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RUSH: Grab audio sound bite 15. I found some sound bites that are not about me. You know, I’m rethinking this whole Rush sound bite thing. And Cookie isn’t gonna like this. But I’m thinking about putting a ban on sound bites using me where they get it wrong. What is the incentive for these people to get it right if I continue to give them all kinds of attention? You’ve had 27 years of them getting it wrong. What’s the point of regaling it every day, “Hey, folks, here’s the media’s latest example of making it up about me, or lying, or getting it wrong about me. Isn’t this funny? Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk.”

Instead we’ll play sound bites when they get it right. Sound bites when they talk about me and get it right, that’s when we’ll use them. (interruption) “It’s entertaining to hear me react when they get it wrong.” I don’t know. I don’t know. But we do have some sound bites. Cookie just sent me some that are not about me, and I’m looking — well, I thought so. Megyn Kelly giving an interview about her hair. O’Reilly begging Trump — did you see that, O’Reilly begging Trump? Yeah. Grab sound bite 17 and 18. Trump did show up on Fox last night, a previously-agreed-to appearance.

This was long ago scheduled, and Trump established a, I don’t know, requirement. He told O’Reilly, “I’m only gonna do this if you don’t ask me about this debate that I pulled out of. Don’t ask me about that and we’ll be cool. Don’t ask me about the debate. If you do, we have a problem.” And O’Reilly did. And he did more than that. So let’s just go to the audio sound bites here. We’ll start here with number 17. It’s The O’Reilly Factor last night.

O’Reilly says, “Look, in your Christian faith there’s a very significant tenet, and that’s the tenet of forgiveness. And I think you should forgive not only journalists who come at you in ways you don’t like, but I think you should be the bigger man and say, you know what, I didn’t like it, and you should make the case all day long, but I’m not going to take any action against it. Don’t you think that’s the right thing to do?” My question is did somebody tell O’Reilly, “Look, you gotta get him back. You gotta go beg him. You gotta make sure we get Trump in this debate. You gotta do what it takes.” Or is O’Reilly doing this on his own for the sake of the network?

Folks, there’s so much internal politics going on, you can’t possibly imagine what all is going on. I know it, but you can’t possibly imagine what’s going on here. Anyway, this is what is reported as O’Reilly begging Trump to forgive Megyn Kelly. Here is the sound bite.

TRUMP: It probably is but, you know, it’s called an eye for an eye I guess also. You can look at it that way.

O’REILLY: No, no, no, that’s Old Testament.

TRUMP: Bill —

O’REILLY: No, no, no. If you’re a Christian the eye for the eye rule goes out. Here’s the what it is, turning the other cheek.

TRUMP: Bill, let me tell you, you’re taking this more seriously than I am. I’m not taking it seriously. I’m gonna have a wonderful time tomorrow night at nine o’clock at Drake University.

O’REILLY: But you’re depriving the people of seeing you —

TRUMP: No, I’m not.

O’REILLY: — in a forum they need to see you in.


O’REILLY: Come on. It’s about the country.

TRUMP: The press will be there and everybody. We’re gonna help a lot of veterans. Whereas Fox is not giving anything to the veterans, I’m giving a hundred percent to the veterans.

RUSH: Right. So that was followed with O’Reilly saying, “You know, Putin’s gonna come at you, the mullahs are gonna come at you, certainly the terrorists are gonna come at you, and it’s gonna be personal. They’re gonna do everything they can to diminish you. And as a president, you’ll have to rise above that and do what’s best for the country. And this exposition we’re talking about today, people are gonna say, ‘You know, Trump, he’s just too self-absorbed to be president. He needs to look at the bigger picture.'”

TRUMP: There’s gotta be something because you set the all-time record in cable history, and so did CNN, and — (crosstalk)

O’REILLY: They want to know you. They want to know you.

TRUMP: That’s fine. And a lot of people do know me.

O’REILLY: But by walking away from this debate you’re not giving them the opportunity to know you as well as they would like.

TRUMP: I’m not walking away. I was pushed away. I’m not walking away.

RUSH: That’s really productive. Notice the two questions here so far, the two questions are, “Look, you gotta be the bigger man. You have to forgive Megyn Kelly. You have to turn the other cheek. You have to be bigger than Fox News. You have to do it, Donald, you’re running, you have to do it.” And then the second question was, and this is the way the rules of the game are, this is the way it all comes down, “Hey, hey, you know what, you gotta deal with Putin. You gotta deal with the ayatollahs. Terrorists are coming at you. What, are you afraid of a little journalist, you can’t do that, you gotta face these people.”

I have always been suspicious of that analogy. It’s nothing more than the media using subterfuge to get their way. ‘Cause I don’t think any of this is about fear. And I don’t think it’s about narcissism. I don’t think Trump is afraid of Fox News and I don’t think he’s afraid of Megyn Kelly, and I don’t think he’s afraid of the ayatollahs. And I don’t think he’s afraid, not of what they would say. I don’t think Trump’s afraid of anything anybody would say here. I think there’s far more depth to this.

