(Politico) – Rush Limbaugh slammed Karl Rove on Wednesday and said he was â€œliterally going insaneâ€ over GOP strategistsâ€™ advice that the party not attack President Barack Obama during their convention.
â€œDo you want to talk about the overall tone of the convention?â€ Limbaugh facetiously asked his radio show audience. â€œDo you want me to say, â€˜My gosh, what a bunch of wimps. Donâ€™t even have the guts to mention Obamaâ€™s name. Christie didnâ€™t have the guts to mention his name?â€™ Do you want me to tell you how this bunch seems to be afraid to be critical of a party thatâ€™s destroying the country? Or do you agree with the party, â€˜No, we donâ€™t need to mention that because everybody already knows it and weâ€™re trying to attract swing voters, and they donâ€™t want to hear that stuff?â€™â€
The conservative talker signaled out Karl Rove, the Bush administration political guru who leads several outside spending groups, and Ed Rollins, who managed Rep. Michele Bachmannâ€™s failed GOP primary bid this year, for criticism.
Rollins said on Fox News that ignoring Obamaâ€™s record was â€œthe perfect way to goâ€ since most voters are already familiar with it. Rove agreed with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi when he made a similar statement.
â€œWhere was the beef?â€ Limbaugh implored. â€œWhere was the red meat? There wasnâ€™t any. Everybody doesnâ€™t know about Obamaâ€™s terrible record! Iâ€™m gonna tell you something. Mr. Rollins, if everybody knew Obamaâ€™s record, heâ€™d be down 20 points.â€
The conservative talker questioned the strategistsâ€™ logic.
â€œFolks, Iâ€™m literally going insane hearing this,â€ Limbaugh said, according to a transcript. â€œI want to know why these independents donâ€™t get turned off when Obama calls Romney a murderer and a felon. Why is it that independents only get turned off? Why is it that the independents only get turned off when weâ€™re critical?â€
Obama has never called Romney a murderer or a felon. A super PAC backing Obama misleadingly linked Romney to the cancer death of the wife of a steelworker who was laid off by Bain Capital during Romneyâ€™s tenure, and Obamaâ€™s deputy campaign manager said SEC documents showing Romney had a role at Bain in 2002 â€” three years after Romney said he retired â€” meant Romney was either a felon or lying to the American people.
And while the major speeches by Ann Romney and Gov. Chris Christie did not include major criticisms of the president, earlier addresses from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and others did.
RUSH: Okay, folks. What do you want? What do you want today? Do you want me to tell you about media bias, outrageousness, unfairness, racism, and bigotry? Do you want me to tell you how wonderful and fabulous and it was the best political wife speech ever? Or do you want me to tell you how bad you thought it was? Do you want me to tell you what a barnstorming, knock-down, drag-out, over-the-top, fabulous speech Chris Christie gave? Or do you want me to tell you what a disappointment it was? And do you want me to review all of the speakers with excerpts from each of their speeches with a top-down review?
Do you want to talk about the overall tone of the convention? Do you want me to say, “My gosh, what a bunch of wimps. Don’t even have the guts to mention Obama’s name. Christie didn’t have the guts to mention his name”? Do you want me to tell you how this bunch seems to be afraid to be critical of a party that’s destroying the country? Or do you agree with the party, “No, we don’t need to mention that because everybody already knows it and we’re trying to attract swing voters, and they don’t want to hear that stuff”? Or do you want to not even talk about the convention? (laughing) No, it’s not an option. That’s not an option. (laughing)
The only thing that’s fascinating about football to me is the New York Jets haven’t scored a touchdown in the preseason. For the first three games in the preseason, I don’t know that that’s ever happened. The Jets say that’s okay, just wait ’til week one. We’re keeping it all in reserve. He-he-he-he-he. Don’t want to peak too soon.
Little League World Series. You know what, I got a note from a friend — I gotta mention this before I forget it. I got a note from a friend so upset over the chickification of the news, chickification of the culture. Apparently in a Little League World Series, a pitcher hit a batter with a pitch and went to home plate and apologized. Now, when I was growing up, there was the Bob Gibson rule. When you hit ’em in the head, you throw inside again to show them you meant to hit them. That’s the way I grew up, baseball. You hit somebody, and then you throw inside again to let ’em know it was on purpose. To hell what the empire said. Then I was told — this I don’t believe. If this is true, folks, it’s over, doesn’t matter what’s happening at the convention.
