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RUSH: Audio sound bites number five, six, and seven. We have John McCain last night who announced on the Letterman show — this is informal, by the way. He told Letterman that when he decided he’s going to run for president he’d come back and do it on his show. His formal announcement is slated for sometime in April. But this is how it went last night on the Late Show with David Letterman.

McCAIN: I am announcing that I will be candidate for president of the United States.

LETTERMAN: Oh, boy. (Applause.) Good for you.

RUSH: Stop the tape. Who in the hell didn’t know this? Would you listen to this dumb, idiot audience on the Letterman show? They think it’s big news. Who in the world doesn’t know this? Recue this to the top of the sound bite, Mister Broadcast Engineer. I don’t know, folks. I’m in a sort of a little testy mood today. I don’t know why, but when I get in these kind of moods, my fuse gets short when I’m confronted with idiocy. Here we are again.

McCAIN: I am announcing that I will be candidate for president of the United States.

LETTERMAN: Oh, boy. (Applause.) Good for you.

McCAIN: By the way, I will be making a formal announcement in April.

LETTERMAN: So this was not the formal announcement?

McCAIN: This was the announcement — you know, you drag this out as long as you can.


McCAIN: I mean, you don’t just have one rendition.

RUSH: All right, now, keep in mind this is a comedy show that McCain appeared on last night, and he said this about the war in Iraq.

MCCAIN: We are where we are now. And rather than review all the problems we had, if we withdraw early, literally every expert I know says it will descend into chaos, sectarian violence, and even genocide. So that’s why, when I say this may be our last chance to succeed — because Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.

RUSH: What’s interesting about that — aside from just the audacity of the statement that we have wasted “a lot of our most precious treasure, American lives” — is that hours after McCain said this, the Democrat National Committee called on McCain to take back the wasted lives remark. Now, stop and think of that for a second. The Democrat Party, which is out there basically saying the same thing — and Obama used the exact word and then did a big, fast backtrack. The Democrats are out there pretty much saying the same thing. That’s the basis of their policy on pulling us out of there, and they are demanding that McCain take back the wasted lives remark.

“The statement from Karen Finney, a DNC spokeswoman: ‘Senator McCain should apologize immediately for his callous comments.’ How is it that John McCain now believes American lives are being wasted, yet he so stubbornly supports the president’s plan to escalate the war in Iraq and put more American lives in harm’s way?” In February, Obama described the lives of troops in Iraq as having been ‘wasted,’ but then later said he regretted the comment. “We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and on which we’ve now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted,” Obama, D-Ill., said at a rally in Ames, Iowa. Later, in an interview with a newspaper reporter, Obama said: “I was actually upset with myself when I said that, because I never use that term.”

That’s not me. That’s not who I am.

Yes, it is! That’s who you were. You said it. I love this latest excuse. “That’s not me. I don’t speak that way. I don’t use that word.”

Anyway, McCain with a little grief. He’s trailing Rudy Giuliani in the polls — and there are a lot of people stunned about this. Tim Russert with Matt Lauer on the Today Show was discussing this, and it’s got ’em stumped how Rudy is outpolling McCain right now Rudy Giuliani is, and they just don’t expect this to be the case. That’s because they’re inside the Beltway types, and they don’t clearly understand what’s going on. People wonder why McCain is dropping in the polls? It’s not a mystery right now. Last night on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, talking to “The Forehead,” Paul Begala, Cooper said, “Why is McCain falling behind?”

BEGALA: It’s the war. It’s all about the war. He has been the chief cheerleader for what most Americans think has been a disastrous war in Iraq. He decided a year or two ago to really yoke himself to President Bush, and now, you know, George W. Bush about as popular as Mel Gibson at a B’nai B’rith meeting. (giggle) People just don’t like President Bush, and now there’s John McCain being sort of the Bush heir apparent.

