PALM BEACH, Fla. – When it comes to media attacks on the eventual Republican presidential nominee, radio giant Rush Limbaugh thinks it doesn't matter who the GOP standard-bearer will be, because the onslaught will be tremendous.
"Anybody who thinks that we can nominate somebody who is not going to be the focus of a media-destruction campaign is asinine," Limbaugh said today, as he analyzed Mitt Romney's strong victory over Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul in the Florida Republican Primary.
"Whoever we nominate is who the campaign is going to be about, the election. It's not gonna be about Obama. The media can't let it be about Obama. If it's about Obama, he's sunk! It's gonna have to be about what a reprobate racist, sexist, mean-spirited, heartless creep the Republican is. And I don't care who the nominee is. It's gonna be about that."
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Limbaugh says there is a constant drumbeat heard on many media outlets that only Romney is electable in a matchup against Obama.
"I don't mean to be critical of Romney, but where does this come from?" asked Limbaugh. "These things just get pronounced by consultants or powers that be and everybody just accepts it. Who knows who's electable and who's not? Look, it's like everybody said, that we could not nominate Newt. If we nominated Newt, the whole election would be about Newt. Well, then Romney goes out there and commits a faux pas by saying, 'I'm not worried about the very poor. Don't care about the poor; they got a safety net.' He's trying to zero in on his concern for the middle class but he gives them something they can take out of context (which they will) and Romney becomes the focus of the campaign, not Obama."
"They're setting up Romney as ... Romney is gonna be Mr. Pennybags, moneybags on the Monopoly game board. That's who they're setting him up to be," Limbaugh continued. "Then they come around and say, 'Only so-and-so is electable.' You know, that's something they try to intimidate everybody into silence by saying."
Limbaugh spent much of his program saying the focus of the 2012 race should be Obama instead of the Republican nominee, and he addressed a concern from some callers that Romney does not personally connect well with many conservatives.
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"I know all about connecting with people. And the problem, it's not that you don't connect, not that his supporters don't, it's that he doesn't really connect with them," Limbaugh explained. "What they're saying when they say that is that he's not genuine. The people who say that and believe it, nothing to do with Mormon, it is that they just don't think he's genuine, that he doesn't believe the stuff he's saying. He's saying it because he's trying to convince people that he's conservative because he's really not one. That's the rub, that's what I hear from people."
"You know when you meet somebody that you don't think is telling you who they really are, phonies. You know 'em right off the bat. That's all that's being talked about here. And in politics criticism often gets vicious, 'cause to a lot of people, the election is ball game. It's not about what the Republican establishment thinks in terms of whose turn it is.
"People's lives are at stake here, they think. Their futures, their kids' futures. They're not gonna happily vote for somebody who they don't think really gets that. If they think somebody's just telling them that they agree with them and understand it and feel it when they don't, it's gonna be a tough sell."
Limbaugh, a resident of Palm Beach, Fla., voted in yesterday's Florida primary, but has refused to disclose the candidate for whom he cast his ballot, saying it would diminish his objectivity once the Republican nomination is secured, noting his main effort then would be to remove Obama from office.