Rush Limbaugh announced today he’s selling on eBay the original letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding that the head of Clear Channel Communications repudiate the talk host’s comments about “phony soldiers” and extract an apology.
Limbaugh challenged each of the 41 Democratic senators who signed the letter to match the winning bid, which he said will be forwarded to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity offering financial assistance to the children of Marines and federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
The message on the letter’s eBay listing says: “This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers. BID NOW!”
Limbaugh, noting he serves on the board of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, said he will bear all costs of the auction: “Every dollar of your winning bid will go to this charity, which has to date distributed over $29 million.”
As of Saturday evening, Oct. 13, bidding for the letter had reached $35,100.
Limbaugh has been topping news headlines since last week, after Reid claimed the talk host’s use of the phrase “phony soldiers” was an attack on all U.S. troops who oppose the war in Iraq.
However, a transcript from Limbaugh’s Sept. 26 show suggests the “phony soldiers” remark specifically addressed the case of Jesse MacBeth, an anti-war activist who claimed to have witnessed atrocities as a Purple Heart recipient in the Army Rangers.
MacBeth never served in Iraq and was expelled from the military after 44 days in uniform.
Nevertheless, Reid last week sent the letter, signed by 41 Democrats, to Clear Channel Chief Executive Officer Mark P. Mays, who responded the same day in a letter to the Nevada Democrat defending Limbaugh’s right to express his opinions openly on the airwaves.
Limbaugh called Reid’s speech “Kafkaesque,” noting he had just finished an interview with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, “talking about the lies and stuff spread about him during his confirmation hearings, and now I, little old private citizen, Rush Limbaugh, the subject of Senate action, the subject today of House of Representatives action, all based on a purposely told lie, which they know is a lie, and yet they are persisting in this.”
Many elected officials, mostly Democrats, expressed their displeasure with talk radio following the defeat of what President Bush called his “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” legislation – a plan characterized by many talkers as “amnesty.” There were a number of calls for reinstating the Fairness Doctrine – which has also been called the “Hush Rush” bill.
The 41 Democratic senators who signed the challenge to Limbaugh’s network were:
- Harry Reid, majority leader
- Richard Durbin, assistant majority leader
- Charles Schumer, vice chairman, Democratic Conference
- Patty Murray, secretary, Democratic Conference
- Daniel Akaka
- Max Baucus
- Joseph Biden
- Barbara Boxer
- Sherrod Brown
- Robert Byrd
- Benjamin Cardin
- Tom Carper
- Bob Casey
- Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Kent Conrad
- Christopher Dodd
- Byron Dorgan
- Dianne Feinstein
- Tom Harkin
- Daniel Inouye
- Edward M. Kennedy
- John Kerry
- Amy Klobuchar
- Mary Landrieu
- Frank Lautenberg
- Patrick Leahy
- Carl Levin
- Blanche Lincoln
- Bob Menendez
- Barbara Mikulski
- Bill Nelson
- Barack Obama
- Jack Reed
- Jay Rockefeller
- Ken Salazar
- Bernie Sanders
- Debbie Stabenow
- Jon Tester
- Jim Webb
- Sheldon Whitehouse
- Ron Wyden
As WND reported, another Democratic leader, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, angrily denied a report claiming he’s investigating Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk-show hosts, but the magazine which made the allegation is not issuing any retraction.
Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, claimed the American Spectator report “is completely false and was written without any documentation or attribution.”
“There is not now nor has there ever been any investigation of this subject,” he said. “The American Spectator should immediately retract its report and apologize for the confusion its fictitious report has caused.”
But the American Spectator is not backing down.
“We stand by the story, simple as that,” Wlady Pleszczynski, editorial director of the magazine, told WND. “Of course Waxman would deny it. The idea to announce it in public would be politically suicidal.”
In another example of government officials going after talk radio programming, last week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors condemned nationally syndicated host Michael Savage for comments he made about illegal aliens. They characterized his remarks as “hate speech.”
As WND reported, one radio station in Oregon decided to “hush Rush” for a day and replace Monday’s talk program with music after receiving some requests from local listeners.
“I guarantee you, our audience doesn’t like listening to Perry Como,” Paul Mitchell of KAST radio said.
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