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RUSH: Cookie has sent me — by the way, I’m trying to break a habit. I don’t really have the habit, but I’ve noticed that I’m on the way to getting it, so I’m gonna break it right now, and everybody’s doing it. Have you noticed, ask somebody a question or if they just say something without responding to the question, have you noticed how many people begin whatever they say with “so”? I caught myself doing that. I saw somebody being interviewed on TV. “What do you think of the new flat tax?” “So” — and I started doing it and I’m gonna start breaking it now. I’m not gonna do it.

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

RUSH: I mean, nothing wrong with it, but it’s just I caught myself. It’s kind of like “you know.” You know who uses “you know” more than anyone else uses “you know”? Hillary Clinton. Great to have you, folks. Rush Limbaugh — 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program. It’s Open Line Friday, and that means that anything you want to talk about is fair game. That’s not how it works Monday through Thursday, but it is today. We have very few restrictions on callers. See, there’s no First Amendment here, either. You can’t say whatever you want, and nobody has to hear you say it. I am a benevolent dictator, of sorts. But that’s what Friday’s all about.

Cookie has sent me the audio sound bite roster with the headline: “Time for you to analyze yourself on Hannity.” She says, “You know, you play audio sound bites all day long from other people, and you analyze what you hear.” She said, “You need to analyze yourself.” And I’m thinking, how self-indulgent can you get? Here I am playing audio sound bites of me from the Hannity interview last night and then commenting again on how brilliant it was. And now more about me. If that hasn’t been enough of me for you, because there’s gonna be more of me tonight on Hannity, let’s replay me from Hannity last night while I tell you what I thought of me. (laughing)

And Snerdley thinks it’s a great idea. Well, maybe so. I’m still pondering it. Still pondering it. There are some other reactions from people. (interruption) Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. According to the advance overnight ratings I’m hearing about, it may be very few who did not. Snerdley just said, “Not everybody saw Hannity last night.” I understand that that’s probably true. There are other people reacting. Newt was just over-the-top complimentary last night, but then dialed it back a little bit this morning. Not much. It’s fine. Everything’s okay. We got Bernie Goldberg in there and Mike Huckabee responding. I find it fascinating, like they ask these people, “So what do you think of what Rush just said there?” And you can see they’re steaming, some of them.

“Well, I’ve been saying that for years. I’ve been saying that for years. I’ll be happy to repeat it to you again.” It’s fun. Anyway, it was a great time yesterday, and I know there’s another night coming tonight. Probably gonna be some stuff from last night repeated. They’re cutting it up. It’s not being presented in the order it happened, which is fine, it’s not a criticism. It just means it’s harder for me to remember what has aired and what hasn’t. We will get to that.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Three months! Just three months — the appearance of that unity, the appearance of that work — the appearance of that effort could result in the Democrats being out of power for a generation. Just three months. More months would be better, but three months is all it would take.

Right now, the perception is that the Republican establishment, primarily the Senate, doesn’t want anything to do with Trump and doesn’t want Trump to succeed. Speaking of that, folks, you know, I made that point on Hannity last night and I am just now being made aware of how that has caused a major eruption reaction out there. Apparently, people on left and right are being asked about it on Fox and various websites.

And it’s interesting; it’s true. The appearance is that the Republican establishment doesn’t want Trump… We know they don’t. They don’t want any outsider to succeed. But that must have hit a nerve out there, because I’m seeing more and more news stories on it featuring reaction. The media’s gone to Congressman A and Senator B. “What do you think about what Rush said on Fox last night?” “That’s the Senate. That’s not us. No, no, no. That’s not me. That’s somebody else.” So they’re disavowing it in certain quarters.

Let me take a break. It’s Open Line Friday. We’ll come back, get started with calls — Snerdley, yes, I’m gonna play the sound bites from last night. I’m just establishing that the show is not all about me all the time.

That’s all I’m doing.

I’m gonna get to those and I’ll analyze myself.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: To the audio sound bites. They’ve been after me here on the staff to get to these, and I always keep putting it off. But we’re gonna replay some of the sound bites from last night’s interview on the Fox News Channel with Hannity at 9 o’clock. And this is right at the top. Hannity says, “I want to start with tax cuts. All the years you’ve talked about it, Kennedy, Reagan, how it works. What do you think of this latest tax plan?”

