On May 14 after news broke that President Obama had once again attacked talk radio host Rush Limbaugh by name, El Rusbo joked that he was “living rent-free in Obama’s head.” It’s hard to fault Limbaugh’s logic on this. After all, the President of the United States of America has used his bully pulpit to bully Rush nearly a dozen times since he became President.
Remembering that Rush Limbaugh is but a voice on the radio and has no vote in any government, hasn’t the ability to wield the power of regulation, and cannot force anyone to do anything under the cover of law, here are some of the times that President Obama went out of his way to kick Limbaugh and did so by name, not just with a general allusion (starting with the most recent):
May 13, 2013 – New York fundraiser
Meeting with denizens of Hollywood at a fundraiser, President Obama complained that he, the most powerful man in the western world, couldn’t get anything done in Washington because a single radio host stood in his way.
“I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us, but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. And as a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government,” Obama said.
January 27, 2013 – interview with New Republic
Warming to his favorite theme that TV and radio guys represent his main roadblocks, Obama told New Republic that Limbaugh was the bad guy.
“One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”
“I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are, and partly because he is vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with Obama.”
April 27, 2013 – White House Correspondent’s Dinner
Using Rush for one of his jokes at the White House Correspondent’s dinner, while talking of his second term plans, Obama said the next four years might worry Rush. “Rush Limbaugh warned you about this…second term, baby,” he joked.
April 25, 2012 – Interview with Rolling Stone
During this interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Obama coupled his dislike of El Rushbo with disdain for tax fighter Grover Norquist.
“Frankly, I know that there are good, decent Republicans on Capitol Hill who, in a different environment, would welcome the capacity to work with me. But right now, in an atmosphere in which folks like Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist are defining what it means to be a true conservative, they are lying low. My hope is that after this next election, they’ll feel a little more liberated to go out and say, “Let’s redirect the Republican Party back to those traditions in which a Dwight Eisenhower can build an interstate highway system,” the President said.
March 6, 2012 – Press Conference
In the aftermath of the “slut” controversy, Obama spoke of Limbaugh during a press conference after the talk radio host had apologized for calling abortion mill supporter Sandra Fluke a “slut” for wanting the government to pay for her contraceptives. Obama essentially came up doubting that Rush was sincere in his apology saying, “I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart.”
March 2, 2012 – Phone Call to Sandra Fluke
This was several days before the press conference noted above, but concerns the same issue. After Limbaugh called out Fluke on his radio show, Obama felt the need to call her up to offer his sympathy because a mere radio host called her a bad name.
President Obama blows in a phone call to a woman called a slut and a gay basketball player but one wonders when he’ll call the bereaved parents of soldiers killed in battle or the mother of a State Department employee killed in Benghazi?
April 2, 2010 – CBS Early show
During another softball interview, this time on CBS, President Obama criticized both Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
“When you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it’s pretty apparent, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out,” Obama said. “It happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling that there’s a lot of change that needs to take place. But that’s not the vast majority of Americans. But that’s not the vast majority of Americans.”
March 2009 – White House aides
As a campaign tactic in the run up to the 2010 elections, Obama’s White House aides start calling Limbaugh the “face of the GOP.”
January 2009, – meeting with Republican leaders
Along with making his famous one-liner, “I won”–which in context was his way of telling Republicans that “I won” so he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with no opposition–Obama also attacked Limbaugh during a meeting with Republicans at the White House.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told GOP leaders whom he had invited to the White House for a talk about his stimulus proposals and other issues.
So, as you can see, here we have nine instances when President Obama attacked Rush Limbaugh by name. Many people feel that when a sitting president attacks another American by name repeatedly at official functions and in official speeches it is not very presidential. It shows a pettiness and spitefulness that is simply beneath that high office.
But with Obama attacking a radio host by name so many times over the years like this, one can see how folks might wonder if Rush Limbaugh does, indeed, live in Obama’s head rent-free.