RUSH: I’m gonna state it again. I shouldn’t have to do this. I run the risk of doing this and even sounding a certain way. I wish, sometimes, you all could see the e-mail that I get after any given show, because it’s routinely filled with people either thanking me or really, really mad at me for either being for their candidate or not being for their candidate. And it changes day to day. I can’t tell you the number of people who are sending me notes warning me about Rubio.
But I am also getting e-mail from all over the world, “Hey, Rush, I like what you said about Rubio.” Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, San Francisco, San Diego, you name it, all over the place. I haven’t endorsed anybody. All I am, folks… It’s very simple to understand me. I’m one of the most easily understood, ’cause I tell you everything I believe and think. I just don’t believe in excommunicating people from our movement. I have never liked this idea that we have this tendency to throw people out, throw people overboard. Not just for a cycle, but forever.
I don’t like it.
I’m talking about people on our side. We are not talking about reprobate ne’er-do-wells, and I just… Well, it just bugs me when I see otherwise.
RUSH: I mentioned earlier that all of the… I don’t know what they call it. I just call it the reaction that I am getting after having spoken up for Marco Rubio the other day, not as an endorsement. I just spoke up for him as those of you who are listening heard. Yeah, here it is. Grab sound bites 22, 23, and 24. I’m hearing from a lot of people, “Rush, you know, Rubio, he’s just Romney. Don’t you understand that? Romney and Obamacare, Rubio and the Gang of Eight.” Folks, my attitude on all this… I’m only going into this because I don’t want to be misunderstood here.
I don’t endorse people. I never have endorsed in a primary, and people think that I should. But I don’t because of all the reasons I’ve announced on prior occasions. There’s more downside to it than up. I don’t control their campaigns. I don’t have anything to do with their policy positions or where they’re gonna go from day to day. When you endorse somebody, you’re pretty much locked into what they do unless they do something so bad you have to drop the endorsement. What good’s that? That’s not helpful.
Plus, I think the campaign is where the winners are determined, and I’ve never lived under the illusion that it’s the job of the media to pick candidates, either the Drive-By Media or us. So my only thing with Rubio was, actually, I started receiving some e-mails and just listening to people talk what a rotten guy he was. And I know he’s not a rotten guy. I just… To me, it’s no more complicated than not wanting to throw people overboard forever, to excommunicate them forever. You can disagree with them, you can say whatever you want if you think they’re potentially dangerous.
Many people think Rubio is not conservative. “He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing! He’s gonna be no different than Romney. And you wait, Rush! It’s gonna all be proven ’cause he’s gonna end up being the establishment candidate, and they’re gonna use him. They’re gonna try to defeat Cruz,” and so forth. It may well be. But none of this is a secret to anyone. I have spoken admirably of all kinds of people in this race. I have great admiration for many of them — and any of them, to me, are preferable to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or whoever else.
And I just worry about that some of these people can get so damaged in the primary that they don’t have a chance if they end up getting the nomination down the road. So I wasn’t trying to stir anything up. I wasn’t trying to take momentum away from anybody or transfer it to anybody. There was no grand scheme or design here, and I’m only mentioning this ’cause you can’t believe the number of well-intentioned people who are reaching out to me saying I may not have realized what I have done or I may not have realized what I had said, or I might want to rethink.
“Did you know this? Did you know that?”
So I just wanted to say, “Yes, I know what I did and I know why I did it. I said why I did it. I also know what I didn’t do. I didn’t endorse anybody, and I never do and never have.” Now, that’s a whole other argument, too, because I have a whole lot of people telling me that I should. If there’s somebody so far and away, runaway better that you ought to not just leave it up to the process because you can influence the process. “You ought to get in there and roll up your sleeves and just tell us who to vote for. Tell us who you like. Tell us.”
And sometimes, I must tell you, the temptation is great. But it’s not as though I’m sitting here not telling you what I think. I don’t hold back what I think of people or events or policy or certain things that happen here. I also happen to assume that everybody in this audience is capable of making up their own mind, and that you usually do without me telling you what to think. I’m not the one that thinks of you as robots incapable of thinking on your own. That is what the Democrats try to characterize the audience at talk radio as.
And I know it’s not the case.