BEGIN ARCHIVE CLIP

RUSH: It’s good overall. I mean, there’s some things about it — let’s look at the elimination of the deduction state income tax. You know who’s gonna hate that? California, Illinois, all these blue states, that’s gonna cause a shortfall for them. Those taxpayers are not gonna like it. And if you look at the states with the highest state income tax rates, most of them are blue. But here’s my basic problem with this. I keep hearing everybody say growth, growth. But the top rate probably isn’t gonna come down or much at all. And that’s where the growth is. Those are the people that hire. Those are the people that own small businesses. Those are the people that spend.

We still have a tax system and a way of explaining it that’s rooted in class envy. We’re gonna give the middle class, the lower middle class, upper middle class a break; but the rich, we’re gonna soak ’em. They don’t need a tax break. They got enough. And, besides, they say we have to have a way to pay for it. What do you mean, pay for it? Why can’t Washington do with less, for once? We got growth from Reagan. I saw you talking about it last night. How? Top marginal rate over eight years went 70 to 28%. Look what happened.

Why not do it again? The reason is, everybody is afraid they’ll lose votes in the middle class ’cause there’s far more of them than there are people in the upper bracket. The top 10% are paying 70% of all income taxes. And how can you say they’re not paying their fair share, and why do we want to punish them further? If you really want growth, lower everybody’s taxes across the board and get out of the way for all the revenue that’s gonna be coming in.

END ARCHIVE CLIP

RUSH: That’s not what we’re doing. Again, the president just today had a speech at the National Association of Manufacturers, actually said we have given Congress flexibility to even create a new rate on the super rich in order to pay for greater tax relief for the middle class.

What he means by that is the middle class, the only way you’re going to get a tax cut is if we increase taxes on others of your fellow citizens. And I think that’s a net wash. If you’re going to cut taxes, otherwise allow some to keep more of what they earn, you’re going to “pay for that” by raising taxes on others? It’s a wash. You’re not going to end up with additional dollars of any significance in the economy.

(interruption) What do I think of the Limbaugh delivery? I don’t know, a little too fast. I was trying to say, I get caught up — you know, one of the problems I have with TV is I know that time is really limited. Even this interview, even though they said they were gonna do half of it tonight, half of it tomorrow night, I still know he wants to cover a lot of things. So I’m racing through my answers to make room for other things.

So if I had to critique this, I would say that my speech was a little too rapid fire. (interruption) You don’t think so? Fine, but you’re asking me to critique myself — but in terms of the substance I can’t find a thing wrong with it. In terms of the substance I mean that’s five stars right there. Nothing needs to be added to that even though I just did here, but I added to it because the president has said more. This is one of the bites that they’ve been playing for guests all day on Fox and asking people to react to it.

The question from Hannity: “You actually said that if the GOP were smart all they would do is keep their promises and they could end up running Washington for generations.”

BEGIN ARCHIVE CLIP

RUSH: This is the deal. I really believe that if for just three months, going forward, or if they had three months in the past, just three months, gut it up for three months and work with Trump on his agenda, on cutting taxes seriously, across the board, immigration reform, the wall, what have you, getting rid of Obamacare, which is just — it’s an absolute crime what has happened here and what that’s gonna mean to the country. Just try for three months, make it look like there’s unity between the president and the people in his own party, and they would own Washington for a generation.

END ARCHIVE CLIP

RUSH: Let me reiterate that. Again, nothing wrong with the substance there. Another five star sound bite. And, in fact, the pace of speech was fine there. I wasn’t racing through that. But, imagine, folks, if the daily picture out of Washington was McConnell and Ryan and Trump working together unified on an agenda that’s Trump’s. I mean, he’s the guy that has the mandate, he won the election on it, and it looks like we don’t even need to wait to see if it succeeds, although it needs to, but even if it looks like that there is mutual respect and excitement and eagerness to get these things done, that is gonna unify the Republican base beyond Trump voters in a way the Democrats can’t compete with.

