RUSH: Okay, you people, let’s talk about the debate last night a little bit. It’s fascinating for me to watch this because I don’t know if you people noticed it last night; that was not a debate. That was a modified inquisition. I know you deal with the media as you have to when you’re running for president, and that’s fine, I’m not complaining; I’m observing. Those questions last night, whether they came from the so-called public participants, the voters in the audience, or whether they came from the local television people or whether they came from Wolf Blitzer, those questions were all agenda-driven. Those questions were driven, and they derive, from liberal fears and biases. To show you the produced nature — did you watch it, Snerdley? The second that Wolf Blitzer changed topics, there it showed up graphically on the screen. Topic: Illegal immigration. Topic: Evolution. Topic: Whatever. It was so preproduced. The producers at CNN sat around with Wolf and said, ‘Okay, here’s where we’re going. This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to go to this topic, when this time comes we’re going to move to this topic,’ and bam, it went off like clockwork.
The thing was entirely produced. The point about the questions deriving from the liberal agenda, they are clueless, ladies and gentlemen, about people in this country, particularly Republicans and what is interesting to them. For example, last night, this is like the third straight debate that Giuliani had to state his position on abortion, and Mitt Romney last night had to twice explain his flip-flop on so-called immigration. In the first hour, Blitzer asked him the question, and then in the second hour, they went to the voters — chosen at random, of course, ladies and gentlemen — and Mitt got the question again, which means that CNN wanted Romney to have to answer that question two different times. Now, it’s fine. I watch these things through a different prism than most people. I also noticed that when the subject was illegal immigration, that audience moved up forward in their chairs a little bit. That’s when they really got interested. Some on the war, too, but this other stuff like evolution and creationism, I mean they never ask the Democrats these questions.
So you’re sitting there as a bunch of liberal producers at CNN and you got this debate that you have to cover with a whole bunch of freaks, in their mind, from another planet. You realize that you want an audience, and you realize the freaks that are on the stage have other freaks like us that love ’em and so, ‘Okay, what do these freaks think? What do these freaks care about?’ Abortion and evolution and creationism and all of this. You never get those questions asked of Democrats. In fact, one of my favorite questions that I made mention of to several people because I was watching, ‘Name the biggest mistake that you think President Bush has made.’ I was trying to think back, did Wolf Blitzer ask the Democrats, ‘Name the biggest mistake Hillary Clinton made as first lady or the biggest mistake Hillary Clinton has made as United States Senator?’ But see, the template or the action line as far as the Drive-By Media is concerned is that Bush has made a total mess of everything and needs to apologize. They’ve been begging and demanding Bush apologize for any number of things. And of course Bush won’t do it. So that question actually was, ‘What should President Bush apologize for?’
Rudy said what he said about abortion, and that’s it. And Mitt Romney has said what he said about both abortion and immigration. Now, you might say, ‘Well, Rush, but Rush, only two million people watched this debate. That’s less than half of your audience at any 15-minute sweep. They have to keep repeating these questions so that people learn this stuff.’ Yeah, that would be very charitable. And if somebody as CNN said that’s why they’re doing it, fine, but you’re not going to persuade me that it’s not because the fears and the biases that liberals have find their way into the questions. The Democrat debate the night before, Sunday night, was entirely different in terms of the question. I’ll tell you what, too, last night’s was far more interesting. Something else I noticed. All those guys up there were engaging; they were upbeat; they were funny; they were friendly; they were positive. You contrast that to the people on stage at the Democrat debate, you get sour; you get dour; you get angry; you get enraged; you get ticked off. Such a contrast. It’s also highly illustrative of the fact that there are far more policy debates and diverse opinions, if you will, on the Republican side than you’ll find in that lockstep bunch on the Democrat side.
In previous Republican debates, I must be honest with you. I have received very little e-mail feedback from people, nor from my friends. Last night’s was different. I started getting e-mail from people in the 24/7 e-mail account, website members and even from friends who started commenting on, ‘Gee, isn’t it great how all of our guys looked last night.’ There was even this moment of levity when Giuliani was answering his abortion question again and lightning was apparently striking the hall where they were, and it was causing audio glitches and little buzzes that could be heard, and that was handled with great aplomb and casualness, too. Everybody was laughing and smiling. McCain, you know, something about McCain, he was the only guy doing this. ‘My friends, my friends, my friends…’ when somebody uses my friends like that, that’s generally a stump speech cliché and you are cognizant that you are speaking to a group. If you ever hear McCain say ‘my friend,’ you know he’s about to explode because he’s talking to one person. I think McCain has fallen to fourth place in a couple of polls because of his stance on immigration. He even said last night, ‘This is not the bill I would have written, if anybody’s got a better idea…’ and everybody did. Enforce the current law. It’s real simple! When we come back from the break, though, I think one of the highlights for me of the debate, and you will of course disagree, one of the things that I think caused people both in the viewing audience and in the hall last night to perk up was a question that had not been asked in previous debates, and Rudy Giuliani was the star, the only one who stood out answering in question.
