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RUSH: Hey, look, I want to mention this before it gets lost in the shuffle of our post-debate discussion. Have you seen the economic news today? Retail sales their weakest in what is it now? Eight years, six years? They announce this… They wait to announce this after Obama’s State of the Union debacle. And Walmart is gonna close 154 stores in the United States. What was it Obama said about greatest economic recovery in the history of the country?

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: You know, we continue to be snookered, and your host is now being blamed — ha — for so much. Your host is being blamed for Trump. You know, what the people blaming me for Donald Trump don’t get, they are the reason for Donald. You people in the so-called moderate wing of the Republican Party who have been wringing your hands and fretting over the possibility of a conservative nominee, you opened the door. Not us. And I’m gonna explain that in a second.

This is the best debate that we’ve had last night. Did you watch it, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) Well, I don’t know. You didn’t watch the last one. DonÂ’t start get frustrated in there. This is the best debate we had. I just… I’ll tell you: In my very humble opinion, I tried watching this last night as I imagine non-Republicans, non-conservatives, independents, maybe some low-information voters watching. And everybody on that stage last night, everybody came across as likable and fun and… Well, maybe a couple exceptions on the fun and funny.

But nobody was dislikable. Everybody was on a charismatic roll last night. Everybody scored their points. We ended the night with basically three contenders. We’ve got Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, and it’s patently obvious to anybody — and all three of those people you can arguably say had their best debate at the same time. It was actually fun and a pleasure to watch. It was funny and a pleasure to make notes about. It came on the heels of so much criticism and discussion and so forth.

But, man, everybody was just on their game last night. It was just good. Everybody came across — even in their confrontations they came across — as likable and friendly. I mean, it was exactly what the GOP claims that it wants to be here: Willing to cooperate, willing to cross the aisle. And I don’t say that in a derision sense. I mean it as a totally upbeat positive. Now, we’ve got the appropriate sound bites from the debate, and we’ll get to those in due course.

I do want to spend a little time on this economic news. This is not insignificant, and they’re rolling this out on Friday. This is classic of this Regime. It’s classic of the various bureaucracies in the government when they got bad news to report, they roll it out on a Friday when there’s many other things people are focused on, like the 13 Hours movie premiering today. Trump with a smart move, by the way. In Iowa he’s buying out a theater, renting the theater and buying a showing of it for anybody that wants to show up.

He’s paying for everything, close here to the eve of the Hawkeye Cauci. But retail sales. What else is there in this country besides retail now? “Retail Sales in US Decrease to End Weakest Year Since 2009,” so six years, and 154 Walmart stores are closing, and that’s just in the US. There’s 269 worldwide that are closing, on the heels of Obama just telling everybody what greatest economy we’ve ever had here, the strongest economic recovery. All of that was just lies and BS.


RUSH: Lance in Woodlands, Woodlands, Texas, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, sir. I think one of the reasons why… Um, I was listening to your show yesterday or the day before.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: And you were talking about a report where some of the other nominees were gonna go after Trump and state that he’s not as conservative as he says he is, or that he’s not conservative enough. And I think that would be another huge mistake on their part. People… I think a lot of people like Trump because he has conservative views, and he doesn’t apologize for ’em, and he acts on ’em. We’ve had enough people in 2010 and 2014 that say they’re conservative, say they’re Tea Party, and then they just cave to Obama, or anybody else. They don’t stick up for themselves, they don’t act on their views — their conservative views — they just say, “I’m conservative,” and then they just cave.

RUSH: You know, that’s a good point. That’s actually a good point, ’cause in point of fact what you’re saying is: The same people who, during campaigns, tell us and assure us they’re conservative end up not being. And yet those are the same people bitching at Trump for not being conservative and trying to tell us we’re being fooled. Like Mitt Romney, “I’m a severe conservative.” We said, “What is that?” He said, “I’m a severe conservative,” ’cause he thought he had to say he’s conservative — and when he came and talked to me, he was.

Then he’d go to a fundraiser; it’d be a different story.

But at the same time, the same people who assure us they are conservative are warning us that Trump isn’t. Yet when they have a chance to be, they aren’t either. That’s actually a good point out there, Lance. Now, the prepub going into the debate last night was not that Cruz was gonna hit Trump for not being conservative. He was just gonna hit him. I mean, it’s down to three weeks now and we get to Iowa. They’re number one and two. It’s been kid gloves up toil now, and there was… Both of them went after each other last night for the first time.

What else did I predict? I predicted that there was gonna be a gang-up between Christie and Jeb aimed at Rubio, and that happened. The minute it did, I got five e-mails saying, “You called it! You called it,” and I did. Christie and Jeb tried to gang up on poor little Marco in the debate last night. Marco held his ground. How did you think Rubio did last night? (interruption) I thought… I’m telling you, I liked them all. I thought… We’re talking top tier, here.

I thought they all did well. There wasn’t a dull moment. There wasn’t a time where I thought, “Eh, you know what? I’m gonna go do something else for a couple minutes, here.” Every other debate, there was a lull. There wasn’t a lull in this one. I take that back. Look, there was, but it’s where I would expect it to be, so it wasn’t a surprise. The point is, I think everybody involved in this thing was on. They were attuned. They had their best foot forward all night. I really thought it was good. For as far as the party was concerned, I thought last night was a good three hours, two hours, whatever it was, for the party.

That’s the overall view I came away with.

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