RUSH: Here’s Susan in Atlanta. Great to have you. Glad you waited. You’re on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, mega dittos. You have a great audience, I’m impressed with them. My son and I also love your show. He’s a huge presidents guru, and we’ve been following the presidential election closely with my daughter. And we’re also very impressed with Romney’s campaign right now. We watched a clip of John Sununu on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, and she was trying to tie him to the birther group, Romney, because Trump is a donor. And Sununu told her he’s not a birther. Romney has acknowledged that Obama was born in the US and that the issues people care about are economy and jobs, and he really pushed back on that and focused on jobs and the economy.
RUSH: I didn’t see that bite but I read about it. And I wish I could remember Sununu’s quote because it was devastating. He just put Soledad O’Brien in her place. And I wish I could remember what he said. It was something along the lines of — and you saw it, maybe you can correct me — but it was something along the lines of: Do you ever have criticism that’s not the Democrat Party talking points or the Obama Administration talking points or some such thing like that.
CALLER: Exactly. Because she went on to another topic. She mentioned the birther, but she had a quote about how it came in with Trump and he said that was a talking point that came out of the Democrat Party yesterday. Do you always go by their talking points?
RUSH: Yeah, I remember. And so what you’re saying, you like the feistiness. You like the rapid response of the Romney team?
CALLER: Absolutely. With Romney standing in front of Solyndra, when Romney fired back about — who was it the other day that asked him about is Barack Obama a socialist or is he anti-capitalist. Romney basically said yes, because of all the regulations. And it’s just nice and refreshing to see Romney.
RUSH: I remember, Romney was being asked if he agreed with something I said about Obama. And, again, my memory is failing me. Yeah, I said Obama’s running the first anti-capitalist campaign as a president in our history. First president in my lifetime ever to run against capitalism. Romney was asked about it and he agreed with it. That’s what you heard. He didn’t throw Trump overboard.
RUSH: One of the points I made about Romney last week, which is a good one, is Trump gets on TV, gets snookered into talking about the birther issue on CNN. And that becomes the whole news narrative the next day. And then the media said to Romney: “You gotta get rid of this guy. You gotta get rid of Trump. And, by the way, you need to stand up to Limbaugh.” And McCain would have. McCain would have thrown Trump overboard, would have denounced him just because the Democrats and the media were demanding it.
Romney did not and that’s new. That is different. A lot of Republicans in the past, when the media would demand something like that, would easily throw a supporter overboard, but Romney didn’t. Now, that having been said, look, I’m not trying to throw cold water on things, but there are a couple of potential problems that I have learned about in recent days. And since the subject has come up, I’ll tell you about them when we get back.
RUSH: A little story here from the Washington Examiner. Byron York had this, ran on Sunday, headline: “In Tough Fight with Romney, Obama Longs for McCain — Obama told the audience at a Minneapolis restaurant called Bachelor Farmer,” one of his six fundraisers, where he got really close to Wisconsin, but he wouldn’t go to Wisconsin. Why doesn’t a man so universally loved and popular, we’re told Obama’s personal popularity is way, way up, why didn’t he go to Wisconsin? Bail out Tom Barrett. If Wisconsin’s got so much importance, which, by the way, they’re downplaying now. The Democrats, Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz: No, Wisconsin doesn’t mean anything to the presidential race. It’s a Wisconsin election. What are you talking about?
Six months ago it was the blueprint for the presidential race. Six months ago it was the presidential race in microcosm. But now that the polling data looks so bad, they’re running away from it. And Obama is so universally loved and so popular, why not go to Wisconsin, if he’s so loved he can help Barrett out. Go in there and campaign for the guy. Why didn’t he go and help Barrett like he helped Martha Coakley. Go in there and help Barrett like he helped, who was it who lost to Bob McConnell and who was it that lost to Chris Christie? Obama went and campaigned for all these guys. I guess that’s why he’s not going. Everybody he endorses loses. The same thing with Clinton, by the way.
