RUSH: We’re gonna start Westchester County, New York. Peter, I’m glad you called. It’s great to have you here with us.
CALLER: Hey, Mr. Limbaugh, thanks for having me and sharing your audience with me. I’m a Rush Baby, grew up listening to your show in the car with my father, who’s a courier in New York City.
RUSH: Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.
CALLER: Thank you. The reason I’m calling, really, is to talk about the debate tonight and really illustrate how important it is. You know, I think with the whole election, everyone’s talking about getting independents and some Democrats, but tonight I think Mr. Romney has the ability to get everyone. I think if he really just articulates conservative points like you’re always saying, but also doesn’t pander and really just is not passive about the issues, it’s really a golden moment to hold the president accountable which no one has for four years, and I think if he really gets, you know, nasty with the Fast and Furious, the debt and Libya, I think he has an ability to break him, maybe kick him off balance and possibly change the whole tone of this campaign.
RUSH: Well, it is interesting to note. I want you to stop and think of this, folks. Here we are on October 3rd, the presidential campaign has been underway in earnest for two years, starting with the Republican primaries. And Obama has been running ads that long. I know people are aware of this. He’s been running ads not nationally, not on cable networks, but in local communities all this time. His presidency’s been a never ending campaign, and yet tonight is the first time — stop and think of this — the first time the people who watch this debate will see Mitt Romney in anything longer than a 60-second commercial.
RUSH: The first time. I put it in that perspective as a means of illustrating campaign coverage, the way it’s been. Obama can commandeer TV time anytime he wants it as president. He uses it effectively. He doesn’t do press conferences. He doesn’t take tough questions. He just goes out, makes statements, and then turns around and walks away. But whatever amount of time he wants, he gets. This is the first time in this entire campaign that American voters are gonna see Mitt Romney in anything longer than either a Romney or Obama ad. That, to me, is quite telling. And it does represent an opportunity. You’re gonna have people watching this thing tonight who have an opinion of Romney based solely on Obama ads. And those Obama ads have painted Romney as this quiet, cloistered, elitist, uncaring, mean-spirited guy who doesn’t care about anybody.
I’m assuming that not a whole lot of people watched the Republican convention. I think the audience for the debates is gonna dwarf the conventions is my point. There are gonna be a lot of people tonight seeing Romney for the first time. Therefore, it is a golden opportunity for Romney. Now, you mentioned Libya. The focus of this debate tonight’s domestic policy, the economy and so forth, and all Obama can do is lie. However, I happened to catch a sneak peek of what Obama’s gonna say ’cause I saw Juan Williams on Fox. You know what Juan Williams was saying? Do you realize the economy’s coming back? The job situation is robust now.
You’re gonna hear tonight that the economy has rebounded and that we’re growing. And while you hear that, the fact of the matter is that we’ve got a gross domestic product, we got GDP, our economic growth rate is slower than Cuba’s, Mexico’s, and China’s. We’ve got a growth rate of 1.3%, but Juan Williams previewed what Obama’s gonna say tonight ’cause he’s been told. He’s been told to go out and say it on TV today. Job situation, housing starts, new home starts, whatever, it’s all magically better. All Obama can do is lie. And they’re gonna trying to make it look like Romney’s the guy that’s lying. They’re gonna try to make it look like when Romney tells the truth that he’s just got sour grapes. That’s how they’re gonna try to position this tonight. But it’s Obama who’s going to have to lie.
So if I were Romney — well, forget that. If it were me debating tonight, I wouldn’t care what the questions are. Jim Lehrer can ask whatever question he wants, and Jim Lehrer can do whatever he wants to keep me on topic, but I’m launching. I don’t have many chances here if I’m Mitt Romney. I’ve got this and two more. And even these are not unfiltered. There’s still a moderator there who’s gonna try to enforce some sort of rules. I mean, these really aren’t debates. They’re expanded Meet the Press Sunday shows. The moderator and questions and decorum and all that. Lincoln-Douglas this isn’t, but still it’s an opportunity. And here’s Peter, Westchester, golden opportunity for Romney, which it is, precisely because he’s got a chance to be seen in ways that counter how he’s been presented by the Obama ad campaign.
