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Gibbs and Emanuel Tweak Rush Limbaugh

By Howard Kurtz
If White House officials were trying to elevate Rush Limbaugh to the leader of the opposition, they may have gotten their wish.

After the radio titan delivered a raucous, red-meat speech Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation": "He is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party, and he has been up front about what he views, and hasn't stepped back from that, which is he hopes for failure."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs added his voice today, saying reporters should ask Republicans "whether they agree with what Rush Limbaugh said .... in wishing and hoping for economic failure in this country."

Limbaugh, a master of drawing media attention, has filled a GOP vacuum since the election, and Emanuel's comments had the effect of further boosting his prominence.

Limbaugh fired back on his show today, saying the White House was trying to "malign me, take me out of context" and "attach it to the Republican Party in general, because President Obama wants no debate." He said this was "a game of manipulation emanating from the Oval Office," and that he wants Obama's "socialist" policies to fail -- not for the economy and stock market to tank.

Liberal bloggers denounced Limbaugh's hourlong address, which was carried live by Fox News and CNN, with Huffington Post's Taylor Marsh calling it "a rambling, sometimes incoherent, self-indulgent mess." Republican National Chairman Michael Steele called Limbaugh "an entertainer" in an interview with CNN's D.L. Hughley, adding: "Yes, he's incendiary. Yes, it's ugly."

Limbaugh today faulted what he called "the drive-by media" for not reporting the contents of his speech. Some excerpts:

  • "There will be more controls over what you can and can't do, how you can and can't do it, what you can and can't drive, what you can and can't say, where you can and can't say it."
  • "They don't have the right to take money that's not theirs and none of it is from back pockets of producers and give it to groups like A.C.O.R.N. .... If anybody but government were doing this, it would be a crime."
  • "They have destroyed poor families by breaking up those families, by offering welfare checks to women to keep having babies, no more father needed."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 2, 2009; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Culture Wars , Media Notes  
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Umm...Rush, an intellectual force? More like an uneducable farce.

He's done more to undermine the core values and principles of the United States of America than all the communists and socialists put together.

Posted by: BigRoy | March 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Rahm was right:

"Michael Steele has apologized to Rush Limbaugh for referring to him as an "entertainer" who can be "ugly" and "incendiary," Mike Allen reports."

Rush has declared himself the head of the party. You know, like Stalin.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 3, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse


I never had to hope that Bush would fail.
He was quite rewarding in that regard.

You know, since we're all on the Titanic,
hearing people say they hope Obama fails strikes me like someone saying they hope the boat sinks.

It doesn't seem venomous to me, but it does seem less than rational.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 3, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Well, regardless of what happens to Rush Limbaugh, I hope you don't think it's "venom" that I hope Obama fails too.

Posted by: JakeD | March 3, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I met Rush once at the very beginning of his talk radio foray. I was working for a talk radio station and he was a guest for a personal appearance in front of about 50 people at the Santa Maria Hilton.

He was a bit nervous and kind of shy as he waited at the radio station with just me and one other DJ. We didn't talk politics, we talked radio. We wondered how his new talk programming would work. As I recall he didn't really know, but he thought that if he could be entertaining - he might pick up a few more stations and make a place for himself.

That was about 1985 or 86 I think.

The days of political apathy seem to be behind us and I say good riddance.
Rush can take a lot of credit for getting people talking about politics in America again.

Now He's Hoping Obama fails?

I have to say I hope he eats his words.
And I agree with vegasgirl about the attention he craves. He's trying to save himself from becoming irrelevant - that's the worst thing that could happen to Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 3, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse


Just checking (because vegasgirl claimed that my posts are full of venom).

Posted by: JakeD | March 3, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

JakeD -

"Venom"? I'm not sure what you're referring to.

I often strongly disagree with you.

But I don't recall a post from you that personally attacked or threatened anyone.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 2, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

NOT ALL EARSMARKS ARE BAD! Read the Bill first and then be specific about the earmarks you are talking about.

