This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 23-24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Rush Limbaugh goes "On the Record" in a rare face-to-face interview in his radio studio in Florida.
VAN SUSTEREN: So did you see the press conference?
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, of course, I -- you know, the first thing -- before we get into the health care aspect of this, I have to tell you, we learned last night that he did -- President Obama did listen to Reverend Wright all those 20 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you say that?
LIMBAUGH: The last question, on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, I mean, he was more animated. He came more alive. He was more passionate on that last question from Lynn Sweet in Chicago about the arrest. And calling the cops stupid? I'm telling you, this is -- there's an undercurrent here.
I think Obama is largely misunderstood by a lot of people. I think his associations in his young life and early adult life matter. The people that mentored him matter. And we're finding out this guy's got a chip on his shoulder. He's angry at this country. He's not proud of it.
He talked about health care last night and never once talked about the greatness of our health care. Once again, when it comes to something American, he criticizes it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let's go back to Gates for a second. Gates is in his house and shows identification and says, This is my house, this is my name. You don't think that that was an unusual...
LIMBAUGH: I'm not talking about the incident.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
LIMBAUGH: Obama didn't know what happened.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
LIMBAUGH: We don't know what happened. The facts, as we tape this, are unknown. Obama admitted he didn't know what happened. And yet, the cops acted "stupidly."
For the president of the -- look at what's going on. We are in a major offensive in Afghanistan. We have an attack led by Obama on our private sector. This is a purposeful attempt to destroy the private sector as it exists. We have numerous problems. Jobs numbers are out this morning, and they're up, unexpectedly up, even though we've rescued the economy. And the he -- the president of the United States does not comment on local arrests and things like that. That question, I think, if it wasn't a setup -- it has to be -- it has to have been a setup.
That whole press conference about health care last night, that's the last question, that's when he came alive. He admits he doesn't know what was going on in there, called the cops stupid. The cop that he called stupid gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics when he was dying.
VAN SUSTEREN: The cop -- I mean, the police office has sort of an extraordinary history, the Boston Celtics, when Reggie Lewis was dying...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... gave him mouth-to-mouth and...
LIMBAUGH: Yes. And racial profiling, I mean, I -- you know, race -- let's face it, President Obama's black, and I think he's got a chip on his shoulder. I think there are elements in this country he doesn't like and he never has liked. And he's using the power of the presidency to remake the country.
Lookit, Greta, he goes around the country, apologizes for this country everywhere he goes. He never once refers to, thinks about, talks about American exceptionalism. We've got the greatest health care system in the world. Nobody leaves this country for health coverage. Everybody in the rest of the world comes here.
He's going -- he lied through his teeth I don't know how many times during that press conference last night. He either is uninformed on the details and doesn't care about them and just has this ideological theory he believes in that he's going to try to get this thing passed because it really isn't about health care.
The one thing -- if I could tell people -- you're giving me an opportunity to tell them on your network. This is not about health care. It's not about health insurance. By the way, did you notice the change in terms last night, health care insurance?
VAN SUSTEREN: What does that mean?
LIMBAUGH: Well, everybody thinks that we need better health care. We've got the best health care in the world. His program is health insurance. But you realize, Greta -- now, you're a lawyer. You know there is no way we can insure our health. We can't insure our health. What health insurance is, is you taking a risk, paying a premium, what you think it's worth to guard against something catastrophic.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's gambling.
LIMBAUGH: It's -- well...
VAN SUSTEREN: A little bit. Insurance is gambling.
LIMBAUGH: In a way. But we've got great health care here. We don't need to redo this. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with it. He's running it down. We've got health care that is better than anywhere else in the world. My point is, he doesn't talk about this.
When it comes to his jobs plan, the stimulus plan -- lied through his teeth! We're bringing the deficit down? We are creating jobs? We're saving the economy? You know, this is very difficult for me to say because it's drastic, but he's doing the exact opposite. President Obama and the Democrats are destroying the U.S. economy. They are purposely doing it, I believe.
I think it's -- the real reason he wants health care is because when he gets it, that is the single greatest power the government will have to regulate every aspect of our lives. And that's what Obama is. And that's what the Democrats and the liberal wing of the Democrat Party today is, total control. These people want nothing -- as little liberty and freedom for the American people as possible. And health care ensures it.
They can deny people coverage based on their lifestyles. They can dictate what you eat, what you don't eat if you're going to get this precious health insurance. This is a dastardly thing here that's being done.
and he says things during the course of interviews that should just scare people to death. During that ABC infomercial, ask the president a question on health care -- I -- Greta, I could not believe an American citizen stood up, a woman, and essentially asked Obama, Look, my 100-year- old grandmother needed a pacemaker. And the first specialist said, No, she's 100 years old. I can't do any more for her. Went to another specialist -- yes, this woman's got a lot of spunk. I'll put the pacemaker in. She's now 105, living fine.
This woman asked the president of the United States if -- During your health care days, your health care plan, are we going to take into account somebody's spirit and love of life? And Obama simply said, Well, you know, we're going to get to a point here where 100 years old, they'll be better off taking a painkiller.
A citizen of the United States asking the president, Are you going to not kill my mother? I can understand Fidel Castro being asked that question, or Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il, or some of the other dictators, but I can't believe that these kind of questions are being asked of the president of the United States, because it's not his decision who lives and dies, but he wants it to be! And he wants it to be the prerogative of his party to determine who gets born and who doesn't, and who has end-of-life problems that are dealt with and not.
