RUSH: Kevin in St. Louis. Great to have you, sir. I’m glad you waited. Welcome to our program.
CALLER: Dittos, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: I don’t think people really care about Donald Trump’s taxes. You know, it’s just that tactic that they use, but it doesn’t work anymore. You know, I still remember when you were being audited I think in New York and they said all that stuff about you, and nobody cares about it.
RUSH: Wait. Hold it a minute. You said, “When I was being audited, nobody cared.” Why would anybody care?
CALLER: Well, you know, they tried to say that you were — something about you were taking like $10,000 out a day or something and… I don’t know. I can’t remember. They tried to use it to make you look bad, but it didn’t work.
RUSH: Well, I must have missed that. I’m use — I’m aware of every effort they make look — make me look bad, but I didn’t know anything about that.
CALLER: Well, my point is, the taxes doesn’t work. Nobody really —
RUSH: What is your evidence that it doesn’t work? I mean, the thing —
CALLER: Well, because they use it all the time and people are still… I mean, he’s up in the polls. I just think people have caught on to this. They don’t care about that stuff.
RUSH: So you don’t think that story has hurt Trump?
CALLER: No. I don’t think it does hurt him.
RUSH: I’ll tell you: The polls are all over the place. It’s like these computer models. For example, the Bible is the real clear politics average of polls. That’s what all of the establishment types aim you at because that’s just not one poll, that’s an average of all of the major polls, and it’s the trend that you look at, not the day-to-day result. But yet I’ve got some polls here that are not included in it. For example, there’s recent Reuters and Ipsos polling that’s not in the state real clear averages. You got the state, the average amount, then the national.
In Colorado: Trump up 45-43. Nobody’s talking about it. Arizona: Trump 46, Clinton 44. Nobody’s talking about it. Georgia: Trump 51, Clinton 38. These are not in the RCP averages. In Iowa, Trump 49, Clinton 42. All we’re hearing is that Trump’s, you know, biting the bullet wherever he’s supposedly biting the bullet, and his debate performance just was a deathblow and the taxes. I mean, they’re trying to make the case that the fact that Trump hasn’t paid taxes whatever it is 20 years, and nobody knows that, by the way.
They’re just extrapolating from three pages of a tax return that had multiple hundreds of pages in it. But it works. I’ve always thought that it works. I’ve always thought so, because taxes are one of these things that… Would you be surprised if I told you…? I’m pretty sure. I can’t say for certain. But I think Warren Buffett is still arguing over a tax bill he’s got of $1 billion. Now, nobody gets mad at Warren Buffett for owing taxes. They love Warren Buffett ’cause Warren Buffett’s out there saying guys like him are not paying enough taxes.
And that’s how you keep the wolves from baying at your door. If you’re a rich guy, the best thing you can do is demand tax increases on the rich. That way the poor guy will leave you alone. The middle class and the poor will leave you alone. But he owes a billion dollars in back taxes. I mean, these things do seem to work on Republicans. They do seem to work — with certain Democrat voters, anyway — and it all boils down the fairness issue and the equality issue. And I hope you’re right. I hope it doesn’t have that kind of impact.
All of this stuff, by the way, folks, to me, when you look our first caller from Minnesota today about the impact on privately held farmland and all for subsidizing wind and solar. It’s not just Democrats that are bought off this way. Republican politicians are contributed to heavily by climate change, global warming, environmentalist wackos. That’s how they’re brought on board with this, and that’s why an outsider like Trump is so appealing to so many people. Because it’s just…
After so many years now, it’s just suspected by most people that there simply is no way to change the direction Washington’s going or the country’s going or to do anything about that small group of establishment elitists in both parties that end up running things for themselves. They ensure, like, the bank bailouts for themselves and the corporate bailouts were for themselves and so forth. But there hasn’t been a real wage increase for average Americans in 15 years, and the same people are now demanding that the flood of illegal immigrants continue.
So people feel the deck is being totally stacked against them, and the Democrats have various things in their playbook to go after opponents; taxes is one of them. I don’t think it’s gonna make an ardent Trump supporter abandon Trump, but Trump’s gonna need more than just his ardent supporters if he’s gonna win, and so you don’t know how to judge this stuff. His rallies are still overflowing with people, and the excitement is beyond being able to measure. The overflow crowd’s outside satellite offices or satellite locations where they have TV screens for people to see the Trump rallies.
