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RUSH: Let’s move back to the audio sound bites. Here we have the media reacting to me again, reacting to the fight between Rubio and Cruz on the Gang of Eight bill. This is more obfuscation, and this is yet more efforts being made to somehow change the focus of all this to me, a mere commentator and secret, private advisor, I guess. So CNN’s New Day, the fill-in host is John Berman, talking with a political correspondent Nia-Malika Henderson about the disagreement over immigration reform between Cruz and Rubio.

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Here’s the question from Berman. “Even if Rubio is right and Cruz is fudging things with this, doesn’t Cruz win the war in the Republican primary campaign, particularly in Iowa, by discussing immigration at all? I mean, again with the Republican primary elected, isn’t this the biggest vulnerability for Marco Rubio?”

HENDERSON: You’ve got people like Rush Limbaugh, like Jeff Sessions, like Steve King, and these are kind of lions to conservatives. They’re coming out and backing Cruz and saying that the real important issue here is that Rubio stood next to Chuck Schumer and backed amnesty, and Cruz was on the other side of it. They’re gonna try to make it as black and white as possible because they know that to a lot of conservatives, particularly in Iowa and then in those Southern states as well, that the idea of what they call amnesty is just a nonstarter for a lot of those voters.

RUSH: Well, okay. So her analysis is that people like me, and then she mentions members of the House and Senate, Jeff Sessions in the Senate, Steve King from Iowa, these are kind of lions to conservatives, and they’re coming out and they’re backing Cruz saying the real important issue here is that Rubio stood next to — Well, yeah, I mean, that’s undeniable. Anyway, I played the sound bite because that’s how CNN’s audience, thimble size though it is, learns of the issue. Moving on to CNN’s New Day, different guest, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for the New Yorker magazine, and this was his comment.

LIZZA: Everyone who is against that bill is on Cruz’s side. Rush Limbaugh, all the conservatives who are anti-immigration reform, are with Cruz. And it allows Cruz to go out and have this conversation. In the long run, despite the fact that Rubio has muddied the waters on who is pro-amnesty, in the long run this is a conversation that does not benefit Marco Rubio.

RUSH: Right, with voters. He is saying that this is muddying the waters. Actually, it’s clarifying them in a sense because Nia-Malika Henderson… You know, a clock’s right twice a day. She got it right. When all of this is over — I mean, the argument’s over, when all the points have been made — there’s still a picture. It’s Chuck Schumer and the Gang of Eight with Marco Rubio in the picture, and nowhere is Ted Cruz. By the way, folks, again, this is why I do not endorse in primaries. And I need to say something here.

I am not… I do not consider myself opposed to any of these Republicans, because any of these people if they were gonna get the nomination are gonna get my vote over Hillary Clinton. I am not in any way, shape, manner, or form trying to damage any of them. But in the process of a campaign, there are gonna be arguments coming up, intraparty arguments. And they’re going to have, as all arguments do, people that are right and people that are wrong, people more right than they are more wrong. We honestly analyze and proclaim what we find on this program.

Let the chips fall where they do. But there’s no effort here to damage anybody. And there’s no effort to support anybody. Because at the end of the day, whoever survives this Republican primary is gonna get my vote over the pantsuit, and it’s hands down. It is not even close. There is nobody… Unlike Jeb Bush and unlike some of these other Republicans, I’m not hedging. There’s no way I’m voting for Hillary Clinton over any of these Republicans.

I don’t care what… No way. (interruption) What about you, Snerdley? You’re looking at me like you can’t believe I’m saying this. (interruption) Let me ask you: Who’s doing more damage to this primary, somebody like me saying, “I don’t care who survives, I’m voting for them,” or a bunch of different Republicans saying, “If Trump’s it, you can count me out! I’m voting Hillary.” Hell, yes, a Republican claiming that he would vote for Hillary Clinton! Turn your sound bite focus on those people. I’m not trying to destroy or damage anybody here, except to the extent we’re repeating what they say, if that helps or hurts.

I mean, who’s that on anyway?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let’s return the audio sound bites because I’m by no means finished with the audio sound bites viciously, savagely attacking your host or mildly referencing your host. It’s a combination of different kinds. This was yesterday afternoon on the Fox News Channel’s The Real Story, hosted by Gretchen Carlson. She’s speaking here to a former Clinton pollster by the name of Bernard Whitman about me. And up first is her question to Whitman and a sound bite from this program.

CARLSON: Rush Limbaugh, talking about why people don’t get Donald Trump and Trump supporters. He says the real question isn’t Trump, it’s what’s wrong with the ruling class establishment. Listen to this.

