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Democrats, Republicans, pundits play 'tit for tat' over 'offensive' US troop slurs
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Published: Monday October 1, 2007

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Weeks after the group MoveOn.org purchased a New York Times advertisement which criticized the US Iraq war commander, Democrats, Republicans, and pundits continue to play a game of "tit for tat" on whose comments regarding the troops are more offensive than the others.

"Dramatically escalating the Dems' confrontation with Rush Limbaugh over his 'phony soldiers' comment, Harry Reid just laced sharply into the talk show host in an extended attack on the Senate floor, hammering Rush's comments as 'unpatriotic' and demanding he apologize to the troops," Greg Sargent writes for TPM's Election Central.

According to Sargent, Reid said, "His unpatriotic comments cannot be ignored. During his show last Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh was engaged in one of his typical rants. This rant was unremarkable and indistinguishable from his usual drivel, which has been steadily losing listeners for years -- until he crossed that line by calling our men and women in uniform who oppose the war in Iraq `phony soldiers.' This comment was so beyond the pale of decency that it cannot be left alone."

"Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to attack the courage and character of those fighting and dying for him and for all of us," Reid continued. "Rush Limbaugh got himself a deferment from serving when he was a young man. He never served in uniform. He never saw in person the extreme difficulty of maintaining peace in a foreign country engaged in a civil war. He never saw a person in combat. Yet he thinks that his opinion on the war is worth more than those who have been on the front lines. And what's worse, Limbaugh's show is broadcast on Armed Forces Radio, which means that thousands of troops, overseas, and veterans here at home, were forced to hear this attack on their patriotism. Rush Limbaugh owes the men and women of our armed forces an apology."

Limbaugh quickly responded, and as noted at the Drudge Report website, threatened Reid to "say it to my face, Senator."

"Ladies and gentlemen, in the last half hour, Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate and proceeded to spend five-to-seven minutes denouncing me, spreading the smear that started last week on this phony soldiers business," said Limbaugh on his syndicated show.

Limbaugh continued, "He has prepared a letter to be sent to the CEO of the company that syndicates this program, and that letter he asked as many senators as possible to sign, offering them the opportunity to demand of my syndicator that I be condemned for something that I did not say, which Harry Reid knows I did not say. The House of Representatives, I have just learned, is going to introduce a resolution this afternoon along the lines of the MoveOn.org resolution that was introduced last week, tit-for-tat, they want a vote in the House to condemn me, a private citizen, for something I did not say. These people have had three, four days now to learn the truth about this, and they no doubt know the truth, which doesn't matter. What they are trying to do is flood a false story into the Drive-By Media and have that survive and suffice as the evidence and as the story of what I said when it wasn't."

Limbaugh added, "He's gotta be a nut. I cannot believe that they are actually going this far with this. I did apologize today to the troops, Senator Reid, for you, and for Media Matters for America. If anybody in this country has been trying to demoralize the troops, it is you, sir, and your members of the Democrat Party. You have waved the white flag of defeat."

"You want to come on this program and call me unpatriotic, come on this program and call me unpatriotic," the conservative host added. "You want to call me a liar, you want to tell me that I did not say what I said, you come on this program and you tell me to my face that I said what I did not say. Stop hiding behind your special protections as a senator and spewing the talking points of an embarrassing, partisan hack media group called Media Matters for America. Hillary Clinton didn't serve in the military, by the way, Senator Reid. She just voted against General Petraeus. Barack Obama did not serve in the military, Senator Reid, and he didn't even show up to vote in support of Petraeus. John Edwards didn't serve, and after voting to send our troops to war, he has undermined them ever since. It is unconscionable for an esteemed United States senator to launch an all-out assault on a private citizen, which is a lie from front to back, in order to cover your own actions and words, which have been the true demoralization of the US military -- and if anybody owes the military of this country an apology, Senator Reid, it is you. It is Jack Murtha. It is Dick Durbin. It is any and all who have joined your effort to secure defeat of the United States and the United States military in not only Iraq, but the war on terror. Sir, have you no decency left? Have you no shame whatsoever?"

Earlier today, a House Republican introduced a resolution supporting Limbaugh's "ongoing public support of American troops serving both here and abroad."

The resolution by Rep. Jack Kingston (Rep. - GA) reads:

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Commending Rush Hudson Limbaugh III for his ongoing public support of American troops serving both here and abroad. Recognizing Mr. Limbaugh for his relentless efforts to build and maintain troop morale through worldwide radio broadcasts and personal visits to conflict regions.

Whereas the need to show support for American troops serving and fighting both here and abroad during a time of global conflict has never been greater, with the need to communicate an uplifting message of encouragement to American soldiers eternally important, in addition to the morale-boosting value of personal visits to region by highly-regarded individuals;

Whereas daily radio broadcasts reaching tens of millions of civilians and soldiers both in America and abroad by way of the Armed Forces Radio Network are conducted five days a week by Rush Hudson Limbaugh III;

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh has consistently used his broadcast time to praise American troops and support them during their ongoing efforts to secure peace in a troubled world;

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh made a week-long visit to meet with troops based in Afghanistan in 2004;

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh has raised and donated millions of dollars to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides college scholarships to the children of Marines and veterans of other branches killed in action;

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh’s website features an “Adopt a Soldier” program which provides them with free subscription access to his online program features;

Whereas during the original invasion in 2003, pilots of five different aircraft flew an American flag in Mr. Limbaugh’s honor during their bombing and refueling runs; and

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh’s commitment to American troops serving both here and abroad remains as strong as ever: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes Rush Hudson Limbaugh III for his support of the Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation and for providing free subscriptions for active-duty servicemembers;

(2) recognizes Mr Limbaugh’s desire to see American troops achieve a successful outcome in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever soldiers are stationed; and

(3) commends Mr. Limbaugh’s tireless public support for American troops and their families through radio broadcasts, fundraising and other public support.

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An audio clip of Limbaugh's remarks can be accessed at this link at Think Progress.