There’s Hillary out drawing 500 if she shows up somewhere. So it’s hard to get a handle on it. Then you have a debate like we had with Hillary and Trump where he — in the first 30 minutes of that debate — owned it. It was had you seen debate totally. And then for some reason, the energy level dropped and whatever Trump does to be Trump stopped, and the consensus was that Trump fumbled the ball and Hillary won the debate and so forth on traditional debating points. But even that didn’t cause Trump supporters to abandon him. They just got a little bit worried.
So I hope you’re right that this tax business is not a harmful attack. My experience has been that it is, that it always works. Look at Harry Reid and Mitt Romney, if you want evidence of how it works. Here’s Harry Reid, senator from Nevada, and he calls a press conference. He has a friend who told him that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. So the media says, “Well, who’s your friend? Who can we call to ask? How do you know?” And Harry Reid says, “No, no, no! You need to go ask Romney why he hasn’t paid his taxes in 10 years!”
And that’s what they did! They went out and said, “Why haven’t you paid taxes in ten years?” Instead of demanding proof! And then after the election was over, Harry Reid said, “You know, I didn’t have any proof, but I don’t care. We won.” But it worked ’cause here’s a rich guy. Mitt Romney, one of the finest people you’d ever run into, was made out to be a tax cheat, the guy hated animals and didn’t respect his employees with just three ads, so forth. Let’s see. Who’s next? This is Bill in Southampton. Southampton! A call from the Hamptons here? This is cool. Bill, how are you? Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. My take on both debates was that we were on the defensive and we didn’t take it to them, and so I would like your… What would you advise Trump in the next debate to go on the offensive and, A, if you think I’m right or if even if you could pretend that what I’m thinking is right. It just seemed like we were on our heels rather than taking it to ’em.
RUSH: This is interesting. Do you even think that about Pence?
CALLER: I do! I do. I mean, because, you know, it was all about, “Well, how can you justify what Trump said?” Like you just indicated, we don’t care. I mean, he’s filling stadiums. Tens of millions of people support him. So, you know, what’s the problem here? How come Kaine didn’t get the memo that the American people want change?
RUSH: You mean Pence?
CALLER: No. I’m saying —
RUSH: Oh, you mean Pence should say that. Pence should have said that. Okay.
CALLER: That’s my point.
RUSH: Okay. So even if I don’t agree, he wants me to pretend I agree and then suggest what to do.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: (laughing) Okay. Well, now, hang on here, because the premise is a good premise. You can never advance the ball on defense. You’re absolutely right about that. And particularly if you go into the prevent defense where you’re gonna let them gain a bunch of ground but you’re not gonna let ’em score. The prevent defense prevents victory, and being put on the defensive? It seems to work every time they try it, and all it takes is Hillary with these constant allegations about Trump.
And why he didn’t pay his taxes and what it could possibly mean or some of the other quotes about what he said about Mexicans and others. And then here’s Kaine repeating the same thing to Pence, and you’re mad that Pence didn’t fire back. What…? What…? Okay, for a moment here let’s assume you’re right that Pence was on defense. But how would you think he should deal with it? What should he do to get off of the defensive position or posture there in the midst of Kaine’s attacks?
CALLER: Dismiss it! Say, “Look Trump’s… The message is resonating with tens of millions of Americans. I don’t want to hear about any of this. This is old-school politics. We’re beyond that!” Just as your previous caller said. “We’re beyond all of that junk. And let’s talk about the issues, but I tell you: There’s something going on in America, people are responding to Trump, he won the Republican nomination. Let’s get off of this accusations and name-calling,” blah, blah, blah.
RUSH: All right. Yeah, undeniable. Well, okay, let’s go back to Trump. So Trump is up there and Hillary’s going through these imaginary reasons why he didn’t pay his taxes. She actually, I thought, threw him two or three hanging curveballs that he didn’t even take a swing at.
RUSH: The foundation, Benghazi, her incompetence as secretary of state.
CALLER: Her “deplorables” comment.