RUSH: (Laughing.) Everything is Bush’s fault. It’s not McCain’s fault, it’s Bush’s fault. You just have to chuckle at this. Now, in a related story, Ralph Hallow today in the Washington Times: “Sen. John McCain is the only major Republican presidential candidate who will not address the nation’s premier gathering of conservatives this year. Sponsors of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins today in Washington and brings together thousands of conservative leaders and grass-roots activists, say the Arizona Republican has ‘dissed’ organizers by attempting to schedule a private reception for attendees after rejecting invitations to speak at the event. ‘It was a classical McCain move, dissing us by going behind our backs,’ said William J. Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union. Convening through Saturday at a sold-out Omni Shoreham Hotel, the 34th annual CPAC will feature personal appearances and nationally televised speeches by every Republican presidential hopeful except Mr. McCain, said David A. Keene, chairman of the ACU, which, along with Young America’s Foundation and Human Events, is a principal sponsor of CPAC. Conservative activists have speculated that Mr. McCain did not want to be seen on television ‘pandering’ to Republican ‘right-wingers’ but wanted to court those same activists at a reception in the same hotel.”

Now that’s speculation, obviously. What if it’s true? What does it say? McCain’s embarrassed to be seen on TV with these guys but he’ll gladly have a private reception that he hosts to be able to wine and dine them. As I said yesterday, one of the reasons Giuliani is doing better in the polls right now, for whatever it means at this early stage — and we’re still 9-1/2 months, ten months away from the first primary, but McCain has been out there running for president and Giuliani is running for the Republican nomination. There is a huge difference, and it shows.

Robert Novak today, in a column — and this is fascinating — writes: “New York-based political consultant Kieran Mahoney’s survey of probable Republican participants in the 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses showed this support for the ‘big three’ candidates: John McCain, 20.5 percent; Rudy Giuliani, 16.3 percent; Mitt Romney, 3.5 percent. Astonishingly, they all trailed James Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, who had 31 percent. How could that be? Because it was not a legitimate survey but a ‘push poll,’ normally a clandestine effort to rig the results by telling respondents negative things about some of the candidates. But Mahoney makes no secret that the voters he sampled were told of liberal deviations by McCain, Giuliani and Romney, as well as true-blue conservatism by Gilmore, who is Mahoney’s client. Mahoney is trying to prove a point widely accepted in Republican ranks. None of the three front-line candidates is a natural fit for the nation’s right-of-center party. Without question, there is a void. The question is whether Gilmore or anyone else can fill it. The most commonly mentioned potential void-filler is not Gilmore but Newt Gingrich,” who met with the editorial board of the New York Post yesterday. They write about it today.

He just launched into Hillary. He called her “nasty” and talked about their war room. He predicted that she’s got the nomination. They’re going to make mincemeat of Obama before this thing is finished. He knows exactly what Clinton, Inc. is. Clinton, Inc. is an organization that doesn’t just try to defeat enemies. They try to destroy them, just get them out of the way and discredit them forever. Anyway, about this push poll in Iowa. You call up these voters and you push ’em.

You say, “Look, okay, what do you think about Romney? Romney, so far, wavered on this? What do you think about McCain? He’s done this. He’s sort of liberal. Giuliani?” Then you call and say, “We have this Gilmore guy. He’s straight-down-the-line conservative,” and that’s the guy that wins the poll. It buttresses the point that I’ve been making which is we’re in danger here of redefining conservatism by claiming that these three front-runners, who really aren’t conservative, are the new conservatism. There’s no such thing as a new conservatism. It is what it is. If somebody’s not a conservative, they’re not. It’s that simple.


RUSH: Gregg in Jacksonville, Florida. Welcome, sir. Great to have you on the EIB Network.

CALLER: I am a long-time fan of yours, Rush. It’s great to talk to you.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: I’m a retired Navy captain, and I’m a classmate of John McCain.

RUSH: At Annapolis?

CALLER: At Annapolis, and while I have a lot of mixed emotions about John McCain’s politics, he’s a good guy, and I have a feeling you’ve interpreted his words perhaps a little too harshly. I think that when he said “lives wasted” in Iraq, I think he means that that would be the case if we were to cut-and-run. I don’t think seeking he’s saying they’re wasted to date.

RUSH: All right, well, let’s listen again together, shall we? Grab audio sound bite number six up there at broadcast central. Here we go. This is McCain about the war in Iraq last night on Letterman.

MCCAIN: We are where we are now. And rather than review all the problems we had, if we withdraw early, literally every expert I know says it will descend into chaos, sectarian violence, and even genocide. So that’s why, when I say this may be our last chance to succeed, because Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.

RUSH: All right, he doesn’t say, “We will have wasted.” He says, “We have wasted.”

