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RUSH: Last night on CNN’s Election Center, the Drive-Bys — I discussed this in the last hour — the Drive-Bys using Obama’s middle name Hussein, using this flap to mischaracterize me and insulate Obama from me. Campbell Brown and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel. (interruption) You don’t like Campbell Brown? Let it be known, Dawn does not like Campbell Brown. Do you know she married some big-time Republican? She married Dan Senor, Bremer’s spokesman up there in Iraq when Bremer was running the show shortly after we ousted Saddam. Can’t say his last name. Saddam al-Tikriti, but we can’t use Saddam’s last name, we can’t use Obama’s middle name. Anyway, here’s the exchange.

BROWN: Listen to Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH ARCHIVE: Senator McCain should start pretending that liberal Democrats are conservative Republicans. And then he can cuss them out and throw them under his bus. If McCain was unhappy with what Cunningham said, there’s a better way of dealing with this than to go out and throw him under the bus this way, there’s a better way of dealing with it.

BROWN: Does McCain still have a conservative problem?

VANDEN HEUVEL: It’s delicious to see Rush Limbaugh and these right-wing talk radio hosts in a tizzy. The key thing here is we’re going to see a lot of surrogate smears in this campaign, and they prefigure one of the ugliest elections we may see.

RUSH: Really? On what base involving anything involving me here is this a smear or is this ugly? All I said was, to Senator McCain, it would be nice if you’d start treating liberal Democrats the way you treat some conservative Republicans, treat them as the enemy, throw them under your bus. And Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel, ‘Oh, this is going to be so much fun, well, the smears, this is going to be one of the ugliest elections.’ What in the world’s ugly about — this is exactly how these sanctimonious liberals try to use humiliation and embarrassment to shut people up. The sad thing is, they succeed on way too many of us, but not on me. Then Chris Matthews on DNCTV and Norah O’Donnell had this exchange last night.

MATTHEWS: Rush Limbaugh’s playing this game of saying, what’s wrong with bringing up his middle name, what’s wrong with playing that name? Is this going to be a vicious, almost ethnic fight going after the guy because of his heritage, his name, and saying he’s going to sell us out. Is that what’s coming?

O’DONNELL: There are some Republicans and some conservatives who want it to be that fight, who will try and disparage Barack Obama, trying to paint him as a Muslim — he is not a Muslim, he is a Christian — and as someone who is anti-Israel. They are tying him to Louis Farrakhan today. Unfortunately, that’s going to be one of the dirty story lines of this campaign.

MATTHEWS: And, magically, or rather evilly, it has begun at the very moment it looks like Barack Obama may, may, underline may, have won this fight for the nomination.

RUSH: Once again missing the whole point. It was a freedom of speech issue. Chris, or somebody on the Matthews show, somebody tell him that what this is about is why we on the right have to listen to people on the left tell us what we can and can’t say. It’s not just Obama’s middle name. I don’t care. I frankly am not interested in it. But when he says we can’t call him a liberal, that ain’t going to fly. And, by the way, nobody is linking him to Farrakhan, except Farrakhan. What are we supposed to do, ignore all this? Farrakhan comes out and praises the guy, ‘He’s the savior of the world,’ we’re supposed to sit there? What are we supposed to do here? I know Obama may not be able to help who supports him, but the fact that Farrakhan supports him is not us bringing it up. So all of this — manners and so-called good taste, why, that’s supposed to apply to us? By the way, hey, Chris, who was it that released that picture of Obama in the Ayman al-Zawahiri garb? Chris, I think it was the Clinton campaign who put that picture out, was it not? And who first really made a big deal of Obama’s middle name? Was it not Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat from Nebraska? And who, I might add, was it that ran around and talked about him selling drugs, and maybe being a coke dealer, could that have been Bill Shaheen, another Democrat in New Hampshire? And who was it, Chris, who started playing the race card? What of Bob Johnson, the guy from BET, what did he say?

Bob Johnson compared Obama’s past drug use to the Clintons’ service to African-Americans. ”I’m writing to apologize to you and your family personally for the uncalled-for comments I made at a recent Clinton event,’ Johnson said in a statement a few days later.’ ‘The previous day, Bill Shaheen, a New Hamphire grandee and Clinton’s co-chair there, had told the Washington Post that Republicans would ask Obama, ‘Did you sell [drugs] to anyone?” I mean, you guys in the Drive-By Media harping on this middle-name stuff, you had Bob Kerrey out there four or five times pounding it, and then apologized for it some days later to keep the middle name out there. The Clintons did all of this stuff. The Clintons released the picture of Obama in the turban. All these Clinton supporters were referring to Obama as a drug dealer, a drug user. And, of course, I don’t recall you people wringing your hands and worrying about the nastiness of the campaign.

What I remember people in the Drive-By Media doing is marveling at the Clinton tactic and wondering if it would succeed or not, or wondering if it would backfire. But I didn’t see any moral judgment coming from the Drive-Bys when the Clintons put all this stuff out. Don’t forget, how about that ‘He’s a Muslim’ e-mail? Norah O’Donnell and Chris Matthews, I hope people monitoring this show for you fill you in on this specifically and accurately. Wasn’t it Mrs. Clinton who had to fire a couple people from her staff in Iowa who were sending out e-mails referring to Obama as a Muslim? I don’t know any Republican doing that. I do not know any talk show host referring to Barack Obama as a Muslim. All these things that you’re wringing your hands over, getting all worked into a tizzy over started in the Democrat primary campaign. By the way, we were right in there chastising them I think more so than you guys in the Drive-By Media were.

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