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RUSH: I got a note from Cookie today before she prepared the audio sound bite roster, and I’m gonna read this email.  Cookie’s the production director, and she scours all of this stuff day in and day out to produce the audio sound bites which appear on this program.

“Dear, Rush:  This weekend could be an all-time record for Rush mentions.  I almost did a whole cue sheet that was just sound bites about you!  But then I decided I had to mix in a few good ones from other people, because, like you say, you don’t like the show to be about you.  But, if you wanted it to be, I have 40 sound bites today that mention your name, that blame you, that essentially say you are running the country.

“I could have done 40 bites, but I just picked the most interesting — plus a montage, of course.  All these senators and congressmen whining about a guy on the radio.  It’s unbelievable.  It’s still all about you, though, anyway, because they’re convinced you caused the shutdown, that you are running the country, and that you are the president.  Except for some people who now think that what makes this even worse is that you’re nothing but an entertainer.”  You know, they go back and forth on this.

Depending on the day, depending on the issue, I’m the titular head of the Republican Party, conservative movement, and the next, “Ah, he’s just an entertainer.” For 30 years, it’s been that styling.  So to give you a flavor, here is the montage.  This is audio sound bite No. 1, and it’s the exasperated Drive-By Media convinced that I am running America.  There’s some people from “NBC, CNN, PMSNBC, Republican strategerists, syndicated radio host…”

Oh, really?  Really?  Syndicated radio host?  I’m being turned on even by brethren in the business here, and there’s some bloggers and so forth.  So, anyway, here it is.  This is one we don’t… I’m not playing all 40.  I don’t have all 40.  But I’m telling you, the vast majority of the cue sheet here today is me.  Here we go.

KATY TUR: Rush Limbaugh is in control of the government.

DON LEMON: President Rush Limbaugh?

BAKARI SELLERS:  You have a president in Rush Limbaugh.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rush Limbo. (sic) There’s a guy, in a golf shirt down in Palm Beach telling the president what to do. This is crazy. Is Rush Limbo calling the shots or are his listeners calling the shots?

PHIL RUCKER: Well, this week, with the shutdown I would say Rush Limbaugh.

RINA SHAH: This entire debate has been hijacked by Limbaugh.

HUGH HEWITT: One person: Rush Limbaugh.

MARIA CARDONA: … puppet masters in the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: I don’t think we’d be in a partial government shutdown without those voices like Rush’s.

BRIAN STELTER: This is kind of a Rush Limbaugh shutdown.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: This is a Trump-Limbaugh shutdown.

JENNIFER RUBIN: Maybe the Democrats should go negotiate with Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH:  Now, you know what they’re trying to do here.  They are attempting to embarrass President Trump.  You know what this all traces back to?  It traces back… I don’t even remember the day, but it was one day last week, and I got word — as everybody did. The word got out that the president was preparing to agree with the continuing resolution that the House had passed that had no money in it — none — for border security.

It went over to the Senate, and the Senate passed it and the president was ready to accept it, I couldn’t believe it.  Because what really frosted me is there was $1.6 billion for wall construction or border security that got stripped out in this continuing resolution.  So there we started out with $1.6 billion, and then by the time it was ready to go up to Trump for signature, there was nothing in it.  So that’s what I said.

I’m sitting here discussing it saying, “This is a gigantic mistake.  This was the signature issue that got President Trump elected.”  Well, I get a message here from somebody who wishes to remain nameless, who said, “Rush, I’m letting you on behalf of President Trump, this is all wrong. He’s not signing this. He’s gonna veto this.  If there’s no money in it for the wall, he’s gonna veto it.  So don’t worry about it.”  So I was told that whatever I had heard and was telling you about was not true.  It was a message.

It was a name you would all know, but the person asked me not to mention their name. But I was on the air, and this is how the president chose to get the message, because obviously he was told that I was succeeding that this was an absolute disaster if he would do this.  His point was, he wasn’t gonna do it and wanted me to know. I didn’t talk him into or out of anything.  The message I got was, “Don’t worry.  He’s not gonna sign this.

“He’s not gonna sign it until there’s money for the budget.”  It’s not that he was going to sign it then heard me and changed his mind.  So what the media wants to do is try to humiliate him, make it look like he doesn’t know what he’s doing and all that has to happen is some guy on the radio.  But what bothers them, folks, is that their scenario that they constructed where Trump is ready to do what they want and just about ready to sign.

