RUSH: Now, folks, the first 11 sound bites of my sound bite roster today are me. The news media, cable and otherwise, broadcast networks, discussing something I said on this program yesterday — 11 sound bites, 10 of which I would air. I hope… People have been asking me this entire program to play them, to air them. I hope you will understand when I tell you that when I come here every day, I have never intended to use this program to promote me. I always try to focus on the events of the day, issues, other things that are happening at the forefront and not make this all about me.
I’ve had that as a policy since I first started this program. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen other people do it, and it grates on me, and it’s transparent, and it’s just… To me, it’s low class. I always put the audience first and what I think they really want to hear about first, and that’s where my empathy comes in. But I have been overwhelmed with requests to air some. (interruption) Well, yeah. (sigh) Mr. Snerdley is saying, “What do you mean? It was a big news story. It was a big story because you made it a big news story. You owe it to your audience who didn’t hear it!”
I guess so. It’s just… Folks, it’s always been… It’s a product of… I don’t know what. Manners? Anyway, enough explaining. Let’s just get started with some of them because this is the first of 11, and I didn’t know any of it was happening last night ’cause I did not have the news on, and my brother sent me a note at midnight, “Are you getting any feedback on what you said about Trump and Cruz?” “Nah, I haven’t heard a word,” and I said, “But I don’t go looking for it, either, so…” And he didn’t reply. So I didn’t know about it ’til I got the sound bite roster 10 minutes before the program.
Here’s the first, a montage which clearly indicates that the Drive-Bys have just been waiting for me to do what they could report as abandoning or turning on Trump.
JAMES ROSEN: Rush Limbaugh — who has previously praised Trump’s courage and guts –wasn’t seeing either of those qualities in this latest dust-up.
CHERI JACOBUS: With Rush Limbaugh, this is the long-planned pivot of right-wing media to now switch from Trump and move to Cruz.
S.E. CUPP: (outdoor noise) It’s a very complicated, sordid little love triangle between Trump and Cruz and Rush.
CHRIS STIREWALT: You heard from Rush Limbaugh.
ANA NAVARRO: (outdoor noise) Attacks from Rush Limbaugh…
MAJOR GARRETT: (outdoor noise) Rush Limbaugh … criticized Trump for going after Cruz.
AMANDA CARPENTER: Rush Limbaugh, talk radio titan…
BRIAN KILMEADE: Rush Limbaugh, really upset…
NICOLLE WALLACE: Rush Limbaugh, very widely listened to and respected…
MARGARET CARLSON: Rush Limbaugh is very proud of that.
HALLIE JACKSON: (outdoor noise) Interesting listening to that from Rush Limbaugh.
MCKAY COPPINS: Ted Cruz actually is more ideologically, y’know, acceptable to people like Rush.
MEGYN KELLY: What does Trump do with these clear lines in the sand being drawn by Limbaugh?
RUSH: Okay, so the last there was Megyn Kelly, the second was Cheri Jacobus, who’s on I guess CNN. “Rush Limbaugh, this is the long-planned pivot…” She’s a Republican establishment strategist, by the way. “Rush Limbaugh, this is the long planned pivot of right-wing media to now switch from Trump and move to Cruz,” as though I’m sitting here playing a symphony, and orchestrating a battle plan that is mapped out by the day. And yesterday was the day for “the long-planned pivot.”
And she’s a Republican strategist! She is the one that referred to me as “right-wing media” two weeks ago. She’s the one that was saying that right-wing media wouldn’t mind Hillary being reelected because right-wing media got rich writing anti-Clinton books. They all think they know what happens here and how it happens. And it’s amazing, after 27 years, how so many — literally many — know so little about what happens right before their eyes and ears for three hours a day. Next up, CBS This Morning, Major Garrett reporting on the big item of yesterday.
GARRETT: Donald Trump has been living a charmed political life, floating atop the polls and untouched by the mandarins of conservative talk radio, but no more. Polls indicate Trump faces serious competition in Iowa. And now, two of talk radio’s right-wing elite wonder if Trump understands what it means to be a conservative. … Conservative talk radio hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, both questioned Trump’s decision to call Cruz a quote, “maniac,” for helping shut down the government in 2013. Here’s Limbaugh…
GARRETT: Cruz stayed out of the fray telling a Vegas radio show he would avoid a debate conversation with Trump.
