Yesterday, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh controversially said that President Obama was going to try to use the devastating Haitian earthquake to boost his credibility with the “light-skinned and dark-skinned black community” in the United States. He also argued against government aid for the nation. Today, a woman named “April” from Paducah, KY called into Limbaugh’s show and asked where he got the “cojones” to make such statements. Limbaugh insisted that he never meant to discourage private donations to Haiti, but stood by his remarks that Obama will try to exploit the disaster for political gain:
RUSH: No, I’m not evading it at all. If I said it I meant to say it, and I do believe that everything is political to this president. Everything this president sees is a political opportunity, including Haiti, and he will use it to burnish his credentials with minorities in this country and around the world, and to accuse Republicans of having no compassion. [...]
CALLER: [A]re you implying that the Huffington Post as the one and only resource that I [read]? I even watch Fox News once in a while.
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no. I’m not implying that. … What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a blockhead. What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a closed-minded bigot who is ill-informed. … And if you had listened to this program for a modicum of time you would know it. But instead you’re a blockhead. You’re mind is totally closed. You have tampons in your ears. Nothing is getting through other than the biased crap that you read.
Limbaugh also pointed out that it took Obama “three days to go out and talk about the Christmas Day underwear bomber,” but “less than 18 hours to get out there and start rallying people about this earthquake.” Listen here:
In May, Limbaugh commented on former President Bill Clinton’s appointment as special envoy to Haiti by saying, “I’m just gonna tell you, if I was named envoy to Haiti, I’d quit government. Envoy to Haiti? You can’t even pick up a prostitute down there without genuine fear of AIDS. This is not Clinton’s place.”
RUSH: To Paducah, Kentucky. This is April. That is one of my all-time, top ten favorite female names. April, thank you for calling. Nice to have you with us. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I’m glad that you chose to have me on today.
CALLER: This is kind of belated, but I just have a question for you.
RUSH: Yes, ma’am? Yes, ma’am?
CALLER: Where in your right mind do you get the cojones to just completely — I don’t know, I guess — dismiss a tragedy of possibly a hundred thousand people dead in Haiti? You’re — you’re going around discouraging people to send donations because we already donated to Haiti and it’s called the US income tax; and Obama, the president of our United States — your president as well, whether you like it or not.
RUSH: Where did you…?
CALLER: — you’re saying –
RUSH: Where did you hear that I discouraged donations to Haiti?
CALLER: Uh, I read it in, uh, a news thing called the Huffington Post, but that’s not the point. I was going to finish my sentence if that’s okay with you.
RUSH: Well, but what you just said is a lie. They reported a lie. I did not discourage donations to Haiti.
CALLER: Okay. Well, um, actually the point I was getting to, whether or not you said that — which actually I believe you did. But.
RUSH: No, it’s not “whether or not.” That matters. I mean you call here and ask, “Where do I get off suggesting that we don’t donate to Haiti because we do in the income tax?” and I tell you I said that, but I also said private donations are going to be much better than a government donation. They’re all going. Go to the Red Cross, do other things. Don’t go through the government. It’s just going to go through hands and bureaucracies and a dollar is going to end up being 30 cents by the time they get through with it. I did not say, “Don’t make donations.” That’s not a “whether or not” thing. That’s why you called.
CALLER: Calm down.
RUSH: Finish your sentence.
CALLER: Calm down. I planned on it, but actually I… Keep denying that, but what is this you were saying about our president of the United States trying to just basically establish credibility in the black community among white (sic) and dark-skinned African-Americans? And why do you, like… After saying that, why would you call yourself a patriot?
RUSH: All right. Now, this is funny. This was our Media Tweak of the Day yesterday, April. You know, what we do here on this program is, purposely, play the media like violin, like a Stradivarius. And I love tweaking them. I love irritating them, and I love upsetting them and all you do is take words uttered by liberals and apply them to current events. It was Harry Reid who looked at Obama and said he’s a “light-skinned” guy that “doesn’t speak in a Negro dialect.”
CALLER: I’m not talking about Harry Reid.
RUSH: Well, I was.
CALLER: I’m talking about you.
RUSH: I was. You see, this is the point. You didn’t listen to the program. You’re reading people who take what I say out of context precisely to create this sense of outrage that you have.
RUSH: In fact, I want you to listen to something with me. Before I said all of this I made a prediction, because this was my Media Tweak of the Day — and it’s getting too easy. I mean, you’re illustrating how easy it is to outrage these people. I enjoy it. This is a great success. When people start squealing like pigs is when I know I’ve hit a home run. This is what I said yesterday.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Before this week is out, I will be the one who uttered the words “light-skinned” and “doesn’t speak the Negro dialect when he doesn’t want to.” I’ll be the one that said it. Before the week is out I’ll be the one that said it, not Harry Reid, and they’ll be asking, “Why have you not condemned Rush Limbaugh for what he said (in repeating what Harry Reid said)?” and Harry Reid will condemn me from the Senate floor!
