RUSH: Yeah, well, we were just poking along here about 10 minutes ago. It looked like it was actually gonna be kind of a slow day. And then everything blew up here, and then we —
JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!
RUSH: Yeah. And I still don’t know what to make of this. There’s something that smells about this still, and I can’t put my fingers on it. But we’re gonna have to get into it.
Anyway, welcome to Open Line Friday. Whatever you want to talk about is fine and dandy, folks. That’s true. That’s not the way it is Monday through Thursday. If you don’t talk about what you said you’re gonna talk about, it’s sayonara. We do it nicely but it’s still sayonara. But on Friday hardly any restrictions. Telephone number, 800-282-2882, and the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
I was sitting here literally 15 minutes ago, and I was going through the final assembly stages of the program, the show prep today, this stack and that stack, and I’m going through the stacks and I said, “You know what? There isn’t anything… I don’t know what the heck I would lead with today. I have literally no idea what would be the first thing that would come out of my mouth today. There’s two or three contenders but there’s nothing really stands out.”
And then my iPhone rang. I looked at it, and I had an iMessage over there. Okay, so I looked at that, and it said, “There goes Carson.” Oh, no. What now? So I went to the Internet. Nothing. I went to e-mail. Nothing. “There goes Carson.” So I wrote back, “What are you talking about? What have I missed?” And before I had a chance to get a reply, my Drudge page reloaded, and it says, “Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship.” I said, “What in the name of Sam Hill is this?” So I clicked on the link, and it’s a Politico story here.
And the first impression — and I’m telling you, this is key. If you are unfamiliar with Carson and his book, and if you’re not up to speed with the day-to-day details of the Carson campaign, and you see the headline here, “Ben Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship,” what you end up after reading the headline, the subtext is that Ben Carson must have written a book in which he says that he was granted a scholarship to West Point and attended and now we learn the whole thing’s not true.
So at first glance, “My gosh, he made up the fact that he went to West Point? How in the world does all this time go by and the people at West Point don’t say anything? He’s got it in his book that he attended West Point? How come nobody up to now has said, ‘No, he didn’t’?” But that’s not what the allegation is. You’ve got to read further, and let’s just do that here because the first impressions a lot of people are going to make here or going to have is that Carson has really made up, totally fabricated a story that has no element of truth in it, which is exactly what the Drive-Bys want.
There’s also a key factor here in the campaign of who admitted this. But let’s just take it as we got it. Politico: “Ben Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship.” Okay. “Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from Politico, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the US Military Academy at West Point. The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years,” it says here. (interruption)
Well, I know. If it’s as bad as it looks, all is not lost. At least he could work at NBC. They let you make things up there. In fact, in some places they promote you for making things up like that. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let me go back here to the headline: “Ben Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship.” By the way, let me just take a survey. There’s no wrong answer. Tell me, did you have any idea that Carson had a scholarship or has a…? (interruption) You didn’t know that West Point was part of his life ’cause you haven’t read the book?
What about you? Did you know that West Point was a part of what…? (interruption) Okay, you didn’t. So three people here had no knowledge of the West Point aspect of the Carson story. It’s in his book, but that just means the people here haven’t read it. The survey doesn’t mean anything here. It’s just anecdotal. “Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from Politico, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the US Military Academy at West Point.
“The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, ‘Gifted Hands,’ the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of US forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a ‘full scholarship’ to the military academy. West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.
“‘In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,’ said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. ‘If he chose to pursue (the application process) then we would have records indicating such,’ she said. When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.”
Now, you know what started all of this? There are these stories in his book about how he used to be violent and filled with rage but that he overcame it. He used to bully people. So CNN and others in the Drive-By Media have been out there trying to find these people that Carson says he beat up or bullied or mistreated, and they can’t find anybody. What they’re basically trying to do is establish that Carson’s making things up, building his resume, building his character, expanding his personality. (interruption) Well, no. The book Gifted Hands, it’s been out for quite a while. A movie was made of this many, many, many years ago.
“When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false. ‘Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,’ campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to Politico. ‘In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.’ ‘He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,’ Bennett went on.
“‘They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.'” Back to the Polico: “This admission comes as serious questions about other points of fact in Carson’s personal narrative are questioned, including the seminal episode in which he claimed to have attempted to stab a close friend. Similarly, details have emerged that cast doubt on the nature of Carson’s encounter with one of the most prominent military men of that era.” Westmoreland.