CALLER: Well, I think the key phrase he says is “if we withdraw early,” and then he puts little words in there, but I put those two things together. If we withdraw early, we will have wasted those lives.

RUSH: Well, look, you are free to hear Senator McCain as you choose, as is everybody else. It’s just a harsh word to use, and it’s dangerous, because it’s going to lead to people assuming that he thinks lives have been wasted to date in all this, and when he says, “We have wasted a lot of our most…” to me, as a literalist — and I take people literally, and I don’t think he’s connecting it to if we leave as in “we would have.” He said, “We have wasted” a lot of lives. Now, maybe he intended to do that. I don’t know.

CALLER: Well, one of the things about John McCain that I think most people don’t realize when they talk about how stupid Bush is, is that John McCain graduated about third from the bottom of his class. He has a little trouble with words at times, too, I think.

RUSH: Well, but see, he doesn’t have a Harvard MBA. He doesn’t have a Yale history degree, as Bush does. But see, that’s the difference. Images are projected of people, and Bush’s image is that he can’t talk. That’s why I’ve always told people, “Learn to read and write the English language the best you can, because it will convince people you’re smarter than you even are.” McCain does not have an image like that. The Drive-By Media has never once assumed that McCain has any intellectual screw loose. So the fact he graduated third from the bottom? You have a lot of people saying, “That means he’s a real guy,” because third from the bottom of Annapolis is still Annapolis.

Look, as I have told everybody: At this stage of the game, I haven’t endorsed anybody. I’m not choosing anybody. I’m just passing information off to you right now. It’s too early. Too many things can happen. You can infer, and you can infer properly, that if I was gung-ho about one of these guys, you would know it. All right? That’s about as much as I’m going to give you. I’m not, and why fake it? To prove I could move a candidacy forward? No. I couldn’t care less about that. I’m not trying to be hard or easy on anybody here — McCain, Romney, Giuliani, whoever else might get in the mix. I appreciate the call out there, Gregg.

RUSH: This is Matt, Lake Forest, Illinois. Your turn. Welcome to the EIB.

CALLER: Rush, it’s an incredible pleasure to speak to you. Long-time listener.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: I want to talk to you about Begala’s comments. One brief recommendation, and that is you’ve been articulate on the global warming hypocrisy of Gore. You might consider having on an MIT professor. His name is Lindzen, and he completely debunks the entire issue of global warming manmade cause, okay?

RUSH: I appreciate that.


RUSH: Begala says —

RUSH: But remember.


RUSH: I am the expert on the issue.

CALLER: Ha-ha. Begala wrongly says that McCain is falling just because of Bush. Giuliani has had the exact same position on the war. He fully supports the surge. He fully supports the Iraq policy. So Begala is completely wrong. I also wanted to mention, Rush, that if you notice, guys like Begala — and the media, the Drive-By Media — constantly claim that prominent conservatives are stupid: Bush, Clarence Thomas, et al. You never hear them say a prominent Democrat is stupid. You can’t name one.

RUSH: Well, of course not. That’s part and parcel of the arrogance and the hubris of who they are. It’s not just that conservatives are stupid. Conservatives are as alien as aliens are. In the liberal mind-set: a conservative is a circus freak. All else descends from that. They’re not very bright and so forth. This is the arrogance that’s constantly gotten them into trouble. They said this about Reagan. “An amiable dunce,” they called Ronaldus Magnus as he ran rings around them. Your observation about Rudy not suffering at all from the support of Bush, as McCain has vis-a-vis Begala. You have to understand the liberals and the Democrats have Bushitis. They have Bush on the brain. Everything is targeted and aimed at Bush. Whatever goes wrong, it’s Bush’s fault. Bush isn’t running anymore. There is not another election which is going to be a referendum on George W. Bush, but they can’t let go of it because of a personal animosity and an irrational hatred for the guy, dating back to the aftermath of the Florida 2000 election.

It’s going to come back to haunt ’em. Folks, I am telling you — and I hate to keep saying, “I’m telling you,” but I say this when I become repetitive. It may not happen in 2008, but these people on the Democrat side of the aisle are sowing the seeds of their eventual landslide defeat. The more prominent they are in the majority, the more prominent they are in the media, the more likely and the more obvious to me this huge landslide defeat is eventually going to take place. I know human nature. Whether this country is indeed in therapy or wants therapy, I do know that at some point people are going to tire of the irrationality of these people. They’re going to tire of the hatred. They’re going to tire of the doom and gloom and the negativism. They’re going to get fed up with it at some point, particularly when it’s inconsistent and when it is not accurate and when their predictions don’t come true and so forth and so on. It may take some time. These things are cyclical.