Posted by: MILLER123 | March 2, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Nobody had to wish the "Bust" Administration failure. He (Pres Bush) saw to that himself. The former Pres started a war based on lies and then gave, what Limbaugh doesn't realize, what amounted to a welfare (stimulus) check to everybody. That money should have been used for the infrasture of this country. Listening to Rush is like listening to a cry baby. All he wants is a Howard Stern salary, even though he's already over paid.

Posted by: MILLER123 | March 2, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Those who criticize Limbaugh and the effete Republican Party and fail to recognize the hypocrisy of earmarks. The Democrats (and of course Republicans) waste millions of dollars in this self promoting legalized political graft. What is wrong with it in the trillion dollar budget is not its economic impact but the fact that keeps in office ignorant undistinguished men and women who have only one thing in mind, promoting their own political careers.

There are a limited of distinguished Senators and Congressmen who are more than self promoting, self serving dunderheads. We should be making more of their ineffectuality than we do about the mindless bluster of Rush Limbaugh. My state sends two of them to the Senate and my district has one in Congress. That is a non-partisan assessment.

Forget about Limbaugh we need to get rid of the flotsam who represent us. That is the argument for a third party.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 2, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse


Have you ever seen "venom" in any of my posts?

Posted by: JakeD | March 2, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Rush Slimbaugh is doing a great job in helping the Obama-Biden re-election campaign. I predict it will be another landslide victory. Keep up the good work Republicans. Your party clearly demonstrates insanity which is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.

Posted by: vobiscum36 | March 2, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Pedophile? Vegasgirl....what's up with that?

you mean Rush hopes that Obama fails the same way every democrat hoped that Bush would fail?

I hope that Obama take the hard earned cash from my pockets and hand it over to those who CAN help themselves.

But I don't hang on every word Rush Limbaugh says. i often disagree with him, so it isn't as easy as blaming it on Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: PartySandwich | March 2, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

i agree

the Rahm-a-tolla had a method to his madness Sunday.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 2, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

To those who respond to my earlier post: I appreciate your thoughts, and understand where you're coming from.
Limbaugh *is* an insult to both decent GOP members and conservatism in general. He is a flat-out embarrasment. However, in the meantime, he unfortunately carries to much influence and power for the GOP to ignore him right now (the 1994 elections, anyone? That *was* a long-term disaster.)
I just think the Obama admin. should ignore his childish, drug-incuded rants and concentrate its efforts on doing the people's business.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | March 2, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

" *Sigh...* I'm surprised the Obama admin isn't smarter about this phony, morally bankrupt blowhard. By acknowledging him, they give Limbaugh everything he wants: attention, ratings, the circling of the wagons among his more sycophantic followers. The admin. has better things to do than tangle with this pedophile. Posted by: vegasgirl1"

Yeah, but by promoting Rush to the position of GOP leader, they can trivialize the Party, and because Rush is to full of himself to decline the designation, they can make him the voice and mind of the party until he drops or until November of 2012.

E Republican Party with Rush as its voluble, public, head alienates Americans much faster than it gains ditto heads who aren't already members. In four years, any Re[publican candidate for president will have to disavow Georgeie, Boehner/McConnel, and Rush to get elected, while courting said same people's supporters to get nominated. Nomination coming before election, that means that the republican standard bearer will have ti publicly cut his own throat to get the chance to run.

Its like the Texas Ranger who broke up a mob by trying to get someone in it to declare himself the mob's leader.

Rush just isn't mentally prepared to see what the Dems are doing with him to the Republican Party.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 2, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE IT! This is great theater. Elevate Rush Limpballs as the head of the GOP. Start infighting between the GOP boobs and El Limpo, and watch the party of "moral values" get drawn into a power vacuum and Implode. SPLAT!

Posted by: hayden1 | March 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Vegasgirl said: "I'm surprised the Obama admin isn't smarter about this phony, morally bankrupt bloward. By acknowledging him, they give Limbaugh everything he wants: atttention, ratings, the circling of the wagons among his more syncophantic followers."

Are you kidding? I think Obama is playing this really well. I think the worst thing he can do to the GOP is to ACTUALLY make Rush the head honcho in the eyes of the public. If Obama can equate what comes out of Rush's mouth with the views held by the majority of Republicans, he'll alienate more and more moderates. By challenging GOP leaders to announce their support of disdain of Rush, he's putting them on the spot with all of Rush's most loyal listener. If they don't say anything, the ditto-heads will call them cowards. If they support Rush, moderates will move away in droves. And if they deny Rush, he'll attack them on his next show. Win-win-win for the Democrats.

