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RUSH: I never thought, I mean, I thought I might get close to it. I never thought the day would come where I did what I did last night. I did not watch. I did not turn it on. I didn’t have the State of the Union on with the sound down. I didn’t have a channel on where you could see the State of the Union. I today am a proud member of the low-information crowd. I didn’t watch it.

And don’t get worried now, folks, because I know what some of you are probably thinking, some of you lifers. As I’ve said, over the course of the many years of the busy broadcast people have asked, “How long are you going to do this, Rush?” And the last five years people have said, “You’ve got nothing else to prove, why do you keep doing this?”


Well, A, I love it. And, B, it’s just what I do; C, unfinished mission and all that. But I have always said over the course of the years that I’ll know when it’s time to hang up the microphone and that will be the day when I get up and don’t care what’s in the news. Fear not, that day has not happened by a long shot and I can’t frankly ever imagine it happening.

But stop and think of something for a second here. Television ratings for the State of Union address have been plummeting in this country, and precipitously, over the past four years. Stop and think of that for a second. Stop and think how far Barack Hussein O. has actually fallen as measured by how many people really have no interest in listening to what he has to say.

Of all people, a man who arrives on the scene in 2008 as unique, unlike anyone who’s ever been in politics, soaring speeches. I mean, rhetoric and speeches that cause people to be glued to their TV sets. No matter where he went he was hailed as a great orator, and he was said to captivate people and hold a crowd and have them mesmerized in the palm of his hand.

And now look. Look at how far Obama has actually fallen, just in that measure alone, how many people have no interest in listening to what he has to say. And that was it for me. I literally had no interest, because I knew what was gonna be said, and more than that, I knew how it was going to be said. I knew that I was gonna be insulted. I knew the things I believe in are gonna be insulted, with a gloating air about it, and I just didn’t want to put up with it.

I’ve got enough other things going on in life now that are far more deserving of my attention than that, particularly when I knew there wasn’t gonna be any real news in this thing last night. There wasn’t gonna be anything unexpected. There wasn’t gonna be anything brand-new. There wasn’t gonna be anything real meaningful as far as that concerned, other than continued obfuscation.

May I illustrate. I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers a little blurb from our buddies at NewsBusters. This is Brent Bozell’s site which monitors the Drive-By Media and reports on media bias. The headline: “Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News: Obama ‘Got the Post-Election Honeymoon, Not the Republicans.'” Now, folks, that’s flat-out absurd. That’s just flat-out ridiculous.

Now, here’s the story. “While previewing President ObamaÂ’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News had on Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, who told viewers that the president will set out to ‘do a little victory lap about the state of the economy’ and opined how Obama ‘got the post-election honeymoon, not the Republicans’ thanks to his moves on illegal immigration and Cuba.”

The Democrat Party just got shellacked in the midterm elections, and the midterm elections are real. The results in the midterm elections are real. Half of the senators who voted for Obamacare are gone one way or the other. The Democrat Party is near the bottom of the barrel in terms of the last two midterm elections and the number of seats they lost. And yet, because of image and a poll which shows the economy way up, why do you think that poll exists? That’s the gasoline price. And Obama had nothing to do with the gasoline price coming down. I understand he’s gonna try to take credit for it, but that’s the kind of stuff I didn’t want to watch last night. I don’t want to have my intellience insulted.

I don’t want to have to listen to people rave and go on and on and on and Obama rave about how he’s done this and done that for the economy when all he’s done is damage it. In the real world, the policies of Barack Obama have damaged the economy, have damaged this country in any way, shape, manner, or form. And here’s Chuck Todd, the postelection honeymoon? With who? The media? Of which there is no media, by the way. Don’t worry. I haven’t changed my mind on that. That’s just what we call ’em. But they’re not media. The Democrat Party press corps, whatever you want to call ’em, they’re not media.

So F. Chuck Todd says that the president, a little victory lap about the state of the economy. He’s the one that got the postelection honeymoon, not the Republicans. So an alternative universe is being created here that I frankly have no desire to get sucked into or lulled into. I don’t even want to have to listen to it. This is just an illustration, an excellent illustration of how this stuff all works. I don’t care what the Republicans do with it, don’t misunderstand, they could blow it sky-high, but the Republicans won the election. There is no honeymoon for Obama here.