“The West Point spokeswoman said it is certainly possible Carson talked with Westmoreland, and perhaps the general even encouraged him to apply to West Point. However, she said the general would have explained the benefits of a West Point education without guaranteeing him entry. An application to West Point begins with a nomination by a member of Congress or another prominent government or military official,” in the state that you live in. “After that, a rigorous vetting process begins. If offered admission, all costs are covered; indeed there are no ‘full scholarships,’ per se.
“In his popular book ‘Gifted Hands,‘ Carson says he excelled in his ROTC program at Detroit’s Southwestern High School, earning the respect of his superiors — just a couple years after anger problems led him to try to murder a friend. He attained the rank of second lieutenant by his senior year of high school and became the student leader of the city’s ROTC programs. In May of his senior year, he was chosen to march in the city’s Memorial Day parade. ‘I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind.
“‘To make it more wonderful, we had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Vietnam were present,’ he wrote. ‘More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Vietnam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt’ — his high school ROTC director — ‘introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.’
“But, according to records of Westmoreland’s schedule that were provided by the US Army, the general did not visit Detroit around Memorial Day in 1969 or have dinner with Carson. In fact, the general’s records suggest he was in Washington that day and played tennis at 6:45 p.m. There are, however, several reports of an event similar to the one Carson described in February of that year. Then, Westmoreland was the featured guest at a 1,500-person banquet to celebrate Medal of Honor winner Dwight Johnson.
“The event drew prominent guests, including the governor at the time, the mayor of Detroit, the president of Ford Motor Company and nine previous Medal of Honor recipients, according to an Associated Press account of the event. Carson, a leader of the city’s ROTC program at the time, may have been among the invited guests at the $10-a-plate event. Carson’s later retelling of the events in this period of his life downplays his meeting with Westmoreland and that event’s link to a West Point acceptance.
“In his January 2015 book ‘You Have a Brain’ — a book geared toward teenagers — Carson again recalls his rapid rise through his high school’s ROTC program to become the top student officer in the city. ‘That position allowed me the chance to meet four-star general William Westmoreland, who had commanded all American forces in Vietnam before being promoted to Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, DC,’ he wrote.
“‘I also represented the Junior ROTC at a dinner for Congressional Medal of Honor winners, marched at the front of Detroit’s Memorial Day parade as head of an ROTC contingent, and was offered a full scholarship to West Point.’ Carson has said he turned down the supposed offer of admission because he knew he wanted to be a doctor and attending West Point would have required four years of military service after graduation. Cecil Murphey, who ghost-wrote ‘Gifted Hands,’ told Politico that his memory of Carson’s exchange with Westmoreland was hazy.
“‘My gut response is that it was not a private meeting but there were others there,’ he said in an email. ‘The general took a liking to Ben and opened doors.'” So Carson never said he went to West Point. This story wants to make you think that. It’s very cleverly done. I’m not… Look, I’m just zeroing in here on what’s written. I’m not trying to downplay what did happen, but there’s also some exaggeration going on. Actually, it’s an attempt to imply. The way it’s written, they want you to believe that Carson said he got a full scholarship and he went to West Point, and none of that was true.
He never went to West Point. He never said that he went to West Point. The contention is that he met Westmoreland, Westmoreland offered him a four-year scholarship at West Point, which there are none. So the media is convinced they found Carson out to be here in a big, big lie. And not a big, big exaggeration, but a big, big lie. Anyway, that’s that, and that’s what blew up here right before the program started. If not for this, it was gonna be… Well, nothing’s ever humdrum here. But by the standards of the last two or three days, it was not gonna be as rocking and rolling. But, of course, that’s out the window now.
RUSH: Okay. Having set the table on this, I think I have a pretty good idea what happened here. But first I want to conclude. I want to tell you something. There is nothing in this article that demonstrates that Ben Carson did not meet with General Westmoreland. He says he met with General Westmoreland, and he did. There’s nothing in the article that says that didn’t happen. There is nothing in the article that demonstrates Westmoreland offered him a scholarship. Nothing in this article demonstrates that he was offered a scholar — meaning to help him.
Carson may have assumed it was a scholarship. He’s a teenager. He’s a kid. He doesn’t know how West Point works. There are no scholarships because everybody’s expenses are paid. That’s part of the drill. Getting into West Point is a bit of an honor, but it’s also a commitment to the US Military. You owe them years of service after you graduate. I have a cousin who attended West Point and ended up being a professor for a time there. We all in our family were just busting buttons with pride. He was from Illinois. His name is Dan.
