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RUSH: So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s just go to audio sound bites. I have a point to make here because the long knives, predictably, are out for your beloved host. That would be me. We will start with CNN last night, Jake Tapper’s program, speaking with the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus about me and my reaction to Governor Nikki Haley. Who, by the way… Did anybody notice Nikki Haley walking it all back now? Did you notice that? It started with this mutual apology and embrace between Trump and Nikki Haley at the debate last night and then the story from TheHill.com: “Haley Walks Back Criticism of Bush and Rubio.”

Not only Bush and Rubio, but Trump. She’s out there saying Trump, “angry voices,” and then she hit Rubio on amnesty and some other things. She withdrew her attacks against these Republican candidates in the aftermath of the backlash over her State of the Union response. She called Trump a “friend,” and acknowledged that he’s given her donations in the past. I mean, yeah, there was a lot of reaction to Nikki Haley. But where did it happen for two days? Where was it explained in great detail? Right here on the EIB Network.

So let’s go back to the audio sound bites. Jacob Tapper and Reince Priebus last night on CNN, plays a clip of me from Wednesday’s program and gets Priebus’ reaction. Here’s how it happened…

TAPPER: I want you to listen to Rush Limbaugh yesterday talking about Governor Haley.

RUSH ARCHIVE: I think it’s proof and it’s an example of so much. For one thing, it’s almost absolute proof of what I have been saying for last couple years now, that the Republican Party’s trying to drive conservatives out of the party.

TAPPER: Now, that’s probably the most influential conservative talk show host in the country telling conservatives that the Republican Party doesn’t want or care about them. How do you…? As the head of the RNC, how do you combat that kind of narrative?

RUSH: It’s not me! Once again, I’m not the guy who said I want to win the Republican nomination without the base. That was Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is the party. The Bushes are the party. They are the party establishment. Everybody else is along with them, and they made it plain that their objective was to win the Republican nomination without the base. And we knew how they were gonna do it because they told us. They were gonna raise all the money and they were gonna divide all the money going to conservative candidates.

They’d winnow them out, and Bush would be the last man standing, with the donor class providing the energy and the money for it. I mean, I didn’t make this up. I mean, when you have the chosen/the favorite of the establishment, Jeb Bush, making it clear in his campaign that they want to win the nomination without the base, well, what’s the base? The base is the conservative wing of the party. What are we to conclude from this? Anyway here’s the chairman of the RNC responding to the observations of Jacob Tapper on CNN.

PRIEBUS: It’s completely false and there’s no base in fact of it. I mean, the truth is no matter who you’re for, whether any one of the 12 candidates, the one thing that we have to have is a national party that has its act together when it comes to the mechanics, the ground game, the data operation, the thousands of people that we pay across the country to register voters. And to make sure that no matter who wins, that we’re a heck of a lot better than we were in 2012. Now, I can’t think of a single controversial thing about that. So no matter who wins, if you don’t have a Republican National Committee that’s really good, they will lose for sure. So, we win if we have a good nominee and a good national party. We lose if we don’t.

RUSH: Okay, so that’s Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman, answering Jake Tapper saying that, no, Rush is wrong; that we’re not trying to drive conservatives out of the party. Jeffrey Lord is a commentator for CNN. He’s also an author and a writer, a former political operative in the Reagan administration back in the eighties on CNN last night, post-debate coverage with Anderson Cooper. Jeffrey Lord had this to say about this little dustup.

LORD: Another thing that’s key today in terms of what went on with Nikki Haley, Governor Haley of South Carolina, is that Rush Limbaugh immediately came to Donald Trump’s defense —

COOPER: Right.

LORD: — and went after her. That’s no small thing here, and Rush was doing it again today. And the message, of course, is… I mean, this is about that split in the Republican Party, and I see the chairman, Reince Priebus, felt compelled to disagree with Rush in a statement, which is surely not a comfortable place for him to be —

COOPER: Right.

LORD: — because we all know Rush is the real chairman.

RUSH: (laughing) Jeez! (laughing) Jeffrey Lord at CNN (laughing), and Anderson Cooper didn’t disagree. Okay, now, look, folks, just so you understand, I know exactly what I’m doing. There are all kinds of people yelling that with this vaunted position I have that there has to be some degree of responsibility. Don’t tell me. This is patently obvious to me. If you’d have told me 30 years ago that I was gonna end up being in this position, I would have told you, “You’re crazy. I just want to be a guy on the radio, pure and simple. That’s all I want to do.”