This is hideous. This is not about health care, it's about control. It's about remaking the country, the economy. Look, proof of my point here that the joblessness is on purpose -- if your number one signature issue is health care -- and his is -- and if, which is true, that health insurance is not portable when you lose your job, what's the best thing you can do for yourself? Create unemployment. The more people unemployed, the more people losing their health insurance, the more people scared to death, the more people clamoring for it, Please save my health insurance, Please give me health insurance. I'm scared because they've been drummed into the fact that there's something in this country killing them every day, from coffee to nicotine to whatever it is.
So all of this destruction is taking place -- redistribution of wealth. He wants to return the nation's wealth to its rightful owners. He thinks -- look at health care last night. He said, Well, you are going to get gold coverage, gold-plated coverage. You're going to get the best coverage in the world and millionaires are going to pay for it. A couple millionaires are going to pay for it.
Totally untrue. It's going to cost everybody untold amounts of money! They're not -- everybody's not going to be covered for everything that happens to them, but that's what people think he's offering. And he's not.
You know, again, you're a lawyer. We talk about rights. And they're saying health care is a right. If government can take it away from you, Greta, it isn't a right. And government can take away your health care if they decide you're too old and too sick that investing whatever expense would be to prolong your life is not worth it, you don't get the coverage. That's where we're headed, the only way he can make any pretense of saving money. So I think this is a bad guy. I think...
VAN SUSTEREN: A bad guy, or a different ideology than you?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I -- I -- this is the most radical liberal that has ever assumed this degree of power in the country in our history. This is - - this is -- I've never seen anything like this. I mean, we are destroying the economy. He's not fixing it. He's not rescuing it. The numbers tell the tale.
The wealth that has been lost -- when you look at the jobs that are lost -- let's -- let's -- let's look at it in a way to try to convince you. Jobs have been lost. That means what also has been lost? Revenue, tax revenue to the Treasury. Now, we're running with his own plans $10 trillion of deficits over the next 10, maybe 12. There's no money coming in. Tax receipts are way down. The states are experiencing the same thing because people are out of work.
If they're out of work, they're not paying taxes. They're not even concerned. The purpose of taxes is to raise revenue to run the government responsibly. That's not his purpose. His purpose, the tax code is to reorient society, punish achievers. We are printing money. We are printing money that people not even born yet haven't even earned. That's how in debt we are. We can't -- this is not sustainable. We cannot go on this way.
If -- and I'll go even further. I'll give you your headline and your promo-line for the show tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
LIMBAUGH: I maintain to you that nobody who is economically literate, economically experienced and understanding would dare do what we are doing if their objective was growth and jobs. The world has proved it historically over and over. This country -- we have tried this on a limited range before. It doesn't work.
We know how to stimulate growth and jobs. You incentivize people in the private sector. How do you do that? You reduce the financial burden. You cut their taxes. You get out of their way in forms of regulation. We need people going back to work. We need people working. We need the country humming. We need the economy coming back. That's not happening. And they're talking about a second stimulus? And now their excuse is, Well, we didn't intend it to work this year. That was always going to work next year.
And there's nothing in the stimulus bill anyway that's about job creation. This is all about helping state governments with their budgets, transferring what -- there's no job creation in it. It's six months in. It isn't working. Anybody can see it isn't working.
There is an easy fix to this. It's the exact opposite of what Obama's doing. That's what's my contention that this has to be being done purposely.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, Rush says your freedom is being taken away and the greatness of our country is under assault. He also has some nasty words for the media. More with Rush in two minutes.
VAN SUSTEREN: More with Rush Limbaugh.
VAN SUSTEREN: If you and I were talking one year from now, based on the direction of the programs that the president is creating ...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... the stimulus, the health care -- what would -- what would you -- what would we -- what would we be talking about? What would be the state of the economy?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I can't predict this. You know, the American economy is a great thing. It's -- nobody, nobody can wave a magic wand or turn a couple knobs and manipulate a bunch of levers and cause it to magically change direction. It's just too big and too complex. That's another reason why he can't really end up controlling health care. It's too complex. Everything about this economy in this country is complex and it's big.
So it's -- I mean, the American people are very resourceful. At some point, people are going to say, I'm not -- I'm not happy sitting here being unemployed and I'm tired of waiting for whatever Obama said he was going to do for me. Entrepreneurs will get out there and they'll start getting work and the economy may come back, or it may start up-ticking.
The Obama people -- they're predicting the future, Greta. And they're saying it's going to be a jobless recovery. Now, how inspiring is that? Yes, the recovery -- I think Obama even referenced it last night. Yes, the economy's going to come back, but the jobs will be a lagging factor. Well, that's all that matters. If the economy's coming back and there aren't any jobs with it, for whom is it coming back?
So a year from now, the resourcefulness of the American people -- we could be ticking back up. Economic direction could be ticking back up. And I guarantee you when that happens, Obama and his guys are going to take credit for it. The stimulus worked, blah, blah, blah, which will not be the case.
That gets to the political question that the Republicans have got to - - this is a perfect opportunity for them to contrast themselves against who this guy is and what his policies are and lay the groundwork now for the elections in 2010 and what the run-on -- and it's not -- it's not complicated. Just do the opposite of this. Talk about American exceptionalism, American greatness, the abilities of the American people to build the greatest country in the history of civilization, being torn down now by this guy who has a deep resentment for it.
You can hear it when he talks about it overseas and in this country. And it's -- you know, it angers me. I love this country. I have a -- I am in awe. As human beings, we're no different than the human beings anywhere else in the world. And there have been families, clubs, countries, thousands of years on this planet longer that we have.