It’s gonna revive talk about how the Democrats don’t have a prayer of gaining ground in the House or Senate in 2018. I really believe if this appearance of unity that had a foundation of truth propping it up, the pictures, the accompanying news stories, the attitude, the smiles, if this were happening — the majority of Americans want the Trump agenda. Even if you don’t think that’s true, act like it is. That’s what the Democrats do. The Democrats, the media act like the cockamamie stuff they believe is accepted by a majority. We need to do it because in our case it’s largely true.

If that happened I don’t think the Democrats would stand a prayer because they can’t compete with it. All they can do is nitpick it and trash it and slime it in ways that will seem empty, because it’s gonna be old and unpredictable. Not unify the whole country, don’t misunderstand. We’re talking about creating a political force here that can’t be stopped. And I really think it’s possible to do. But it’s not gonna happen if the perception conditions that half of the Republican establishment doesn’t want Trump to succeed. The same problems are gonna continue as exist now.

If you take that perception off the board, you take the perception off the board Republicans don’t want Trump to win and replace it with we Republicans have an agenda and we can’t wait to implement it for the good of America, get out of the way, folks. There’d be no stopping ’em. And I’m not exaggerating about that. I’m not pie-in-the-sky. It’s a once-in-our-lifetimes opportunity to have the confluence of events that happened last November. Because so much happened.

It wasn’t just that Trump won and it wasn’t just the Republicans have the House and the Senate. It was that what the Democrats stand for was rejected. There are two things that happened here. Republicans are victorious because of Trump. Trump was victorious, but at the same time what the Democrats stand for was rejected as it has been rejected in elections since 2010. That’s why I say, it’s just a tremendous opportunity.

Now, I want to jump forward to sound bite number 6. Newt was on Hannity afterwards, and I’ve gotta play this, because it was so great. It was… Well, in fact, let’s play both of them. Rather than talk about it, play number 5. After the interview was over, Hannity brought Newt on. Newt had a great visual aid. He had a postcard-size piece of paper. He said, “This is what the Republican tax plan tax reform will look like, and, if they just run around the country saying, ‘Wouldn’t you like to be able to do your taxes on this?’ — it can’t fail.”

He had a good point, but listen to what else he said…

GINGRICH: Without Rush, we might not have won in 1994. He was the clear voice for millions and millions of conservatives all across the country, many of whom would stay in their car to listen to the last half hour. They just wouldn’t get out; they wouldn’t give him up. So Rush has had a remarkable historic impact on the country, and his instincts are as good as they ever were and he’s as worth listening to and thinking about as anybody I know. He analyzes things from angles nobody else can match. If by Thanksgiving the Paul Ryan income tax postcard becomes law, I think you’re gonna find out that they are doing exactly what Rush suggested. I think this is the start of what Rush is talking about.

RUSH: And that is the Republicans coming together with Trump on an agenda. And he thinks tax reform is it. Now, that was last night. Now today, Newt — by the way, that’s great; this next sound bite’s not to be critical. But Newt is, A, exactly right in what he said there — the factual things — and I’m appreciative as I can be of his compliments there. I really am. I was watching it last night, and I was… Well, I got a little tightness in the throat, to be honest with you, choked up. But then this morning, after the bite where I say, “If they just work together for three months,” everybody played that, Newt had a little bit different take, just slightly, and this is what he said…

GINGRICH: Much as I admire Rush and we’ve known each other many years, I think he’s a half step behind what’s happening. Are there some Never Trumpers? Sure. Are there some people who cause trouble? Sure. But let me give you an example. This is the postcard tax form that 85% of Americans will be able to file under the new Republican tax plan. Literally a postcard. Now, that was developed by the Trump White House, by the House Republicans, and the Senate Republicans as a team. They launched it this week as a team. I think that they’ve learned a lot of painful lessons over the last nine months.