Ah, we were so proud we couldn’t see straight.
I was young at the time, but I remember enough about the process and what it required, the nomination, climbing the ladder to prove you were qualified and so forth. But look, I’m getting sidetracked here. Carson did not lie about meeting Westmoreland, and when you’re a young kid and you’re talking to Westmoreland… You’re the top-ranking ROTC kid in your town and you’re talking to General William Westmoreland, the Army chief of staff, and he starts singing the virtues of West Point and informing you and telling you how West Point works, somebody like Ben Carson might have assumed that a scholarship was what was being discussed.
I mean, folks, it’s not… What are we dealing with here? It’s not like he doesn’t remember what happened the night of Benghazi. It’s not like Ben Carson has lied about any number of things, like the cost of health care premiums. Like Obama just, again, rejected the Keystone pipeline and told a couple of big whoppers. He said it will not be a factor on gasoline prices and it won’t be a factor on the oil supply or the nation’s economy. Both of those are big, fat whoppers. If you want to start talking about whoppers, it’s always fascinating how the only people that ever get called on it and accused of it are Republicans.
Has the media ever gone through Obama’s books and tracked down his assertions? ‘Cause, I mean, there are some whoppers. See, the alternative media has done that. The conservative media has tracked down Obama’s assertions, many of them. And how about the idea that Obama literally made up boyfriends and girlfriends and so forth and then combined various people into one fictitious character? And I remember the media praising that as a brilliant literary creation or usage.
RUSH: I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers, a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd, the infamous MoDo, from June 15th of 1994. So this is 21 years ago. “Hillary Clinton Says She Once Tried to Be a Marine.” Yes. “The First Lady has offered a kaleidoscope of images to the public, but today she added the most curious one yet: Private Hillary. Speaking at a lunch on Capitol Hill honoring military women, Hillary Rodham Clinton said that she once visited a recruiting office in Arkansas to inquire about joining the Marines.”
Are you kidding me? She was married to Bill Clinton in Arkansas. She wasn’t in Arkansas before she met Clinton and married him. Why in the world would she want to join the Marines there? Oh. Well, wait a minute now. (laughing) Yes. Anyway, “She told the group gathered for lunch in the Dirksen Office Building, according to The Associated Press, that she became interested in the military in 1975, the year she married Bill Clinton and the year she was teaching at the University of Arkansas law school in Fayetteville.”
Oh, okay. “She was 27 then, she said,” and she wanted to become a Marine at 27, “and the Marine recruiter was about 21. She was interested in joining either the active forces or the reserves, she recalled, but was swiftly rebuffed by the recruiter, who took a dim view of her age and her thick glasses. … ‘You’re too old, you can’t see and you’re a woman,’ Mrs. Clinton said she was told,” by some 21-year-old punk kid. “‘Maybe the dogs would take you,’ she recalled the recruiter saying. ‘It was not a very encouraging conversation,’ she said. ‘I decided maybe I’ll look for another way to serve my country.'”
Everybody lapped that up. Everybody believed that story. Mrs. Clinton’s gotten mileage out of that story like you can’t believe. Here’s a woman who claims she’s named after Sir Edmund Hillary. The only problem with that is nobody knew who he was when she was born because he had not yet climbed Mt. Everest. So nobody knew who Sir Edmund Hillary was. But she meets the guy. “You know what? I was named after you!” She lied, rather, to him. And of course there’s all the… You could go down the list of things here.
Like Joe Biden lying about his academic record. We don’t even know what Obama’s academic record is! But, look, these are efforts here to illustrate media bias. But the fact remains the media hit Ben Carson today, and the Ben Carson campaign sort of gave ’em what they wanted by admitting that there was a fabrication here. The problem is this story… Remember first impressions. This story tries to make the reader believe that Ben Carson never want to West Point when he wrote that he did, and he never attended West Point.
Believe me, the way this is written is to convey the possibility Ben Carson said he did. “Well, I never knew he went to West Point.” Well, nobody did because this story says so. But this implies or wants you to infer that Carson’s made up something totally here, and he didn’t. He didn’t make up talking to Westmoreland. He’s a top ROTC kid in his town, in Detroit, and there’s no question if he talks to Westmoreland, Westmoreland’s gonna talk about the Army to a number one ROTC kid. He’s gonna build it up, is probably gonna explain West Point, explaining future options for this young ROTC candidate.