You can cite approval numbers all you want. You can cite people looking up because the economy and gas price coming down all you want. It doesn’t change the way they voted. It doesn’t change the reason they voted the way they voted. They voted the way they voted, the results are the results, and the Republicans run the Senate, and the Republicans run the House, and Obama doesn’t have a prayer of getting one thing in his agenda passed, by law. With him, it may not matter. So all this honeymoon stuff? This is just more BS. It’s more cockamamie BS.

These little sycophants in the Drive-By Media sit around, toot their own horns and create this alternative universe where Obama is king of the world, and everything is coming up roses, and, my God, it’s the best it’s ever been, the country’s the best it’s ever been and Obama made it happen and the people know it. None of that’s true, and I didn’t want to sit through an hour and a half of the illusion. Pure and simple. I’ll tell you what I did. Cookie asked me what I wanted, she does the sound bites. “Do you want the usual way we do this? Do you want sound bites of Obama with his policy?” I said, “No. I want the lies, and I’ll leave it up to you to figure them out.”

She’s an employee in good standing, she knows when Obama’s lying or telling the truth. “Or I want outrageous, funny things, but I don’t want the usual sound bite list. ‘And here’s what Obama said about the economy, and here’s what Obama said about his proposal for free –‘ none of that.” That’s falling prey to the trap. That’s falling prey to the scripted soap opera.

So let me just read to you the little headlines that accompany every sound bite she gave me. I haven’t decided if I’m gonna use them, but this is what I’ve got. “Obama on oil prices, then and now.” This is gonna really make my point. The first one is sound bite number two, Mike. This is June 15th of 2010. Now, I quoted him yesterday on this, but here is Obama actually saying it. This is after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s Obama in the Oval Office.


OBAMA: For decades we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.

RUSH: All right, now, that’s five years, four and a half years ago, and Obama’s admitting, “Hey, been there, done that, folks. If you like cheap gasoline, sorry, not happening. We have known for decades the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.” That was it. From that day forward oil is gonna be priced sky-high, and that’s why, he said that’s why to move on global warming, to move on alternative energy, to buck up what he was doing with solar and wind and all those other losing things. Okay, let’s listen to last night. This is an illusion of exactly why I didn’t want to put up with this last night. We just heard five, four and a half years ago that the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were over. But last night…

OBAMA: We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. Thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump.

RUSH: Right. And he’s the last guy in the room to know about it. He’s probably the most surprised guy in the room. This is not exactly what he intended. He didn’t want the gas price coming down. He didn’t want easily affordable fossil fuel energy because that would stand in the way of whatever he wanted to do with climate change and a carbon tax and moving on to solar and wind. So, “for decades we’ve known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered,” four and a half years ago. Last night: “We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet.” No, you didn’t. You stood in the way of that.

You stood in the way of decreasing our independence on foreign sources with the Keystone pipeline and all that. Today, America’s number one in oil and gas not because of anything you’ve done. It’s called fracking, which you and your buddies on the left steadfastly oppose. But presidents get to do this. I understand that, I just didn’t want to watch. I just didn’t want to sit through an hour and a half of having my intelligence insulted and all this obfuscation and all this phony credit taking and so forth. Grab sound bite number one. I did hear about this, and I think this is quite instructive, too.


OBAMA: That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve. I have no more campaigns to run. (laughter and clapping) My only agenda — (laughter) — I know, ’cause I won both of ’em. (laughter and applause).

RUSH: Now, what happened there? Here’s what happened: Obama’s going on and on and on, and he’s — in his own mind and everybody else’s — telling how great he is, how wonderful he is, and he’s doing great. Oh, how great he’s been for America, and “Oh, man, it’s just so great!” And now he’s moving on into that great Oval Office in the beyond, as he’s not gonna be able to run again. So for the first time, I would imagine — well, maybe not the first — the Republicans applauded.

