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RUSH: This is yesterday. This is This Week, George Stephanopoulos interviewing Senator Marco Rubio. It’s audio sound bite number one.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rush Limbaugh even suggested he’s a Marxist. Do you agree with that criticism?

RUBIO: I’m a Roman Catholic. For me the pope is the successor of Peter. He’s the spiritual head of the church who has authority to speak on matters, doctrinal matters and theological matters, and I follow him a hundred percent on those issues. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a Roman Catholic. The pope is an individual, an important figure in the world, also has political opinions, and those of course we are free to disagree with.

RUSH: Well, how would you interpret that answer? Seriously. Now what are you laughing at in there? (interruption) I think what Rubio is saying is it doesn’t matter to me what Rush Limbaugh says. I’m a Roman Catholic. I don’t care what. What are you trying to gotcha me for? The truth is in the last couple of lines. “The pope is an individual, an important figure in the world, also has political opinions,” above and beyond theological, “and those, of course, we are free to disagree with.”

The senator has given himself an out. But see what they want. I guess yesterday in Stephanopoulos’ mind I was not an entertainer. Yesterday I’m the titular head of the Republican Party’s nominating process. Titular head of the party, and so yesterday it was time to condemn me. And it also was the same thing over on CNN’s Reliable Sources. They had Paul Vallely on there as a guest, the author of the biography “Pope Francis: The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism,” and during a discussion about the pope’s trip to Cuba and the United States Brian Stelter and Vallely had this exchange.

STELTER: Why is it so important, do you think, for the Rush Limbaughs of the world to try to paint this pope as a liberal radical?

VALLELY: Previous popes have been critical of capitalism. They were also critical of communism, but of course communism’s not in the picture anymore. He’s also a Latin-American, and he has the kind of ambivalence towards the United States, you know, of resentment and admiration that you find in Latin America. There’s a ferocity to his rhetoric which wasn’t there with previous popes, and I think that’s what rattled the cage of the conservatives.

RUSH: It’s not a ferocity. His rhetoric isn’t ferocious. He’s the pope, for crying out loud. “Why is it so important, do you think, for the Rush Limbaughs –” there’s only one, folks, by the way. There’s only one. There are no Rush Limbaughs, just one. “Why is it so important, do you think, for the Rush Limbaughs of the world to try to paint this pope as a liberal radical?” I’m not trying to paint him as anything. He is what he is. I’m not painting anything. I’m reacting to what the guy says.

And, by the way, did you know that communism’s not in the picture anymore? The ChiComs would be happy to hear that. Did you know that communism is not in the picture? The only thing Putin’s trying to do is put it back together. The Norks are communists, damn straight they are. Rubio is right about this in the debate. Putin said that one of the greatest natural political disasters in the history of the world was when the Soviet Union went belly up. And he’s trying to reassemble it, and not as a capitalist country. He’s gonna have his oligarchs and him and then the serfs.

By the way, this is becoming a new theme out there, that communism is dead, and it’s being uttered by people on the left. Tell that to the Castros, for crying out loud. Tell them communism’s dead. Communism is not dead. Marxism, communism, Stalinism, liberalism, whatever it is, the left is alive and well and corrupting everything they can get their hands on.

Here’s David Axelrod. This on CNN’s Smerconish. He says to Axelrod, “Fifty-four percent of those who are supportive of Trump also believe erroneously that the president is a Muslim. He’s not gonna lose their support, but I guess you’re saying there’s just no growth potential if that’s what your supporters think of you?”

AXELROD: There is this cohort out there who believes that, you know, we are being encroached on by aliens, the illegal aliens, Muslims, China, and Trump has tapped into that, into that constituency. It’s no accident that Sarah Palin was one of the first people to stand up and defend him after he attacked Senator McCain for his war record and Rush Limbaugh came to his defense. That’s his constituency. It’s not a majority of the Republican Party. It’s certainly not a majority of the country, but it is an activist group, and some of them may stick with him.

RUSH: You know what, I think these guys have a problem, people like Axelrod. They’re not adjusting their worldview to the new reality. They’re the ones stuck in the past, Axelrod, Plouffe and these guys. They’re running the last two campaigns over again. They’re rerunning the last two campaigns thinking that we’re still Obamaites and everybody still loves and adores Obama and what have you.

Trump is his own phenomenon, and the country’s not in the same place it was in 2008-2012. Can we agree on that? Whatever Trump’s role is or not, the country is not where it was in 2008 and 2012, positively or negative, however you interpret that, we’re not where we were in 2008 certainly, and not 2012. But these guys comment and analyze as though we still are. We’re still in the land of love for Obama. Still in the land of respect and total adoration and adulation for Obama, and we are long since past that.

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