Now the Democrats are doing their own two versions of Operation Chaos, both happening in Michigan.
During the campaign, Romney supporters — Romney himself, the Republican establishment — have all said that the reason Romney is our guy is that he’s electablable. He’s the guy that can beat Obama, and for all the obvious reasons. He’s got the best hair. He’s got the best voice. He’s got the best physique. He just looks great on TV. He’s smooth talking. He sounds smart, is smart. All the things we need to counter the image of Republicans we’ve had with dumb-sounding cowboys, deer-in-the-headlight eyes, vice presidents. All that stuff the Republican base is fed up with. The Republican Party was fed up with nominees that sounded and looked stupid.
And, furthermore, the piece de resistance: Romney was gonna be able to get the votes the independents. And only Romney could do that, and only Romney could thus beat Obama. Romney was the only guy that was electable, and that was the offer sheet, if you will. That’s what we were given. That’s what we were told. That’s why Romney was the guy. And the establishment set out to basically end this before it began. Now, here we are in Michigan, I just want to point out: Who is it that is trying to attract Reagan Democrats and independents today? Santorum.
Santorum is doing — attempting to do — today what the Republican base says must be done in order to win. Now, I apologize profusely for noticing that. I apologize again for pointing it out. But it’s not the kind of thing I can just sit on when I notice it.
RUSH: There is one other factor here in Michigan, and I mentioned it last week. I forgot it ’til I was just reminded of it, and that is Newt pulling out. Newt not contesting. Newt knew what was gonna happen. Newt theorized that his support, what little of it there was, would go to Santorum. Because Newt’s supporters are also made up of the not-Romney group. That is a factor that cannot be ignored also in what is happening. We can argue about whether Newt did this on purpose or not. Some people think, naw, Newt’s not out helping Santorum. Newt’s positioning himself for Newt, which would make sense if Newt still wants to win this thing. But still, regardless of motivation, it’s a factor.