He talks about how it works. Ben Carson comes from poverty, doesn’t understand things, and the way Westmoreland describes it sounds like a scholarship to Carson. So he writes about it. To me, it’s understandable how he would think that he had been offered an opportunity, or at least had an opportunity presented to him. He could have understood it to have been exactly that. Now, what we have today in this Politico story is an effort to make it look like Carson lied, made things up, exaggerated, “And if he did it about this then what else has he lied about and made up?” And they’re off to the races.
Let me grab the phones. We start on this in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bob, great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. First-time caller, longtime listener.
RUSH: Thank you very much. Glad to have you here.
CALLER: So I’m a Naval Academy graduate, a little bit better institution than West Point, and my son graduated there, and there’s an illustrious alumni that recruit qualified candidates all the time, and it is a formal process. You have to have a nomination, congressional or presidential, as well as there’s other ways to get a foundation scholarship. So that term “scholarship” is often misunderstood by the young people. It’s very rare to get a full-time scholarship anywhere, let alone an appointment to a military service academy. So it’s easy that there’s a misunderstanding, and anybody who’s a professional would understand how a young man can make that misrepresentation.
RUSH: So it sounds like to me like you don’t think there’s a whole lot here in terms of the attempt by Politico to characterize Carson as a Clinton-like figure?
CALLER: No, I don’t think Carson is anything close to what Hillary misrepresents herself. I thought there was a helicopter she got attacked in. But, anyway.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. When she was landing in Bosnia, she had to corkscrew down because of “snipper” fire. (interruption) I know it’s sniper, but “snipper” was the way it was written in the story and I’ve always stuck to it that way, just like the Reverend Jackson pronounces it “Cooomo” instead of Cuomo. Anyway. Yeah, she had to corkscrew down the landing, avoid “snipper” fire, and then had to run getting off the airplane to avoid further “snipper” fire, and it turns out it was all made up. Folks, what we have on display here is a clear illustration of the double standard.
The Clintons, not only have their lies not been investigated, they have been applauded. Bill Clinton particularly. Bill Clinton’s lies have been heralded as brilliant politics, and the media has marveled at them. Ben Carson represents… They hate Ben Carson. There’s a CNN op-ed today just as mean as anything you’ll ever read about anybody referring to him as “a safe Negro” for conservative evangelicals, “Magic Negro,” that he’s the kind of black candidate you evangelicals can support to cover up your latent racism.
You can support Carson publicly, and thereby you can convince people that you’re not the racists and bigots that you are, and that’s the value he serves. That’s the purpose he serves. It’s just a mean, vicious, despicable little column that runs on the CNN.com website. And the double standard, as I say, is on full display. They are out now to take Ben Carson out. They’re doing everything they can to make him look like he’s crazy, like he’s a lunatic. And now a big — if not liar a — fabulist and exaggerator.
RUSH: I’ll tell you how I know. The reason I know is ’cause the first note I got is, “There goes Carson.” I said, “Oh, no. What’s that mean?” I mean, at first blush, “Carson? Okay, something’s happened that he’s finished, whatever. He’s gone. What did he say? What happened?” I didn’t know. The first impression here, I’m telling you, is that Ben Carson didn’t go to West Point, lied about everything. “It’s in his book, he made it all up,” and the inference is that he maintains he went to West Point, but he never did go to West Point.
He never said that he went to West Point. The only exaggeration here that I can find… But it’s too late for that now. The die is cast here. The only exaggeration that I can find is what Westmoreland told Carson or what Carson heard Westmoreland say. Here’s Jim in Cincinnati. We have a West Point graduate on the phone. Great to have you. He’s from the same era, by the way. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. It’s an honor to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I attended from ’68 to ’72, and if I were to explain to anybody today just like you said — and what the guy who preceded me said — there were no scholarships. But that’s… I would tell a non-informed person that we have a scholarship. They not only paid for everything that you did there, they actually paid you a stipend every month. And add to that, this was during Vietnam and this was at the time when they started the EEO affirmative action stuff, and my place there were 800 grads that were black. Two years later, they tried to take up to 10%. So if you had a bright guy like Dr. Carson who was already involved with ROTC, there’s no way that Westmoreland wouldn’t have encouraged him to go, and there’s no way that he would not have been pursued trying to up the percentage of blacks at West Point. So I would believe what he said. He’s just misinterpreted it because he wasn’t familiar with the lingo.