RUSH: “Deplorables” comment, selling access to foreign governments and individuals in advance of her becoming president. He didn’t go there. I didn’t know why. I don’t know if it slipped his mind. I don’t know if he’d made a strategic decision. You know, some people are saying now that he did this on purpose ’cause he’s gonna come Sunday night he’s gonna unload like you haven’t seen, and he was just setting everybody up by going docile the last half of the debate on Sunday. I don’t know about that.
Look, there’s a point. I agree with you to a point that you never do any good being put on the defensive and staying there, and for some reason our side seems to be afraid to go on offense because they’ve been so savaged. If you dare go out and criticize Hillary Clinton, they’ll call you “attacking the girl,” “unfairly the attacking the girl” or “unfairly attacking her husband” and it becomes a whole different media narrative. You become a reprobate for a whole different reason, and it’s just seems to have worked into silencing a number of Republicans into not criticizing — even extending to not defending themselves.
I’m a big believer in going on offense, and I think Hillary Clinton is the ideal target on whom to go on offense. I think she is vulnerable, she is not liked, she is not overwhelmingly popular, she is not the most qualified woman ever to seek the office. What an absurd claim! She’s not The Smartest Woman in the World, and there’s evidence to back up all these claims. But more than that, you know, when Kaine’s going through his litany of things that Trump said and Pence is not defending it?
It seems to me that the simplest, best way to go after Kaine or Hillary is just to say, “Why are you even running? If things are so good now, why are you talking about all this change? We’re in a mess in this country, and it’s because of what you think. We’re in a mess because of your party. We’re in a mess, Mrs. Clinton, because you’ve been there. You were responsible for this economy. You’re responsible our foreign policy. You’re responsible for the massive illegal immigration. You believe in it!”
I think it was so easy to turn the tables, ’cause nobody in America’s happy right now. Everybody thinks the country’s headed the wrong direction. There’s a reason for it. We’re where we are because of policies implemented by Obama Barack Obama and the Democrat Party. How hard is it to say that? But apparently it is. I think… I don’t like the term “sitting ducks.” They’re really vulnerable on the status quo and the fact that they are the architectures of it. Just the story today. We’re in more wars right now than George ever dreamed of having us in.
RUSH: Well, no sooner than I say I think the tax business works than I have been informed… Wait just a second. Apparently Frank Luntz and one of his recent focus groups… It was CBS This Morning. That’s the latest Frank Luntz focus group, and he said that most of the focus group people that he convened sided with Donald Trump, that nobody wants to pay taxes. Luntz told CBS This Morning they are more upset over Hillary Clinton’s emails than they are about Trump’s tax returns.
Luntz said that the people in his focus group said nobody wants to pay taxes. As long as you don’t break the law, as long as you didn’t do anything unethical, taxpayers are fed up with the tax code, and they actually don’t hold him responsible for that. Okay, so that’s a Luntz focus group. Take it for what you will. Let me tell you, what really irritates me on this tax business is the way the — and the Clintons are responsible for this because they change the vernacular. Tax increases, tax payments have become “contributions,” have become “investments.”
And therefore if you don’t contribute, you’re a sleazebag, and if you don’t help with the investments into what, child care, making America whatever, then you’re a sleazebag. And now Hillary is out there trying to capitalize on this-three-page tax return leaked illegally to the New York Times. She’s saying that Donald Trump is depriving the country of money to pay for the military, to pay for the roads, and pay for schools. Now, I don’t about you, but that offends the hell out of me. This government is $20 trillion in debt.
If the roads are in trouble, if bridges are in trouble, and if schools are in trouble, it’s because somebody in Washington wanted to pay for something else. We’re $20 trillion in debt! You’re telling me $20 trillion in debt and we couldn’t rebuild a bridge or a road, and somehow now it’s Trump’s fault because he lost some money in a business back in 1995? But that’s what they want to convey. I’m glad the Luntz focus group says what it says. I don’t know how widespread it is.
RUSH: Neptune Beach, Florida, Jeanette. I’m glad you waited. Great to have you with us. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Major dittos from soon to be hurricane-torn Florida.
RUSH: Thank you, Jeanette. It’s great to have you here.
