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RUSH: On the Republican side, what do you think the most talked about aspect of the Republican debate Saturday night is? Without question it is the exchanges between Governor Christie and Senator Rubio, and Senator Rubio’s repeated contention that Barack Obama is not incompetent, that he’s not bumbling around and screwing things up accidentally. That instead what Obama is doing is explicit, by design, and on purpose.

And he repeated it four or five times in such a way that people said, led by Christie, “Look at this! There it is again! The guy, he doesn’t know what to say. He’s a robot. He’s got his 25-second speech. He’s got his canned answer followed by the 25-second campaign. There it is! There it is! You see it!” And the media Saturday night all chimed in saying, “This is it for Rubio, Rubio has blown it.” Even on Fox News some were comparing it to Dan Quayle’s moment with Lord Bentsen, and I said, “Wait just a second. It’s nowhere near that.”

And I think… This is what I was talking about earlier when I say, “I think some of these professional media analysts…” God bless them and they do hard work, and many of them, they’re just fine people. But I don’t know that they have the ability to see these debates the way people watching the debates on TV see them. Meaning: I don’t know how big a faux pas this was for Rubio. Clearly it was not a positive; clearly it was not his best. But I don’t think it ruined his chances and wiped him out like some in the media opined.


RUSH: Let’s get to the audio sound bites. I want to start with this. It’s the fastest way to get into this. Because this is important, folks. This is really, really important. There are only two people that I’m aware of that are making a consistent point of this. Rubio, actually, is atop of this. Rubio and Cruz are the only two in the entire Republican field. Carly Fiorina may have said something like this occasionally. With Rubio, it’s a theme. With Cruz, it’s close to a theme. And the real question is: Why do the other Republicans in the field disagree?

Why do they not say it themselves, that Obama is doing what he’s doing on purpose and by design? That is a brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed plan to transform America into something it was not founded to be. This is something crucially important to Republican voters. To people inside the Beltway, it’s kind of a chuckle. “There they go again, those right wingers!” To people inside the Beltway, to the elites, to the establishment, Obama’s just the latest Democrat to come along.

He’s no different than any other Democrat. “It’s just the Democrat Party, and they have a president.” They don’t see the country in crisis in any way. Not because of the economy, not because of immigration, not because of foreign policy. In no way are we in a crisis. And, as such, they don’t see what Obama’s doing as anything except maybe a young, inexperienced — this is Christie’s point — incompetent boob. Well, that’s not who Obama is. Rubio’s opponents are using it to disqualify him. “See! Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, and Rubio’s the same kind of guy, just a few short years in the Senate running for president. We can’t afford it.

“Meanwhile, the governors! We’re the guys. We’re the tough guys. We’ve had to make tough decisions,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The governors will not admit who Obama is. The governors will not admit it, and Trump does not agree that Obama is purposely doing this. Trump thinks he’s a blithering incompetent. This is crucially important. But let’s get to the audio sound bites to set this up first. Here is Christie. And by the way, I told you (and this is not a hard prediction) that Rubio was gonna be the target of this debate on Friday.

I told you Rubio was gonna be in the crosshairs of all of these other guns because of the momentum he had coming out of Iowa. And have you noticed, coming out of Iowa, the so-called Republican establishment seemed to gravitate almost immediately to Rubio? Rubio was where the donor class was gonna go, and Rubio was where the establishment was gonna go because it just doesn’t look like Jeb’s gonna get there. Kasich may have a decent showing in New Hampshire. We don’t know. But beyond that…

Now the establishment can’t wait to dump Rubio over this debate performance Saturday night. The establishment can’t wait. Now they’re struggling to find somewhere to go. They thought it was gonna be Rubio. Why did they drop Rubio like a hot potato? I don’t think it’s because of his debate performance. I don’t think so. It may be a factor, but I don’t think that’s the number one reason why the establishment all of a sudden decided to jettison Rubio. I think there’s another reason. Let’s get to the audio sound bites just to replay what’s happened here.

Here’s Christie, Saturday night, Manchester, New Hampshire. The moderator at ABC, David Muir — and this is another thing, by the way. I saw Carly Fiorina on Fox complaining she wasn’t on the main stage, and I saw some people upset that Martha Raddatz tried to nail Ted Cruz on foreign policy, which she was. You know, Ted Cruz had a great night, and the evidence of that is that nobody wanted to talk about it. If Ted Cruz had had a bad night, folks, you would still be hearing about it, everywhere. CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS.