J. B. in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’re next. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, you know, I saw in the McCain campaign strategy and I’m seeing it play out again in the Romney campaign strategy, and, to me, you said it before, the reason that they’re not way ahead is because Republicans run their presidential campaigns like Obama runs his foreign policy. They don’t believe that they’ve actually got an enemy. They don’t believe they’ve got someone that it doesn’t matter what they say, they want to come back at them, and the similarities are astonishing between the two.
RUSH: Interesting. You’re saying the Republicans run their presidential campaigns like Obama runs foreign policy. Explain that to me again.
CALLER: Okay. Well, I mean Republicans run their campaign, presidential campaign through appeasement and apology. They come out and they —
CALLER: — appease and they apologize for everything the same way Obama appeases and apologizes to the terrorists. He doesn’t realize that they want to attack him. And that’s what they do constantly.
RUSH: Well, you know, this is probably because of the dynamic inside the Beltway, but I think I speak for gazillions of you when I say — in fact, I know I am — that one of the most irritating things about the Republican Party is they just don’t see the Democrats the way we do. The Democrats look at us as their number one enemy. We are a greater threat to their political desires than Al-Qaeda is or any other world power, or any other world ideology. We conservatives are their biggest enemy. The Republican Party, they don’t appear to even understand who they’re up against. They’re up against leftists, leftist radicals, not Democrats. They’re not up against “the other party” with a bunch of old cronies in there like Bob Strauss and Tip O’Neill, the guys you supposedly had a beer with at the end of the legislative day. Yeah, right.
They don’t see the Democrats the way the Democrats see us. They don’t see them as an enemy to the future of the country, and they don’t approach it that way. And you look at your kids’ future and your grandkids’ future and you turn to the Republican Party and say, “Where’s the leadership? Where are people who think like I do?” That’s why you get calls like this. Ah, got McCain, too. We don’t want to make ’em mad. We don’t want to offend ’em. We don’t want to offend the independents. We don’t want to come off as argumentative or mean. So it’s defensive. You know, we try to avoid being what these mythical things they accuse us of are, and it does lead to a defensive strategy. Well, let’s wait and see what happens.
RUSH: Rob in Long Island. It’s great to have you with us, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Rush, good afternoon. Rush, I’ve been polling people, rich and poor and, you know, different races and ages, and it’s really interesting that a lot of people think that gas prices when Barack Obama took office were like $2.50, three, 3.50. And I have a theory that when Katrina hit and gas prices went to $4.10, that people think that prices just stayed up there. But they went down to $1.66 in December of 2008. I just think it’s interesting commentary about why did they go down, but why have they only gone up under Obama? And I believe if Romney just had a real bullet message where people self-discovered through going to the Internet and just saying something like, you know, gas was $1.83 national average when Barack Obama took office, Google it, and that process of self-discovery would really hit home with those independents who were looking at these high gas prices and high food prices.
RUSH: (laughing) I love it. By the way, you said you’ve done a poll of all these different people. Where have you polled the rich, for example?
CALLER: Well, I mean, middle-class people. I live in North Shore, Long Island. So I talk to people in the neighborhood, and I have some friends up in the Bronx. I talk to folks, you know, on the south shore, just different age-groups. I go out of my way to talk to young people. I ask them, “Who are you voting for and why are you voting for them?” and then I get into the gas prices, and I try to explain that, you know, we use 20 million barrels of oil a day. You don’t start your coffeepot without gas, and it’s such a hurt on these middle income folks at $4.15 a gallon. I make them look at the computer, and they literally see it, wow, it was $1.66. You can see the brain start to twitter a little bit, and they start putting it together. And I think actually that’s more of a visceral hit to people than Romney talking about high debt, because they don’t feel that. But they feel, when they go to that gas pump and they see $4.15 or they go to the supermarket and they see, you know, food prices have recently really spiked up. And I think that’s an untapped message that Romney could really hit those independents with in Ohio and Virginia and Michigan. You know, get people thinking about, whether we like it or not, we need 20 million barrels right now a day, and Obama should not have forced this country to go so hard to a new energy sector right away. He should have focused on recovering the economy and recovering the jobs and keeping these gas prices down.
CALLER: That’s my comment.
RUSH: Rob, thanks much. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Vic in Binghamton, New York. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, good afternoon, Rush. Thank you for having me on.