CALLER: Yes. Hey, I just wanted to follow up on your previous caller’s call about the Frank Luntz panel comments. I don’t know if you thought this, but the undecideds that were watching the Pence-Kaine debate definitely thought Pence won — I mean, in a landslide. But they did also comment that they were still waiting for more from Trump. So one of the things that Luntz talked about and suggested — and the group agreed, as do I — was that in this upcoming debate, Trump should not debate Clinton or the moderators, but instead should talk directly to the audience.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I heard that. Yeah.
CALLER: He also said, “I think Trump should engage with the audience by asking them questions.”
RUSH: Wait, who said this? One of the focus group people said this?
CALLER: Frank Luntz said it. He made out like five points —
CALLER: — and one of the key ones was —
RUSH: Oh, Luntz said it. Okay.
CALLER: Yeah. But the audience agreed. He said, “I think that he should ask the audience questions.” In fact, in his opinion, the first candidate to do that will probably win. But I just sat there and I thought, “Oh, wow, this would be a great opportunity.” So what were some of the things I would ask? I would ask, “Do you feel safer than you did eight years ago? Are you better off than you were eight years ago? Are you happy with the entrenched lifetime politicians that are running your life?”
RUSH: Well, now, it’s interesting. I have a similar theory but from a different reason. My theory is that that is how Trump could go on offense. Not by attacking her. I’ll explain in a minute.
RUSH: Okay, now Trump. Our last caller said that Frank Luntz suggested that Trump’s approach in the next debate be, “Don’t speak to her. Don’t attack her. It’s not gonna get you anywhere because, no matter whether she deserves it, it just doesn’t look good on TV. As Tim Kaine proved the other night, it just doesn’t look good on TV. So instead, talk to the audience. There’s a camera there, and behind that camera are gonna be gazillions of people who want you, Mr. Trump, to hit a grand-slam home run with every sentence.
“So do it. You can look at Mrs. Clinton and say, ‘Why would we want any more of this? We are here tonight precisely because we all have a problem with what currently passes for policy in Washington, DC, and life in America.'” And just… I think this constitutes going on offense. Now, too many people… Like Trump, his personality is this: If you attack Trump, he’s not gonna sit there and take it. He’s an alpha male. He’s gonna come right back at you and he’s gonna keep coming back at you.
Now, in this case, that’s what the Clintons want ’cause they know how that looks on TV. As I say, Tim Kaine proved it. Grab audio sound bites number nine. This is funny. Dana Perino… I’m sorry, Dana Bash. Dana Bash last night on CNN on The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer’s show. Blitzer says, “Donald Trump just added a town hall tomorrow in New Hampshire to his campaign schedule. The Sunday debate is also a town hall. Dana, what are you hearing? How is Trump preparing to launch a fresh round of attacks against Hillary?”
BASH: (haltingly) Just in terms of the performance aspect — which, as we learned last night, preparation does matter, uh, and makes a big difference, ’cause Pence worked very hard on it. But Donald Trump, I am told, cannot and will not be convinced to change his prep and the way that he does it. And so he’s not gonna do a mock debate; he’s not gonna have, uh, a formal person playing Hillary Clinton. It’s just not gonna happen. He runs the debate room, the debate prep room — which is basically a conference room, sitting around a table — and that’s it.
RUSH: So they are horrified. They’re literally horrified. They want you to think they’re horrified at CNN that Trump isn’t gonna make any changes, ’cause in their world Trump got his clock cleaned in the last debate and anybody would make changes. They find out Trump is supposedly not gonna make changes. We’ll see. But again, you have to judge every… Like that analysis of Trump. Remember, she would say this about somebody in politics.
See, to her, it’s inconceivable you wouldn’t do a fake debate! It’s inconceivable you wouldn’t rehearse. It’s inconceivable to Dana Bash that you wouldn’t have a bunch of advisers tell you what you think. It’s just inconceivable that you wouldn’t rehearse a bunch of times and have somebody pretend to be Hillary. But Trump is not of that world. Trump doesn’t think that he’s deficient. Trump doesn’t think that he’s lacking. Trump doesn’t think he needs advisers to tell him what he thinks. Trump is supremely, eminently confident.
And he doesn’t want to do it the way everybody does it in politics ’cause that’s not the world he lives in. Good or bad, I’m telling you that’s who he is and how he’s looking at this. But he still can go on offense without interrupting her and challenging her, unless she just… You know, if a big, fat, slow pitch softball is hanging out there, you gotta go for it. But other than that, and talk to the audience, go on offense and just tie her to everything people think is wrong.