But Cruz could barely even get a mention Saturday night, and the only mention he got was this back-and-forth with Ben Carson over the silliness talking about Iowa and supposed cheating and stealing of votes. But aside from that, Cruz got hardly any mention. Oh, yeah, when his name was brought up they said, “Yeah, he was solid. He was there. Didn’t hurt himself, didn’t help himself.” Given that none of the people we’re talking about want to see Ted Cruz anywhere near the nomination, the fact is had he done poorly like some of the conventional wisdom was, that would have been their headline.

But since he didn’t bomb and since he actually was pretty solid on everything that came his way substantively, they ignored him. That’s the best indication of the solid performance he turned in. But my point is, everybody complaining at the way Martha Raddatz went after Cruz. What…? If you’re gonna have ABC moderate your debate, what do you think is going to happen? George Stephanopoulos is a former — I actually think still an active Democrat operative. George Stephanopoulos is from the Clinton war room.

What do you think you’re gonna get when you have ABC host a debate? Stop complaining! If you’re gonna make the decision to go there you have to realize that Martha Raddatz wants Hillary Clinton to be elected and Hillary Clinton’s weakness is foreign policy. Ted Cruz comes along and happens to run rings around Hillary or anybody else in foreign policy. She’s gonna try to take him out, and she’s not gonna show any respect at all.

And that’s exactly what happened. You have to know what’s gonna happen when you put your debate on ABC, or CNBC, or NBC. You have to know. Anyway, David Muir, ABC: “Governor Christie, you said, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,’ when it comes to electing a first-term senator. You heard Senator Rubio make the case that he does have the experience. What’s your response?”

CHRISTIE: You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable. You just simply haven’t. And the fact is when you talk about Hezbollah Sanctions Act that you list as one of your accomplishments and just did, you weren’t even there to vote for it. That’s not leadership. That’s truancy. … He simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions.

RUSH: Okay, so Christie gets that allegation in, and Christie decided to hit Rubio because he had to. Rubio’s ahead of him. Rubio has the momentum coming out of Iowa. So Rubio is going to be the target. David Muir says, “Thank you, Governor Christie. Senator Rubio, what’s your response to that?”

RUBIO: I think the experience is not just what you did, but how it worked out. Under Chris Christie’s governorship of New Jersey, they’ve been downgraded nine times in their credit rating.

CHRISTIE: That’s what Washington, DC, does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information, and then the memorized 25-second speech.

RUBIO: Chris, your state got hit by a massive snowstorm two weeks ago. You didn’t even want to go back. They had to shame you into going back.


RUBIO: This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true.

CHRISTIE: There it is!

AUDIENCE: (laughing)

RUBIO: He knows exactly what he’s doing.

CHRISTIE: There it is: The memorized 25-second speech.

RUSH: Okay, so there is Christie. This is the second or third time that Rubio’s made the point that this notion that President Obama doesn’t do what he’s doing, he’s just… And Christie jumps in, “There it is! There it is! See? The memorized 25-second canned speech. There it is. That’s all he’s got.” And Rubio went back to it and went back to it and went back to it and kept repeating it — and hasn’t stopped, by the way, saying it. At appearances in New Hampshire all day yesterday and again this morning, he’s still out saying it.

Here we have put together a montage of Rubio repeating that Obama line four different time during the debate.

RUBIO: Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction from a Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. … Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. … This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. … Anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose, doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here.

RUSH: He’s one of two people saying it. Now, folks, you go out and talk to actual Republican primary voters. You go out, outside of Washington, outside New York, go out to where these primaries and caucuses are being held, and you will find that this is exactly what has propelled Republicans to the polls in droves in 2010 and 2014. It’s not the belief, it’s not the theory, it is the knowledge that Obama’s doing this on purpose, and there isn’t and hasn’t been any push-back. And Republican voters are livid. Obama has said he’s doing it on purpose. He has said his purpose is to transform the nation. Everybody knows that Obama is an Alinskyite.

The real question is — and I was talking about this over the weekend with my good buddy, Andrew McCarthy. The real question is, why are these other guys not saying it? Why does Chris Christie make fun of it? Why does Donald Trump pooh-pooh it? Well, Trump I have to leave out of this, out of this theory. But Trump also, just for the record, said he thinks Obama’s an incompetent boob, doesn’t know what he’s doing. Christie’s point is Obama’s incompetent, he doesn’t know what he’s doing because he’s inexperienced just like Rubio doesn’t know what he’s doing ’cause he’s experienced. It’s Barack Obama 2 in that Rubio would be inexperienced senator, elected president, we don’t want to do that again.

