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RUSH: Let’s start with the audio sound bites, get some reviews in, just some highlights of some of the things that happened. During the debate, of course, Trump’s taxes came up because Romney dropped that bombshell earlier in the week that Trump’s obviously hiding something; that his wealth either isn’t as great as he says or his donations, charitable donations are not what he says. “There’s a problem there. It’s a bombshell,” Romney says. I think what Romney was doing, as I said yesterday, was freezing endorsements. I think the establishment’s very worried that we’re gonna see establishment Republicans drifting from the party and joining Trump.

And the party doesn’t want that to happen. So they sent Romney out there to accuse Trump of having something really, really wrong with his taxes. And that is meant to freeze potential elected Republicans who were thinking about endorsing Trump into stopping for a minute until this is all “solved.” So Wolf Blitzer last night said, “Mr. Trump, yesterday, the last Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called on you to release your back tax returns.

“And said — and I’m quoting him now — ‘There is good reason to believe there is a bombshell in them.’ Romney said either you’re not as wealthy as you say you are, and said maybe you haven’t paid the kind of taxes we would expect you to pay, or you haven’t been giving the money to veterans or disabled people. Are any of those accusations that he has leveled true?”

TRUMP: As far as my return, I want to file it, except for many years I’ve been audited every year. Twelve years or something like that, every year they audit me, audit me, audit me. Nobody gets audited… I have friends that are very wealthy people; they never get audited. I get audited every year. I will absolutely give my return but I’m being audited now for two or three years so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously, and I think people would understand that.

RUSH: What he means is that the current audit is of a three-year period. You know, in many cases when the IRS audits you or the state audits, it’s not just one year. They audit two or three at the same time. That’s what he’s saying. He’s under an audit now for three years, and says, “I’m not gonna release my taxes in the middle of this audit.” And his point here is, “I don’t know how this is gonna end up. I got people accusing me of cheating and doing this.

“And if I release these taxes in the middle of an audit before things are solved here, that’s not gonna help anybody make any sense of it. I’m gonna wait ’til the audit is finished,” and then the retort to that is, “Well, release some years that are not under audit.” So the subject came up after the debate… Oh, speaking of which, Snerdley, I don’t know if you’re aware of this. I turned CNN off of the debate and I went over to Fox ’cause I wanted to listen to what they said over there, and I was going back and forth.

But I ended up staying at Fox and started getting e-mails that Trump, after the debate, CNN had him on three separate times, three additional interviews of 10 minutes, 12 minutes, where he was allowed to expand, revise his remarks, correct or something. And that caused people e-mailing me to say, “Look, Rush! Look! They’re picking our nominee again. Did you see what happened, Rush? Every time Trump got in trouble, Wolf Blitzer goes over to Kasich and they give Kasich 20 minutes to babble on with verbal diarrhea and it shut everything down, every time Trump…”

I’m getting all this e-mail flooding in, so I looked at it. It looked like that was happening. It looked like Wolf Blitzer did try to bail Trump out now and then. And then they had him on a bunch of times after the debate. And, look, we’ve discussed it: The networks don’t want Trump going anywhere. He’s ratings, folks. The ratings for this debate are through the roof compared to two or three prior, ’cause everybody knew… I had told everybody yesterday what was gonna happen in this debate, and I turned out to be right on the money.

This was gonna be, “The gloves come off,” because this is the last chance both Rubio and Cruz have before do-or-die states show up. Anyway, in one of these post-debate interviews, Chris Cuomo is interviewing Trump. He says, “They came at you tonight about something that’s in the news right now, and that really is at your control, which is your tax returns. Mitt Romney, during the debate, was bringing it up again saying you could show your taxes in a second if you want to. What is Trump delaying? What do you have to say about that?”

TRUMP: Mitt is just trying to remain relevant.

CUOMO: Right.

TRUMP: NobodyÂ’s talking to him much anymore. He got some publicity today. But the one problem I have is that IÂ’m always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair. I don’t know, maybe because of religion. Maybe because of something else. Maybe because I’m doing this, although this is just recent.

CUOMO: What do you mean, “religion”?

TRUMP: Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian and I feel strongly about it and maybe there’s a bias.