Dishonesty, the lack of jobs, all these Millennials still living in their basements with their parents upstairs, whatever it is — and remember what got him there. Being an outsider and having a confident fix for the things that are wrong. But, again, I must also say, Frank Luntz… Just to be honest about it, Frank Luntz is of the political world, folks, and Frank Luntz is offering advice as a political consultant would offer a political candidate. Now, in this case, I don’t disagree with it. I like the idea of talking to the people.
I think there’s nothing better than that. But they think that Trump has nothing to gain by going after Hillary. And that’s where I disagree. I don’t think he should make a whole debate out of it. But do you realize how many people in this country think the Clintons have gotten away with everything and they haven’t been held to account for anything, and you’ve got Bill with the women; you’ve got Hillary with Benghazi. You know, Trump may lose some money, but she loses people’s lives. She loses emails. She loses lives.
Four people dead in Benghazi, and she said, “What difference it does make now?” There’s all kinds of vulnerabilities that he could go after, especially if she tees them up herself. So I think it’d be a combination of things. We’ll see. You know, these debates, folks, are like when your favorite sports team plays. You’re just scared to death they’re gonna blow it. You’re a Steelers fan, they’re in the Super Bowl, and you just know they’re gonna blow it! “Oh, my God!” You start worrying. “Oh, my God, they’re gonna blow it!” You hope and pray they don’t.
In a debate like this, I guarantee you every one of you people watching this, if at any time you think Trump’s blowing it, you think you could be there and you could be knocking it out of the park. Great. “Make anybody think they can do it.” That’s one of the aspects of greatness: They make it look easy. But in this case, it’s gonna be… A lot of people are so invested in this, and one of the things they’re invested in is the Clintons being held accountable, because they haven’t been for over 20 years. If Trump could find a way to do that, he’s struck gold and can build on even that that he has now.
RUSH: Here is Matt in Greeley, Colorado, as we head back to the phones. I’m glad you waited, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Mega mucho dittos, Senor Rush! A Latino voter in Colorado.
RUSH: Thank you, Papi! Great to have you here.
CALLER: (chuckling) You know, Rush, the only thing I wanted to say was, do you think that Trump will try to change his delivery? ‘Cause I tell you what, he’s saying some of the same things that Bill Clinton has said in the past about immigration. But his delivery… As you know, delivery of a message can be everything, and I think Trump’s like a bad paperboy. Sometimes the news is the same, but he throws the paper through the window.
RUSH: (chuckling) I like that analogy. What would you have Trump do to change his delivery?
CALLER: Well, I like the fact of looking at the camera, looking at the audience. And I think that if he would say stuff like, “Look,” “listen.” You know, right there, those two little words, and I think that the American people would stop, and they would actually listen to some of the things that he would say. Just tweak him a little bit. I think that Mr. Trump is saying some great things, but I just wish he would tweak it just a little bit.
RUSH: Do you think that Trump…?
CALLER: And then, you can go after her.
RUSH: Do you think Trump does a disservice to himself when he talks about his greatness, when he talks about how he has succeeded wildly and more than anybody else, that he’s been a great businessman? “Nobody’s done it as great as I’ve done it!” Does that…? Do people laugh at that or are some of them put off by it?
CALLER: I think some folks are put off by it, and I’d rather him focus on, “Hey, listen, this is what’s wrong with our country. This is what Hillary has done in the past.”
RUSH: Well, I’m gonna tell you: Look, I agree with you, but there’s nobody else doing that but him. I mean, you don’t even have Republicans doing it! That’s why he owns that. I agree with you. He should stay focused on that because that’s why he’s assembled the crowd that he has. On this delivery business, you know what I find fascinating about this? It’s not uncommon. You notice the callers that we’ve had today? They all want Trump to be great. They’re not mad. They’re not ready to throw Trump overboard.
They want Trump to kick butt. They want Trump to do well, and so they want to offer advice. I appreciate that. I think that he’s aware of that, too. But it wouldn’t hurt if somebody were to remind him just how many millions of people are hoping that he does well, investing in him and so forth, ’cause it could have the effect that you want, in terms of delivery or his focus such as looking at the camera and that kind of thing.