RUSH: Rob in Greenville, South Carolina, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hi.

CALLER: Rush, I’m a second-time, 24/7 caller. It’s again my honor, sir.

RUSH: Thank you, sir. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.

CALLER: I have a quick question, then I’d like I to pay you a compliment on your website if you’d give me the opportunity.

RUSH: By all means. I always accept compliments.

CALLER: Attaboy. My question is this —

RUSH: You know why?

CALLER: Please tell me.

RUSH: Because I’m not good at accepting them, and I need to work on it. They embarrass me. So I’ve been told, “Accept every compliment — you can encourage them — so that you can learn to get better at thanking people.” So I’ll be glad to hear the compliment.

CALLER: Well, good. Well, my question — and I’ll be happy to pay it — my question is this. If (or more likely when) John McCain begins to realize that he might be falling off the presidential map, and given his personality, can you foresee him having one of those very public, Howard Dean moments?

RUSH: Why are you asking me this?

CALLER: Because I fear for the man. I anticipate a blowup.

RUSH: You’re asking me, basically, if I think that somewhere down the line McCain is going to implode?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: As though I’m an expert on people imploding?

CALLER: No, not at all.

RUSH: Now, you obviously think he might. The thought is in your head. So you want to ask me, the guru on politics and conservatism, if I agree with you. What do you think might cause this?

CALLER: Rush, I actually have precedents in my question. I saw John McCain have a very bad moment in Greenville, South Carolina during the 2000 election, and I worry that the small audience I was a part of is going to become a national audience in this election.

RUSH: Why do you worry about that? You don’t want him to implode?

CALLER: No, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. I worry that he’ll take someone else with him.

RUSH: Ohhhhh. Like who?

CALLER: Like another candidate that is running ahead of him.

RUSH: How would that happen? If McCain implodes, how can he take somebody else with him?

CALLER: Well, rants take on their own personality. A lot of times when you go on a rant, you rant about someone else, and the media will be more than happy to feed that rant if it serves their broader purpose.

RUSH: Yeah, but if McCain is imploding, and let’s say he decides to take Giuliani with him, or is ranting on Giuliani, I don’t know how that hurts Giuliani. Before we even delve into that, what is it about McCain…? You said the primary of 2000. But you wouldn’t ask me if I expect Giuliani to implode. You wouldn’t ask me if I expect Mitt Romney to implode, yet you’re asking me if I expect McCain to implode. So there’s obviously, as I read this, something inside you that thinks that he is going to.

CALLER: Yes. I absolutely do.

RUSH: Could you tell me how? Could you give me some scenario where you see it happening and what would cause it?

CALLER: Well, I believe John McCain is comfortable when he’s in a preplanned environment and situation. When the environment goes off the cuff, I believe — and when he’s challenged, I believe — he’s exceptionally volatile.

RUSH: Well, he does have a temper. There is that reputation about him.

CALLER: I have told the story many a times in the past several years. When the Straight Talk Express came to South Carolina in 2000, I was an enormous John McCain believer. I went to a public forum and saw him speak, and saw the speech degrade into a rant about him being Luke Skywalker and how he was taking on “the empire.”

RUSH: I never understood you people back in 2000 who thought that.

CALLER: Rush, it happened.

RUSH: I know it did.

CALLER: And I was in an audience, and we were all true McCain believers when he came into South Carolina, and when his speech was over, there was an audience full of people who just sat there absolutely stunned. We were in shock.

RUSH: At how good he was?

CALLER: No, at where he went. We all kind of looked at each other as if to say, “What in God’s name did we just witness?”

RUSH: Well, what caused it? I have 20 seconds here, so, no time for the compliment. Too bad. What caused the implosion?

CALLER: My only interpretation was that he was under attack from George Bush when he came into South Carolina. He felt the pressure and went ballistic.

RUSH: If you think he’s going to implode, keep a sharp eye on the Drive-By Media. If anything is going to cause him to implode, it would be the Drive-By Media abandoning him.


