ThinkProgress has obtained a letter being circulated on Capitol Hill today by the Senate Democratic Leadership that calls on Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays to repudiate its employee Rush Limbaugh’s “phony troops” remark. Clear Channel is Limbaugh’s parent company, and it owns or operates at least 1,165 radio stations in the United States.
The letter, signed by Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV, Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA), states that Limbaugh’s comments were “outrageous” and “unconscionable”:
Although Americans of goodwill debate the merits of this war, we can all agree that those who serve with such great courage deserve our deepest respect and gratitude. That is why Rush Limbaugh’s recent characterization of troops who oppose the war as “phony soldiers” is such an outrage.
Our troops are fighting and dying to bring to others the freedoms that many take for granted. It is unconscionable that Mr. Limbaugh would criticize them for exercising the fundamentally American right to free speech. Mr. Limbaugh has made outrageous remarks before, but this affront to our soldiers is beyond the pale.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress asked whether lawmakers who voted to attack a MoveOn newspaper ad would now condemn Limbaugh. The Senate leadership is challenging all their colleagues to demonstrate whether they can show principled condemnation by signing onto the letter. It specifically calls on Clear Channel to issue an apology and demands Limbaugh do the same:
Thousands of active troops and veterans were subjected to Mr. Limbaugh’s unpatriotic and indefensible comments on your broadcast. We trust you will agree that not a single one of our sons, daughters, neighbors and friends serving overseas is a “phony soldier.” We call on you to publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments.
UPDATE: More smears against the military by Limbaugh. Huff Post notes that he called Iraq war vet Paul Hackett a “staff puke,” claiming he went to Iraq “to pad [his] resume,” and attacked him as “a liberal hiding behind a military uniform.”