Anyway, it has become a quite frequent discussion topic on cable news — and in many instances, it’s at Fox News. So let’s go to the audio sound bites, here. We’ll start at number 22. This is The Five yesterday. And… No, I take it back. The first one is from Gretchen Carlson’s show yesterday afternoon called The Real Story. And she’s speaking with the political editor at TownHall.com, Guy Benson, about Rubio’s campaign. She said, “A label that Rubio has been given — and I think it’s fascinating because maybe in any other race, he wouldn’t be given this label. But he’s called a moderate. Where do you see that going?”
BENSON: He got a much needed vote of confidence this week. Rush Limbaugh on his number-one-rated radio program just went out there and said, “Look, I don’t like this idea that people are calling Rubio ‘establishment.’ He is a full-throated, legitimate Reagan conservative.” That is a very welcome sound bite for the Rubio campaign.
RUSH: Right. Now, the reaction to that — and there has been much. I mean, coming my way. “What do you mean, Reagan conservative? W-w-w-w-what do you mean Reagan? Reagan, amnesty?” Wait a minute, now. Reagan, amnesty? Yeah. I wasn’t thinking of that when I said it, but there was the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, but be careful what you say to me, because when I think Reagan-conservative… Did you see Rubio’s speech? I’ve even had people complaining, “Rubio, do you know what he did? He went out there and he acted like he won after the Iowa caucus. How dare he!”
He went out acted like he won? Based on expectations, he did. It’s common. The winner of the Iowa caucus is not often the big story. Sometimes the second or third place finisher is. It’s all based on expectations. Anyway, Rubio was first, and the reason he was first… He might have gone out there to hog the limelight. I don’t know. But traditionally, the loser goes and then the winner. Now, in this case three people were gonna head out there, and there may have been more. Somebody might have spoken before Rubio.
But it was Rubio and then Trump spoke and then Cruz, as it normally is. When I’ve spoken to Marco Rubio, when Marco Rubio has talked to me about what he believes and his future vision for the country and so forth, it sounds conservative to me. Now, I know. You don’t have to tell me ’til you’re blue in the face. Gang of Eight. Look, I’ve been seduced by that same crowd. That same crowd. I’ve told you, starting in 2002, I’ve had emissaries from the White House descend on me to try to get my mind right on immigration.
They try to tell me where I’m wrong, tell me how to think of it. Some members of the Gang of Eight begged me not to call their bill “amnesty” ’cause if I called it “amnesty” then that would kill it. I didn’t get seduced by it. They didn’t change my mind. But Rubio, as a freshman senator did, and he joined the Gang of Eight, and it came off that he was supporting amnesty — and not only did it come off he was supporting, but it came off he had allowed himself to be used as a fresh young Hispanic face in the Senate to tried to the work of the establishment.
I’m fully aware of all that. Now, Rubio has tried to tell people that it was a youthful mistake, that it was not representative of the thought processes he has now. And who knows? I understand all this is the point. But in saying what I said about Rubio as a full-throated conservative, I’m just talking about his speech on Monday night after the Iowa Caucus, his speech at the Republican convention last year, which is a stump speech, a stock speech. He gives it frequently. But more than anything, it was this idea that he’s a squish RINO moderate.
That, I don’t see.
I could be dead wrong on it. I’ll probably hear about that, as well. Here is the next bite. The next two are from The Five, and it’s Juan Williams and Brian Kilmeade discussing this whole thing.
WILLIAMS: Rush Limbaugh says —
KILMEADE: Yeah. Listen.
WILLIAMS: — he’s upset that people are saying that Rubio is not a true conservative.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I don’t like this idea that Marco Rubio is all of a sudden being labeled as an establishment candidate. I know that Rubio’s got the baggage of that Gang of Eight bill … I understand that. … Marco Rubio is no moderate Republican centrist. … I don’t see Marco Rubio as anything other than a legitimate, full-throated conservative. Nobody’s pure, and nobody is ever free of making mistakes.
RUSH: Now, there are people who say, “Rush, you’re wrong. Marco Rubio is Mitt Romney.” I say, “How do you figure that?” And what they say to me is, “As Obamacare was to Romney, Gang of Eight is to Rubio.” What they mean is, “Romney could no more oppose Obama and Obamacare because he was the architect.” Romneycare in Massachusetts — and it’s true. It was the framework and the foundation for Obamacare, and that clown who wrote it admitted so. I’m having a mental block on this guy’s name. We’ve talked about it constantly.
