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RUSH: My friends, be very careful out there, be very careful indeed. It’s not time to start celebrating and go, ‘Oh, boy, the left is cracking up.’ I specifically referred to this Howard Dean going on the attack on Obama on health care, saying he’s not going to vote for Obama for reelection and so forth. Howard Dean does not realize it, but he is being used. Greetings, my friends, and welcome, Rush Limbaugh, back at it on Thursday on the EIB Network as we come to you from the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.

We got the news all over the place. Howard Dean continuing on the rampage. He’s on the media. He’s got an op-ed in the Washington Post today beating up on Obama, beating up on Obama’s health care, and I’ll tell you what this is all about. Dean is getting access because the media wants Dean to have that access. I believe — and don’t doubt me on this, my friends — there’s an effort by the media and the White House — in fact, I think the White House is pretty happy with Dean doing what he’s doing, despite what they say. I think the media and the White House are in an effort here to make Obama look centrist and reasonable, when he is as leftist and irrational as Howard Dean is. They are more than happy to give voice to Howard Dean or some of these other whack jobs out there because it makes Obama look like a centrist. Now, I don’t know that they’re going to be able to pull it off, but I think this is what the strategery is.


RUSH: Now back to the audio sound bites. This morning on PMSNBC, David Axelrod called into the show. This is about the White House at war, not just with Howard Dean, but with the kook-fringe base. And this does worry ’em. Dean doesn’t, but the kook-fringe base worries them a little bit because they know that individual members in the House and Senate listen to the kook-fringe base, they go to kook-fringe base conventions. So Mika Brzezinski says, ‘I’d like you to characterize, if you could, the White House reaction to Howard Dean’s criticism, which has been extremely pointed and sharp at this plan, he says he tried, he tried to go to the White House privately and behind the scenes to talk about this, to talk about his concerns, he has no choice but to lay this all out on the public stage. To his criticism you say what?’

AXELROD: He got on the phone with Nancy-Ann DeParle, our point person on the health issue, went through point by point. She explained why he was wrong. And he simply didn’t want to hear that critique. I saw his piece in the Post this morning, and it is predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions.

RUSH: And he was then asked, ‘Well, what was wrong about it?’

AXELROD: He said this legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans. The fact is in many states, they charge five times as much today, and this would help reduce that disparity. They believe that they can charge more because there are greater expenses associated with caring for older Americans, but this at least shrinks that ban down for many people in many states.

RUSH: Well, the dirty little secret here is that by the time Axelrod and Obama get through with them, there aren’t going to be any old people being charged anything. That’s a dirty little secret. Next question: ‘People in this country right now, the progressives, they don’t believe that the White House has stood up to the insurance industry.’

AXELROD: Ed, let me ask you a question. Why is the insurance industry so vigorously opposing this bill? If it’s just such a gift to the insurance industry, if they don’t believe that this is going to force competition and force them to adhere to some standards in terms of how they treat patients — by the way, let me just add parenthetically we fought for years as progressives for a patient’s bill of rights. Everything that was in that patient’s bill of rights is now enshrined in this legislation, and yet people say, ‘Let’s just throw it away, we don’t need it anymore.’

RUSH: Let me answer the question. Why is the insurance industry so vigorously opposing the bill? Because they know that ultimately this bill puts them out of business, Mr. Axelrod. There will be no private insurance at the end of the day once this bill gets rolling. That’s what they know. It has nothing to do with wanting to overcharge customers. It has nothing to do with anything other than they’re trying to keep their businesses open, which a lot of people face that challenge, Mr. Axelrod with you and Obama. Everybody’s just trying to keep their business open. Some people can’t find jobs and this is not going to improve any of that. So then the next question: ‘On top of this frustration from progressives, David, with a name that makes them all PO’d like Joe Lieberman, I mean, you’re just waving the bloody flag in front of people, Keith Olbermann, all these people. Who’s writing the bill? Is Lieberman writing the bill or you guys writing it?’

AXELROD: Look, no, he’s certainly not writing this bill. But the notion that we would let our personal feelings about one person defeat a bill that would deliver to people who don’t have insurance the opportunity to get it at a price they can afford, that would defeat a bill that has patient protections that we’ve fought for for decades for people who do have insurance, to defeat a bill that will bend the curve on — on — on this inexorable rise in health care costs is insane.

RUSH: It will not deliver insurance to people who don’t have it at a cheaper cost, just the exact opposite. But he’s calling his own people on the left insane, folks.

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