Limbaugh: Presidential Race Is 'Not a Runaway'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Rush Limbaugh joins us live by phone. Rush, who's going to win?

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it's tightening up, Greta. These polls are tightening up exactly as a number of people predicted. The polls are very interesting in the way that the media and pollsters are using them this year. And I think it's not really just exclusive to this year.

But being a presidential poller, any poll of public opinion -- polling has become a way to shape public opinion, rather than reflect it. They tried to shape public opinion against the Iraq war for four years, and they could not pull it off. Otherwise, the Democrats would have voted to defund it. What you're seeing now is these pollsters do have credibility (INAUDIBLE) and when the whole thing's over with, they want to all be the ones that were closest to being right.

So the polls are tightening up right now. Everybody thought it would. This is a close election. It's not a runaway. It's not one of these multiple 49-state landslides that the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media have been trying to telling everybody to be prepared for.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, Senator McCain is down a bit in almost every single poll. What does he have to do to change that?

LIMBAUGH: Well, I think that the situation right now is that people are voting -- are thinking about the economy. We have been inundated not just for the past, oh, three months or so with the current economic crisis -- which, by the way, is directly -- the Democratic Party is totally responsible for this mortgage -- subprime mortgage crisis, and that's what McCain has to do. He has -- in my opinion.

And by the way, I kind of -- I'm not comfortable with these questions, What does McCain have to do, because everybody's telling Senator McCain what to do, and he's got a campaign staff doing this. But it seems to me that if people think the economy's bad and change equals a better economy, and if the people are associating the Republican Party with the rotten economy because Bush is the president and he's a Republican, it's incumbent upon this campaign to convince as many people as possible that the economic crisis we're all experiencing now is directly the fault of the Democrat Party and their cronies.

And a case can be made by that simply by saying if the Democrats can find a Republican on whom to blame this, they would have had that person up on Capitol Hill testifying for the past two months. They would have done their best to destroy that person.

It really is a -- it's almost an alternate reality here that we're living in, and it's up to Senator McCain to make sure that this economy is not -- you know, Obama is saying Wall Street thugs and Wall Street this. McCain should get off the Wall Street business. This was bought and paid for by the Democrat Party from Jimmy Carter forward to Bill Clinton, and it's Democrat cronies who covered up any investigation into what was going on in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He's got to say that.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the media treatment of Governor Sarah Palin? Fair or not?

LIMBAUGH: Of course it's unfair. I don't understand, though, why people are surprised. Can I -- this is what the Democrat Party has become. The Democrat Party is not interested in debate. The Democrat Party wants to destroy. They want to destroy the credibility of opponents. They want to shut them up. They want to make sure they have no way to speak, no opportunity to speak. And when they do speak, they want to make sure they have no credibility.

I mean, this is as one-sided as I've ever seen a campaign, but it is what it is. What amazes me is that the Republican Party thinks that in order to get people to elect a Republican president, we need moderates, we need independents. We're then told that Senator McCain cannot go partisan, he cannot attack Democrats because that will offend independents, that will offend moderates because they don't like partisanship.

Yet the moderates and independents, if McCain goes partisan, are going to be so mad, they are going to run over to the most partisan, mean- spirited, extremist political party in our lifetimes? It doesn't make any sense.

What they're doing to Sarah Palin is outrageous. And it just -- you know, I -- Greta, I have faith in the American people. I look out there -- I think the American people -- the majority of them have to be outraged over what's happening to Sarah Palin. She's not hurt anybody. She's not harmed anybody.

The Democrat Party tried to destroy an average citizen, this Joe the plumber guy. They used official government computers in Ohio to track this guy down, find out who he is. I had a caller to my show last week said they didn't find anything substantive on Joe the plumber. And that caught me up short. They didn't find anything substantive? Who the hell are they to be looking for anything on Joe the plumber? Joe the plumber can't raise anybody's taxes. He was minding his own business. Obama shows up, asking people to ask him questions. Joe the plumber asked a question. Obama revealed who he really is. And so Joe the plumber has to be destroyed? And the American people sit around and don't notice this? I just refuse to believe it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about Governor Palin?

LIMBAUGH: Oh, I like Governor Palin. I mean, she's refreshing. I think she's real. Governor Palin has a genuine, rich American life that she has lived, and she has hundreds of people to vouch for it. She doesn't have anything in her past that's hidden. She doesn't have to keep people that she's known with duct tape on their mouths, locked up in a closet. Senator Obama has to hide all the people who can vouch for who he really is. She doesn't.

She's -- you know, this -- we have a polarization in this country not just of conservative, liberal, Democrat, Republican. We also have a polarization in this country of elites versus average people. The elites think they're the smart people and they think Sarah Palin's a hayseed hick. She may as well be on the NASCAR circuit. And it's a tremendous -- it's an amazing divide to watch the condescension, the arrogant condescension for average, ordinary people, the people who make this country work. It is stunning to see how political elites, particularly the Democrat Party, view them.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm surprised by people even like Peggy Noonan, who took a whack at Governor Palin.

LIMBAUGH: So was I. I was actually kind of saddened by it, but she's not the only one. I mean, there are a lot of elites, pseudo-intellectual elites on the conservative media side, as well, and I think that, you know, they just -- I'll tell you a little story. Back in the early '90s, I was invited to dinner party out in the Hamptons, and it was mostly Republican bigwigs, a lot of them moderate Republicans, some conservatives. After dinner, one of these attendees came up to me on the balcony after dinner, said, What are you going to do about these Christians in the party? I said, What? Yes, what're you going to do about these Christians? They're killing us, this abortion stuff. I said, They're killing you? They are 24 million votes in the Republican Party.