But, see, nobody can look beyond the way we’ve all been trained to look at it formulaically, and the formula here, the rules of the game are, you’ve got to go, you’ve got to do what the media asks, you’ve got to answer their questions, no matter how infantile, no matter how insulting, no matter how puerile, you have to. That’s part of being president. You’ve gotta put yourself through that. You have to subject yourself to whatever indignities there are. That’s the rule. That’s the game, and if you don’t do that, you’re not proving you can take it.

And we have somebody here who says, you know, I don’t want to do that. I’m gonna try to get elected without having to go that route. Why should I? Why should I sit down and knowingly allow people to insult me, lie about, whatever they’re gonna say, why do I have to take it? What does that say about me? How does that make me a bigger person? “Because all presidents must have humility.” We’re not talking about humility here. You’re talking stupidity. You want me to purposely sit there and let somebody insult me and treat me in an inane way, and I gotta sit there and take it and swallow it because that’s just what you do? Sorry. I have better things to do.

And, folks, I’m telling you again, if none of this had happened — and do not doubt me on this — if none of this has happened, if this debate were scheduled and Trump is gonna appear, what do you think the only thing they would have been talking about on cable news last night was? What do you think it was? It would have been Megyn Kelly, what kind of questions is she gonna ask? What kind of attitude is she gonna have? What’s Trump gonna do? How’s Trump preparing for it? And they would be interviewing all these experts: what do you think is the best way for Megyn Kelly to come at Trump in debate number two following what happened in debate one?

They replay the sound bites of Megyn Kelly asking the question and Trump answering it. Now we’ve got debate number two, we’ve got face-off number two, cage match, however they set it up. What do you think Megyn Kelly — you’d have been so sick and tired of hearing about it by now you might not have watched the debate because that would have been the focus. On the other hand, same focus on Trump. How’s he going to deal with whatever Megyn Kelly, and not just Megyn Kelly. You’re gonna have who else? You’re gonna have Chris Wallace and Bret Baier.

And, you know, and they might not have been happy the way Megyn Kelly was treated after the first. So maybe they’re gonna come in loaded for bear. And again, if you follow me, what would, therefore, the focus of the second debate be? The media and how they are going to behave. What will their strategy be? The objective, as you know, in many places in the media is to take people out. That is how, in certain areas of the Drive-By Media, you climb the ladder. You take somebody out. You destroy their career. You expose them as a fraud, whatever.

You take ’em out.

That’s how you climb the ladder.

“Good, good takedown,” they’d say. “Don’t let that braggart get away. Don’t let that narcissist, don’t let that big-headed egomaniac get away. Way to cut him down to size!” And so forth. And people would react, “Come on. You know, I just want to hear what these guys think about X. I just want to hear what they think about the Keystone pipeline. Could you stop…?” The truth is, people want to see the beat-down. People want to see the cage match. People want to see all this stuff. It gets reductio ad absurdum, as I so cleverly pointed out yesterday.

Anyway, Trump said, “I just don’t want to go there. I’m not afraid of anybody.” (impression) “You can’t be afraid of the ayatollahs!” I don’t think fear is a factor here. The real question is: Is this strategic, or is Trump just acting on impulse? Did he decide just two days ago, “You know what? I don’t want to do this debate”? Or has he known for weeks he wasn’t gonna do it and has been waiting for the right time to make the announcement? Is it part of a long-term objective Trump has with somebody at Fox, the network at large, the media at large and how he is going to be responding to them?

The media needs access. They crave it, they demand it, they want it. One thing you’re watching here, folks: You’re watching Donald Trump negotiate in public. This is a negotiation. And I know he’s got the veterans thing tonight that he’s doing, and Huckabee has announced that he’s gonna show up over there. Would you be surprised, any of you, if Trump actually shows up at the debate tonight? (interruption) You would or wouldn’t? (interruption) You’d both be surprised?

Would you be surprised if Trump walks in around halfway into the debate — if in a commercial break he walks in, and tries to assume his place? (Even though there won’t be one.) If he tries to assume his place on stage, deciding after watching the first hour of it, that it’s so boring and the show needs him so badly that he’s decided to put aside his feelings for Megyn Kelly and help Fox save their show? (interruption) You can’t see that happening? Cannot see that…? Do you think that at some point down the road Trump will do his own response to the debate?

For example, since he wasn’t there, other Republicans on the stage are gonna be asked questions. Do you think Trump might — at one of his appearances scheduled for, say, next week in New Hampshire — decide to plan one as my response to the Fox debate and structure his appearance so that everything he talks about, or most of it, is answering the questions that were asked of the other candidates in his own…?

(interruption) You would be surprised if he did that? Okay. (interruption) Well, yes, yes, yes. I’m just throwing out possibilities. No idea what’s gonna happen. I’m just trying to get the temperature of people and find out what it is that they think might happen. Because until it starts without him there, there are some people that aren’t gonna believe any of this is real. They’ll think that the whole thing is it a stunt.

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