That ticks him off, ’cause they’ve been sitting on their hands all night. They didn’t applaud anything he’d said, because why? It’s all a bunch of crap. So when he mentioned that he can’t run for office, there’s not gonna be any more campaigning, they finally applaud. And that just ticked him off, this little petulant guy. No, no, no. You don’t treat him that way. So he has to throw this in. (impression)

“Yeah, yeah, I know! Yeah, I won both of them! I won both of them.” Anyway, folks, there was nothing new. It was as predictable as anything in politics is. (interruption) I did say that he was a conman. I said that yesterday. That hasn’t changed. Why, did something…? (interruption) Oh. Snerdley is telling me that the whole thing last night was just a big con. Of course it is. Here you have a guy who, in terms of policy, there hasn’t been anything to generate any economic boom, and yet the gas price plunge is enough to do it.

I mean, the percentage decrease in the price of gasoline and what that means for people’s disposable income? That alone is enough to boost an economy. And there he is having had nothing to do with it — and, in fact, if he’d had his way, the oil price would not have come down. Don’t doubt me on this. Anyway, he gets to take credit for it, fine and dandy. But that’s part of the con as well. Anyway, here are more of the headlines of what Cookie prepared for me.

“Obama lies on the economy: Best since 1999.” “Obama’s lie on the war on terrorism: It’s over. Obama lies on ISIS: We’re stopping them. Obama’s lie on the minimum wage: Republicans want you to live on $15,000 a year. Obama’s lies on community college: It will cost nothing. Obama’s lie on climate change: That it threatens our national security. Obama’s lie on Gitmo: I will close it. Obama’s lie on race: Tying Selma with Ferguson and New York City.”

Those are the sound bites. I asked her to get me the things he lied about, and so that’s what I got. I don’t know if I’m gonna use ’em. Why would I use ’em? I didn’t want to watch it last night and why would I subject to you to it today? (interruption) Well, maybe some of it for laughs. I just have to see how it all plays out. But this is classic. By the way, the minute the Republicans applauded when he said that was it for him and he couldn’t run any more campaigns?

You know, the Republicans do that as a joke, and you see the real Obama there. He gets ticked off! “How dare you insult me, affronting me like that?” That was very typical. But this Chuck Todd thing: Obama got the postelection honeymoon, not the Republicans. (laughs) I don’t care what they want to do, I don’t care how they want to write about it, I don’t care how F. Chuck wants to talk about it on television: Nothing is going to change the simple reality that the Democrats got their clocks cleaned in the November elections.

If they want to lie to themselves and tell themselves that they’re in this great honeymoon period, and that somehow this sets up Hillary or Elizabeth Warren, let them lie to themselves. But that is a theme. The media is running around saying, “My God, look at this! The Democrats lost, but look at Obama! He’s the big winner.

“Yes, why, you would think that he was the big winner!” No, you wouldn’t think that, because it didn’t happen. Obama was rejected as profoundly as a president can be at the polls, other than losing his own election. They can write, say, broadcast whatever they want to try to change people’s opinions about that, but they can’t change the reality of it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, so I didn’t watch, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t prep it, folks. I have not abandoned my responsibility. I literally didn’t want to watch it. There are other things going on. And, frankly, a couple of them were far more important than this last night, particularly when I was gonna have plenty of time afterwards to read about it, look up whatever I wanted to look up, and confirm what I thought was going to be the case.


Now, as we sit her today, Obama’s current approval rating is at 46/48%, depending on the poll you look at. F. Chuck Todd says Obama’s on a big, big honeymoon. Man, it was such a great victory, this election! Republicans won, but, man, it’s Obama that’s basking in the glory, right? Okay, so what happened? We have a State of the Union last night, six years. Want some reality?

Here’s some reality: Six years of Barack Obama policies, and the president goes out in State of the Union show and claims the middle class is desperate for help. Honeymoon? Somebody want to explain how this works to me? We’ve got a guy who’s been in office six years. He cares about the little guy and he’s been plastering the rich, they think. (The rich are getting richer under Obama, by the way.) But the little guy thinks Obama’s out there looking out for them, free this and free that.