RUSH: to me this is what stood out — and everybody’s going to disagree with this. Some people think McCain’s Iraq answer was the home run. Others think that Mike Huckabee was. In fact, it’s fascinating because when you, as I have done, go to all the elite media websites for analysis, and of course the elites think that Giuliani just cleaned everybody’s clock last night. He looked presidential; he didn’t make one mistake; handled the lightning during his abortion answer with aplomb. Yet you go to Frank Luntz who had his little focus group out there with their meters, they think Romney cleaned the clock. The viewers out there think Romney and Huckabee — and Huckabee is very engaging, very funny, personable guy. So, you know, there is a disconnect between the professionals in the media who watch these things and make judgments based on their insider attachment to it, then you have the average voter, the viewer comes up with an entirely different take. So my highlight of the debate, it’s hard to pick one, would probably differ from yours or might. The question was to Rudy Giuliani, came from Wolf Blitzer. ‘I just want to do a quick yes or no. Would you pardon Scooter Libby?’ Former Mayor Giuliani said —
GIULIANI: I think the sentence was way out of line. I mean the sentence was grossly excessive, in a situation in which at the beginning the prosecutor knew who the leak was —
BLITZER: So yes or no, would you —
GIULIANI: And he knew a crime wasn’t committed. I recommended over a thousand pardons to President Reagan when I was associate attorney general. I would see if it fit the criteria for pardon, I’d wait for the appeal. I think what the judge did today argues more in favor of a pardon, because this is excessive punishment. When you consider —
BLITZER: All right, all right.
GIULIANI: I prosecuted 5,000 cases.
BLITZER: Trying to get a yes or no.
GIULIANI: This is a very important issue. This is a very, very important — a man’s life is at stake, and the reality is, this is an incomprehensible situation. They knew who the leak was, and ultimately there was no underlying crime involved.
RUSH: Now, I tell you what’s momentous about this is because Giuliani is friends with Fitzgerald. They are from the same cloth. They are United States attorneys. That’s a club. They hang together. All the other candidates, some said, ‘Yeah, I might pardon him.’ Others didn’t want to get anywhere near it. Some said, ‘No, I wouldn’t pardon him,’ because, they didn’t want to appear critical of the judiciary or a single judge. Giuliani let fire, and Blitzer, ‘that’s a yes or no question.’ Giuliani just steamrolled over him, ‘It’s an important answer, a man’s life is at stake here, and there was no crime.’ I loved this answer precisely because it was something new. I’ve heard Rudy’s answer on abortion. I don’t need to hear that anymore. I’ve heard his answers on immigration. I don’t need to hear it anymore. I’ve heard Romney. They get peppered with the same stuff, but this was new. And it was, I thought, just powerful and right on the money. I think people watching the debate last night stood up, took notice of this, too, precisely for the same reasons I did.
RUSH: Bruce in Charlotte, North Carolina, hi, and welcome.
CALLER: El Rushbo, you were born to host, and I was born to speak with you today. It’s an honor.
RUSH: Yes, sir. Absolutely right, sir. Thank you and welcome.
CALLER: My lovely wife and I are in our late twenties. I’m a Republican. She’s always voted Democrat until now. I’m telling you what, Rush, she is energized by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and I’m absolutely convinced that CNN shut Huckabee out last night during the debate because they know he’s a candidate that gets the base moving. The Drive-By Media wants one of the top three because they know they will not energize our Republican base. What are your thoughts?
RUSH: Well, I don’t think that’s the case. They might have shut out Huckabee but not because they’re afraid Huckabee is going to ignite the base. No, that’s not a comment on Huckabee. In fact, Huckabee is getting rave reviews from people that watched the debate. In the first half hour or the second hour, Romney was shut out. I was trying to find Romney in the first half hour or second hour. He didn’t show up anywhere.
