Rove: Limbaugh Will Shake Off NFL Snub and Move On
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 15, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Did Rush get railroaded out of the NFL? Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. Rush's bidding partner, Dave Checketts, made the announcement after controversy exploded around Rush's role as a possible NFL owner.
Rush was not shy giving his side of the story today on his radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: One Saturday, I was out playing golf at Donald Trump's course here in West Palm Beach. And as I hit the practice range, I saw a guy that I had met a couple of times previously, Dave Checketts. And Dave Checketts said, You know, this Rams thing is real, and I really would love to talk to you about it. And I said, OK.
So we set a date, and Dave Checketts and a mutual friend came to my home. I served him lunch and Checketts made his pitch. This is what we think it's going to take. This is what we would like from you. We would like you very much to be part of this. And I said to him at this meeting, I said, Are you aware of the firestorm that's -- oh, yes. I'm totally aware, Rush, and believe me, I wouldn't have approached you if I hadn't taken care of that. I would not have even come and asked you to be part of the group if I had not cleared your involvement with people at the highest levels of the National Football League.
When this all started to unravel with the leaking of my being a part of the group, the predictable firestorm started. And I said, Are you guys prepared here? Do you understand what's going on? Oh, yes. We want you. We want you to be our partner. Don't worry, Rush. I would not have gone this far if I hadn't wired this before I even spoke to you.
Now, remember, I did not seek them out. They sought me out. They came here to my home. So eventually, when DeMaurice Smith -- and he may pronounce it Day-Maureese, I'm not sure -- DeMaurice Smith is the new executive director of the National Football League players association -- he sent a letter to the commissioner, Roger Goodell, strongly objecting to my being anywhere near the National Football League on the basis that I don't unify, I'm a divider and divisive, and this sort of thing. And then of course, the two race hustlers, the Reverend Jackson and Reverend Sharpton, got involved.
And I got a call on Tuesday night from Dave Checketts -- I'm sorry, I have to -- I have to ask you to withdraw. And I said, I thought you had this wired. I thought -- Well, Rush, I -- obviously, I'm sorry. I feel terrible about this, but I just -- we can't go forward with you in the group.
And I said, Well, I'm not going to withdraw. If you want me out, you go public and fire me, which he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: And earlier today, we talked to Karl Rove about the Rush controversy.
BREAM: Thank you for going "On the Record" with us tonight.
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
BREAM: But let's start by talking about one of the big controversies out there right now, Rush Limbaugh not going to be getting involved in the NFL. Do you think he got a fair shake in this whole thing?
ROVE: No, I don't, you know, but that's the way business operates and that's the way, particularly, high-profile sports operates. It's a -- it's subject to a lot of public pressure and -- you know, between the union coming out against him and high-profile owners like the, you know, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, you know, Rush got a raw deal.
But you know, Rush is a big boy. He understands that that's how they play it in the -- they play it rough-and-tumble in professional sports, and while I suspect he doesn't like it, I suspect he also understands that's the risk of trying to make a bid for a team.
BREAM: But this is America. We know that he says things a lot of people don't like. They're controversial. But he's been very successful in that vein. I mean, this is a guy who -- who knows how to make a living at that...
BREAM: ... and a good one.
ROVE: And look, I don't doubt that there are owners of the NFL which have said things that other owners would find offensive or that players would find offensive or politically objectionable. Let's be honest. This is about Rush Limbaugh is probably politically anathema to the union and he's politically anathema to some of the more powerful owners. But you know, is that fair? No. Is that the way the world operates in high- profile sports? Yes.
BREAM: And will he continue succeeding...
ROVE: Oh, absolutely.
BREAM: ... at whatever he does?
ROVE: Absolutely. And you know what? I also -- I suspect Rush will just sort of shake this thing off and move straight ahead. That's the way -- that's the way he is.
I think it was a mistake for professional football. I think he would have brought a lot of pizzazz to that leadership team for the St. Louis Rams, and I think it would have been a wonderful addition to the community. And look, he loves Missouri. He's from Cape Girardeau. His professional career started with the Kansas City Royals. He loves professional sports.
I mean, I've been in his home, and there's a gigantic, and I mean gigantic -- you'd think this is a Jumbotron from some stadium -- on which he watches every sports event that he can get -- get -- get a signal for. And he loves the game, particularly professional football, and it's a loss for the -- it's a loss for professional football, in my opinion.
BREAM: Well, and we know that a lot of the mainstream media, they are not Rush fans, and some of the things that they've had to say in the wake of this whole thing imploding have not been true. I mean...
BREAM: And I don't see a lot of leading headline apologies. I mean, some of this information is out there and continually repeated as if it's true...
BREAM: ... when Rush has gone on the show and said, I never made these comments about slavery and other things. You know, even on that end of it, will he see any justice?
ROVE: No. But again, that's a sign of how this is all about politics. It's not about -- look, he's a -- deep pockets, which you want to have on a -- on a syndicate that's trying to buy a team. He is an ardent fan, which is what you want to have on a syndicate trying to buy a team. He is somebody who would be personally engaged with the fans, which want to have in your leadership team, the ownership team.
But obviously, there are people who don't like him, and I think it boils down to politics, a lot of it. And it's unfair. It's not right. But that's the way it is.
BREAM: Do you think he should sue anyone?
ROVE: No. Look, I'm not for litigation and I don't think Rush is, either!
BREAM: Well, he certainly doesn't need the money, but to make a point at all.
ROVE: Well, you know, look -- no. You know, it's -- Rush is -- Rush believes in the 1st Amendment, and people have a right to express their opinions, and they've expressed their opinion about him. And it's not fair, but they've expressed it, and I suspect he'll just simply, you know, say, That's your loss, not my gain, and move on.
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