So at this fundraiser in Minnesota. Obama said: “I mean, 2008 was a significant election, obviously. But John McCain believed in climate change. John believed in campaign finance reform. He believed in immigration reform. I mean, there were some areas where you saw some overlap.” But now Obama says things are different, and “we’re going to have as stark a contrast as we’ve seen in a very long time between the candidates.” So here’s Obama in a tough fight with Romney, longing for McCain. Now, what does that tell you? He wants a guaranteed loser. He wants a Republican that’s going to compromise his core beliefs and agree with Obama. He wants somebody who is going to cave. And he’s unhappy Romney is not caving.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am duty bound. I ran across this in show prep. I have to pass these two things along to you. They take us back to the primary, and they take us back to a lot of people’s concerns in the primary that Romney really isn’t conservative. Now, we don’t have to relive all of that. You know what I’m talking about. First item is from National Review Online: “Former Utah governor Michael Leavitt, who is leading the effort to be prepared for the White House transition should Mitt Romney win, is also a big fan of the state health-care exchanges in Obamacare — and doesnÂ’t want the GOP to eliminate the exchanges,” from Obamacare. “Leavitt has said some relatively positive things about certain elements of ObamaÂ’s health reform law, suggesting earlier this year that ‘Obamacare’ empowers the HHS secretary ‘to do certain things that are clearly aimed at trying to move us in the right direction.’
“‘We believe that the exchanges are the solution to small business insurance market and thatÂ’s gotten us sideways with some conservatives,’ he said. The exchanges are not only a matter of principle for Leavitt — theyÂ’re also a cash cow. The size of his firm, Leavitt Partners, doubled in the year after the bill was signed as they won contracts to help states set up the exchanges funded by the legislation.”
So Romney’s transition guy loves a central part of Obamacare. Now, they asked a Romney spokesperson, Andrea Saul, National Review asked her to respond and her answer: “Gov. Romney alone decides policy. As heÂ’s made clear, he is committed to completely repealing Obamacare.” Now, that is true, too. Romney has never wavered from that. But the guy he’s chosen to head up his transition — and transition is not a policy position. Transition is what it is. Transition from having won the election to the presidency. It’s the team that goes in and learns where the typewriters are, the computers, all the little details that get passed on from administration to administration. It’s not really a policy position. But the transition guy loves Obamacare, or a central aspect of it, and has profited from it. I have to point this out.
Now, by the same token, people are going to say, “You gotta get rid of this guy, Mitt. This guy is going to do great harm to you. Could be the nicest guy in the world, you might hate the exchanges, and you might insist you’re going to repeal Obamacare, but this guy is going to worry voters. And Romney will stand by him just like he stands by Trump, my guess anyway. That’s not the only one. Glenn Hubbard is another Romney advisor who believes that the bulk of any economic policy aimed at reducing the deficit should be borne by the wealthy.
“Glenn Hubbard, an economic adviser to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former George W. Bush official, appeared to channel President Barack Obama on Sunday during a discussion about the former Massachusetts governor’s tax plan. Speaking with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria…” In fact, we might have… let me see. Do we have this guy? Do we have Hubbard? I’m going through the list quickly to see if we’ve got Hubbard. I can’t find it. Here’s what he said: Speaking with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, Hubbard said, “The bulk of the adjustment [should] be borne by upper income households.” Romney was willing to “put everything on the table,” meaning tax increases on the rich.
“Hubbard’s comments appear to fly in the face of the Romney camp’s contention that Obama’s push to tax the wealthy at a higher rate is ‘class warfare.’ According to Hubbard, Romney would focus on cutting marginal tax rates to the levels proposed in the Bowles-Simpson plan in an effort to spur economic growth. The rest of the deficit reduction would come by broadening the tax base, he said. The wealthy would also foot part of the bill for expanding Medicare and Social Security costs, Hubbard said.”
So these two names, these two guys, just warning you, if they haven’t already, are going to create red flags. Particularly out there in the blogosphere, people are going to be saying: “Oh no. Oh no. Why does he have to have a guy advising him on raising taxes on the rich? That’s Obama. We need to differentiate ours.” That’s going to be one thing. The other thing is: “Oh, no, why does he have to have a transition guy that believes in state health exchanges and who profited from them as a transition guy? I thought we wanted to differentiate ourselves from Obama. We don’t need people who like things Obama is saying.”