Little League World Series, guy hits a home run, the pitcher who threw the home run waits at home plate to congratulate the kid who hit the home run. That’s what I was told. It’s what I was told. Yes, I am trying to avoid discussing the convention. (laughing) New Orleans is still there. Look, it’s not an official hurricane ’til Shep Smith starts crying, and Shep Smith hasn’t started crying yet, so it’s not really a bad hurricane. It’s still there. New Orleans is still there. Mississippi is still there. Alabama. Yeah, it’s still there. Storm’s still there, storm kinda paused, or stalled. It’s moving very slow. It’s gonna dump a lot of rain there. It’s a Cat 1, and Katrina was all the way at Cat 5, revised to a Cat 5. Kind of like the unemployment numbers were revised. They revised Katrina after the fact, you know what, Cat 5 there for a couple of minutes.
RUSH: I’ve heard every opinion. I’ve heard Romney’s wife was horrible and the best thing ever. I’ve heard the same about Christie. I’ve heard every pro and con you can imagine about this thing. And I’ve got sound bites of Republican consultants talking about, “It’s great that they didn’t mention Obama’s name. It’s wonderful, yeah, because we gotta go get the swing voters, and, yeah, everybody knows how bad Obama is. We didn’t need to waste time talking about Obama.” Ed Rollins and Karl Rove particularly.
RUSH: Everybody wants to know what I think about this. Folks, I tell you, there’s good and bad. There’s positive; there’s negative.
It covers the gamut. One of the things that struck me and Kathryn while we’re watching this last night… This is one of the things that just reared its head at us right after the bat. There was such a stark contrast in Ann Romney. She was taken home safely from the dance by Mitt, and they fell in love, and that was the subject of her speech.
(Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Sir Elton John)
RUSH: The tone of the convention.
RUSH: Got home safely from the dance.
RUSH: Oh, it’s a beautiful thing. My old buddy, Elton John. That’s from the Lion King and Can You Feel the Love Tonight. And then, ladies and gentlemen, it wasn’t along after that this big guy roared out from backstage and said, “To hell with love!”
(Respect by Aretha Franklin)
RUSH: “We are talking respect. That’s what we’re about here.” Which is it?
RUSH: Okay, so, Can You Feel the Love Tonight? Then, “To heck with that! My mom said it’s respect that we’re going for,” and we did. That hit me pretty soon after. Not immediately. I’d love to tell you it hit me right smack-dab when it happened, but it took a while. It hit me during the postmortem. New York Daily News headline. This is a news story! Get this. “Ann Romney Leads Way as Republicans Kick Off Convention by Wrapping Brutal Attacks on President Obama in Blanket of Sentimentality.”
Would somebody please…? I watched this last night. Would somebody please direct me to the “brutal attacks on President Obama”? I’m having a tough time recalling his name coming up. I don’t think Governor Christie mentioned his name at all. A lot of people are making a big deal, by the way, that Christie didn’t mention Romney’s name for 17 minutes. (sigh) Well, look. There are a whole lot of theories to explain what the Republicans are trying to accomplish here.
One of the reasons, by the way, that I spent some time in the first half hour telling you about this Luntz focus group with the swing voters is — make no mistake — that’s the target of this convention. Those people — the undecideds, the swing voters, the independents, whatever you want to call ’em — are the target. And it’s clear. It is clear. We suspected this and we got confirmation of it the day before the convention, and people told me I was wrong, that they didn’t really say that.
But it’s clear that this convention is not going to criticize Obama. This convention so far. Now there’s still two nights to go. But last night there was not a recitation of Obama’s record. There was not one effort. I’m gonna tell you: I had high hopes when Christie started with his “what we believe and what they believe” stuff. I had really high hopes for that. I thought, “Okay, now we’re gonna get into telling the country that’s watching this who the Democrats are; what their policies are.”
