On Thursday’s “Scarborough Country,” the host admitted that MSNBC looped the Dittocam video of Rush Limbaugh gesticulating like Michael J. Fox to make it look like it went on longer than it did (hat tip to NB reader ‘DG”, and audio link here with comments by Limbaugh):
I mean, the thing is, he moved around for a couple of seconds, and as you and I have both said, we all screw up, we all make mistakes. This guy talks three hours a day. We made a mistake -- and I`ll say it right here. We made a mistake. When I was out in Las Vegas doing a show, we actually ran that on a loop for probably five, ten seconds, making it look like he was doing it for a longer than he did. And we weren`t alone, of course. When we came back and found out it had happened... we didn`t do it again.
Here was Limbaugh’s comment about this Friday:
What do you think he's talking about? That's right, he's talking about the Michael J. Fox video from the Dittocam here that was being played all over the place, and it was looped in a lot of places, and it was sped up in a lot of places. Joe Scarborough saying that, yep, they did it, too. When they found out about it, though, they stopped playing the loop and they made it look like it went on and they made it look like it was something that it wasn't. I appreciate this. Interesting how these things happen after the election, isn’t it?
What follows is a full transcript of this segment which I highly recommend reading. Scarborough had media analyst Steve Adubato and Pat Buchanan on as his guests, and what transpired was a fascinating discussion of how Limbaugh impacted Tuesday’s elections.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back. When Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of not taking his medication before appearing in an ad for the Democratic Senate candidate in Missouri, Democrats went on the attack. Is it just payback time for Democrats, who`ve never forgiven Limbaugh for putting the Republican Party in power back in 1994?
Here now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and former White House communication director for Ronald Reagan, and media analyst Steve Adubato. He`s the author of "Make the Connection."
Hey, Steve, is this just sour grapes by Democrats?
STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: No, but it`s the Democrats saying thank you to Rush for bringing attention to the Michael J. Fox spot. He only did it -- he only did the commercial spot in a few states, but if Rush hadn`t acted like an idiot and tried to gesticulate all over the place and we didn`t have the video of it and he didn`t turn around and question Michael J. Fox as to whether he was really acting or not and then not apologize for about 48 hours, we wouldn`t have been talking about it night after night. State after state would not have seen this commercial spot, where it was never designed to run. You`re seeing it right now.
I`ll tell you what, it helped in a state like New Jersey, where, in fact, Tom Kean actually is supportive of stem cell research, but it helped Bob Menendez because Republicans were with Limbaugh.
SCARBOROUGH: How do you know that, though? I mean...
ADUBATO: How do I know anything, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: I was saying weeks ago that New Jersey was going to break Democratic. It just seems to me, again, that a lot of these people that have bashed Rush Limbaugh for 20 years -- and again, never forgave him for helping push Republicans over the top in 1994 -- just kind of want to poke at him and want to accuse him of doing something that neither you nor I know that he actually did.
ADUBATO: Let me just say this. I can`t get inside his head. I know that in `94, you, Joe, and some others were very happy that Rush was so powerful. He did, in fact, help the Democrats get defeated, the Republicans take control. Great. I have no question as to how powerful he is.
But here`s the thing. In 2006, when you act the way he did, when you make fun of a victim, someone who is suffering from Parkinson`s -- he didn`t debate the issue of stem cell research, he challenged the veracity of Fox. He made greater -- he drew greater attention to it, and it had to help Democrats. You don`t have to be a genius to figure that out.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, the thing is, he moved around for a couple of seconds, and as you and I have both said, we all screw up, we all make mistakes. This guy talks three hours a day. We made a mistake -- and I`ll say it right here. We made a mistake. When I was out in Las Vegas doing a show, we actually ran that on a loop for probably five, ten seconds, making it look like he was doing it for a longer than he did. And we weren`t alone, of course. When we came back and found out it had happened...
ADUBATO: I remember.
SCARBOROUGH: ... we didn`t do it again. But we are guilty, too of...
ADUBATO: You apologized, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we are guilty, too, of jumping -- I just think, Pat Buchanan, that this was a chance to whack a guy that the left has hated for years.
BUCHANAN: Look, Rush has inflicted so many wounds on liberal Democrats over the years. That`s exactly right. The Democrats won a big victory and the Republicans got wiped out, and so now they`re gloating and jumping on Rush. I do agree with this, the imitation of Michael Fox for a couple of seconds -- filming it was a mistake. As Rush says, he`s right only 98.6 percent of the time.