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: Hey, I wanted to elaborate on something you discussed earlier today as well as something a prior caller had called in on. I guess to go along with something you said a moment ago, this is my wish list. I really want Romney to focus on those fuel and gas prices. I mean, they seem like common sense to folks like you and myself, but, I mean, they have an effect on everything: your home fuel costs, your auto fuel costs, you know, for folks who may be hadn’t been homeowners, you know, the price of food —
RUSH: Let me ask you a question. I need to jump here and ask you a question. And I mean this. This question is gonna sound like I’m being a smart aleck, but I’m not. I’m genuinely curious. You know the gas price is going up. Why? Because you’re living it; you’re paying it.
RUSH: Everybody else does, too. Why do people need to be told gas prices are going up?
CALLER: I agree with the prior caller. I think it’ll hit hope with some of the independents when they see just how dramatically —
RUSH: Do they not know their gas price, what is it about independents?
CALLER: They become anesthetized to the fact that it’s been so high for so long, they’ve grown accustomed to it. They don’t realize it was three and a half, four short years ago that it was $1.60.
RUSH: Oh. This is about tying it Obama.
RUSH: That they don’t automatically do that. Obama’s been president for three and a half years, the gas prices have been going up three and a half years, but somehow they don’t equate it or associate it with Obama, they still blame Bush?
CALLER: Well, I think in general they have an attitude of, well, you know, the president can’t control that.
RUSH: They don’t blame Obama because the media hasn’t blamed Obama.
CALLER: Right. His domestic policy’s affected. His foreign policy is affected. If you want another example, the printing of all the extra money, all the dollars they’re printing, the devaluing of the dollar. I mean, you got four-dollar gasoline now being purchased by a dollar that’s worth less than it was four years ago when it was $1.60. It would be six dollars a gallon based on that formula. I mean, I don’t think folks can ignore that.
RUSH: Well, they’re doing that to prevent economic collapse during the campaign so that it won’t have a detrimental effect on Obama.
CALLER: I think Romney needs to somehow tie that, I think he needs to make that point hammered home. That’s my wish list if you —
RUSH: But we’re told — I’m playing devil’s advocate — we’re told here that any criticism of Obama, the independents don’t want to hear that. The independents don’t want to hear poor Obama who they like and is really trying hard, Bill Clinton said nobody else could fix it. So here comes Romney blaming Obama for the gas prices, this is gonna make the independents mad, isn’t it?
CALLER: Well, Bill Clinton also said that Obama’s policies could cut the price of fuel in half. Well, why didn’t he do it? He chose to exploit his ideological advantage he had in Congress the first two years instead of going after the real issues.
RUSH: Well, the media has told us for the past two years, at least, that Obama has no control over gas prices. They didn’t say Obama, they said the president has no control over gas prices. That’s relatively new, by the way. Bush, of course, had everything to do with gas prices. He and Cheney, Big Oil boys, they wanted rising oil prices so they could profit from it, but now presidents have no control over it.
CALLER: Again, I think that’s the connection that Romney has to make. I think it’s very doable, I think it’s very plausible, very possible, and I think he needs to convey that to you and myself watching the debate tonight.
RUSH: Okay. Well, we will see what happens. I’m glad you called. I appreciate it.
RUSH: It is true. During the last two years — and maybe even the last third, but certainly the last two years of the Bush administration — when gasoline prices were trending up… Maybe it was… Whenever it happened (the years run together), you could count on some Drive-By reporter hanging out at the gas pumps asking people multiple times a day, “Can you make it ’til tomorrow? What does the rising gas price mean to your business?”
“Oh, I might have to shut down, John! I don’t know I’m gonna make it. I can’t take much more of this.”
Then they’d cut to a picture of Bush smiling, looking like Alfred E. Neuman, like he didn’t care, and they do it every day. Countless times a day! They’d go talk to small-business people, truck drivers, it didn’t matter who.
“What does the rising fuel price mean to you?”
“It’s gonna cost more to go get your vegetables! Gasoline’s gonna go up. I — I — I — I don’t know how I can say in business.”
Those were truck drivers left and right.
Now you don’t see any of it!
Not one reporter goes out and asks anybody to reflect on the effect of rising fuel prices on their business or anybody else’s. So young, ignorant college kids think that this is just the way it’s always been. It’s no big deal. It’s the new normal: Gas is $3.50 a gallon. It’s always been that way. In fact, they probably think Obama’s trying to lower it when in fact Obama’s the guy who said when gasoline hit four bucks, that he didn’t have any problem with the $4 price. It was how fast it got there that bothered him. He wasn’t bothered by how much it was.