We're barely 250 years old, and we have outdone everybody in almost everything that lives -- raises the standard of living in the history of the world. It's not because our DNA is different. It's not because we're special human beings. It's because of our freedom. It's because of the founding documents and those rights that we have, where they come from.
We are having that freedom interrupted. We are having a tax on it. And the greatness of this country, its people are under assault right now. It just -- it angers me because I -- this is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing to come out of this recession. Printing money? Twelve trillion dollars in debt. And then last night, he talks about how he's reducing deficits? It was a big disconnect. It was -- I watched this thing with my mouth open in awe.
And the press -- this is the sorriest time, I think, in my lifetime (INAUDIBLE) I -- you know, Jim DeMint said that health care is Obama's Waterloo. The press has met their Waterloo, and it's Obama. They have sacrificed whatever integrity, character, professionalism, ethics that they've had. It's all gone. Their total reason, most of them, for existence, propping this guy up. They're not reporting the details of his plans. They're not reporting his policies. They're looking at it as a horse race. Did Obama win? Did Obama lose? They're running countdown clocks on some of the networks for the press conference last night! Countdown clock -- 8 hours, 25 minutes, 13 seconds to Obama's press conference.
These people sit around with the tingles up their legs all day. They marvel at how Obama is so smooth and elegant. They're not performing -- informing anybody about the details of his policies. And yet 53 percent -- over 50 percent, in most polls, now oppose his health care plan. So who's telling the people? Who's telling the people what's in it? Alternative media -- your network, talk radio, the conservative blog network.
The mainstream media has cashed in its chips. They have become nothing more than stenographers for Rahm Emanuel, in large part. And it's just -- it's breathtaking to see, willingly sacrifice every characteristic that makes quality journalism.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next: Rush says President Obama attacked pediatricians last night and the president is just making up numbers out of thin air. What exactly does Rush mean? The radio powerhouse also has his own plan for health care. That and much more next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Rush Limbaugh.
VAN SUSTEREN: What would you have asked the president last night if you were in the press corps?
LIMBAUGH: Well, about health care? That was a big thing. Mr. President, the CBO says that a minimum $240 billion annual deficit with your health care plan. You're saying you're going to reduce deficits. What do you say about the CBO numbers?
I would have then said, The Heritage Foundation commissioned an independent body, the Lewin Group, to run out and do an analysis of the House plan. And they have found that 83 million Americans would lose their private health insurance and be forced onto the public option. You say people would be able to keep their private insurance, yet the House plan says that -- and he -- he said last night -- he unwittingly did this, or did it on purpose. He attacked the profit of insurance companies!
They're making too much -- look at the profits they're making. I'm going to go after those profits and (INAUDIBLE) and they're not going to give those profits up easily, just like big oil's not going to give up their profits easily, he said during the campaign.
Well, if you take the profit out of any private sector business that has to compete with the government, guess what? Private sector doesn't exist. The government doesn't have to worry about a profit. So if he's going to attack profit in the insurance agencies, in the companies, they're gone. Businesses already want to off-load a lot of their health care plans to this public option.
So this group, Mr. President, 83 million, will lose their private health insurance. You say nobody will. What's the disparity?
I would have also asked for a follow-up after he accused doctors of doing unnecessary surgeries and organ removal to line their pockets. I think that comment, unremarked on by most so far -- now, it may have been during the day today, but -- he's asked a question and he lays into pediatricians. Well, we're going to do it smarter, we're going to do a more efficient job. You take your kid in, sore throat, repeated sore throat. Doctor says, Where's the reimbursement fee schedule? Oh, I get this for a tonsillectomy. So I take the tonsils out, even if they don't need to come out.
Well, for one thing, a pediatrician doesn't take the tonsils out. The pediatrician recommends a surgeon. Pediatricians are not surgeons, for the most part. So he'd have to get a kickback from the surgeon. But just to accuse doctors of doing unnecessary things for a profit, for fee -- doctors do do a lot of unnecessary things, but it's because of malpractice suits. They do all these unnecessary tests because there are lawyers out there waiting to jump on any of them who misdiagnose or don't diagnose something. So that's why there's are all these -- you really want to cut costs in health care, tort reform. Put limits on damages in malpractice cases.
VAN SUSTEREN: There are limits.
LIMBAUGH: Well, there aren't enough.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well there ...
LIMBAUGH: You know what? I could throw a figure out. I could say, We are wasting a trillion dollars a year in health care costs just on malpractice and not doing tort reform. And you might say, Well, where did you get that number? I don't know. I made it up, just like Obama made his numbers up last night.
VAN SUSTEREN: I was going to ask you where you got that number.
LIMBAUGH: I made it up! A trillion seems to be the number that works these days. Back in the campaign, it was $250,000. Anything above that, you're going to get soaked. And then below it, you're not going to get attacked.
So I'll throw the numbers out like he does. We spend $6,000 more per citizen in this country than other advanced countries and we got to reduce that. Does he not understand this is the best health care system in the world, the best costs things. The American people, because of our exceptionalism, expect the best. I'm not saying there aren't efficiencies and savings to made here, but I'm getting sick and tired of being compared -- nobody leaves this country for health care. Nobody takes their kids anywhere.
They don't take them to Cuba. They don't take them to Great Britain or Canada. Everybody in the world comes here for their health care. There's nothing wrong here structurally with the care that we get. This is an insurance problem, catastrophic problem, basically. This is not the way to fix health care.
VAN SUSTEREN: How...