RUSH: And about that, I’ll just predict to you the confrontation, if there’s a confrontation, keep an eye on Cruz and Rubio, not Cruz and Trump. Cruz and Rubio is where the action’s gonna be. (interruption) You like that? Mandarin? (interruption) Mandarin of talk radio? You… You like that, huh, the mandarin of talk radio? The next one I’m not gonna play, because it slights another talk radio host here, and I could not do that. I cannot. I just can’t. I refuse to do that. (interruption) Well, if I told you that, I might as well play the bite.
I’m not gonna do it. It’s a mild insult of yet another host, which would make no sense for me to play. That’s not what this is about. Don’t worry. There are eight more, even if I don’t play one of these. The next one was Megyn Kelly and The Kelly File, but it runs almost 45 seconds. It includes Stephen Hayes, Guy Benson, Chris Stirewalt, and Howie Kurtz. Actually, it’s two or three bites after this one, too.
RUSH: So get this. Cookie told me she could have given me 10 more. She just stopped it at 11. So she could have given me 21 or 22 of these, and I didn’t have any idea it was happening. So here you go. We’re jumping forward to number four here now, whatever you do, don’t goof up and play number three. All right. So here we’re starting out, this is The Kelly File last night, Megyn Kelly and Stephen Hayes talking about what happened on this program yesterday.
HAYES: You wondered all along when people like Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh would turn on Donald Trump. I mean, Donald Trump has not been a lifelong conservative, certainly not a part of the conservative movement. And he’s made a series of errors and gaffes and offensive statements, misstatements, that haven’t won the ire of both Levin and Limbaugh. But this, the attack on Ted Cruz, seems to have done that. And I think that could really mark a turning point. If Levin and Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio types turn on Donald Trump right now in favor of Ted Cruz because they think Trump has gone too far, that really could signal to others who have supported Donald Trump that this is sort of the end of it, now it’s time to get behind a real conservative.
RUSH: You know, it’s amazing to me to listen to this. Every time I’m in the news I learn things about myself that I didn’t know. It’s the most amazing thing. Wait ’til it happens to you, folks. Someday you will be in the news, someday there will be news about you, it may be in your local newspaper, but I guarantee you you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know. You learn things about the way you were thinking. You’ll learn things about who you were planning something with. You will learn about things that you’ve done that you didn’t know you did. Really, it’s fascinating here. Here’s Guy Benson also in The Kelly File. Megyn Kelly said, “Cruz is surging, support for Cruz up by 13 and a half percent. Support for him in the latest poll, Des Moines, up 21 points. Trump’s support seems to have peaked, so this is happening at an important time in the race.”
BENSON: This goes to a pattern of behavior from Donald Trump that we see. He attacks conservatives from the left routinely. He did it to Scott Walker using left-wing talking points on the budget. Just this week he came after and joined the left-wing pile-on on Justice Scalia. Of course this should raise red flags for someone like Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH: Up next on the same show is Chris Stirewalt, the political editor at Fox News, the digital political editor. And Megan said, “Hey, Chris, if you put those polls in perspective for us, it would help. Cruz ahead of Trump by 10 in Iowa, but, wow, what a poll for Donald Trump by Monmouth.”
STIREWALT: As you heard from Rush Limbaugh, as you heard from others, they want Ted Cruz protected because if Donald Trump is not going to be able to go the distance, if he blows up Ted Cruz tomorrow night, if he comes out with hatchets swinging at Ted Cruz and bad things happen to the arguably most conservative viable contender in this race, conservatives will be out of luck.
RUSH: Right. So that’s another thing I learned about myself. This is all about circling the wagons and protecting Cruz. It can’t be about what it was about. There is a deeper, deeper meaning here. There’s a much deeper story than what appeared on the surface of this program yesterday. It’s about much, much more than what you heard. Here’d Howard Kurtz, same show, Kelly File. She says, “What does Trump do with these clear lines in the sand being drawn by Limbaugh?”
KURTZ: I would put my chips in the Vegas casino on Donald Trump not calling Ted Cruz a bit of a maniac. He tends to be on better behavior at these —
KELLY: That’s true.
KURTZ: — big televised debates. I think Trump may not attempt to deliver the knockout blow.
RUSH: This was not a knockout blow that he hit on Cruz. It was a miss. That’s the whole point. But I’ll just repeat what I said earlier. If I were to advise, which I’m not, I think Trump should do what he’s done in every one of these debates, other than the first, is back off. Just, you know, answer questions when they come to you, you know, forget Rand Paul’s up there. Don’t ask why Rand Paul’s still there. Don’t do any of that stuff. Just shut up, you know, just answer the questions and move on.