CALLER: Well, and Huckabee was cut off several times in the first hour and definitely done in the second hour, and my wife, again, a Democrat, you know, she thinks Huckabee’s young, energetic, and knows how to connect with people. He is for the Fair Tax, will be aggressive on the war on terror, and is an ordained minister —
RUSH: I’m not arguing about any of that, but, look, if Huckabee got cut off, it’s Huckabee’s fault. Giuliani wouldn’t let himself get cut off. I have explained earlier in this program, this thing is pre-produced. It’s like a modified Inquisition. I don’t know that it even happened on purpose. These liberals that put these shows together look at people — all those guys, not just Huckabee — as freaks; they’re fringe kooks; they’re conservatives; they’re Republicans. Abortion, abortion, abortion, evolution, evolution, evolution, God, God, God, God, God, NASCAR, NASCAR, NASCAR, creationism, creationism, creationism, and let’s do abortion again. Let’s ask Romney that twice, and it is what it is. The graphics went up immediately. The second that Wolf Blitzer changed subject, even when they went to their voters in the audience and the topic of the voter’s question, before the question had even been asked, was flashed up there as a graphic subhead. So they knew what was coming and exactly when, and they were in charge of steering this thing. It was a show, it wasn’t a debate.
Now, it’s up to candidates to understand this, and this is your chance. You got two million people watching. If you want to let Wolf Blitzer run your campaign and he tells you to shut up, you shut up. If you don’t, if you want to get your message out you keep talking and make ’em shut you up, especially if you’re getting short-changed on time. Now, if you’re being a windbag, that’s a different thing and you have to have instincts to know whether you’re being a windbag or not. But I think, to answer your question about whether they were sandbagging Huckabee, CNN is into two things: action lines, templates — that’s two things — and then ratings. Yes, they are. You think they’re not burned up by Fox? They don’t know how to change. They don’t know how to get ratings, but they would love to. And when they don’t get them, they go further left, and they get like liberals do, they get their backs up and say if you’re not watching us, screw you, you’re too stupid, here’s more of what you don’t like until you do like it. But to them the front-runners, the top tier, are Mitt, McCain, and Giuliani. So that’s who they’re going to focus on because in their world, the other guys don’t matter; the other guys don’t have a chance; the other guys are just up there hogging camera time taking up space, may be good for a question or two from the inconsequential local anchors.
Did you notice that? Wolf got the questions to all the big guns. When he turned it over to the local New Hampshire TV people, ‘Oh, Governor Gilmore, I have a question for you.’ I guarantee you nobody had a question for Governor Gilmore until they were told that they had a question for Governor Gilmore. Nothing against Governor Gilmore. Governor Thompson. I mean, you got ten guys up there, the front-runners are the big three, and so CNN says that’s where our ratings are, plus one of these guys might, oh, my God, be our next president, we gotta destroy him. There’s no reason to destroy Huckabee, because he’s not that big a factor. There’s no reason to go out and destroy Governor Gilmore, he’s not a factor. No reason to destroy Ron Paul or any of these other guys, but you gotta destroy one of these three: McCain, Giuliani, or Romney. And, by the way, they tried to destroy Romney last night by ignoring him. The start of the second hour, the first half hour of the second hour, couldn’t find Mitt Romney. I made mention of this to several people. Here’s Todd in Weymouth, Illinois. Am I pronouncing that right?
CALLER: It’s Hayworth.
RUSH: Thank you. I knew it.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. Mega naturalized citizen US Navy veteran and nuclear power dittos.
RUSH: See, another male in America who is not a sissy calling this program. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Thanks for having me. I just want to comment, I felt that, you know, Wolf and the other people that are asking questions were asking the Republicans questions that should have been asked to the Democrats and vice-versa. You know, I think it would be very interesting if somebody asked a Democrat about partial-birth abortion, maybe going into specifically what happened and why they think it’s okay to do that.
RUSH: There’s no disagreement. Wolf Blitzer and the CNN people don’t disagree with Democrats on abortion. There’s no reason to ask them about that.
CALLER: Well, there is because —
RUSH: No, no. No, no.
CALLER: — Democrats want to know.
RUSH: But you’re assuming that these guys are objective and are actually trying to help us learn who these people are. You’re missing the point.
CALLER: I totally understand they’re not objective, and that’s unfortunate.
CALLER: That’s why I appreciate what you do. You help us keep our eyes on the ball.
RUSH: Thank you. Well, it’s like the question last night that these guys were asked — and where’s the headline? The question was, ‘What is President Bush’s biggest mistake?’ Would they ever ask the Democrats, ‘What was Hillary Clinton’s biggest mistake as first lady or as US senator?’ Now, that question had a purpose. That was to create a news story today, and it has. In the AP: ‘President Bush drew sporadic startling criticism Tuesday night from Republicans White House hopefuls unhappy with his handling of the war, his diplomatic style, his approach to immigration.’ He did not draw sporadic, startling criticism. They were asked a question about it. They answered a question. This story makes it look like these guys marched into the hall, couldn’t wait to start criticizing President Bush. That’s what I mean, folks, about this whole thing being a pre-produced, agenda-driven question-and-answer session. Just to create that story.