LIMBAUGH: This is not the way to reform it.
VAN SUSTEREN: How would you fix it?
LIMBAUGH: Well, long-term, easy. The answer is easy. Health care, other than catastrophic, accident, severe illness -- health care's got to be priced the same way a hotel room is or a car is. You want to stay at the Ritz, you pay for it. You want to stay at a Motel 6, you pay for it. You don't -- we don't have insurance for hotels. We don't have insurance for airplane travel. We have it for health care because the government's been paying it, or insurance companies have been paying it for 50 years. People now assume it's their right to have it because they're Americans.
Now, that would take a while (INAUDIBLE) health savings accounts could get the ball rolling on that. But a first thing -- catastrophic insurance is what the government ought to provide or what people -- that somebody -- the ordinary, everyday doctor visits, check-ups, and so forth, pay for it yourself or go buy your own policy that you can afford, that covers what you want covered, if you don't want to pay for it yourself. And then have the catastrophic stuff that everybody's worried about wiping them out -- you would save so much money.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next: Rush says President Obama wants to control every aspect of your life and behavior. Rush also says there is a bad reason that the White House wants to pass this health care plan so quickly. More with Rush next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Rush Limbaugh and one of the topics on everyone's mind, health care. And believe it or not, Rush has a lot to say.
VAN SUSTEREN: Suppose that a woman doesn't go for annual visits and has a lump in her breast. That's not -- I mean, that would not be a catastrophic visit. It turns into a catastrophic problem when you don't do -- when you don't do the annual visits. What about that situation?
LIMBAUGH: Well, what do you want to do with that situation? I don't...
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just -- I'm posing the problem. I don't...
LIMBAUGH: See, I think...
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know...
LIMBAUGH: I think that the premise of the question is where we're going wrong here.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
LIMBAUGH: Because the premise of your question relies on this woman having been irresponsible. She had a lump. She didn't get it checked out. Or she didn't have a lump, she didn't get it checked out. She didn't do her regular checkups. And all of a sudden one day, they discover a lump and the treatment is expensive. What do we do about this?
What Obama is going to do is say, you didn't get checkups, you didn't do this. Well, we are going to have to limit our coverage. You did not live right. You did not do when you're supposed to do. What did you do that caused the lump? We have put out guidelines on what you can do to avoid breast cancer. Did you do those?
That's what it's going to come to.
VAN SUSTEREN: There are two issues. There is one woman who has the lump and is irresponsible.
LIMBAUGH: I'm not saying she has been irresponsible. We have freedom. If she does not want to go to the doctor, she does not have to go to the doctor. Why should everyone else have to pay for her?
VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that, but there are some people who make an election not to go to a doctor. There are some people cannot afford to go to the doctor, and it becomes catastrophic, and then it is enormously expensive for whoever.
LIMBAUGH: I think there is a myth in this country about all the people who don't get medical treatment. I think that is part of the sales pitch here.
I have talked to a number of doctors, surgeons, ER, intensive care. The patient comes in, they get treated whether they can pay or not. And they get sent a bill if they don't have insurance. And they make arrangements with the hospital to pay off over time. And if they don't, then the car repossessors head out and take the car, what have you.
People get treated. You walk into the emergency room, by law you have to get treated. People get health care in this country, whether they have insurance or not. We have the best health care in the world. We don't need to make giant fixes based on assumptions that there are a whole bunch of people getting sick and not being treated.
That is not the case.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, in your view, there's nothing to be fixed in the health care system from the government's standpoint?
LIMBAUGH: Well, we don't need an overhaul. And we certainly don't need Obama's reforms. We don't need the government running health care. We don't need the government telling doctors what specialty they're going to go into.
How are you going to insure 47 million people and cover them with no doctors? And he is putting squeezes on doctors. He is going to squeeze doctor fees.
Obama's plan is not about health care, it is about control. Obama's plan is about reorienting the American society. It is the single one thing that government could then have control over every aspect of our lives and our behavior.
So I gave you an answer -- deal with catastrophic. That is what scares everyone.
If getting health care coverage for people, Greta, was so important -- - 12 million people in this country is the number that I found that are literally too poor to have insurance at all and they're unemployed and so forth.
For $29 billion you could cover those 12 million for a year. We just spent $700 billion, $800 billion in the stimulus. Now, if health care is so important and these people without health insurance, without coverage are so important, why not add $30 billion in the stimulus to insure them?
Why $1 trillion dollars to take everyone out of their current plans and enroll them in a public auction that no government official will be part of?
VAN SUSTEREN: That might be more cost- effective if you insure the 47 million, if we did that.
LIMBAUGH: Some of them are illegal aliens.
VAN SUSTEREN: I pick the umbrella number.
LIMBAUGH: Fine, do that. But 12 million people who don't have insurance could today have if just $30 billion of stimulus money had been spent on it.
This is not about insuring people, Greta. I know this sounds radical itself.
I'll tell you another truth. Obama said last night, I don't have to worry about health care. It's all about him. Every aspect of his administration is about him. The press coverage is about him.
He talks about all of the great plans that the elected officials have, members of Congress, the Senate, himself, and it's true. They have a smorgasbord of health care plans they can choose from, all paid for by the taxpayers.
Not one of them is government run. Every health care plan a senator chooses or a Congressman chooses is run by a private sector. The government does not run their health care.
And they are not going to opt out of that and join us in the public auction. It is not going to be any good.
Here is one for you. I read this on the Internet yesterday, theamericanthinker.com. Under Obama's plan, would Ted Kennedy have gotten the treatment for his brain tumor that he was able to get because of his own private insurance and his private wealth?
VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning he would not under the government plan?
LIMBAUGH: Obviously not. Obama has said as much in the ABC special. It would cost too much, and end of life, give them a pain pill. Loop them out so they don't know what's happening and don't feel the pain of their disease.
It makes perfect sense if the government is going to decide who gets health care and who doesn't, there is going to be criteria.
Why invest all the money to treat someone 76-80 or older with a terminal disease? The government is going to say this is not worth our investment to treat you.
As a former Democrat governor of Colorado said, Richard Lamb, we've arrived here. You old people have a duty to die and get out of the way. And the vast majority of health care expenses are spent by the elderly. That makes sense, end of life and monitoring their health more closely.
Young people, they are not worried about dying. They are worried about a severe traffic accident or some other catastrophe befalling them. But they are not worrying about terminal diseases.
So they don't go to the doctor as much. They don't spend as much time in the doctor's office as elderly people do.
So I said earlier, they say health care is a right, but anything the government can take away from you is not a right. And if they can deny you health care, which they're going to, they have to, everybody is not going to be covered, then it can't possibly be a right.
And what was wrong with this press conference last night is it made it sound like everyone will get whatever health care they want. It just may have to be a little more efficiently with fewer tests, maybe fewer tonsils taken out so the surgeons don't get rich.
But everyone will get coverage, it will be gold-plated, and a couple of millionaires are going to pay for it. And it's just the exact opposite, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of the big push to get it done now before the recess instead of, you know...
LIMBAUGH: So people don't find out what's in it. And it's a little late for that now, because the polls are already in a majority position showing opposition to this plan.
These members of Congress and members of the administration are going out doing town meetings. Their constituents, their voters know more about what is in the plan than they do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, they don't read it.
LIMBAUGH: They're being laughed at. Russ Carnahan in St. Louis was laughed at by his audience. Kathleen Sebelius, health and human services secretary, went down to Reserve, Louisiana, and the first question she got, you are not socializing my country.
And she was taken aback. She had no clue.
Obama is God. All of his cabinet and czar people are God junior. They live in the bubble of D.C. thinking everybody is just loving Obama and has this tremendous respect.
And they don't -- and whatever he says is -- and the magic is not working anymore. He can't pull it off. The power of his personality cannot overcome the truth that he has not done one thing for anybody.
You go out and ask the unemployed, what has Obama done for you? How is that hope and change working for you? What has he done for you? And then ask him, what has he done to you? Has he made it easier for you to get a job or has he made it harder for you to get a job?
And obviously he has made it harder because -- and there is another reason why he doesn't want -- I can't prove this, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if today, tomorrow, and through the August 7th break, Rahm Emanuel and Obama bring up some of these Democrats, some of these Blue Dogs, and say, you have seen what has happened to some of these congressman at town meetings.
If you don't get this done, you go home in August, you do your town meetings and meet with constituents, they are going to rip you to shreds over this. And there is going to be footage of it and it's going to be on TV. It's going to be radio and you're going to be a laughingstock.
PART 2, JULY 24, 2009
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We went to Rush's Florida studio for a rare face-to-face interview, and tonight Rush goes "On the Record" about Governor Sarah Palin's resignation. Does the radio powerhouse think the governor is a quitter?
First, Rush Limbaugh on the Capitol Hill health care battle.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any problem -- I do -- with members of Congress voting on a bill this important and not actually reading it page by page? I know it's long -- I mean...
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Do I have a problem with it?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just -- that's -- that's where I've -- I don't know how you vote yes or no without knowing what you're voting on.
LIMBAUGH: Depending -- if you're a Democrat, you vote yes or no because Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer are threatening you! Henry Waxman, in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where a large part of this bill was put together, was being asked some questions by Republicans on the panel. He said, You can't expect me to know everything in this. Yes, we can expect you to know everything in it! You're the ones putting it together.
Well, there are people reading it, Greta, and we're finding out what's in it and people are being told. You know, we've reached a point here where Washington has become this massive magnet, the center of attention in government, and just the presence of people there makes them better, makes them smarter. The details don't count. They're smart. We're idiots. We aren't capable of taking care of ourselves. We aren't capable of making the proper decisions to do the right thing in life. We need as much of that control by them.
So the details -- Obama last night didn't know the details. He didn't care about the details because it's not about health care. It's about an ideological attempt to control freedom, limit it as much as possible.
I know that sounds hard to believe. Why would -- people don't want to accept that the United States would ever elect -- the people of this country would ever elect somebody who has that agenda. Well, we have!
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything President Obama has done so far that you think, That's good, that's smart?
LIMBAUGH: No. I'm embarrassed by him. He's whining. Last night, he continued to blame Bush. Oh, we inherited this and we inherited that and we -- I'll tell you how bad it's gotten. The New York Times today does a little fact-check article that blows him out of the water -- The New York Times! (INAUDIBLE) Politico, a piece on the horrible questions. I think some of the press is starting to get guilty consciences about -- about the irresponsible way the guy has been covered and not been covered.
I don't know him personally. And none of this is personal with me. I -- this is about America. This is about the country. I -- he's my president, too. And I -- I hoped very publicly that he would fail.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do -- why do you -- the DNC is running an ad quoting you as saying that you hope he fails.
LIMBAUGH: Yes. Well, he already has. He has -- this is a very two- pronged thing. He has failed. Can you tell me what he's doing is working? I don't -- know you don't want to sacrifice your journalistic objectivity.