Posted by: chredon | March 2, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse


I think you've confused your kahunas and your cojones.

I think Rush is the de facto "Big Kahuna" of the Republican Party right now, and I doubt that the press have the cojones to call out the elected GOPers on this fact.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 2, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't know how to stand.
They don't know what to stand for any longer.
Conservatism is dead. Conservatism landed with the Pilgrims. The collective of
WASP(s) landed in 1620, no?
We then--proceeded to capture slaves to prove Conservatism of the WASP.
We massacred the American Indian to prove The Conservatism of the WASP.
Our way or the high way.
They best get a grip.
You know...isn't it in one of our founding documents that say We, the People.
It's not We, the WASP people.
and it is NOT, We, the WASP people at all costs.

Gonna have to pry Congress out of the cold dead hands of WASP repulsives!!!
Let's call Rahm.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh is a fringe kook who doesn't have any credibility with folks outside Congressional Republicans and the conservative base of the GOP.

Obama needs to make nice and leave it up to Rush to continue his borderline-treasonous assaults on the President of the United States.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse


At today's WH briefing, finally someone among the pack asked a new question, about the CIA's destruction of 100 hours of detainee interrogation tapes. Gibbs' demeanor revealed some real Team Obama dissatisfaction, a response that cried out for follow-up.

And then it was Chip Reid's turn. So he promptly asked the umpteenth question about the issue of the day.

Hey, Chipper:

Redeem yourself tomorrow. Ask Gibbs whether the inquiry into Bush torture tactics extends to reports of DOMESTIC TORTURE via the Bush DOJ approval of the covert "use" of silent, tissue-cooking microwave radiation weapons on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens:

OR (if links are disabled / corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 2, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Gibbs nailed it. I believe the media should be asking Republican congressional members and senators if they agree with Rush. This is really critical to helping people understand where the Republicans stand other than opposing everything that Obama offers up. Does the media have the kahunas to do this? I doubt it. Rush is the defacto leader of the Republican party.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | March 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Failed as a drug dealer, Rush now steps down to lead the Republican party.
His latest picture suggest, however, that he's not happy in the role and is attempting suicide by food. Out of sympathy I think we should send him a box of steaks and sticks of butter. Should he fail, he can always become our Food Czar.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

You mean the Rahm-a-tolla was on Face the Nation and I did not see it. I am so distraught now. I simply love Rahm Emmanuel.
I used to hate it when the press showed Saddam Hussein stepping out on his balcony and shootin' that shotgun of his.
I would yell at the TV, etc etc.....
Now it's Rush. If he is NOT trying to be the "new face" of the Republican party, then why is he "out there" so much.
Yeah right Rush, (cry cry)--"the press didn't report ALL my speech"
And you report the facts on your prejudicial radio show?
Repulsives really have problems. If it's not Rush, it's Eric Cantor.

And then - why would the "common man American" rally around Rush Limbaugh when he is "hoping for failure". Is that the American way? To hope for failure folks????

Next time you see him on TV---follow my lead folks...
stand up - yell at your television (or go to your window) and yell..

like this fat %$#^$# has anything on our Harvard Educated President.
And he couldn't even get close to equaling Rahm Emmanuel in anything.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

*Sigh...* I'm surprised the Obama admin isn't smarter about this phony, morally bankrupt bloward. By acknowledging him, they give Limbaugh everything he wants: atttention, ratings, the circling of the wagons among his more syncophantic followers.
The admin. has better things to do than tangle with this pedophile.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | March 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"The Extraordinarily Insolent Boob (EIB) once again shows why he holds the record as Hypocrite of the Decade."

...and why he is the highest paid mattress salesman in history.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 2, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh is criticizing others for "maligning" and "taking thing out of context?" The Extraordinarily Insolent Boob (EIB) once again shows why he holds the record as Hypocrite of the Decade.

Posted by: infuse | March 2, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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