I’ve never had political aspirations, perspirations of any sort. However, what has happened is what has happened. I can’t deny what I see. I can’t ignore what I hear. I’m not the only one who has heard for years… Go back to the Reagan years. The Republican establishment just doesn’t like conservative candidates. They don’t like conservatives winning the nomination. Take a look at the establishment nominees and choices in the recent past; you’ll see what I mean. But I don’t even need to ask you to rely on your memory.

I have an incredible story here last night — and, by the way, just to give you a little bit of inside data, if you watched the debate last night, did you hear a lot of boos for Trump? (interruption) Did you wonder about that? (interruption) Well, you knew where it was coming? (interruption) Where was it coming from? (interruption) Where do you…? (interruption) No. (interruption) No. (interruption) It might have been the Bush camp, but I’ll tell you where the boo birds were coming from. They were coming from North Carolina.

The North Carolina GOP bused a bunch of people down there and their express purpose was to try to show that there is no massive support for Trump. They wanted to do some damage. They are grudgingly accepting Ted Cruz now. But can you go back just maybe three, four weeks? How many of you remember the Republican establishment embracing Ted Cruz, promoting Ted Cruz, thinking Ted Cruz would be the solution? I mean, it didn’t happen, did it? But it has worked out that way.

I mean, if you wanted to say somebody won the debate last night, you’d have to say it’s Ted Cruz. Some might think it’s a toss-up between Cruz and Trump, but they all did well, particularly the three top-tier candidates. But none of this is made up. This is pure observation. Let me first play for you a sound bite. This is found on The Politico website. They released a video of a Republican National Committee member named Holland Redfield. Holland Redfield is an RNC member and Republican precinct leader, captain, whatever, in the Virgin Islands, which traditionally votes majority Democrat every presidential election. He was speaking about the party and the 2016 presidential race at the Republican National Committee winter meeting yesterday in Charleston.

REDFIELD: When I see the tenor of discussion amongst these candidates — who are using our label and professing they are either conservative or liberal — and the disrespect in many cases for ethnic minorities in the United States and also religious factions in the United States, you have to draw the line. Because sooner or later, somebody has to pick up the pieces. … [O]r almost terrorizes members of our party. “Shut up, toe the line, embrace each other, and let’s go forward.” I understand that. But there is a limit to where loyalty is!

RUSH: He’s upset about Trump. Holland Redfield was upset about Trump. Priebus was in the audience there. What they were talking about behind closed doors was figuring out how to sponsor a rebellion against Trump because they think they’re being held hostage by Trump and by Trump’s supporters. But I have something else here. This is also in TheHill.com, and it’s the most amazing story. It’s about Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. I never heard of him. I don’t know who he is. But he is of the crowd in the Republican Party who believes and “has long insisted that the Republican Party must expand its demographic appeal.”

We must reach out to the Hispanics!

We must reach out to the women!

He is right off the front pages of the donor class. He’s one of these guys that believes the party ought to be perceived as willing to work with Democrats, and he wants to tout when they do work with Democrats, wants to promote how cooperative they are, how they can “make Washington work.” He wants to do everything he can to turn the Republican Party into a totally moderate, RINO party. And he’s frustrated and panicked over the conservative ascendancy at the moment in the Republican Party.

But that’s not even the half at the story. He calls himself a “modernizer” in this story, meaning he’s one of the group of people that wants to modernize this party and bring it into the Twenty-First Century because it’s being run now by the Neanderthals, which are the conservatives. And the conservatives are ascendant and we can’t have that. “There is no way. We don’t even want to win with the conservatives winning,” is his point. And he suggested in this story… I’m giving you the summary of it. I’ll read to you from it when I have time in the next half hour.

But his “nightmare scenario,” Ford O’Connell… According to the TheHill.com,

“The nightmare scenario for modernizers like himself, he suggested, was a conservative candidate becoming the nominee and winning the general election because of a ‘perfect storm’ of pro-GOP factors. Such an outcome, he suggested, would postpone the hard conversations that party needs to have” for long-term survival. Yes. You heard right.

A Republican nominee — a conservative nominee — who wins the White House is a problem because it postpones the party “modernizing” and doing what it must do to be a long-term, viable party. He said, “If they are successful…” He’s talking about Trump and Cruz, and he’s RNC. “‘If they are successful,’ O’Connell said of candidates such as Trump and Cruz, ‘then those who are arguing to broaden our appeal will be pushed to the edges of the party.'” They don’t want a conservative to win no matter what.