Then I speak up and say, “No,” and then it doesn’t happen! They just can’t stand that, that that could possibly be true.  So now, it’s time to start denigrating Trump and at the same time denigrate me while building me up at the same time.  But it’s all for the purposes of making Trump look small and indecisive and insecure.  And I can tell you that the only message I got was, “Don’t worry.  Whatever you’re seeing isn’t true.  He’s not signing this unless there’s money in it.”  Not that, “Okay, Rush, the president heard you. He isn’t gonna sign it!” It wasn’t that at all.  And these people know this.

Here’s Little Brian Stelter at CNN. Yeah, we can squeeze this in before the break.  This is the second bite…

STELTER:  The president seems very influenced by right-wing news — not right-wing news outlets.  Right-wing entertainers like Rush Limbaugh.  He does not seem so influenced by his own staff.

RUSH:  His own staff? He had people on his staff telling him what to do, the right thing?  Anyway, they love portraying Trump as not knowing what’s going on, not knowing who to talk to, not listening to anybody, not having any good.  They love this idea that Trump doesn’t know anything and he’s not in control.  I can tell you that they’re a hundred percent wrong about this the way they’re interpreting this.  They’re the ones that created this narrative, not me.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Yeah, it was Chris Matthews who, in the opening montage, said, “There’s some guy in a golf shirt down in Palm Beach telling president what to do. This is crazy.” (chuckles)  Some guy in a golf shirt! Here.  Play it again.  People are finding this hilarious.  We’ll do this and we’ll move on to No. 3.  But let me set this up again, folks, what happened last week. The way the press is misrepresenting this, I am doing the program.  I’m in the middle of a broadcast segment.

And the news is the president’s gonna sign the continuing resolution — that the House has passed and the Senate had just passed — that has zero money in it for border security, wall, whatever.  I said, “Wait a minute.  It at least had $1.6 billion in it before these guys started messin’ around with the continuing resolution.”  So found out that that $1.6 billion had been stripped out.  I said, “Trump’s not only getting nothing, he’s getting less than nothing,” and the Drive-Bys pounced!  That was like gold to them, my saying Trump was getting less than nothing.

They heralded it, they loved it, they thought it was perfect.  They even thought I might be turning on the president.  So I’m reading that the news is saying that Trump’s gonna sign this thing and I’m on the air saying, “This can’t happen, should not happen, there’s no way. Shut the government down. Don’t sign this,” whatever.  At that point, I get an iMessage, direct message from the president. “The president wants you to know he’s not going to sign it unless there’s proper money in it for the wall,” and I mentioned that to you.

I said, “Folks, I just got a direct message from the president.”  Well, it was somebody sending the message, ’cause Trump doesn’t email or message.  He tweets and that’s it.  I don’t tweet.  So he had a third party get me the message.  I shared with you the message.  “I just got a message from the president that he’s not going to sign this. He will veto it unless there’s money in it for border security and the wall.”  The media took that story and turned it into Trump had his pen ready to go. He’s on the verge of signing it!
And then I start complaining on the air and somebody walks in and says, “Mr. President! Mr. President! Rush Limbaugh… (stammering) Y-y-you’re losing Rush Limbaugh! He’s going nuts,” and Trump stops.  “Oh, really?  I better not sign it.”  That’s not what happened!  What happened was the president got word to me that whatever news stories we all had that said he was gonna sign it were not true.  He wasn’t.  It wasn’t that anybody had changed his mind.  Now, the Drive-Bys have since reported what I just told you.

He’s there, he’s poised, he’s got that pen in his hand. He may even have the D already written down! Then they run in there and say, “Mr. President! Mr. President! Rush Limbaugh says you shouldn’t sign it,” and Trump stops.  “Oh, really?  Okay. Well, then I won’t.”  That’s not what happened.  But they want you to think that’s what happened because it diminishes Trump.  And it gives them another chance to shoot at me, which they, of course, love doing as well.  And we put together a montage, one more time, of how it sounded over the weekend.

KATY TUR: Rush Limbaugh is in control of the government.

DON LEMON: President Rush Limbaugh?

BAKARI SELLERS:  You have a president in Rush Limbaugh.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rush Limbo. (sic) There’s a guy, in a golf shirt down in Palm Beach telling the president what to do. This is crazy. Is Rush Limbo calling the shots or are his listeners calling the shots?

PHIL RUCKER: Well this week, with the shutdown I would say Rush Limbaugh.

RINA SHAH: This entire debate has been hijacked by Limbaugh.

HUGH HEWITT: One person: Rush Limbaugh.

MARIA CARDONA: … puppet masters in the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: I don’t think we’d be in a partial government shutdown without those voices like Rush’s.