RUSH: Yeah. Probably the terms, “and will pay for it,” equals, “They’re offering me a scholarship!”
RUSH: When, in fact, everybody is paid their way because you’re making a commitment beyond your graduation there and so forth. So just to clarify, put yourself in his shoes. You’re in Detroit immediately post-Vietnam, and all of a sudden you’re ranking ROTC in your town and you are talking to General Westmoreland, and he starts extolling the virtues of West Point to you. You think it’s entirely feasible that you might think, “Hey, he’s offering me… He’s encouraging me to go, and look, he told me that they’re gonna cover the costs. It’s a scholarship, in my world.” You can see this happening?
CALLER: Oh, most definitely. I mean, if I were talking to anybody in that era, even today I would tell ’em that I would call it a scholarship because that’s what they would understand if they were pursuing college. And I’m sure Westmoreland was a very bright man. He put it down in language where Dr. Carson could understand it, and that’s the way I would explain it.
RUSH: Okay. So what we have here… Jim, thanks for the call. What we have here is a Politico story essentially saying that Ben Carson was never offered a scholarship at West Point and never applied for admission. Well, Carson never said he applied for admission. It seems that what this is all circling around is Carson’s assertion that the Army saw him. Here’s Westmoreland, “Hey, man, you’re great! We want you to come to West Point on a four-year scholarship. Man, you’re the best. We want you.” He writes about that experience, and then they go to West Point.
“No, no. We can’t find any record of Ben Carson here. In fact, he never applied, was never extended an invitation.” So the exaggeration is, I guess, that Carson writes he was extended an invitation. Never accepted it, never acted on it, but that they offered him a scholarship. And so what we’re discussing here is, “Okay, how could he have been talking to Westmoreland and maybe understood that to be what Westmoreland is saying?”
We have two people, a Naval Academy grad and a West Point grad, who’ve said they can believe exactly Carson’s version of the story. And if you don’t know that everybody gets a “scholarship” at the naval or military academies, then it might sound like a huge deal to you. I could go through The Politico story again. It’s clear what they’re trying to do.
RUSH: Here’s Rick, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Back to the phones we go. It’s great to have you, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. First time, long time. I, too, like Mr. Carson — sorry, Dr. Carson — was accepted to West Point without ever having applied. I was in basic training, and was pulled out of the ranks, brought before the commanding officer and told that I had been accepted.
RUSH: What year was this?
CALLER: This was in 1981.
RUSH: 1981, and they just…? You were in basic training, and they pulled you out and said you’re in?
CALLER: That’s right. My drill sergeant was just as shocked as I was. I just did a two-year enlistment as an enlistee and there I was in front of the battery commander with some paperwork to sign, and as you alluded to earlier, what prevented me as a young man from doing that — which was a foolish mistake on my part — was it was a 10-year military obligation, which sounded like a lifetime when you’re 18.
RUSH: I can imagine. But you are right. This, I’m not familiar with. I’m not familiar with pulling somebody basically off the obstacle course and saying, “Hey, we need you.”
CALLER: Well, what I understand, Rush. It was later on in the Stars and Stripes there was an explanation that they were having trouble getting quality people back then. It was just when Reagan had first come about and was building up the military, and pre-Top Gun movie, so the military wasn’t as popular, and they were doing a lot of creative things.
RUSH: All right. (laughing) Okay, you’re right. We’re coming out of Vietnam and Nixon and Watergate and Carter.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: And the military had just… The most prominent military operation at that time was Carter’s failure to rescue hostages from Iran, that desert operation that he totally botched. But even at that, I’ve never known the military to be in such dire straits that in order to get cadets at West Point, they actually had to go out and just offer slots from great performers from the enlisted ranks. But I’m not protesting what you say. I’ve just never heard it.
CALLER: I still have a little slip of paper from the captain because he wouldn’t let me out of there until I signed a piece of paper saying that if I ever changed my mind during my enlistment, that he’d get me back in there, but I just didn’t. I just… It was ignorance.
RUSH: It is at such variance with what the normal process is to gain admittance to either West Point or the Naval Academy.
CALLER: Believe me, I’ve been beat up over it over the years by my parents and friends for my mistake.
RUSH: Right. Well, anyway, what we’ve got here, if you’re just joining us, is The Politico has a story claiming Ben Carson has wildly exaggerated — maybe lied about — aspects of his story involving West Point. And careful inspection shows there aren’t any lies here, and it was Politico that had their “exclusive” taking out Herman Cain back in 2012.