These debates, Trump has been the least bombastic of all. I mean, it’s in his appearances where Trump becomes the charismatic candidate that he is. These debates, I mean, we got eight people up there, you get an hour and a half, two hours, you’re talking a max eight minutes combined. So I think — well, just one more time, because of the way things have shaken out here and because Jeb’s sitting there and can’t move beyond five, the establishment needs somebody to support in case it looks like this is it for Jeb. And Rubio I think is their guy.
You know, Rubio and Cruz will know that. Rubio’s much closer to Cruz than Cruz is to Trump. And that’s why I think, if there is any so-called action tonight, that’s where you’re going to see it. To me, that’s what common sense would say will happen. Now, the CNN people are gonna try to create fisticuffs here, political fisticuffs with Trump and Cruz, ’cause that’s what they think they stumbled across here yesterday. Here is CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront talking to one of their contributors, S. E. Cupp. And the question, “Nothing Trump has or has not done on that stage has hurt him so far, right? None of this hurts him. Latest poll, 41%, 13 percentage points up since October, 27 points ahead of Cruz after the Muslim comments. That’s pretty stunning.”
CUPP: If Rush is suddenly seeming to side with Ted Cruz and defend Ted Cruz against Trump, that might put Trump in a very, very precarious position. You know, as loyal as Donald Trump’s supporters are, they can’t hold a candle to Rush’s supporters.
RUSH: Well, you like that? Snerdley likes that analysis. That got their attention in there on the other side of the glass. And back to CNN. Anderson Cooper 360 talking to the former Ted Cruz communications director, Amanda Carpenter. Question: “Do the Iowa numbers worry you at all? You look at Ted Cruz doing very well in Iowa, given it’s only one poll, a lot can change. Does that concern you at all, I mean, Ted Cruz, your old boss?”
CARPENTER: Ted Cruz has cracked the code. His bear hug strategy is saying “I’m not going to go negative” has forced Donald Trump into making a very big mistake in the GOP primary. Donald Trump has attacked Ted Cruz for opposing ethanol subsidies, he’s attacked Ted Cruz for not playing nice among the Republican establishment, and that is having negative effects already today in seeing Rush Limbaugh going after Trump and saying, “Stop attacking Ted Cruz from the right. This is not how we play in the GOP primary.” I think that’s going to cause many people to question what Donald Trump really stands for and if he’s a conservative at all.
RUSH: Just a refresher: What happened was that Trump hit Cruz for not being able to cooperate and get along with people in the Senate, and that’s the kind of criticism of Cruz that you get from the Democrats or from the media. I mean, that’s the kind of stuff McCain says. “We gotta be able to cross the aisle, gotta be able to work…” That’s not what people support Trump for, and not why they’re supporting Cruz. Nobody wants people to get along with the Democrats. They want to defeat them. And this criticism of Cruz using left-wing criticism, it disappointed me, which is what I said.
Here’s Ana Navarro, also on CNN with Anderson Cooper. “Do you see Trump going after Cruz tomorrow in the debate and calling him ‘a little bit of a maniac’ on the stage?”
NAVARRO: If he’s been watching TV today or listening to radio, he knows that his attack on Cruz on the “maniac” issue fell flat. He’s gotten some attacks from Rush Limbaugh, he’s gotten some attacks from Mark Levin — giants on the right-wing, conservative media. So I think he’s gotta tread carefully, because he’s been very effective in the attacks that he’s laid on Jeb Bush, on Marco Rubio, practically everybody else. But the right-wing base likes Ted Cruz a lot.
RUSH: So she was saying if Trump is watching or listening to radio, he’ll learn that he screwed up. Anyway, there’s more, folks, but that’s it. I mean, that’s the flavor of what this… (interruption) I know. (interruption) They are. (interruption) Because they’re gonna try. What they think…? CNN… (interruption) Snerdley’s saying, “CNN’s gonna bring this all up again tonight in debate: ‘So, Rush Limbaugh said… What do you think?’ ‘So Rush Limbaugh said… What do you think?'” And they’re gonna be making a mistake if they do it. Because I don’t think people are gonna bite. I don’t think… CNN’s not gonna get their fisticuffs on that. They want it, but they’re going to be disappointed. Wild guess.
It just means I’m gonna have to watch it, too. Oh, well.