Yesterday, as ThinkProgress noted, on ABC’s This Week, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) tried to distance himself from Rush Limbaugh’s now-infamous statement that he hopes President Obama fails:
Q: So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the President fails is not the Eric Cantor/House Republican approach?
CANTOR: George, absolutely not. I don’t think anyone wants anything to fail right now. We have such challenges. What we need to do is put forth solutions to the problems that real families are facing today.
While Cantor seems to be trying to dissociate himself from Limbaugh’s hateful rhetoric today, he has been a vigorous defender of it in the past. In 2007, Cantor rushed to Limbaugh’s side when Limbaugh came under fire for notoriously claiming that U.S. troops who support withdrawal from Iraq are “phony soldiers.” Cantor went as far as to blast an appeal rallying support for Limbaugh:
From: Rep. Eric Cantor, Chief Deputy Republican Whip email@example.com
Date: Oct 4, 2007 2:19 PM
Subject: Rush Needs Your Support
One failure after another, Washington Democrats have built a record of legislative failure; one disappointment after another, Washington Democrats have failed to deliver results to the people who got them there. [...]
That’s why I’m encouraging you to click here to “Stand With Rush” and sign this petition. It is at moments like these when we need to band together as conservatives and fight back. [...]
I want to send Washington Democrats a message that their attempts to distract aren’t working – I stand with Rush Limbaugh against liberal attacks.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R – VA)
Chief Deputy Republican Whip
P.S. Please remember to Stand With Rush and sign the petition.
The website referenced in his letter, Stand With Rush (www.standwithrush.com), was “paid for and authorized by” Cantor’s congressional campaign, Cantor for Congress.
Recently, Cantor embraced Limbaugh’s suggestion to use the term “porkulus” for the economic recovery bill. Cantor in fact appeared on Limbaugh’s show and said, “Let me tell you something … that’s a great description.” Cantor then told Limbaugh, “Thank goodness you’re there to try and help get the message out.”