But it’s been admitted that Romneycare was the foundation for Obamacare, no question about it. And we did. We nominated somebody in 2012 who, because of that, could not go after the number one reason we were seeking to beat Obama was to repeal it. I understand that. So what they’re telling me is, “Well, if Rubio gets elected he’s just gonna be the Gang of Eight version of Romneycare. He’s gonna go out there and he’s already said he’s for amnesty and he is for global intervention and that kind of stuff.
“So we’re gonna be nominating maybe and electing a guy who at one time said he was for amnesty. You gonna roll the dice, Rush, that he’ll change his mind?” I get all of that. And I can’t explain it, and I’m not trying to. I don’t know if he got seduced as a new arrival in the Senate. These guys put the moves on him and offered him a chance to gain power fast. I don’t know. It was a horrible mistake that he made, if it was a mistake. If that’s what he really believes. (interruption) Yeah, Jonathan Gruber was the health care architect.
If it’s what he really believes, that’s gonna be fleshed out in the campaign. And there’s nobody better to flesh it out than Cruz, by the way, and they’ve been having their arguments back and forth on this as to who stands for what. What position here, where, there, and everywhere. It’ll get fleshed out. I’m just… To me, Rubio is not a bad guy. I do not associate him with some of the others that we all are automatically attaching to the so-called establishment. Heck, guys, at one point he was the favorite of the Tea Party crowd.
Now, the latest rub on Rubio is he doesn’t have any achievements. And the best way to stymie some of his supporters… He’s got like Santorum and others have endorsed him, and they’ve been on TV, and they’ve said, “Name one Rubio achievement,” and they can’t. They draw a blank. And they fumble around. And I’m fully aware Joe Scarborough over on MSNBC, for whatever reason, doesn’t like Marco Rubio at all and has been dumping on him every chance he gets for the longest time. I don’t know if there’s intrastate rivalry there going on. I don’t know the full story of that. But I hear it all. I’m fully aware of the problems people have with Rubio.
Here’s the next bite. This is Kimberly Guilfoyle and Brian Kilmeade reacting to the bite that Juan Williams just played them.
GUILFOYLE: What Rush said, he articulated that very well.
KILMADE: For a change. (chuckles)
GUILFOYLE: I think that’s a good argument that people should do. I hear he has a lot of listeners.
GUILFOYLE: That people should do if they’re trying to support Marco Rubio. That’s how you explain it. But isn’t it bizarre that every day it’s like, “Who’s in what lane? Wait. Are you establishment today but you’re not? You’re an outsider, but then you’re a centrist.” I mean, it’s very confusing.
RUSH: That’s Kimberly Guilfoyle. Now, as far as the other people going on in the campaign, Trump still leads in New Hampshire, but the polling says not nearly as dominant. This is Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight website. This is the former New York Times poll analyst that the left just loved, and then they hated him when he left and went over to ESPN. But he’s been analyzing all this latest polling data, including the “Public Policy Polling national poll, which shows a near three-way tie between Donald Trump (25%), Ted Cruz (21%) and Marco Rubio (21%).
“Trump is down 9 points from PPP’s previous poll in December… Another national poll, from Morning Consult, doesn’t give the same impression. Trump is well ahead at 38%, although that’s [also] down [a meager] 3 points from a poll the firm conducted just before Iowa, while Rubio is up 4 and Cruz is up 2.” I think… Which poll is it that Rubio’s moved into second place? One of these polls in New Hampshire has Rubio in second place with Cruz in third place. And then there’s a poll, the Harper poll (whatever the heck that is), that shows Jeb Bush doing better than he is anywhere else. In fact, the Harper poll is showing Jeb Bush in second place. One thing about the CNN/WMUR poll that’s out there today: That margin of error is +/- 7.
You can’t take anything like that seriously with a margin that big.
RUSH: Right. It’s the WMUR-TV/CNN poll that shows Marco Rubio in second place at 18%, ahead of Cruz. It shows Rubio up from 11 to 18%. Here’s the problem with that poll: It has a margin of error +/-7. Who releases a poll with a margin of error of +/-7? This poll does show Trump in the lead at 29%, unchanged from before Iowa.