CUOMO: You think maybe you get audited for being a strong Christian?

TRUMP: You see what’s happened.

RUSH: He’s a strong Christian. So there’s an attempt at linkage there with the Tea Party. Then also, which we have the audio coming up, Trump doubled down to defend Planned Parenthood last night. And he doubled down on being neutral in the Middle East. Did you happen to notice one of the qualifications Mr. Trump announced last night for having the ability to negotiate peace in the Middle East? He was a grand marshal in an Israeli parade in Manhattan. He said that! So people are…

My e-mail is overflowing asking me to explain: “Rush, why would he double down on Planned Parenthood? I don’t understand. He’s got to know, after everything that’s happened.” Let me try to explain it this way. How many of you have heard of a clothing company by the name of Lands’ End? Well, they got themselves into heap big doo-doo this week because whoever runs Lands’ End — and I’m not sure if it’s a male or female CEO. But they announced their latest marketing campaign, their catalogs and their billboards and their printed materials.

And it seems that everything in their most recent campaign is a tribute to Gloria Steinem of the NAGs, for all of her “great work,” and one of the pictures of Gloria Steinem in all of the marketing paraphernalia Lands’ End put out there, is Gloria Steinem wearing a T-shirt with her arms held out in some sort of victory pose. The T-shirt says, “I had an abortion.” Well, there was an eruption all over this country anti-Lands’ End, and CEO of Lands’ End was totally taken aback, totally shocked, did not know what had happened.

And you know why?

Because the CEO of Lands’ End lives among a bunch of leftists, and that’s all the CEO of Lands’ End knows. Everybody the CEO knows loves Gloria Steinem, everybody loves Planned Parenthood, everybody the CEO knows loves abortion. So, as far as the CEO is concerned, everybody does. This is what I mean about the disconnect. Here you have the CEO of a major American corporation clueless that by statistical analysis, over half of his or her customers oppose Gloria Steinem, maybe more than that oppose her, and certainly oppose abortion.

The CEO had on no idea, no earthly idea ’til they put this out. Nobody in the company ever warned ’em about the campaign. “You know, we may not want to do this.” “Why not?” “You know, a lot of people, customers don’t like abortion.” Federica Marchionni, female CEO, 43 years old. In her world, which is all she knows, she doesn’t know a soul who doesn’t think Gloria Steinem’s queen. She doesn’t know a single person who doesn’t think Planned Parenthood is the greatest thing on earth.

She was genuinely blindsided and shocked.

She had no idea.

The point is these leftists — particularly New York, Boston, Washington — lead the most insular lives. They do nothing but hang around with like-minded people, and they have no clue. And so that’s how you can end up thinking Planned Parenthood is one of the greatest damn places on earth, that they do all kinds of wonderful thing for women’s health, when they don’t. They don’t do great things for women’s health. They don’t do mammograms. They don’t do any things these people think they do but they believe they do, and they don’t know a soul who doesn’t think so.


RUSH: Minor correction. Lands’ End was donating proceeds, sales of their products to Gloria Steinem’s organization. So I said it’s a minor, minor — anyway, it doesn’t change what happened. People blew up and the Lands’ End CEO had no clue what hit her. We — and they changed.


RUSH: Let’s go back to the audio sound bites, ’cause there’s a lot from last night that we want to get into and react to. This is Trump professing his huge support and his qualifications for leading foreign policy, particularly with Israel and the Palestinians, Middle East, et al.

TRUMP: I was the grand marshal down Fifth Avenue a number of years ago for the Israeli Day Parade. I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received the Tree of Life Award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel. As president, however, there’s nothing that I would rather do than to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. And I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy.

RUSH: “It serves no purpose to say we’ve got a good guy and a bad guy,” and both Cruz and Rubio just jumped on that and asked and pointed out, “How in the world can you look at the Palestinians or Hamas or Hezbollah and Israel and see moral equivalence? How can you not see there’s a good guy and a series of bad guys in that arrangement? How can you not see that one of these states is our ally and one of these states is the enemy of our ally and therefore our enemy?” I mean, they were just all over this.