We didn’t do that. And the prevailing reason is, “Well, everybody knows, so we don’t need to say that.” Let’s go to the audio sounded bites and start here at number seven. This is Ed Rollins this morning on America’s Newsroom on Fox. Bill Hemmer said, “Ann Romney didn’t mention Obama by name; Chris Christie didn’t mention him by name. He just said ‘the president’ one time.”
ROLLINS: Not hitting on Obama was a perfect way to go. We all know the Obama record and don’t need to have it reinforced.
RUSH: “Perfect way to go,” not to mention Obama. “Not hitting on Obama was a perfect way to go.” Clearly what we’ve known for years is true. The Republican hierarchy, from its consultants on down, truly believes that mentioning Obama by name and then criticizing will cause these swing voters that Luntz had that I told you about to run straight back to the Democrats. It is clear they believe it.
Naturally, I profoundly disagree.
But I think also it’s obvious that these people don’t see this as a turning point election. They see it as just another one in the cycle. Here’s Joe Trippi. Joe Trippi is a Democrat consultant. Trippi ran Howard Dean’s ill-fated campaign in 2004 when John Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) ended up being the nominee. He was also on the Fox show this morning. After Ed Rollins said, “Yep, yep! Not hitting Obama was the perfect way to go,” Joe Trippi said…
TRIPPI: Christie last night, there’s been some disappointment he didn’t go after Obama enough. But what he did was talk to the undecideds out there. If he had pounded on Obama in that way, I think it woulda turned those people off.
RUSH: Folks, I’m literally going insane hearing this. I want to know why these independents don’t get turned off when Obama calls Romney a murderer and a felon. Why is it that independents only get turned off? Why is it that our guys are agreeing with a Democrat consultant? Why is it that the independents only get turned off when we’re critical? And we’re not even being “critical” when we tell the truth!
And I thought that’s what Christie’s speech was about. “Tell the truth! We’re gonna tell the American people hard truths.” We didn’t tell the people hard truths about Obama. We’re not telling people the hard truths about where this country is headed. We’re afraid if we do that, that the independents won’t want to hear that, and they’ll go running back to Obama. And yet Christie said in his speech, “They can handle the truth. They want the truth.
“The American people, they’ll gut it up every time when they know the stakes, just like the Greatest Generation, or World War II generation.” Well, somehow what Christie believes hasn’t been adopted by the rest of the party, because we’re afraid of telling the American people the truth about Obama. You’re hearing the Republican consultants say it. It’s good not to do that! Why, it’s gonna send these independents running back to Obama. But they never run from Obama when Obama calls us murderers.
The independents don’t get upset when the hear this media guy, David Chalian of Yahoo! say, “Oh, yeah, Republicans, Romney? They love having a party when black people are drowning and brown people are drowning in New Orleans!” No, independents don’t mind that. You notice how the Democrats don’t have one ounce of these fears that we have? Yes, I know the reason; I know the answer. It’s all psychological. We’re buying a bill of goods, and we have for a long time.
Where was the beef? Where was the red meat? There wasn’t any. Everybody doesn’t know about Obama’s terrible record! I’m gonna tell you something. Mr. Rollins, if everybody knew Obama’s record, he’d be down 20 points. “Well, we’re talking about the attendees at the convention, Mr. Limbaugh. They know.” No, you’re talking about people watching on television. You’re trying to take this beyond the attendees in the hall. And if the people knew Obama’s record and if they knew Obama’s direct culpability in this nation’s economic disaster, he’d be down 20 points. Why can’t we tell them? Karl Rove agrees. This is the same show, America’s Newsroom. After Trippi says that Christie would have turned off undecided voters had he gone after Obama, Bill Hemmer then asked Karl, “Robert Gibbs last night called this a very angry convention. They called it a very strange night.”
ROVE: Joe is absolutely right. Christie made that speech for the people who are watching. The people in the audience wanted him to treat them like this was some town hall meeting in New Jersey, but he hit that, I thought, perfectly. He was absolutely focused on the people watching who were sitting there saying, “I’m watching this thing ’cause I heard about him and I’m trying to figure out what this is all about.”
RUSH: Well, if that’s the case, Christie has a problem. If that’s the case, because Christie didn’t deliver what most people are used to seeing him do.