VAN SUSTEREN: Look, I'm hoping. I'm hoping that...
LIMBAUGH: Well, hope isn't going to get -- hope is an excuse for doing nothing!
VAN SUSTEREN: I know, but I'm saying that, you know, look, I thought that the better idea, when we need to put money into the system, was to get rid of some of the taxes on people's weekly incomes.
LIMBAUGH: Yes, well, that...
VAN SUSTEREN: I thought -- I -- you know...
LIMBAUGH: That hasn't happened.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but I thought that was a faster infusion of cash into the system, you know, so people had more take-home pay. Now...
LIMBAUGH: They have less!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we -- the president and the Congress decided on a spending -- a stimulus program instead. I didn't think that was fast. I didn't think that was immediate. But I certainly hope that it's successful.
LIMBAUGH: It won't. It can't possibly succeed. It cannot possibly! This was my point earlier.
VAN SUSTEREN: I will admit that it has so far not given any of the...
LIMBAUGH: It can't possibly! They are now even predicting unemployment is going to go double digits, 10 percent!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's worse in Michigan than 10 percent. And it's worse...
LIMBAUGH: Well, I think it's worse in the country.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it's worse in the inner city than 10 percent. It's much...
LIMBAUGH: And who runs the inner cities and who -- Democrats! In the blue states, in these blue cities, we're going straight down in a wrong direction. And this is not by accident! These people are not competent. Their ideas do not work. We don't need to turn this country into a banana republic!
VAN SUSTEREN: And I will concede that that 10 percent number does not include the people who have given up.
LIMBAUGH: Exactly right.
VAN SUSTEREN: So that number grossly underestimates...
LIMBAUGH: It could be 15 or 20 percent.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it is deeply disturbing. However, bet that as it may, is that, as I said, is that more than anything else, I want the stimulus program to work because I want those people employed. But I don't see the number -- I don't see it there right now. It is -- it is not...
VAN SUSTEREN: It is not convincing me at the moment.
LIMBAUGH: This is interesting. See, I know it won't work. I don't have time for hope. I don't have time to sit around and hope. Hope is an excuse for doing nothing.
VAN SUSTEREN: But -- I know, but it's already in effect. That's the problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: They've already passed it.
LIMBAUGH: But -- but it's -- it's -- 2010 is coming up, and most of the money hasn't been spent.
VAN SUSTEREN: Only 10 percent has.
LIMBAUGH: Right! So what -- what -- what the hell is it about anyway? You...
VAN SUSTEREN: Which brings me back to -- which brings me back to I wish they had read it. That's why -- so many voted on it that didn't read it.
LIMBAUGH: No. Greta, you're giving them way too much benefit of the doubt. This is on purpose! This was done to stimulate the Democrat Party! This was done to stimulate state government! This was done to stimulate the power of Washington, D.C.! It was a sold bill of goods, untrue, like cap-and-trade is, like health care reform is, like everything else they're doing. None of it is true! There was never any intention to create jobs!
Where are the shovel-ready jobs? Where's all the work on the infrastructure? It ain't happening! Caterpillar's still laying people off! None of this -- you can sit and hope -- I don't mean you personally. You can sit and hope all day, and this is not the way you do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I...
LIMBAUGH: He has already failed. Now, let me finish this thought. He's failed, but not the way I hoped. He has failed literally. He has failed the American people. He has done nothing for them that they thought was going to happen when they voted for him! They don't have jobs. They don't have rising incomes. They don't have the seas being lowered. He actually promised that. We -- none of -- we don't have anything positive happening.
Now, I wanted him to fail in implementing the stimulus because I knew this was going to happen. This is my point, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think that's -- but that's where -- is that you're rooting for failure. I'm rooting for success, but I don't think we're going to get it because we don't have the numbers right now.
LIMBAUGH: No, no, no. I am rooting for American triumph. I am rooting for American success. For that, Obama must fail. It's now six months later. Look, what Obama's doing is failing. It is a disaster for people, for individual Americans. It is a disaster! I did not want this to happen! I want everybody to succeed. I want everybody to be prosperous.
VAN SUSTEREN: Me, too.
LIMBAUGH: This is not how you do it. Is this how the country was built? Is this how we came out of the '82 recession? What did we do then? We cut tax rates from 70 percent to 28 percent in the '80s. We cut capital gains. We got out of people's way. We turned the American people loose.
Obama has contempt for the American people! He wants the government to be the central focus of America, not the people! And plus, he's got a deep resentment for the rich and the people who've achieved. They need to be punished. We're going to take their money in taxes and the wealth destruction and redistribute it to others in the form of cap-and-trade and the form of health care reform, and whatever issue he comes up with that's clouded (ph) in his mask of so-called compassion.
So he has failed. And the sooner people admit this and realize it, then the sooner we do something about it. So if only 10 percent of the stimulus has been spent, let's say the Republicans pull a rabbit out of their hats and win the House back in 2010, or take away the majority in the Senate -- and neither of the two are out of the realm of possibility -- we can stop this.
We can cancel the -- now, he might veto any bill that the Republicans would write that would cancel the rest of the spending on the stimulus, and say. turn it into a tax cut, which would be very indicative, too. But look, elections have consequences. So we got what we voted for or what the majority of the American people voted for.
VAN SUSTEREN: What does it mean big picture politically if the health care does not pass, if he can't even get his -- enough Democrats? Because there are enough Democrats there, if he got them all, to pass it. What does it mean to him big picture politically?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I'd have to probably side with Jim DeMint that this - - this is his centerpiece. This is what it's always all been about for the Democrat Party, going back to the Clintons. If he doesn't get this this time, he'll just come back and try for it next year, or later in this term. They're going to keep fighting for this, Greta.