And six years into his eight-year presidency, the president does a State of the Union speech making the case the middle class is desperate for help. Why is the middle class desperate for help? Six years into this guy’s presidency, why hasn’t he dealt with it prior to now? If his presidency is so cool, if his presidency’s such a success, why does the middle class need any help, much less desperate help? Somebody explain that to me.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Grab sound bite 28. I just got F. Chuck Todd here. I think, folks, it’s a confession. When the president of the United States goes out there, six years into his eight-year presidency and starts talking about all the help the middle class needs, the desperate help the middle class needs, which means, what, tax increases on the rich, like that’s really gonna help the middle class. But I think it’s a confession. That’s the president admitting he’s had a failed presidency. I mean, as the mayor of Realville.


Now, I know that’s not the spin, and I know that’s not the atmospherics, and I know that’s not the bubble in which the Drive-Bys reported all this, but clearly six years in and the president says the middle class is desperate? It’s like Jimmy Carter three years in trying to make the claim that we’ve gotta do something for our hostages being held in Iran. It’s an admission of incompetence. It’s a confession that his administration has blown it for the middle class. And six years in, the president got really testy and reminded Congress that he was reelected.

We know that. He’s standing up there as president of the United States, and he has to sit there and tell everybody, “I know, I won ’em both.” We know that. What’s the little boy petulance there having to tell everybody, “Yeah, I won ’em both, I won ’em both, yep.” I really think that what animates Obama more than anything right now, other than advancing his agenda, is irritating Republicans. I really think he loves just stoking them and trying to irritate them.

But I tell you, we got six years in and a president who has shut out and shut down Republicans at every turn, promising multiple vetoes, at the same time promising that he’s got a sincere desire to work with ’em. We had that last night, too. We had to hear over and over and over again how no Republicans help, that they didn’t help this, they didn’t help that, and I had to do it all on my own and blah, blah. And he promises more vetoes after that if the Republicans don’t come along and see it his way, all while claiming he has a sincere desire to work with them.

And then there was this. He said the verdict is clear, middle class economics works, expanding opportunity works, and these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way. What verdict is in? That more Americans are out of work than ever before? That food stamp usage is at record levels year after year? That the deficit, the national debt is $8 trillion higher than it was when Obama took office? That careers have been sacrificed for part-time jobs because of Obamacare? What verdict is clear? What middle class economics is working?


Middle class economics is not working. Six years in and he has to go out and say that the middle class is desperate, in need of desperate help, or desperate in need of help. I mean, this speech, as I read about it — I didn’t watch it, as I say — but as I read about it, it seemed to be as contradictory as anything could be. The verdict is clear, middle class economics works, expanding opportunity works, these policies will continue — they’re phantom policies. He hasn’t had any policies that expand opportunity. Anyway, you know the drill on that.

I mean, here’s the verdict from study after study on the middle class over the past decade. The middle class share of national income has fallen. Middle class wages are stagnant. The middle class in the US is no longer the world’s wealthiest middle class, and this was the story. This past fall, the plight of the middle class was the story. What has happened to the American middle class? If you don’t remember, let me remind you. During the campaign from September all the way to November one of the campaign items that was rearing its head was, what’s happening to the American middle class?

Oh, it’s vanished. The Democrats were the ones running around saying so as part of their campaign. You know, the rich are getting richer. The rich don’t care. The rich have no hearts. The rich have no compassion. The rich are stealing everything. There’s no such thing as trickle-down. The rich aren’t sharing the wealth. The rich aren’t giving people any money and stealing it from the middle class. The Democrats are running around wailing and moaning and whining that the middle class is gone because the rich have just taken anything. This was just a few months ago.

And now with the one thing, the plummeting gas price, which happened despite Barack Obama, not because of Barack Obama, the public is understandably feeling much better economically. They’ve got more money. They have significantly more disposable income because so much less is required for gasoline and utility bills and the like, but primarily gasoline. It’s huge, this difference.

That one event, that one economic fact has now provided an opportunity for Obama and his spinmeisters to totally erase everything the Democrat Party was preaching as gospel months ago. Because months ago the Democrats were running around complaining the middle class share of national income’s fallen, middle class wages are stagnant, middle class is no longer the world’s wealthiest, they’re blaming all that on the Republicans.

