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Posted by on Oct 20, 2007 in Arts & Entertainment, Media, Politics | 13 comments

Reid Praises Limbaugh For Record EBay Letter Sale

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Mark yesterday as the day when you-know-where finally froze over:

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid is no fan of Rush Limbaugh, but the Nevada Democrat praised the conservative radio talk-show host on the Senate floor Friday for raising more than $2 million for charity — by auctioning on eBay a letter in which Reid condemns Limbaugh.

“I think it’s really good that this money on eBay is going to be raised for this purpose,” Reid said. “Everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh and I don’t agree on everything in life, and maybe that is kind of an understatement.

“But without qualification Mark Mays, the owner of the [Clear Channel Communications] network … [and] Rush Limbaugh should know that this letter that they’re auctioning is going to be something that raises money for a worthwhile cause.”

Limbaugh has pledged to donate the auction proceeds to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides financial assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.

Reid also encouraged “anyone interested with the means to consider contributing to this worthwhile cause.”

“I strongly believe when we can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, we should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people.”

The letter, which was co-signed by 40 Democratic senators and sent to Mark Mays, whose network syndicates Limbaugh’s show, condemned Limbaugh for comments he made “characterizing troops who speak out against the war as phony soldiers.”

Rush Limbaugh can’t usually be pointed to as someone who made public relations “lemon” into “lemonade” — but he can this time. In one fell swoop he helped negate some of the negative imagery surrounding his “phony soldiers” comment, since the big bucks for the letter will indeed go to a good military cause. Reid is also smart in praising Limbaugh: he’d look like a stubborn bad guy if he didn’t praise what has now turned out to be a fund-raising gold mine using a letter that was intended to damage Limbaugh’s career. The New York Times:

The money will go to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation Inc., a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and other assistance to families of Marines and federal law enforcement officials who die or are wounded in the line of duty. Mr. Limbaugh is a director of the foundation, which had total revenues of $5.2 million last year.

“It’s unbelievable,” said James K. Kallstrom, the retired head of the F.B.I. office in New York, who is chairman of the foundation. He said the charity would meet on Monday to decide how to spend the money. “We might increase the size of the bonds we give these children, and we’ll probably do a lot more for the wounded veterans,” he said. “It’s almost unlimited what you can do for them.”

The letter was purchased by the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, a $294 million foundation in Gaithersburg, Md., that has given money to a wide range of organizations, including the Washington Opera and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. In a statement, the foundation said its purchase was intended to demonstrate its belief in freedom of speech and “to support Rush Limbaugh, his views and his continuing education of us.”

Limbaugh had fun talking about the letter on his show:

He said fans had written him with concerns that wealthy liberals like George Soros would drive the price of the letter to $20 million or more in hopes of bankrupting him.

“It’s just amazing,” Mr. Limbaugh told Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes of the Fox television program Hannity & Colmes on Thursday night, when the bidding stood at $851,000. “This is more fun than I’ve ever had in my life.”

He predicted the sale’s success would anger the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, a signer of the letter, who Mr. Limbaugh calls “Dingy Harry.”

But, no, Harry Reid did surprise him.

And, in the end, Limbaugh probably surprised Harry Reid. And — for perhaps just this once — America’s increasingly bitter political wars ended in some genuine good guys benefiting from America’s ideological battlefield.

A CROSS SECTION OF OTHER WEBLOG OPINION:

Ed Morrissey:

Uh-huh. So now Harry wants everyone to think that he participated in the fund-raising effort deliberately. He wants to take credit for over $4 million in donations that came from two people — the bidder, and the man Reid intended to smear and intimidate. That’s not just laughable, it’s pathetic.

Let’s see Reid put his money where his mouth is. Where’s Reid’s $2.1 million? He could sell off a few of the Nevada properties that have enriched him while he manipulates their value through legislation. His colleagues could also pitch in and at least match Rush in the aggregate — donating $50,000 for everyone who signed the letter. If they want to take credit for the fundraising, why don’t they contribute some funds themselves?

A Blog For All:

Trying to get backhanded credit for this situation smacks of desperation. He and his fellow weasel Democrats tried very hard to smack down Rush over comments that he didn’t make and taken out of context by Media Matters, and Rush turned the entire situation on its head by offering up the document on eBay to the highest bidder.

This is the state of the Senate Democrat leadership today.

-The Impolitical looks at the news reports and writes:

There’s a bottomless pit of money to rescue such comedians as Rush Limbaugh from their smearing of U.S. troops who oppose the Iraq war….Just unbelievable..

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Right Wing Nut House (a blog that needs to be renamed since it often makes a LOT of sense):

The whole world is laughing at Harry and he hasn’t a clue, has he? Has there ever been a Senate Majority Leader more oblivious?…Harry Reid trying to take credit for Limbaugh’s brilliant riposte? Some things are simply beyond irony, beyond sarcasm, and enter the realm of sublime idiocy. Reid has no clue that he is being funny, that the joke is on him…And by the way…How’s that campaign to get Rush off Armed Forces Radio coming?

Mixter’s Mix points to Rush being on the foundation’s board:

So he’s going to donate the proceeds of the sale to a charitable foundation, of which he is a director? Yeah, that sounds like Rush…Not to judge or anything, but I really gotta, for the sake of my own sanity, think there’s a special place in Hell for people like Rush.

Let Freedom Ring:

Regular listeners to Rush’s show know that Harry Reid’s statement is nothing more than last minute showboating. He’s obviously had his staff paying attention to this auction all week. The question I have isn’t about why he made this speech. That’s the easiest thing to figure out. He wanted to sound conciliatory without apologizing for his disgusting statements…

….God bless Rush for showing America what happens when we stand up to intimidation. There aren’t many things that are as inspirational as watching a man say with his actions that he’s mad as hell and that he isn’t going to take it anymore.

-A South Dakota Moderate:

The old adage that states there is a sucker born every minute is again proven true as Betty Casey, a noted philanthropist and supporter of the arts, paid $2.1 million for the so called “historic” Limbaugh smear letter (hopefully tax deductible). …So again the war dodging blowhard gets his followers all riled up and in the process Rush and Harry Reid get more publicity and Betty Casey gets a couple of pieces of paper worth barely more than the the Charmin I used this morning. Sounds like another successful Limbaugh stunt, at least this time the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation gets to come along for the ride.

Wizbang:

So, will Harry, who says he’s so proud to be associated with this fundraising effort, and the other senators put their money where their mouths are and also write a personal check equal to the winning bid to the Marine Corp-Law Enforcement Foundation? Come on, Senators, take Rush up on his challenge.

Suitably Flip:

I just threw up in my mouth a little. As will you shortly, as you witness Harry Reid attempt to take credit for this noble, magnificent, arguably heroic joke on him and 40 of his colleagues, slinging more condescension and naked hypocrisy than I would’ve guessed he – yes even he – could muster.

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