RUSH: Okay. So he thinks I’m a half step behind because I was still last night saying if they would just come together on the agenda, and Newt’s point is, they have. This is the first attempt at them coming together on the agenda.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Look, folks, I’m not a negativist, and I don’t like negative people. I think negative people make other people sick. But I am the mayor of Realville. Now, Newt says — and he did it affectionately. He said, “As much as I admire Rush and we’ve known each other many years, I think he’s a half step behind what’s happening here.” Last night I said it would be great if the Republicans would unify and start moving Trump’s agenda, and Newt says they have. And I didn’t recognize or make note of that last night. Well (sigh), right now we’re…

Ugh. Oh, this is so tough. We’ve been here before. Although health care was a little different. It didn’t appear to be a unified effort, like this does appear to be. Although I don’t know where the Senate is on this. It’s always the wild card, and it’s always where the establishment powers go when they want to stop Trump. So we’ll see. I think the jury is still out. But I’m not gonna deny that this is an appearance of unity, but at some point there’s gonna have to be something other than appearances.

There’s gonna have to be actual, solid results. I’m patiently waiting. I’m not going to proclaim that this is a failure or being done the wrong way, anything of the sort. I wouldn’t presume to do that. Just waiting. I think… What are the odds…? Let me put it to you this way. Think of it this way. The tax plan was presented this week; the president’s out there selling the aspects of it that he likes and that he thinks are persuasive. What are the odds that…?

‘Cause a lot of this… I had it explained to me by a powerful ranking Republican that the committees are gonna be making final decisions on a lot of details here. Well, that means that things are going to change from day one, and if those things change in ways that lose support here or lose support there, we don’t know if that’s gonna happen yet or not. We have to withhold judgment until it does. That’s all I’m saying.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Move forward to audio sound bite number nine. This was on America’s Newsroom today. Shannon Bream was speaking with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Republican-California) and she played a sound bite of my interview with Hannity last night and said, “There’s a criticism for Congress. Some of that is coming from Rush Limbaugh. What do you make of Rush’s assertion that there are people even within the GOP who do not want the president to succeed?”

MCCARTHY: I don’t happen to be one of those, and I don’t know where one is. I’m frustrated with what happens on the — the Senate side. We now have 270 bills sitting in the Senate. So I have that exact same frustration, and I’ve watched and worked with this president every day, and he’s been engaged. He’s done everything in his power to try to get this through. And why would the Senate make everything have to be 60 votes? If the House can pass it with a majority, why can’t the Senate pass it with a majority? That’s really where it’s coming down to, and it’s affecting everyone.

RUSH: All right, now, this is fascinating to me — and, you know, Fox is doing this on their own. “Limbaugh says that there are Republicans that don’t want Trump to succeed.” It’s not just Republicans. The Democrats don’t want Trump to succeed; some of the Republicans don’t. Most of the establishment doesn’t, for the reason you said last night and you’ve heard me say it before. It’s no more complicated than Trump, to them, is a neophyte, know-nothing outsider.

They can’t permit somebody like that to come in there and inside of two years turn it upside down and make it work. What does that make them look like? Plus what does that do to the game they have structured that keeps themselves in power in perpetuity by not really accomplishing much? They’re not gonna let somebody come in and just blow that up. This is their life. This is their self-identity. This is their fortune. It’s their wealth!

Being in that club, being in the establishment — the power structure that runs the country — and they’re gonna let someone they think is a pig and a reprobate come in there and make fun of them and turn what they’ve done upside down and make it work? There’s no question that there are people inside that town that do not want him to succeed. They’re in the deep state. Where do you think all these leaks in the newspaper and the media about the collusion with Russia came from?

There’s all kinds of people don’t want Trump to succeed. They’re trying to destroy Trump even now with the Mueller investigation. You know it and I know it, and McCarthy knows that even though his answer is, “Well, I don’t happen to be one of those and I don’t know where one is,” except in the Senate! There’s all kinds of people in the Senate. I must say that when the ranking Republican explained the tax bill to me (chuckling), I got the same thing, before I even said anything.

“And let me tell you something, Rush: Our problem’s in the Senate. Do you realize how frustrated we are here? We pass bill after bill after bill — the first health care bill — and it goes over there and it just dies. I can’t tell you… We have 200 bills over there! Nobody knows it ’cause it doesn’t get reported! And they go over there and they die!”