And, now, after an election which Obama is in a honeymoon period, where the Democrats got shellacked, he says the verdict is clear, middle class economics works, expanding opportunity works, when the fact is more Americans are out of work than ever. The food stamp usage is at record highs, and it goes on year after year, the national debt is $8 trillion higher, more people working part time than ever before because businesses have to do that in order to be compliant with Obamacare.

Here’s Chuck Todd in his own words. This is last night, NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams speaking to Chuck Todd and Brian Williams says, “Okay, now, to the mood of the electorate, F. Chuck, who after all make up tonight’s TV audience, Chuck, what are the numbers going into tonight?”

TODD: Look at this number, 45% say they’re satisfied with the state of economy, of the US economy today. That is the highest satisfaction number we’ve recorded in over a decade. That, of course, is something we do expect the president to do tonight, which heÂ’ll do a little bit of a victory lap about the state of the economy. Also, it appears he’s got a little bit of a — he got the postelection honeymoon, not the Republicans.

RUSH: This is unbelievable. No, it’s not. It’s totally believable. Obama and the Democrats were humiliated. It was an overwhelming loss. And they want to raise the flag and start throwing a party saying over 45% say they’re satisfied with the economy? My, how our standards have plummeted. My, how our standards have declined.

Anyway, that’s my take on this, folks. This was all predictable before it happened. I knew it was gonna happen. I knew the media take on it was gonna be — well, not word-for-word, but I’m talking about attitudinally, and I shudder to think what my mood would be today had I actually watched this last night and come here and talk about it rather than having informed myself after the fact.

Essentially what we got last night, if you want to boil this down, Obama proposed the federal centralization of practically everything: health care, education, wages, trade, communications. He wants the federal government running everything. And that’s obviously true, too.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here’s another thing about the State of the Union thing. I’m gonna move on here in just a second. I didn’t watch it last night if you didn’t hear that in the first hour and this is the first you’re hearing of it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew what was gonna happen. I knew the attitude. I knew I was gonna end up being insulted as a conservative. I was gonna be lied to. And I just didn’t feel like coming in here and giving you the equivalent of an oral final exam, meaning verbal report on it.


Can I tell you what’s telling about this? Remember the buildup to this thing yesterday and the day before and last week? The Drive-Bys have been breathlessly anticipating last night’s State of the Union address for days, and they have been trying to get everybody hyped up for it. It’s gonna be so revelatory. It’s gonna be so important, so meaningful, Obama is gonna announce the next Santa Claus list and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

It was hailed, promoted as one of the most important States of the Union ever. It was going to be comprehensive, all of this hype, all of this focus on it. You know what the most telling thing about Obama’s speech is? Is that after today we will not hear another word about it, ever. Even though yesterday and the day before and the weekend of Sunday shows and even into last Friday, even with all of that, it was the lead topic on about 75% of the news sites, New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, that’s all there was, the State of the Union. There was nothing else going on.

There was a countdown clock on CNN probably. We had preanalysis, we had postanalysis, we had postpostanalysis, we had postanalysis post. We just devoted everything to it and in a couple of hours not another word will ever be said about it, which, to me is the classic example of Barnum & Bailey con man hype and ratcheting up people’s emotions to a fevered pitch.

Speaking of that, somebody, an Academy voter, has written a piece in the Hollywood Reporter magazine explaining why Selma didn’t get any nominations. There are two reasons, and the first one was what I and many others considered to be relevant, and that is they just didn’t get enough screeners out. They didn’t get enough DVDs to the academy to see the damn thing. Most of the academy voters, it’s beneath them to go to a theater because the hoi polloi is in there. So they watch these nominated movies on DVDs that were produced by the studios, and they’re sent around, and apparently there were not very many for Selma.

But the second reason is, the guy actually says — I can’t remember his name right now. I’ll get it in a minute. Never heard of him; doesn’t matter. But he claims to have been an Academy voter in good standing. He says, “We got race fatigue out here.” Racial fatigue. If it’s not 12 Years a Slave, it’s Django Unchained. If it isn’t Django Unchained, it’s Driving Miss Daisy. If it isn’t this — and he admits this. He says, “Look, we’ve only –” these are my words, not his, but what he means is our emotional reservoirs are only so deep. There’s only so much caring about this anybody has, and after a while, you’re out.


