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Presidential spokesman asked about Rush

Rush Limbaugh

The challenge from Rush Limbaugh to President Obama to debate – sparked by the controversy over the talk radio icon’s statement he wants Obama to “fail” – has been dismissed by the White House press secretary.

“I’m busy this afternoon,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded to a question shouted by Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, as Gibbs was leaving today’s press briefing.

The question was shouted because Gibbs did not allow Kinsolving to ask a question during the briefing. Among the 75 reporters on hand, Gibbs recognized only 15 for questions, even though one reporter, from ABC, was allowed to ask four questions, and seven more were allowed to ask three each.

“Are you willing to debate Limbaugh now?” was the question Kinsolving wedged in as the briefing was being closed.

The debate challenge came after Obama said, in an attack on the radio host, Congress wouldn’t get anything done “listening to Limbaugh.” The dispute grew because Limbaugh said he wanted Obama to “fail.”

Limbaugh explained his statement on the Sean Hannity show on the Fox News Channel.

“Do you want him to succeed?” Hannity asked.

“I am hearing many Republicans say that very thing. ‘Well, we want him to succeed,’ and prominent Republicans! ‘Yes, we want him to succeed.’ They have laid down. They have totally. They’re drinking the Kool-Aid, too. They have no guts to stand up for what their beliefs are because they’re afraid of criticism. They’re afraid of being called racists. They’re afraid of not having gotten with the program,” Limbaugh said.

“Now success can be defined two ways. I said earlier, ‘I don’t know about this guy.’ I really don’t. I’ve got my suspicions and they’re pretty close to convictions, but we’re going to have to wait to see what he does. Now if he turns out to be a Reagan, if he adds Reagan to his recipe of FDR and Lincoln … if he does not eliminate the Bush tax cuts, I would call that success. So yes, I would hope he would succeed if he acts like Reagan,” Limbaugh said.

“But if he’s going to do FDR – if he’s going to do The New New Deal all over, which we will call here The Raw Deal – why would I want him to succeed? Look, he’s my president. The fact that he is historic is irrelevant to me now. It matters not at all. If he is going to implement a far-left agenda… Look, I think it’s already decided: a $2 trillion in stimulus? The growth of government? I think the intent here is to create as many dependent Americans as possible looking to government for their hope and salvation. If he gets nationalized health care, I mean, it’s over, Sean. We’re never going to roll that back. That’s the end of America as we have known it, because that’s then going to set the stage for everything being government owned, operated, or provided,” he continued.

“Why would I want that to succeed? I don’t believe in that. I know that’s not how this country is going to be great in the future; it’s not what made this country great. So I shamelessly say, ‘No! I want him to fail.’ If his agenda is a far-left collectivism – some people say socialism – as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?”

One blog writer, Patterico, commented this weekend under the headline “Democrats have no right to be snooty about Rush not wanting the president to succeed.”

“Were the liberals out there hoping Bush succeeded or were they out there trying to destroy him?” the commentary asked. “I think we all know the answer to that – but here’s some hard proof.”

He then cited a 2006 poll from Fox News in which people were asked whether they wanted President Bush to succeed.

Fifty-one percent of the Democrats said no, and another 9 percent said they didn’t know.

“This came after Katrina and in the middle of the deluge of sectarian violence in Iraq, and not long before Bush’s second midterms,” the commentary said. “We didn’t hear screams of outrage in the media when this survey showed a majority of Democrats wanting ‘our president’ to fail.”

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