Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh believes that many of the Miss America contestants he met last week know more about politics than elected officials he's spoken to.
"I've really been impressed with all of them," Limbaugh told Fox News's Gretchen Carlson in a segment that aired on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday.
In his first interview since being rushed to the hospital in December, Limbaugh discussed the event, how he thought it was "the big one," as well as what he felt about President Obama's State of the Union address last week and the significance of Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts.
Yet, what has really caught the attention of some in the media was Limbaugh's comment, "I love the women's movement -- especially when walking behind it" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t the Right Scoop):
GRETCHEN CARLSON, CO-HOST: Rush Limbaugh has not sat down for an interview since being rushed to the hospital in December in Hawaii, but I got the chance to sit down with him over the weekend in Las Vegas where he was a guest judge at the Miss America Pageant. We talked about everything from women to politics to that day he thought he was having a heart attack.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I feel great. It was a scary thing. I thought it was a heart attack. I thought it was "the big one," and I've always wondered -- when I've heard people say they had chest pains -- what it felt like. Now I know. So I went to the hospital in the ambulance, the whole thing. They gave me some nitro that took care of the pain. I'd never had pain like that. Nitro fixed the pain. That's why they thought it was a heart attack, 'cause it dilates the veins and the arteries and so forth. Then they gave me an angiogram and chest X-ray and nothing! There was no blockage. There was no disease. No coronary things wrong and the cholesterol was in the low end of normal and the chest X-ray was clear. So they couldn't figure it out. The best guess was they think I had a viral infection in one of the arteries that caused the spasm -- and they were really mad my cholesterol was low.
LIMBAUGH: (laughing) It's just not supposed to be that way.
CARLSON: That's good news for you now.
LIMBAUGH: Oh yeah! It's excellent. It's the cleanest bill of health I've had in a long time. I would never have gone in to get an angiogram for anything and this is great news. They showed me the pictures. It's 100% healthy.
CARLSON: So much of America was nervous including the executives at the Miss America Pageant --
CARLSON: -- who right away were saying to me, "Oh, my goodness. I hope Rush is going to be okay," and now here we are in Las Vegas and you're one of the judges of the Miss America Pageant.
LIMBAUGH: Yeah, I am.
CARLSON: What made you say yes to this request?
LIMBAUGH: I've always been intrigued with this. I'm like everybody else; I grew up watching it. So I decided to do it and only then did I find out what the real work commitment is. Folks, this is a big time serious thing. One thing: There's nothing frivolous about this. There's no frivolity at all. It's very serious and these women have devoted their lives, in most cases, to this week. I asked the first time we got in here and we were going through the judges orientation, I said, "Why do you entrust this to a bunch of rank amateurs? The Olympics doesn't do this."
LIMBAUGH: They said, "It works. We've done this forever. And this is Miss America and you all are representatives of various aspects of American culture, and it always works."
CARLSON: Have you been more impressed or less impressed with the quality and caliber of the women that you've met?
LIMBAUGH: There's a group of 53 here, and I would say that the vast majority of them are confident and poised as they speak. That's one of the things I was looking for. We interview each one of them for about 10 minutes and that's what it takes. That's about 14 hours over two days and there's nowhere for them to hide.
CARLSON: Especially from you. (laughing)
LIMBAUGH: Yeah. (laughing) Gretchen, I've talked to women here who know more about various political issues than elected people I've talked to on the phone. I've really been impressed with all of them.
CARLSON: So for those who were critics of you in judging this pageant and saying that you haven't been a supporter of women in the past?
LIMBAUGH: I'm a huge supporter of women! What I'm not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don't know where this gets started. I love the women's movement -- especially when walking behind it. This idea that I don't like women is absurd! And this is Miss America, and if there's a Mr. America out there, it's me.
LIMBAUGH: So this is a perfect fit.
CARLSON: Let's talk a little bit about politics.
LIMBAUGH: All right.
CARLSON: Because while you were out here in Vegas, there was a big State of the Union speech by President Obama.
LIMBAUGH: State of Obama speech.
CARLSON: (laughs) Is that what you're calling it?
LIMBAUGH: State of Obama.
CARLSON: So I assume you had a chance to see it even though you've been working nonstop.
RUSH: Well, yeah. I gave up after 50 minutes. I heard it all before. There was nothing new in it. The only difference was the tone. I went back and listened to some of his soaring rhetorical speeches during the campaign. This was defensive, petulant, immature, childish, sarcastic. He's clearly angry that he's been rejected -- that his wonderfully brilliant ideas (health care and cap and trade) have been rejected. I saw a guy, a young, inexperienced guy just mad. I think, Gretchen -- I really do. I think this is the first time in his life that there's not a professor around to turn his C into an A or to write the law review article for him that he can't write. He's totally exposed. There's nobody to make it better. I think he's been covered for all of his life. The fact that his agenda has totally failed this year is the best thing that could have happened to this country. I thank God every day that this is going down the tubes, that that Massachusetts election happened. Not that God had anything to do with it. That's just the person I thank.
CARLSON: The Scott Brown election.
CARLSON: Here do you think that will factor into in a historic perspective?
LIMBAUGH: That's just the tip of the iceberg. That's just an indication of what's coming in November. I mean, I don't think... I think the Democrats are rocked back on their heels more than they're letting on. They're shocked. This is "the Kennedy seat"! If there is ever an entitlement in politics, it's "the Kennedy seat," and it's gone, and it wasn't even close.
As one would imagine, word of Limbaugh's interview has already made it's way into the liberal press, and not surprisingly, folks have taken offense with his reference to women's behinds.
The New York Daily News published a piece moments ago with the headline, "Rush Limbaugh: 'I love the women's movement -- especially when walking behind it.'"
Not to be outdone, The Village Voice published a blog moments ago entitled, "Rush Limbaugh Says He's an Assman; Outrage Ensues."
The website Jezebel posted a videoclip of the interview with the question, "Need a shot of rage to get you going?"
And Think Progress's Amanda Terkel wrote:
Last week, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh judged the Miss America pageant. Today he went on Fox and Friends and spoke to host - and former Miss America winner - Gretchen Carlson to respond to the criticism he has been receiving. He insisted that he isn't anti-women. But in the few sentences he used to make his case, he still managed to make a sexist joke...
Honestly, you really can't make this stuff up.