RUSH: It’s too bad I didn’t get to hear that guy’s compliment because I do need to work on receiving compliments. I’ve been advised to accept as many as possible and maybe even solicit them in order to get better at it.


RUSH: Susan in Colfax, Wisconsin, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I was asked to get right to the point, and it was about the word that was used, “wasted,” in regard to soldiers. I just wanted to say how much that hurts people who have lost somebody in war.

RUSH: Oh, I totally understand. You’re talking about Senator McCain last night on the Letterman show and his informal announcement for the presidency?

CALLER: Yes, and Obama also mentioned it. It’s been mentioned by others, too, and it’s so hurtful.

RUSH: I want to play devil’s advocate with some people on this. I understand “wasted” hurts.


RUSH: But I want to give Senator McCain the benefit of the doubt. I think he misspoke and I think it was unfortunate. I think this is the way it happened. I can’t speak for Obama. I think Democrats do think there is no such thing as valor in war because they’re anti-war and anything that happens in war is bad, and I do think that about them. Now, McCain, he’s been a supporter of the war, Susan, but he has been very publicly opposed to tactics. He’s been very publicly opposed to the way that it has been waged. I think that’s the context in which he meant wasted. I’m just guessing, but I think what he’s saying is we haven’t fought this thing to win it. We’ve been in sort of a stalemate for too long, and if we’re going to commit to winning, let’s go win it. That’s why he’s been supporting the additional troops for the surge — which, according to Ralph Peters today in the New York Post, is working, big time.

CALLER: Yes. Do you have to be in a war that you win in order to be called a hero? Is it an unpopular war…? I mean, were the men at the Alamo wasted? Were their lives wasted? The term wasted is wrong, whether the tactics are bad or not.

RUSH: Well —

CALLER: These men answered the call to their country and if they put their life on the line for their country, you can’t put that in the context of wasted.

RUSH: I’m not defending the use of the word, and I agree with you totally that it’s misused when it’s related to the deaths of military personnel in Iraq or anywhere else in combat.

CALLER: My idea of a wasted life is a life not well lived, and when you choose to live your life with valor and courage and commitment, you just can’t use that term, and that’s why —

RUSH: Amen.

CALLER: — it hurts so bad.

RUSH: Amen. I still think it was more a slam against the president than it was the soldiers.

CALLER: Oh, I’m so tired of the president being slammed. I love him.

RUSH: I got grief yesterday and last night, because I was perceived as slamming the president on the good neighbor policy with the Iranians. By the way, Susan, thanks for the call. You’re dead-on right. I couldn’t agree with you more and I appreciate the call.

CALLER: I’d love to compliment you but I guess I can’t do that today?

RUSH: Sure you can, because I’m under orders to accept compliments to learn how to do it better.


RUSH: Because normally, see, when I get a comment I get all nervous. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” and people have told me, “You’re denying people who want to compliment you the pleasure it gives them to do so.” So I’m being told I need to learn how to receive better.

CALLER: Oh. Well, yeah. I can understand. You are humble, and you’re a decent man, and that kind of flattery embarrasses you, and that’s why we love you.

RUSH: Well, thank you! That’s right. I don’t consider myself anything special. That’s why it embarrasses me. That’s why when I get a present, a birthday president, I think, “I haven’t done anything but live a year. Big deal.”

CALLER: I also agree with you about Valentine’s Day. I don’t go for all that stuff either. So…

RUSH: Well, congratulations. That makes two of us.

CALLER: Yeah. It’s just commercialism as far as I’m concerned, and if you love somebody, you tell ’em when it moves you to do so.

RUSH: Exactly. Exactly! No truer words have ever been spoken.

CALLER: Thank you.

RUSH: Tell ’em when you feel moved to.


RUSH: Not when they demand it.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: That’s the worst thing that can possibly happen.

CALLER: That’s coercion. Love has nothing to do with that.

RUSH: Takes away the sincerity of it.

CALLER: Oh, I wish I could talk to you all day.

RUSH: I know. See, that’s accepting a compliment. People think that’s arrogance and egotistical, but it isn’t. I appreciate it, Susan. Thank you.

CALLER: We love you, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you. I love you, too. I appreciate it. She’s right about this. I understand exactly what she’s talking about and how the word can upset especially people who have lost family members in combat — in this war particularly.

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