TODD: What an extraordinary gift to spend time with Kathryn Limbaugh. And I asked her this question: Did Rush consider himself an entertainer? She said, “No, he considered himself entertaining,” and that was to hold the audience’s attention because of the gravity of the subject matter.
I can tell you just observing as a radio guy or as a media guy, the way Ray Charles would sit at a piano and play out a song is the same way Rush Limbaugh would sit behind the Golden EIB Microphone (laughing) and play the mainstream media.
In fact, last week on this program, we played a clip. Rush was discussing one of his all-time favorite great moments on the radio. It was the day he, quote-unquote, “endorsed” Bill Clinton, and it set the nation on fire (laughing), until everyone figured out it was a gag. So we had a huge overwhelming demand from the audience to find an actual clip of that show; so the EIB Network team dug into the archives and now we take you all the way back to October 22, 1992.
RUSH: I actually have the shakes. I do not want to do the show today. My friends, it’s just this simple. I have changed my mind on the presidential race. And if the mood of this country is not where I am right now, then I’m the one that’s going to have to change. Here at 12 minutes after the hour on the 22nd of October, I’m here to tell you that I have decided to endorse the candidacy of Bill Clinton for president.
It’s the only way I think the country can really, truly be saved. I’ve had to weigh my thoughts very carefully. I’ve had to weigh this decision. I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve talked to a lot of people. I have not made this decision lightly. Let’s see. What else do I have? I’m — I’m — I don’t know. Let me just go to the phones. Camille in Brooklyn. Camille, hi, Rush Limbaugh, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Yes. I’m surprised you said that you’re voting for Clinton. I’m really shocked. I can’t believe you threw in the towel.
RUSH: You have to do what you think is right.
CALLER: But Clinton? That slimeball? How could you even think of voting for that…? Oh, my God. I just can’t talk anymore. I just can’t; I’m sorry. (hangs up, dial tone.)
RUSH: Hmm. Well, see, that’s an indication of how tough it is for everybody. What am I to do? Am I supposed to come in here and make it up? Am I supposed to come in here…? Just the charade is… I can’t do that, folks. Phyllis in the Bronx in New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. My name is Phyllis.
RUSH: Yes, ma’am.
CALLER: I am a conservative. I am home sick today, but now I’m really sick. Rush, what are you doing to us? I’m sick and tired of the liberals in this country pushing our buttons.
RUSH: What are you talking about?
CALLER: I mean, you’re backing mister…? You’re backing Bill Clinton.
RUSH: I am not. I am not.
CALLER: You just said you’re backing —
RUSH: I never said that.
CALLER: But I heard you say those words.
RUSH: No, no. You’re just trying to twist my words and turn them around. I never said it.
CALLER: What did you say? Could you just tell me — you said you could — you know, I can’t even talk, I’m so upset. I’m practically ready for tears.
RUSH: You keep talking about something that happened 23 minutes ago. It’s irrelevant.
CALLER: You know, Rush, I know what I heard. I’m sitting here, and I’m listening to you. I listen to you every chance I get.
RUSH: Well, you’re going to have to —
CALLER: You’re the guru of conservatives.
RUSH: You’re going to have listen a little bit more closely, Phyllis and you’re going to have to think about the future. What happened in the past is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter. Suzette from Chicago, welcome to the program.
CALLER: You know, mega dittos, and accolades. You are wonderful. I put on your show, and I had a coronary, and I’m listening to you, and I start to think, “No, I know what you’re doing, Rush. You’re doing the Bill Clinton flip-flop.”
RUSH: You know, this is really sad.
CALLER: (laughing) No —
RUSH: No, no, no, no —
CALLER: — the guy, you’re going to deny it.
RUSH: This is really pathetic.
CALLER: You’re going to deny it, but then again-
RUSH: Well, of course I’m going to deny it —
CALLER: Well, sure.
RUSH: — because I didn’t say it.
CALLER: I know, I’m going —
RUSH: And we cannot move forward.
CALLER: I know we can’t move forward.
RUSH: You’re going to continue to try to make me the issue here, this is really sad.
CALLER: I know, isn’t it terrible? What you’re doing is really great. You can deny it, that’s okay, but —
RUSH: What do you mean I can deny it? I am denying it. I do deny it.
CALLER: Oh —
RUSH: I never said I was for Clinton.
CALLER: I know.
RUSH: You people out there, you are so worried about my conservative views. You think I’m such a maniac, now you’re hearing me say things I’ve never said.
CALLER: You want to play the tape?
RUSH: I’m not gonna play the tape. I know what I said. I didn’t say that.
CALLER: Okay. You know, I’d like to say one thing, though, is that you really bring home a point with —
RUSH: I don’t know what she’s talking about. You keep going over and over. She just keeps making the same point here, and we’ve been patient.
CALLER: You can deny it, dear sir, but I know what you’re doing.
RUSH: I didn’t say it. Still, I’ve had you on the phone here for five minutes and all you want to talk about is something that happened, what, 45 minutes ago. I was younger then.
TODD: (laughing) Sorry. I had not heard that from the day that I remember being in Spokane. I’m in Spokane today — 590 KQNT is letting me use their studio — and I remember the program director coming to me, “Your guy just flipped. He just flipped. He’s — he’s — he’s gone in for Clinton!” I thought, “It’s impossible. It’s impossible. This didn’t happen,” and she figured it out. That’s just… (sigh) I hope you don’t feel weird like a junior rodeo clown fill-in is saying this from a perspective of a radio guy.
But good lord! I hear this now differently because I’m not driving in my car or working on a house. I’m just listening with headphones on. It’s magical, the three decades that we’ve gotten of this — and it’s not performance. It was craft. And, yes, he made a brilliant point, Rush did there.