Cruz in particular. The way he went after things like this was to point out that, in his life and his time in the Senate, and even as attorney general of Texas, he’s been involved in all these things. He’s got a record on all these things. He’s demonstrated what he will do. He’s demonstrated where he comes down on these things. He’s demonstrated his toughness, and in all of these things, he’s got a single question: “Where was Donald?

“You know, Donald says he opposes Obamacare. He says he’s gonna overturn it. Where was Donald when we were trying to stop it? I didn’t see Donald. Donald wasn’t anywhere. When we’re trying to save Israel or trying to help?” Cuz made the point last night that when Obama slapped the no-fly/cancellation of all flights into Israel during particular moment of warfare that he was the guy. “I moved in; I was the guy that spent days getting that ban lifted because it was destroying the Israeli economy. I’m the guy. Where was Donald?”

It was Cruz’s question on everything Trump says he’s for and everything that he will do. Cruz was saying, “Well, these issues have been fought over for a long time, and I haven’t seen Donald involved in any of it. But I have been. This is what I have done on these issues. This is the ways I’ve led. I don’t care whether it’s Obama, whether it’s Israel, Planned Parenthood, terrorism, whatever it is. I’ve been there, and nobody’s seen Donald in any of it.”

Rubio, when it came time to get in on this, did much the same in terms of expressing incredulity that you can’t look at Israel or the Palestinians and not see a good guy and a bad guy. And the way Rubio dealt with it was to continue to mock and to make fun of it. See, I think I know what Trump’s doing here. I think we saw the beginnings of it in the South Carolina debate, and I think some people… It’s not that people are making mistakes.

I’m not saying Cruz and Rubio are making mistakes.

But it’s clear to me that Trump is using the occasion these debates now to reach beyond the Republican base. The difference between him and Jeb, is he’s not trying to ignore the Republican base, and he’s not trying to inflame it. He’s trying to add to it. I think that’s what his comments about Planned Parenthood are. I think’s what this, and various aspects of Obamacare, you know, when he slipped up and said he was in favor of the mandate. He had to walk that back. I think Trump is actually trying to upset the electoral map.

I think he’s trying to turn states that are blue into red states, such as Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. I think he’s doing it by saying things that are intriguing to people on the left. And you have to admit here, folks: When it comes to the Middle East, there are a lot of liberals that hate Israel. That may be too strong. There are a lot of leftists who are not automatically on Israel’s side. There are a lot of leftists, many Jewish leftists in Hollywood who equate Israel with us in the sense that we are the Big, Bad Wolf.

We are the big, bad majority, and we’ve had our way. And we’ve been running around stomping on small people and little people and minorities, and it’s about time we found out what it was like. The Palestinians are the equivalent of a victim group in this country. The Palestinians are victims of Israel, just like homosexuals or transgenders or women are victims of American majorities: Republicans, white men, what have you. And I think that Trump…

And, remember, he’s from New York. This culture, the leftist culture is not a stranger to him. I think that he’s shooting wide here. I think it offends people because these are Republican primary debates. The assumption is that you’re going to target the Republican base and then after you secure the nomination, that’s when you sort of move. According to the conventional wisdom rule, that’s when you moderate. That’s when you move left. And Trump, I think, is getting a head start on that. That’s what I think is going on.

Because you have to know that saying things like, “It serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy in the Middle East,” I guarantee you Trump does not look at it that way in the way he lives his business life. He doesn’t. He’s trying to reach out and say things that will resonate with leftists. I think that’s what the Planned Parenthood thing’s all about. And I can be wrong. He may actually like Planned Parenthood. I don’t know. Either way, he’s not taking the standard, ordinary conservative or Republican position on these things.

And he got hit for it for the first time last night.

He got hit for it, and he was made fun of for it for the first time last night. So we will see. We will see. I think in the next debate, when this stuff continues to happen, were it me up there, I would think about pointing out what Trump may actually be doing here, and that is trying to “reach across the aisle” and appeal to some liberal Democrats with some of these things. You know, openly say, “I can’t believe that we have anybody in this country that looks at it Israelis and Palestinians and doesn’t see a difference.

“How do you not see good guy, bad guy?” You can mock if and make fun of it, but I don’t think that there are just… This is not incompetence on Trump’s part on parade here. This is not ignorance or the fact that he’s a political neophyte taking place here.

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