I talked to the guy and drew him out a little bit, found out that his wife was nagging him over these people being pro-life, and he just didn't like being nagged. Plus, he himself was embarrassed to be in the same party with them.

And I think it's a sign of arrogance and condescension for people on our side to look at Sarah Palin. It's OK -- if they want to say she's not qualified, if they want to go that route, fine. I think she's far more qualified with executive experience than Biden or Obama. And Biden is wrong about everything he believes in his area of expertise. But he's of Washington. He says stupid things. He says ridiculously dangerous things. Nobody calls him -- Sarah Palin is raked over the coals for this, and I think this is an example of the elite versus average, ordinary American divide that's also crept into the country.

It was also -- it's like Colin Powell. There also, Greta, is some positioning here. Some of these people -- Charles Krauthammer had this exactly right. Some of these people just want to make sure that they're not left out of the Washington social circuit after the election. They think Obama's going to win. Those -- people are that petty, particularly who live in Washington. So there are a number of factors that are effervescing under the scene, under the surface, that explain this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Rush, if you'll just stand by, we're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. We have much more with you in about two minutes.

But first, tonight's live vote. Now, this one is simple. We know you have a computer. Go to right now and answer this simple question. Should Senator Obama publicly condemn the personal attacks on Governor Palin? First answer, No, he's not responsible. Second answer is, Yes, it is right thing to do. We're going to read your results at the end of the hour.

And there's much more with Rush Limbaugh after a quick break.

And later, there is breaking news, a plot to assassinate Senator Obama. The goal of this is said to have included mass murder. We're going to bring you the very latest.

And then Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View" tells you about life on the road with Governor Palin. Does she think the governor is the victim of sexist attacks? You will have no doubt about Elisabeth's view on this one.


Watch Greta's interview with Rush Limbaugh: Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

VAN SUSTEREN: We continue now with Rush Limbaugh. Rush, let me ask you sort of an odd question, which is this. What do you like about Senator Obama or admire about him?


LIMBAUGH: Well, what do I admire about Senator Obama is that he has mastered the art of charismatic demagogue. He's a man who says nothing, literally nothing, better than anybody I have ever said (ph) it. And we're going to find out, you know, in seven-and-a-half days, as you said at the top of the program, just how many Americans now expect that because they're Americans, the government is supposed to solve all their problems and take care of all of their circumstances.

If I may, could I go back to one thing? You asked me what does McCain have to do. I really think -- I meant to say this in the first -- and I'll make this quick. I think he really needs to tie Obama to Pelosi and Reid. I came across something shocking last week, Greta. The Democrats committee that's headed by George Miller in the House -- and this is not Obama yet, but this is the Democrats. They're looking at eliminating 401(k)s. They want -- they had some woman from the New School in New York come up and testify, some idea she has to just have the government buy people's 401(k)s at whatever the value was in August. Those 401(k) then would be incorporated into the Social Security system. And whatever the value of the 401(k) was in August, before the crash, would then be added -- they'd buy government bonds at 3 percent. And when you retire, you would get a single Social Security check with your Social Security, plus whatever your 401(k) is after 3 percent every year.

And in addition to that, the tax deductibility of any contribution you make would be gone. Now, I know that people -- 60 percent of the people in this country are invested in a pension plan or retirement plan or maybe even more, and the government wants -- the Democrats want to take these away from the American people and administer their retirement and make people's retirement solely the function of government.

I think this is the most frightening thing. The mainstream media is not putting this out. They're not talking about it whatsoever. But this is the kind of thing that needs to be tied to the Democrats. Obama is a Democrat. They're working hand in hand on things like this. This is just one example, and it really is -- this is serious stuff. This is -- people say this is the most important election in their lifetimes. This one qualifies.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you the same question I asked about Senator Obama. What do you admire most or like most about Senator McCain?

LIMBAUGH: Well, you have to admire his heroism and you have to admire his -- his stick-to-itiveness in times of trouble. And he's actually -- you know, he's taken his hits, too, from people he thought loved him. He thought the media was his base at one point, and they've turned on him. And he's -- he still remains the smiling warrior out there.

I have -- you know, as a human being, I have all kinds of admiration for Senator McCain, and I truly hope that his campaign pulls this out. It's crucial. He represents, as the nominee of the Republican Party, the stop, the stop sign to this advance toward a far-left socialism.

That word is being bandied about, too. And I was thinking -- I heard Dick Morris talking about it tonight, and I got to thinking how many people even know what it is now who are under 50? And how many people even think it's a bad thing? Socialism is taught in the schools, in colleges, as a good thing, that it's fair, it's from each according to his means, and so forth. It's -- but it's transfer of wealth. It takes from the achievers. It punishes them. It gives to people who, you know, are not achieving things.

It really -- the Obama camp wants to fundamentally alter the way this country exists. They want to change the founding of this country, destroy the capitalist system. It is very, in my mind, extremely serious stuff.

VAN SUSTEREN: Rush, thank you very much. And I hope you'll come back next Monday, the night before the election.

LIMBAUGH: You are the -- you just -- you're just relentless.


LIMBAUGH: You could ask me sometime what I respect about you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Rush. I'll talk to you next Monday.


VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Rush.

LIMBAUGH: OK. You're going to make Cavuto mad. You're going to make all these other people mad!

VAN SUSTEREN: That's all right.

LIMBAUGH: I'm going to lay it on you!

VAN SUSTEREN: They're in New York, so I'm not worried.

LIMBAUGH: All right. OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Rush.

LIMBAUGH: See you.

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