I don’t pretend to have the answers to these objections to the questions. I could guess, but that’s all they would be. The Politico, by the way, as far as Mike Leavitt is concerned, who is the health exchange guy that likes those things, Politico is exchanging Mike Leavitt as Mitt Romney’s Mitt Romney. Meaning that Leavitt is Romney. Now the politico also may be trying to stir up a little mess here in doing so. But remember we are talking about — we can’t deny this — we’re talking about the Republican establishment. The Republican establishment openly admitted, some members of it just the last couple of weeks, that it’s only now that they’re beginning to think they can win. The Republican establishment believes that we need to have compromise and we need to show the independents that we’re not a bunch of extremists, and they believe that there’s certain aspects of Obamacare that the public wants, that we’re going to have to keep. In addition, I didn’t know the exchanges were part of that up until now. What we were told that the Republicans liked was the preconditioned insurance aspect and to keep the kids on the policy, those two things voters want to maintain no matter what happens to Obamacare.
So all this means is that the Republican establishment is the Republican establishment. They’re there. And that they are involved in the Romney campaign. But I agree with the caller who got all this started. Romney has been awesome. He’s just been dramatically superb in beating back some of these Obama attacks. The rapid response team that he’s put together is fabulous, the ads they’re running are great. I’ve got an idea for an ad for them. Obama is out doing all these fundraisers, and at the same time he’s blaming Congress for not doing anything. So if I were Boehner, I would put an ad together with Republican leaders standing outside an Obama fundraiser waiting for an opportunity to talk to him
Since he’s saying the Republicans aren’t doing anything, well, I would do a little ad, plenty of visuals with Republicans outside a fundraiser, being denied entry. All they want to do is work with Obama on jobs, but he’s too busy raising money. But they’re where he is trying to help.
RUSH: Now, I have to mention this, folks. Romney and his Republican establishment buddies do say “repeal and replace” when they talk about Obamacare. Not every time, but they say it enough. And the “replace,” that gives them a little (shall we say) maneuvering room for mischief, if they want to. And Leavitt has made money on these health care exchanges as we mentioned, tons of money setting up these health care exchanges. So he likes these things. He’s in charge of the transition.
The transition does get involved in personnel, in people in positions of power. (interruption) I don’t know. I don’t know if Leavitt is the tip of the iceberg of Republicans who secretly like Obamacare. I don’t know if there’s a bunch of Republicans who secretly like Obamacare. But what I know is that there are a lot of Republicans who have spines of linguini who think that the American people want it, and they’re scared to death that they’re going to lose the election if they go for flat-out repeal. They’re going to run away.
The Republican establishment is focused on 20%: The independents. They think the election is going to be won and lost there. They’re scared to death. They believe every liberal mantra about the independents and how this will cause them to run back to Democrats. And there are some things about Obamacare that the Republican establishment really thinks these independents love, and they’re just very nervous talking about full repeal.
That’s why they put “repeal and replace” in there.
The whole Romneycare-Obamacare linkage, the Obama campaign hasn’t gotten to that yet. And they will. I’m just warning you: They’re going there. It’s not going to be pretty when they do. We talked about all this during the primaries. We’ve got Romneycare architects bragging that they also wrote Obamacare. Now the transition guy, Mr. Leavitt, is a big believer in a central theme of Obamacare. And that is the state-run health exchanges, which take the place of private sector insurance outfits, companies, the industry at large.
Now, Glenn Hubbard is a different thing.
Glenn Hubbard is from Blackstone, the private equity firm. He’s a director or trustee, one of the two, of The Economic Club of New York and The Tax Foundation. These are supply-side groups. I’m having trouble figuring out where he comes from here on Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN advocating tax increases on the rich. He’s renowned as a supply-side economist, and he was apparently instrumental in the design of 2003 Bush tax cuts. Now, I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying there appears to be a little bit of a disconnect here.
But I am just your humble servant reporter passing information along. It’s out there in the public domain as it were.