Rubio’s point, no, no, no, no, no. Obama’s not incompetent. He’s not inexperienced. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do. And none of these Republican moderates will go there. You want to know why? You want to know why? You want to know why they cannot agree that Obama’s doing this on purpose? Very simple. They cannot agree that Obama’s doing it on purpose. They do not dare say that Obama’s doing it on purpose because they have all worked with Barack Obama, in one way or another, every one of these governors, many of them, and even a lot of Republicans in the House and Senate have worked with Obama to advance certain elements of the agenda.

We’ve worked with Obama on the spending bills. We have worked with Obama, or we want to, on amnesty and immigration. There are some on the Republican side who want to work with Obama when it comes to issues on the so-called War on Women. But when you have worked with Obama, when you have asked Obama to come to your state, and when you have embraced Obama and done everything you can to get assistance from Obama, well, you can’t turn around and then say Obama is purposefully trying to transform the country ’cause that makes you look like an idiot.

So you have to fall back on the idea that it’s unintentional, just incompetent, just a boob, and we can’t elect anybody else as inexperienced as Obama was ’cause they’re gonna have the same mess. There’s not a single Republican running that wants to transform this country the way Obama is doing it, not one. Not a single one. There’s not a single Republican in this field who would, by virtue of inexperience, make the mistakes Obama is making, because Obama is not making mistakes. Obama has an agenda.

I think the real important question here to ask and answer is why won’t anybody but Rubio and Cruz say it? Because that’s essentially, if you had to encapsulate what the Republican primary is, it’s about that. Like they keep harping on, Christie — or it might have been Trump, I don’t know who it was — jumped on Rubio, maybe it was a moderator in the post-debate analysis. Why does he keep campaigning against Obama? Obama’s not on the ballot. Obama’s seven years old. Obama’s in his last year. Why does he keep running against Obama?

Because Hillary and Bernie Sanders want to continue what Obama has started, and it is the transformation of America. The Republican base is fully aware of it. The Republican primary voters have been begging the Republican Party to stop this since 2010, since 2009 when Obama took office.


RUSH: You people can get mad at me all you want, but I’m gonna tell you something else. Somebody asked him to define conservatism, might have been Mary Katharine Ham, I don’t know. Let me just ask you. Who had the best definition of conservatism in the Saturday night debate? I’m just gonna ask it open-ended here. Was it Trump? Was it Cruz? Was it Rubio? Was it Christie? Was it Jeb? Was it Kasich? Was it Carson? Who had the best definition of conservatism? You don’t think that matters to people watching?

See, the post-debate analysts who are either on sight or in studios, television studio, I really — this is not a criticism of them. I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea. I think when you start making fun of Rubio for repeating that Obama’s doing it on purpose, you don’t understand how important that is to the Republican base, which is what this primary is all about. It’s fundamental. And by the same token, defining conservatism, being able to, is fundamental. It’s what this is all about. And if you can’t do it, if your definition of conservatism is ignorant or wrong, I guarantee you you’re gonna pay for it when it comes time to vote.

Nobody in post-debate analysis talked about any of this. But I will guarantee you, whether it shows up in exit poll data or not, those questions are going to be factors in how this whole thing ends up tomorrow night.

Let me get started on the phones. We’ll go to Radford, Virginia. Lee, great to have you. You’re up first. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. Thanks for taking the call.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: I’ve been through a lot with the Republican Party. I gotta say Saturday night was the first time in my life I’ve ever been ashamed to be a Republican.

RUSH: Why?

CALLER: You know, the way Christie just went after Rubio and then bragging about it Sunday morning, it just felt sickening. It felt wrong. Something’s wrong here.

RUSH: Oh, wait a minute. It’s a primary. Rubio’s ahead of him. Christie, we’re getting down to the nip and tuck. If these guys don’t start making moves now it’s gonna be too late. You’ve gotta expect this kind of thing. They’re gonna go after each other.

CALLER: But Rush, if he attacks Hillary Clinton like that, they will have him on a cross. They’ll have him in the hospital.

RUSH: Well, it’s a good point. Do you think he would hit Hillary Clinton that way?

CALLER: Well, what else can he do? What else can he do but be who he is? What else can Jeb Bush do but be who he is, stand there and shake his head and be ineffective? Jeb Bush is never gonna be president of this country. Chris Christie is never gonna be president. You know, Kasich and Jeb and Christie say, “Oh, we can reach across the aisle and work with Democrats.” But then they attack Rubio for trying to do that. And, you know —

RUSH: Well, they’re attacking Rubio for being disingenuous. That’s what they’re trying to — you got a good point, you got a good point. I’m not blowing your point up. I’m being precise. They’re trying to go after Rubio for being disingenuous, dishonest, saying he’s conservative here and there and then behind everybody’s back he’s trying to secure amnesty. But you’re right, he’s working with Democrats, which is what these guys claim to be the experts at doing.

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