BRIAN STELTER: This is kind of a Rush Limbaugh shutdown.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: This is a Trump-Limbaugh shutdown.

JENNIFER RUBIN: Maybe the Democrats should go negotiate with Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH:  Well… I have a lot of emails, by the way, “I wish you were running the country.”  Which I , of course, understand.  But it’s not the case.

So here I am just a guy in a golf shirt in Palm Beach running the country.  Here’s Senator Chuck You Schumer.  This was Saturday on the Senate floor…

SCHUMER:  Even Rush Limbaugh, one of the biggest supporters of the president, said it was a Trump shutdown.  That he caused it.  He said, quote — this is Limbaugh speaking — “The president wants you to know it’s money for the wall or nothing.  And if it’s nothing, he shuts it down.”  All indications were that the president would sign the bill.  But President Trump, beholden to the far, far right, unwilling to shoulder even the slightest critique from Rush Limbaugh, changed his mind.

RUSH:  See?  You see how they’re doing this?  Trump was ready to go, and then somebody told him that I was complaining about it. So he stopped, got a message to me and said not to worry about it, he wasn’t gonna sign it.  By the way, Chuck, you missed my program on December 21st, because if you hadn’t missed it, you wouldn’t have said this because this shutdown is all yours.  You own this, and the Republicans have got to stay unified in making that point.

I’m gonna go through this again.  This may be one of those days I’m gonna have a tough time getting everything in.  That’s how much there is here.  But they’ve got to stay unified on this.  They have got to stay supportive of the president on this in the sense that this is the Democrats.  The Democrats do not want border security!  The Democrats do not want one thing that would shore up the border and put any limits on illegal immigration whatsoever because they need their permanent underclass and a current flow, inflow of people not being interrupted.

That’s their base.  That’s their future base.  They don’t want Trump to have any kind of a victory, either.  But this is theirs.  They could fix this shutdown.  They care about their precious government being open, they care so much? By the way, the government has been shut for three or four days.  How many of you are suffering in pain that you cannot deal with because of this?  How many of your lives have been temporarily ruined or destroyed because your government shut down?

Zilch, zero, nada.  The Democrats… We spent… You know how much we spent to bail out General Motors? It was $11.5 billion.  We spent $12 billion to bail out General Motors, and General Motors is tanking.  This is $5 billion, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff said on TV over the weekend, “We’ll come off the $5 billion.”  Democrats have offered $1.6 billion, but it’s gone.

He said, “We’ll come off the $5 billion, find a happy medium.” They won’t do it.  They don’t think they have to this happen.  They think they can hold out ’til they take control of the House.  It has got to be pounded they are the reason for the shutdown and why.  They do not border security.  Pat “Leaky” Leahy, Democrat senator from Vermont, also on the Senate floor.  This was Saturday…

LEAHY: (whispering) The president had agreed to sign it. We finally had a path for it.  But then Rush Limbaugh started criticizing.  The president’s ego won out over his duties to the country.  He went back on what he had agreed to, and here we are.

RUSH:  “The president had agreed to sign it.  We finally had a path forward.  But then Rush Limbaugh started criticizing.”  Do you realize this thing that they’re making up here… (chuckling) They’re creating this scenario to diminish Trump and at the same time, I mean, what’s it doing to me?  Once again, they are elevating…  Politico had a story over the weekend. Did you see this?  “Rush Limbaugh Comes Roaring Back.”  Roaring back?  Where did I go?  Where the hell did I go?

You know, it shows that the way they define — the Drive-Bys, the way they define — success in terms of what I do is, “How much influence is there in Washington on the part of people in the conservative media?”  Will you ever see a story, “Dan Rather comes roaring back,” or “Chuck Todd comes roaring back”?  I mean, those people are never assumed to have gone anywhere.  But somehow because Trump watches Fox News and doesn’t to listen radio, I’m a nonentity.  I’m a nonfactor.  Trump is totally into Fox, totally into television, doesn’t listen to radio, and, therefore, I am nothing more than a bump on a log?

Until this comes along and, “Oh, my God.  Limbaugh?  Limbaugh’s still there?  Oh, my…!”  They have no idea how to define the success of this program using business measurements and so forth.  It’s all just horse race to them.  Such a limited view.  So now I’ve come “roaring back,” even though I never went anywhere.  How do they know I haven’t influenced President Trump before this?  Why are they assuming this is the only time?  How do they know other things the president has done at my behest?  This is the only one that’s been made public.

Imagine if they knew other things!

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