This is why I think it's wrong for people on our side to start getting giddy about the polls showing most people opposing this, and so forth. These people never give up. They never go away. They're not going to stop until they get this done. That's why they have to constantly be politically defeated. And that's what the future elections are all about.
So I don't think Obama's a quitter, either. I do think Obama has a problem with criticism. I think he's led a charmed life. I think he thinks he's above criticism, being laughed at, and so forth, and being rejected. And if this happens, it's just going to fire him up even more.
And Rahm Emanuel is going to be sending more dead fish to more Democrats to warn them not to vote this way the next time. So it's -- this is -- it's a constant battle with these people who want to take over the country for themselves. It's never going to end.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, Rush says there is a battle raging inside the Republican Party. Could a third party be coming? And who does Rush think is the leading Republican candidate now? Rush on that, Governor Sarah Palin's future and much more.
Plus: Did President Obama apologize? The president changes his tune after saying the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" for arresting a Harvard professor. But is the firestorm still growing? We report, you decide.
VAN SUSTEREN: More with Rush Limbaugh on the future of the Republican Party.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you hold yourself out as a conservative, not necessarily a Republican?
LIMBAUGH: Yes, by all means.
VAN SUSTEREN: So...
LIMBAUGH: The Republican Party doesn't even like me today.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I was going to ask you about the Republican Party. Why aren't they going to like you?
LIMBAUGH: Well, the Republican Party has got its own battles. There's an internecine battle going on in the Republican Party for who's going to lead it and what its identity is going to be. And the friction in the Republican Party is all about social issues or abortion.
The country club, blue-blood Rockefeller types and the quasi-inside- the-Beltway conservative media are just embarrassed as they can be to be in the same party with a bunch of Billy Bobs, and so forth, from what they consider to be the hayseed sticks who are pro-life. It just bugs them to death.
I've been encountered by them at parties. I've had some of these blue-bloods come up to me and poke me in the chest, What are you going to do about Christians? I said, What do you mean, what am I going to do with Christians? "They're destroying our party. This abortion stuff, we're never going to get the women, and it's killing us. We've got to get it -- they're just embarrassed to go to a convention with them, and so forth. I said, Well, they're 24 million votes, and if you want to let the Democrats have them, you're never going to win a thing.
They also don't like conservatives. The New York/Boston/Washington corridor, axis of the Republican Party does not like conservatives. They didn't really like Reagan. They tolerated Reagan. They thought Reagan was a dunce, too.
They like the whole D.C. Beltway mentality of elitism and sharing power and all being on the same team. We're just in different parties and will trade positions now and then as to who wins. But they're not really ideological. The conservative wing of the Republican Party is the only time when it's dominated that the Republican Party has been victorious.
And I, of course, am not an elite. I'm not a country club, blue-blood Rockefeller type. I'm considered unsophisticated, and you know, sort of -- We don't want Limbaugh. We don't want to be associated with Limbaugh, that radical (INAUDIBLE) So the Republican Party is going through these battles right now. And you know, Palin is out there exciting people, and some people all right starting to talk about third party.
And I'll tell you, I -- I'll tell you how bad the Republican Party -- the trouble it's in. When people say -- when Republicans, when our opinion leaders, say Colin Powell is the model Republican, that's when I say, OK, gang, you leave the party and you form the Colin Powell party because I don't know how in the world we have a man who endorsed the Democrat candidate, campaigned for the Democrat candidate, did so at a strategic time to destroy McCain's candidacy, when McCain is an ideal Colin Powell moderate -- how can it be that a guy who went all the way in the bank for the Democrat candidate is the ideal Republican? How can it be said that that's where we build our base, with moderates?
Show me the book in the library "Great Moderates in American History." There isn't one! Moderates, by definition, don't have an opinion until they decide where the consensus is, the majority is, and go with it. So if that's -- if the future of the Republican Party is that, that's why there's bubbling talk of a third party.
And by -- don't -- I'm not -- let Colin Powell and whoever else thinks he's the piece de resistance -- let them leave the Republican Party and form their own third party. Right now, I don't know what Colin Powell stands for. I don't know what Obama's doing he agrees with or disagrees with. Well, he did -- he doesn't like all the spending. But then last December, he said the American people want higher taxes and bigger government. That's not Republicanism.
VAN SUSTEREN: Next, Rush says that someone is terrified of Governor Sarah Palin and trying to destroy her. But does Rush think the soon-to-be ex-Alaska governor is a quitter? More with Rush next.
Plus: Gates-gate explodes! Cambridge police stand their ground after police -- after President Obama said they acted "stupidly" by arresting Harvard professor Henry Gates. But the president is saying something different tonight. The police and the president in their own words coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Rush Limbaugh on Governor Sarah Palin and much more.
VAN SUSTEREN: So who's your -- who's your candidate?
VAN SUSTEREN: Right now.
LIMBAUGH: I don't -- too early. And it's unrealistic for people to think we should have one. In 2001, six months after Bush was inaugurated, did the Democrats have their leader? Did the Democrats have somebody going to run around and get the next -- no. They were in a state of disarray, thinking the election had been stolen from them.
In 2004, six months after Bush beats Kerry, who was the leader? Who was rallying the Democrats? Howard Dean was out there doing things at the local level and the state level. It was assumed back then that Hillary was the next (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: But not in terms of horse race. I'm looking at who do you sort of, from an ideology point of view, do you think is the smartest or best candidate in your mind now?