RUSH ARCHIVE: The question is what’s wrong with them, not what’s wrong with Trump or Rubio or Cruz or any of these other candidates. Why doesn’t the establishment see what the rest of us see?

CARLSON: The interesting thing is that Rush Limbaugh put Marco Rubio in the anti-establishment candidate package there.

RUSH: Note the things that interest them. You got editors. You got people monitoring the program, mining for any potential sound bite to use on their program to get guests to bounce off of. And they hear me say this, that the real question is not what’s wrong with Trump, what’s up with Trump, but what’s up with the establishment. If anybody needs to explain themselves, it’s that. And then they, “My God, did you hear what he said? He put Rubio in the anti-establishment group. Oh, my God, we got news here.” So they exhume the clip, and they play it for the former Clinton pollster, Bernard Whitman, who replied thus.

WHITMAN: That shocked me. It sort of made me think is Rush Limbaugh on the payroll of the Rubio campaign? I tell you one another person who was very surprised to hear that was Ted Cruz. I think it’s quite clear that Marco Rubio is pretty much an establishment politician along the lines of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and I get exactly why the voters are so frustrated. They don’t feel that the Republican establishment is listening to them, understands them. But the idea that Marco Rubio is an anti-establishment candidate, I think that’s news to just about everybody.

RUSH: It is. But he wasn’t — Marco Rubio was the darling of the Tea Party. Marco Rubio was elected as a Tea Party conservative Republican. Marco Rubio was sent to Washington clearly with the belief that he was part of a new conservative majority that was not tied to the establishment, and then along came the Gang of Eight bill, and there’s Marco Rubio in the picture with Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin and the rest of the gang, and Ted Cruz isn’t in there. I was simply referring back to the original days. Marco Rubio was at one time.

Anyway, that’s not the central theme of what I was discussing. But yet that’s what they thought was newsworthy. Moving on to Fox Business Network, a show called Kennedy hosted by Kennedy, that would be Lisa Kennedy. She’s a former MTV person, right? Believe so. And she was talking with a columnist from The Daily Beast named Michael Moynihan, and she said, “Was I right saying that Donald Trump is the Darth Vader of this election?”


MOYNIHAN: After he was attacked by Rush Limbaugh for going after Ted Cruz, now he’s down shifting.

KENNEDY: So that was in response to —

MOYNIHAN: Absolutely right. Absolutely.

KENNEDY: — him and Limbaugh.

MOYNIHAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, if everybody was on his side still on that, he would — he would crank it up. This is not a man of principle. This is a man who is reacting entirely to the crowd.

RUSH: So this guy’s upset that when I advised a certain way to not criticize Cruz, that Trump appeared to follow that advice. To this guy that means Trump is not a man of principle, because he backed down in the face of criticism of me. Now, I got an interesting question in the e-mail here. And some of you may think it’s a snarky question or you may laugh at it, Snerdley being one. But the basic premise of the e-mail is, “Rush, why is it always you that these media people use? Why is it anytime you say something, why do they use you?”

Well, there are a host of reasons to answer that question. One, they think I am the voice of the mainstream conservative opposition. They know I’m consistent, and they know I don’t waver and all that. I’m dependable. When they need to present what they think is the standard, proper conservative view on something, they go out and get what I say and then ask others to comment on it. But, there is also another factor here that some of you may have figured out that has backfired on them I can’t tell you how many times. But to many of these people, they believe — I’m talking about in the media, now, at the producer level, at the editor level where these things are really assembled and put together, they believe that they have effectively destroyed my reputation with you and Americans.

They believe they have marginalized me as some oddball kind of Jar Jar Binks character so that all they have to do is hoist me up and that sends a signal that this is what the kooks and the odd balls and the weirdos think. That’s the result of their work. They have sought to marginalized me as one of those kinds of people. They undercut that premise every time they use me, because they do, and it’s clear to somebody paying attention that there’s nothing radical or extreme or whatever it is they’re trying to say it is. And everybody takes it seriously, and everybody reacts to it seriously, and so it’s kind of backfired on ’em. I mean, there’s a multifaceted answered to that question.

No, I’ve never wavered, I’ve never been a squish, and that’s why, you know, “Okay, we need a conservative viewpoint on something, where do we go? Limbaugh! See what Limbaugh said about it.” That’s it. You want the conservative point of view, conservative reaction, conservative theory. “See if we got audio on Limbaugh.” That’s part of it.

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