BUCHANAN: That leaves 1.4, and he shouldn`t have taped it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, again -- and the thing is, you know, I`m on my show one hour a night. I have a lot of guests I can throw to. Limbaugh talks three hours a day.
BUCHANAN: You know, Rush...
SCARBOROUGH: And in fact, he talked some today and he said he`s sick and tired of sticking up for Republicans who didn`t...
SCARBOROUGH: ... hold on, who didn`t stand up for themselves, and that`s something I agreed with. But when he said something that I`ve heard just about every conservative in America say over the past six months, he got attacked. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We defend them. We say what they really think when they can`t say it or don`t want to say it or don`t have the guts to say it. And we bail them out. Then when it comes election time -- and they still won`t say what they are. They still won`t be conservative because they`re afraid of it. And so I`m simply -- if they`re not going to go out and articulate their conservatism, I`m not going to let them depend on me to get them over the hump! They`re the ones running for office, I`m not. I`m a radio guy. If they can`t make the case, if they can`t carry the banner, then it`s their problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I have heard Republicans say that. What he didn`t say -- what he didn`t say was it was George W. Bush who could never articulate...
SCARBOROUGH: ... why we were in Iraq. That was all directed -- I can`t get into his mind, but I`m pretty sure that was directed at the president because that`s what I`ve -- I`ve been hearing conservatives say for years that the guy who best explained why we were in Iraq was Tony Blair.
BUCHANAN: You know, not only Iraq, though. Let me give you a pristine example. Ward Connerly, someone with real guts, goes up to Michigan to overturn that Affirmative Action thing whereby white working- class kids are kept out of college because of the color of their skin, and that`s a Republican principle. He went and fought for it. The Republican establishment abandoned him. Ward Connerly`s amendment won with 58 percent to 42. If Republicans had gotten behind that, saying, Look, we`re for equal justice under law, no discrimination one way or another, they would have carried Michigan. They deserved to lose because they do not stand for what they believe in, even when it`s popular with the country, because they`re more interested in being popular inside this city!
ADUBATO: I absolutely agree with Pat. And the interesting thing is, Rush is an extraordinary communicator. He`s a great broadcaster. But let me just say this. When you go down the line with the Republican Party and you make it clear that you`re not an objective journalist -- and he doesn`t have to be. He`s a great broadcaster. He has a loyal audience. But as soon as this race is over, then he turns around and says, I am no longer going to defend you guys if you don`t speak up for yourselves -- I`ll tell you what. My problem is this. I just wish Rush, while he`s saying that, would acknowledge that on some level, Joe and Pat, he contributed -- he didn`t do it himself, he contributed to hurting the Republicans in a very close race, where some of these Senate races were judged by just a few thousand votes and the balance of power was there. He didn`t help.
And finally, guys, don`t let him off the hook so easily. He didn`t apologize, Joe, as quickly as you apologize when you make a mistake. He waited almost 48 hours, which meant the news cycle kept running the story, running the video, running his challenging of Michael J. Fox.
BUCHANAN: Wait a minute, now! He...
ADUBATO: He could have put it away, Pat.
BUCHANAN: You mean -- put it away? You mean the news cycle would not have re-run that footage of Rush as long as they said if Rush said, I probably shouldn`t have done that? Come on! We`re in a political campaign at the end. They would have rammed that to him as long as they could, just the way they`re doing now, long after he said he made a mistake there!
ADUBATO: Joe Scarborough, you know that we ran that footage, we did those shows with Pat.
ADUBATO: We would not have run them to the degree, Pat -- I`m not saying not run them at all. We would have not kept running them at infinitum if he was just saying, Look, I blew it. I was insensitive to a guy who`s suffering. I do have a different -- by the way, I totally respect that he has a different point of view on stem cell research. That`s not what it was about. He protracted the news cycle even with those who wanted to be fair.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you something...
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, we got...
BUCHANAN: Taken all in all, was Rush an asset for the Republican Party in this campaign?
BUCHANAN: He sure was!
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me tell you something. If you asked every Republican, or just go to the head of the Republican National Committee and ask whether they`d want Rush Limbaugh out there every day, fighting their battle day in and day out, talking to 20 million Americans a week or not, they would take Rush Limbaugh any day of the week.
ADUBATO: But he hurt on this one, Joe. He just hurt on this one.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I just don`t think he cost Jim Talent 3 percent of the vote in Missouri. I just don`t think there will ever be a survey that shows that. In fact, Survey USA had a survey that showed just that thing.
Hey, but Steve, I appreciate you being on.
ADUBATO: Thanks, Joe. Thanks for having me.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, thank you for being with us.