LIMBAUGH: Well, that's -- I don't want to answer that criteria, smartest and best. I'm looking right now at who can win. And I look at who excites crowds. And I also, I think, Greta, that the state-run media and the Democrat Party will go a long way in telling us who they are most afraid of.
And I don't think they're afraid of Mike Huckabee because they never talk about him. I don't think they're afraid of Mitt Romney much, although if he surfaces, they'll go after his religion again. But they're trying to destroy Sarah Palin. They're literally trying to destroy not just her career but her reputation.
Now, if they're not worried about Sarah Palin, why do this? I think they -- the Democrats are telling us who right now they are most afraid of, who they think can beat Obama. It's not hard to understand why. You covered Palin a lot during the campaign, largest crowds on the Republican side, the most enthusiasm. People were revved up and fired up, in some cases even more than Obama rallies.
And the Obama rallies were just cult -- they were just showing up to be part of the story. They didn't care what Obama was saying. It's just he was Obama. Sarah Palin was exciting people on substance.
VAN SUSTEREN: She quit, though.
LIMBAUGH: Doesn't matter.
VAN SUSTEREN: Doesn't matter?
LIMBAUGH: No. Doesn't matter. Might be a very smart move. I think she's -- I think she's a step ahead of people. I think -- lookit, regardless what her plans are (INAUDIBLE) politically inclined or if she wants to come earn some money -- if they're political, her opponents are all down here on the lower 48 on television every day. They're making speeches every day. She's up in Alaska, she can't compete with them.
Also, I think she told the truth about the ethics stuff was getting in her way of governing. I mean, none of these ethics charges have been proven true. It's pure harassment. And if she just wants to earn money, then she's got to come down here and do that, as well.
I think the fact that she quit, you know, that's -- that's too easy. That's conventional wisdom -- Oh, she'll never go anywhere. She's quit. They'll run ads saying, When the going got tough, she quit. All that can be obviated by what she does between now and then. And I don't know what her aspirations -- I've never met her. I've never talked to her.
VAN SUSTEREN: Never met her?
LIMBAUGH: No. I've never talked to her. I don't -- none of this is, you know, personal to me. I care about the United States of America. I care about the American people. I want our exceptionalism and greatness to be promoted, revived, and so forth. And whoever comes along -- if it was a conservative Democrat to come along and do that, I'd be there if they were genuinely conservative, whatever party they were in. It's not about -- it's not about personalities. It's not about horse races. It's about the country.
The country -- we're a great country at risk in a very dangerous world. And we're now also under daily assault -- the American economy, our private sector, is under daily assault by its own government. This is frightening. Never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I never thought I would see purposeful policies to harm people economically.
And that's what we have. No sane person, no economically literate or educated person would ever continue a program like this stimulus plan under the -- under the notion of creating jobs. It's not going to do that. It's going to destroy them. And they wouldn't do health care on top of it, would not build up all this debt. It just -- this is so nonsensical, it's so illogical, it so violates economic science, it has to be being done on purpose.
VAN SUSTEREN: Rush, your show is growing. You're gaining more listeners all of the time. Any -- I mean, longevity in any of these businesses is always so amazing. What's -- what's the secret? What -- what do you think is your...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... reason for your of success?
LIMBAUGH: ... one of the -- I -- I -- when I started in 1988, I was it. And when I started my national radio show, there was only CNN and New York Times and The Washington Post and the magazines, and so forth. All this cable stuff hadn't popped up yet and the Internet hadn't popped up in big numbers. The blogs hadn't (INAUDIBLE) So I got a head start on everybody.
And I was -- you know, I made a deep connection with the audience. I mean, there was a whole bunch of Americans who were conservatives and never saw their viewpoint reflected in mainstream media news coverage. So here comes me. And I -- you know, I'm not a Svengali. I'm not creating (INAUDIBLE) robots. I'm simply validating what people already believe. And they're going, Yes, yes, I like this guy! He says what I think.
So I got a head start, so I've got this deep font of loyalty with this audience. And I -- you know, it's been 21 years on August 1st. But I -- when I sit down at that microphone, my expectations of myself are -- well, I do everything for the audience. Everything I do is for the show. And I will never phone it in because I've got too much respect for the audience. I will always give it my best shot every day.
What happened yesterday doesn't count or 10 years ago doesn't count. I don't remember -- if you had asked what I talked about yesterday, I could give you a broad paintbrush health care. Specifics, I don't know because I'm thinking about tomorrow. And it's -- I think it's a respect for the audience, respect for their intelligence, and a deep appreciation for what they have meant to my life.
My parents wouldn't understand my life. They didn't think it would be possible for some guy who refused to go to college to have this kind of success. They came out of the Great Depression. This just wasn't possible.
And I owe all of this to a devoted and loyal audience who stuck with me through all these years. Why they do it? It's a good show. It's a fun show. It's positive. People don't want to be beat up every day with, This caffeine product is going to kill you, or, The seas are rising and New York's going to get flooded. They want to hear about greatness.
They want -- people want to be inspired! People want to be motivated. They want their positive thoughts validated. They don't want to hear every day how everything's going to hell in a handbasket and there's a shortage of handbaskets. They don't want to hear this. That's what gets ratings on television.
I have shown you get ratings on radio being positive, respecting the audience, being inspiring and motivational at times, when it's necessary. I just try to share as much of my life experience with everybody because I -- it turned out pretty well. I'm very proud of it.
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