RUSH: Now, this segment’s gonna be real short because I went long in the first one — and it’s bad. I apologize for that. Short segments irritate you, and I understand it. But we will delay the continuation of the story on Mr. Ford O’Connell who thinks a conservative victory — conservative nominee and then the conservative nominee winning the White House — will delay the much needed growth the Republican Party must have if it’s to have a long-term future. The details of that coming up.

Meantime, try this headline. This is The Politico: “Bush Donors Await Green Light to Jump Ship — When Jeb Bush announced a record fundraising haul in July, the Florida Republican rewarded major donors with a two-day celebratory retreat at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. They also delivered a message: $114 million was just the beginning of how much cash they would need to win. Now, seven months later and just 17 days before the [Hawkeye Cauci], BushÂ’s donors are no longer high-fiving or strategizing how to keep funds flowing. Instead,” they’re waiting for permission to jump ship and join other campaigns.


RUSH: No, I don’t care that they blame me, Mr. Snerdley, as long as they spell my name right. You know, I’m thinking of changing my first name from Rush to Vontaze. Vontaze Limbaugh, number 55, taking ’em out one player at a time. No, I really did. It’s serious, but it’s silly. The idea that I or anybody else in the media is responsible for Donald Trump? You know, it gets to a question. Since when — and I’m dead serious about this. I want anybody to repeat this as far and wide as you want. Since when is it my responsibility to take candidates out of races? Since when is it my responsibility to do that?

Even if you think… In this casek let’s just put it out on the table. You think Trump’s not conservative and I am Mr. Conservative, and you wonder why I’m not out there trying to expose Trump as a phony, fraud conservative or whatever? Why is this up to me? What if I don’t feel like doing that? What if I think Trump’s performing an important service? And you know what it is? Trump is the first to arrive at important issues we all care about. Some of you might disagree with what he says about it, how he says about it.

But for the longest time… We’ve had two landslide election victories, 2010 and 2014. We got nothing to show for it. We don’t even get recognition from elected officials that they think the problems that we think are the problems are the same thing. So here comes Trump, and he’s properly identifying what the problems are. He’s the first to identify them. You call it gutsy, courageous. I don’t care what you call it. And then he launches on these issues as the first to arrive at them and happens to say some pretty responsible things about ’em issue-wise.

I’ve said over and over again what I think the other services that Trump is performing are, such as showing you don’t have to be afraid of the media, which is a Republican hallmark today. You don’t have to be afraid of violating political correctness. You don’t have to be defensive. You don’t have to be ashamed of yourself. None of that. You can win with traditional, good old American confidence and roll-up-the-sleeves hard work! Be proud of who you are, stand for what you believe in, and tell everybody how right you are and bring them along with you.

There’s been a genuine hunger for that for I don’t know how many years here, on the conservative side. But even with all that, since when does the establishment media, the quasi-conservative media, the Republican Party…? Since when is it our job here on talk radio to do what they want done? They want Trump taken out? Go for it.


RUSH: John in Ithaca. Welcome, sir. Great to have you on the program.

CALLER: Good to talk to you again, Rush. Mega dittos.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: From the land of the left. Rush, you’re not responsible for Trump. Trump is responsible for Trump. Nobody’s gonna set him up, and I think you’re responsible and should take the control that you brought the House and the Senate back to the Republicans. That’s what they ought to give you credit for.

RUSH: Oh-ho. Oh, now you’re issuing fighting words to ’em out there, John.

CALLER: Well, maybe it’s time we got the pot stirred a little bit more. But to accuse you of setting up Trump? It’s a laugh.

RUSH: Well —

CALLER: I mean, he’s his own man.

RUSH: I appreciate that, and it’s a very mature view that you’re espousing. To be specific, what I am being accused of — and talk radio, too — is that when Trump came along, we should have spotted immediately he is a fraud, not a conservative, and we should have immediately taken him out. While they sit around with their magazines and their blog sites, we’re supposed to take Trump out. And then when we don’t, we’re the phonies and we are back-stabbing our own whatever. You know, it’s been 27 years and there are still supposed students of this game that have no idea what happens on this program or why.


RUSH: No. Yes, I said the North Carolina GOP was bused in there last night and booing Trump. It’s not they were bused in. The GOP was having its winter meetings that coincided there with the debate, and North Carolina’s close so you had a bunch of North Carolina GOP show up and I understand they’re the ones booing Trump in there. So what? Big deal. They’re all worked up on Facebook over this ’cause I said they were bused in. Okay, you drove yourselves there! Big deal. What’s the difference? They were there, and Trump got booed. Is there any wonder who did it? Man, oh, man.

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