So the Republican leadership is very, very intent on everybody understanding that it isn’t them bottling up the Trump agenda, that it is Senate. And I think people get that on their own anyway, but essentially what I said is acknowledged. It happens to be the case. And I’m glad it’s out there. I’m not the only one saying it, but for some reason me saying it on Fox — and then played back as a sound bite for these guys to react to — bingo.

Now, back to the phones. This is Patti, Newport Beach, California. Glad you waited. How are you?

CALLER: Hi. I’m fine. Good morning, and thanks for taking my call.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: I wanted to start by saying that you were impressive on Sean Hannity, of course — of course, you were — and that I can only beg you to do more, more live interviews on television in the future.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: You can see that you’ve had a big impact, and you’re, like Trump, a leader. You’re, like Trump, extremely coherent, speak well, make a great impression, and you get to the point. I think it would be very beneficial to the conservative cause if you could do more of what you did with Sean Hannity. I just would hope you would do that. That’s before my comment, but I just wanted to tell you that.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: Oh, one more thing. One more thing.

RUSH: Oh. Yes.

CALLER: Newt Gingrich is wrong. You are not a step behind. You are a step ahead of him, and that annoyed me when I heard it.

RUSH: Don’t be annoyed. There are reasons for —

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: Newt’s fine. Newt’s cool. He wants the same thing you do. He’s great.

CALLER: Okay, good. My comment today was that my husband has been a medical professor of medicine for decades, is now semi-retired, and one of the things he’s doing in his semi-retirement is being a medical director of a specialty testing lab. Among other things, this lab is testing for — it will be a simple blood test for the brain, the traumatic brain injury that comes from the kind of injuries and things that come from —

RUSH: You’re talking about CTEs. Is your husband working the project to try to find a way to diagnose it while —

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: — the patient is alive? Right now you can only diagnose it —

CALLER: Yes. That’s the idea. The idea is they can draw blood when the patient is alive. And I asked him, you know, of course over the months I asked him for details. He said that the test is still unreliable, but he is sure that in the future there will be such a test. It will be a blood test. He said something about the word exasol.

RUSH: Well, I wonder how they’re ever going to know, because right now you can only identify it in an autopsy.

CALLER: No, there are biochemical, there are biochemical reasons that you’ll be able to do it ahead of time. So they will be able to do that.

RUSH: Okay, cool.

CALLER: So, obviously — yeah. Go ahead. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.

RUSH: No, no, no. I just had a question. You answered it. What is the point about this that your husband is —

CALLER: The point about my call is that because of that and because it happens anyway and you can test for it in an autopsy, eventually the NFL is in danger of being sued into oblivion. And I asked my husband, “Well, what about college football? They don’t have such big, deep pockets. They won’t be sued so much.” And he said no, colleges still have deep enough pockets.

RUSH: Oh, they do.

CALLER: However, he said, the players play for a shorter amount of time.

RUSH: Right, here’s the thing about this. You are so right in one way, that this is already being seen as a financial goldmine. Does the name Aaron Hernandez mean anything to you? Twenty-seven years old, convicted of murder, former tight end for the New England Patriots, 27 years old. He committed suicide in prison. His lawyer now says that they discovered in an autopsy he had an advanced case of CTE. They’re trying to say that his commission of murder was not his fault. He had a brain injury because of his playing for the New England Patriots.

So, that’s a sign of where the legal community’s gonna take this. So, Aaron Hernandez — in death is going to try — the state’s gonna try to sue and be exonerated. Now, Patti, the NFL has already established a pool of $1 billion from which all claimants of CTE are going to have make their case. The NFL thinks their exposure to this therefore is a total of $1 billion. I ran the numbers on this, and every player even now, and adding the same numbers the next 10 years, who makes a claim that is judged legal is gonna get $137,000 or something, which is nothing.

The league thinks they have already, as a matter of doing business, limited their liability on this because they have an agreement with a court that their liability maximum exposure is $1 billion. Now, somebody’s gonna try to reopen that, because they’ve opened the door to it now, and if we’re gonna have deceased players’ families claiming that — she’s right. The NFL’s got an exposure problem here, and they know that, by the way.

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