RUSH: And then I proceeded to suggest that Obama is going to be giving aid to both light-skinned and dark-skinned Negroes in Haiti, just designed to get the reaction I got — and it worked. The people that listen to this program laugh and chuckle every day at this stuff, because we’re just needling the media. They talk about me all the time and I can create it any time I want. It’s made you mad, and you believe things they take out of context that don’t completely say what I fully said, and you get mad.
CALLER: Okay, so you’re basically evading the second part of my question. You’re not going to tell me why you decided to go around saying something, like, a tragedy that’s happened to hundreds of thousands of people, who are suffering.
RUSH: No, I’m not evading it at all. If I said it I meant to say it, and I do believe that everything is political to this president. Everything this president sees is a political opportunity, including Haiti, and he will use it to burnish his credentials with minorities in this country and around the world, and to accuse Republicans of having no compassion. I went further than that even. I’ll have to tell you what else I said after the break if you want to hold on.
RUSH: We go back now to April in Paducah. I had to interrupt you because we had a hard break and I couldn’t miss it. What is it you were going to say?
CALLER: Well, if I remember correctly I was about to go say, like, I’ve been trying to get to you explain to me, at least 00 if not the entire country listening to your show right now — what…? Like what… Why…? It doesn’t sound like the president is making this Haiti donation business a political thing. It sounds like you are. You’re just… Uh, you brought up a completely inane, baseless point about establishing credibility in the light- and dark-skinned black communities, and, like, there’s no reason for that. There’s, like –
RUSH: Now, April, I must ask a serious question: Do you ever listen to my program or do you hear about it in places like the Huffington Post?
CALLER: Um… I… When I’m upstairs in the bedroom I’ll have the radio on and I like to listen to some local stations. So, yes, I have heard your show.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: And I’ve heard dozens and clips and quotes that you’ve said and most of the time I’m absolutely disgusted with you. I’ll be perfectly honest with you.
RUSH: I see. Okay, now that we’ve established that you listen sometimes and you’re absolutely disgusted. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of the Democrat Party and President Obama politicizing a natural disaster?
CALLER: Have I ever heard of them politicizing…?
RUSH: Yeah, has that ever happened? Has Barack Obama and the Democrat Party ever politicized a natural disaster?
CALLER: Umm, well, this is the — at least if you’re speaking specifically about President Obama, this is the first natural disaster that we’ve had on, uh — on his terms. So…
RUSH: We had a natural disaster when he was Senator. It doesn’t matter whether he was president or not. I said the Democrat Party and President Obama, as a Senator, certainly politicized Hurricane Katrina. You see, the difference, April, is that I know these people. I know who they are and I love to tweak them. I love to tweak the media. I predicted yesterday… How come there’s no outrage, by the way, at Bill Clinton suggesting that Obama’s nothing more than a slave when he was trying to get Ted Kennedy to endorse Hillary and he says (impression), “Come on! Come on, Ted. You know, a few years ago this guy would be fetching us our coffee.” You’re not outraged about that because the Huffington Post isn’t outraged about it. They probably don’t write about it but I talk about all of it.
CALLER: Actually… Uh, are you implying that the Huffington Post as the one and only resource that I watch? I even watch Fox News once in a while.
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no. I’m not implying that.
RUSH: What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a blockhead. What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a closed-minded bigot who is ill-informed. I am being patient and tolerant and I’m trying to explain this to you, and you’re totally closed to it. I’m hitting you with piercing, penetrating logic, and it escapes you — and it is irritating people like you that I revel in. I absolutely revel in it. I’ve got 19 sound bites here today, April, of media people going bat manure yesterday over what they think I said. They didn’t hear me say it, either. They got it from the Huffington Post or they got it from Media Matters or they got it from someplace else. I did not say don’t donate. I did say Obama will use this to help burnish his credentials, ’cause there’s no question he will. I’ll tell you something else I said, April: It took him three days to go out and talk about the Christmas Day underwear bomber. It took him less than 18 hours to get out there and start rallying people about this earthquake. [...]
I love illustrating absurdity by being absurd. And if you had listened to this program for a modicum of time you would know it. But instead you’re a blockhead. You’re mind is totally closed. You have tampons in your ears. Nothing is getting through other than the biased crap that you read. So I’ve had enjoyment here talking to you and illustrating that it’s impossible to deal in the truth with you. I appreciate your calling and I appreciate your holding on. I grew up not far from Paducah. If I’d known you were there, I might have stayed.
In today’s press briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs commented on Limbaugh’s remarks from yesterday: “In times of great crisis, there are always people who say stupid things. I don’t know how anybody could sit where he does, having enjoyed the success that he has, and not feel some measure of sorrow for what has happened in Haiti.”