Well, that’s me on the State of the Union. There’s only so much you can care. There’s only so much passion, care, concern you can invest in it, and I’ve given the State of the Union everything I’ve got, and my tank was empty last night. (interruption) Well, yeah, it used to be fun political theater. I remember one time within the first four years of the program, you know, when it was all new and the Drive-Bys didn’t know what to make of me. They’d never heard of me. They didn’t know who I was, but it was big, and they didn’t understand it.

To them, I didn’t come from any of the acceptable places. I didn’t have an Ivy League education. I didn’t know anybody that they knew inside the Beltway. I mean, I just popped up out of nowhere and, as such, was a huge curiosity item. And in those days — this would be the Clinton years. The Washington Post, I think two or three years in a row, sent a reporter to the studio to report for three hours my take on the Clinton State of the Union. I think maybe two, three years in a row.

Some of them sent camera crews in, ’cause it was all so new to them. After one of these events after my show after a State of the Union, a Washington Post infobabe that was a reporterette, she wanted to interview me after the show, to which I said, “What more do you need to hear? I just did three hours on this.”

“Well, I need to ask some questions.”

“Okay.”

And she said, “Boy, you just act like this is the most fun in the world.”

I said, “No, you’re misinterpreting. This is the hardest work in the world.”

“What do you mean?”

I said, “This is like an oral final exam here. I got a president making a speech chock full of BS last night. I got an audience expecting me in less than 10 hours to break it all down and tell them the total truth about it. I got you here watching, writing about it. This is high pressure, man. This is big-time pressure. Did you ever have to do an oral final exam in journalism school?”

“Uh, no.”

“Well, I have to do one every day here, and my audience is the class. I’m not the professor, they are. They’re the ones that hand out the grades, and I’m the one that has to get the good ones or I’m out.”

“Well, you mean it’s work?”

“Yes, it’s hard wok. I got a president that can’t tell the truth. I got you facilitating his lies, you and all his buddies, your buddies. I’ve gotta sit here and my audience has these high expectations. I’m gonna tell ’em the truth about this.”

So, yeah, it was fun in that sense. It was fun political theater. But there was also a time where the substance of the damn thing mattered. It wasn’t that long ago that when a president showed up to do a State of the Union, he actually spent some time on the State of the Union, not just an opening sentence, “I am here to report to you tonight that the state of our union is firm and strong, except for the balls in New England.” And then they would move on into their wish list.

There used to be a time when we’d actually get a report on the State of the Union. But when these speeches began to be — you might even be able to trace this back to Nixon. But if not Nixon, who would it have been? They became Christmas lists. The speech became just a series of empty promises. And, as such, the substance vanished. It didn’t even matter whether any of it was ever gonna happen. Most of it never happened because Congress really doesn’t take up all that much. (interruption) Well, I don’t know, you know, Nixon had his — Reagan’s State of the Union, he called the freedom fighters in Nicaragua the moral equivalent our founding fathers, and that ticked off the media. And he would talk about defeating the Soviet Union. It was serious stuff.

Reagan didn’t do gift lists of what he was gonna give everybody, food stamp increases, free community college. Oh, yeah, when he announced Strategic Defense Initiative, SDI, Star Wars, oh, they had a cow. The point is there are days in the past when the State of the Union was actually a substantive thing and something that you could learn from. This was just political theater complete with a fraudulent hard-luck story. I don’t think we can spend enough time on this, but I did in the first hour, so I’m not gonna go through it here again. But just a fraudulent hard-luck story. A former Democrat staffer sitting in hallowed ground next to Michelle Obama, total fake.

And if her story was real, I want to reiterate, if her hard-luck story is real, if she did have to come up from nothing and was eating and swallowing dirt every day, let’s not forget who she was working for. She was working for Patty Murray, a Democrat campaign staffer. They must not pay their people very much, and their benefit panel must be pretty bad if the woman was suffering like that to qualify as a hard-luck success story because of Obama’s reach-out to the middle class.

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