Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh, the most-listened-to radio host in the U.S. and America’s No. 1 voice for conservatism, says he alone has the power to select the 2008 Republican nominee for president at this point, but he’s avoiding promoting one candidate over another so as not to sound like a “cheerleader.”

Limbaugh’s remarks came today during his analysis of last night’s GOP presidential debate in South Carolina, as a caller urged Rush to throw his support behind Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, as the caller claimed Paul was the most conservative of the field of candidates.

“I don’t think Congressman Paul has a snowball’s chance,” Limbaugh said.

“You have the power yourself to make him the Republican nominee,” the caller responded.

“That is very true, and that is why I must exercise this power responsibly, not as a cheerleader,” said Limbaugh, “which is why I’m not picking a name right now. I alone have the power to move the [Republican] base.”

Limbaugh continued:

The exercise of my ‘power’ – it’s not something I’m really conscious of on a daily basis, but it would be foolish and silly for me to deny that I possess it. But the primary effort in the usage of my power is to educate and inform as many people as possible so they get in the arena of ideas and eventually go vote. Because I believe in ideas and ideas triumph, and when elections are won, I want them to be won on ideas, not labels and other things that are devoid of substance. …

But I did want to make note that I finally have now acknowledged what everybody knows, and it is one of the reasons that I am the biggest target of the American left simply because of that power. This is a power, my friends, that could be used for good or evil. I choose to use it for good. … It’s the elephant in the room. Why deny it? That would be false humility, and there’s nothing that grates on me more than a person that engages in false humility and tries to laugh it off. … I’m not going to sit here and deny what you all know.

Rep. Ron Paul

Paul was in the limelight during last night’s debate as he was confronted by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who objected to Paul’s suggestion that prolonged U.S. presence in the Middle East was a contributing factor to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. … We’ve been in the Middle East,” Paul, an opponent of the Iraq war, explained. “Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.

“They are delighted that we’re over there because Osama bin Laden has said, ‘I’m glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time they’ve killed 3,400 of our men and I don’t think it was necessary,” he continued.

Republicans on stage at University of South Carolina

Giuliani interrupted: “That’s really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I have ever heard that before and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11. I would ask the congressman withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that.”

Paul stood by his remarks.

“Politics is perception, the perception of what he said is not good for him,” Limbaugh said today. “You’re not going to be able to clean it up.”

Limbaugh also discussed why Paul was at the top or near the top of many interactive polls, explaining the congressman has many loyal supporters who are “spamming” Internet surveys with their votes for Paul. He also says media outlets are being flooded with messages from the Paul campaign.

WND has been among the news agencies deluged with Paul material, including this e-mail today:

C’mon now, according to all polls taken after both debates, Ron Paul is clearly a favorite of the American people.

He has either won every poll I’ve seen, or come in a very close second!

What’s a guy got to do these days to get some media coverage?
besides having millions of dollars of special interest money, that is.

Think outside the box a little bit, and rise up out of the status quo, because if you don’t, people are going to keep flooding to the Internet for there [sic] information.

The people want REAL changes now, and Ron Paul is the only candidate with enough courage and vision to bring it about.

Thanks for listening,
a VERY concerned citizen

Limbaugh said Paul leans toward Libertarian views that the U.S. does not belong in the Middle East, which Limbaugh called “not realistic.”

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