CNN’s Begala Returns to Smearing Limbaugh for Past OxyContin Use

CNN’s "from the Left" commentator Paul Begala apparently doesn’t want people to forget that Rush Limbaugh dealt with OxyContin addiction. During a panel discussion of Rudy Giuliani and the possible factor of his family life in his presidential bid, Begala attacked the GOP, accusing that the party "has made a practice of going after people’s families," and then singled out Limbaugh for doing this (though Limbaugh has never officially worked for the Republicans). "Not just attacking Bill Clinton, we remember Rush Limbaugh attacking Chelsea Clinton. Maybe it was just the OxyContin talking."

Nine months ago, Begala slammed Limbaugh as the returns came in on Election Day as a "drug-addled gasbag who is self discredited."

Video (2:00): Real (1.46 MB) or Windows (1.23 MB), plus MP3 audio (915 kB).

Begala made this latest smear near the close of the 4 pm EDT hour of "The Situation Room" on Thursday. Former Republican representative J.C. Watts appeared with Begala, and the two discussed how the last election might have been impacted if former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has stepped-down before Election Day, as well as Giuliani and his family.

The full context of Begala’s comments:

RUDY GIULIANI: And the best thing I can say is, kind of leave my family alone. You know? Just like I'll leave your family alone. And if you want to judge me, you want to judge me, or I want to judge you, we judge each other on our public performance. I don't know your -- I don't know your private life. You don't know my private life.

MILES O'BRIEN: ...What do you think? Let's talk about this in general, the whole. Where should the line be drawn on families? Where is it okay? Talk about the Clintons. They protected Chelsea Clinton very well all throughout. And there was, the media, I think, respected that generally, don't you think?

PAUL BEGALA: They did. And George and Laura Bush, I think, did a very good job of protecting their daughters. This is not a partisan thing. I think the President and First Lady have done a good job of protecting those girls.


O'BRIEN: Are people crossing a line here, do you think?

BEGALA: I think so. I think Rudy is right. I think if an issue affects your ability to do the job, then it's fair game. And that's mostly financial, medical. I mean, there are personal things I want to know about Rudy and the other candidates. But the kids ought to be off-limits. I think you're right. Now the problem is he's running in a party that has made a practice of going after people's families. Not just attacking Bill Clinton, we remember Rush Limbaugh attacking Chelsea Clinton. Maybe it was the OxyContin talking. But somebody who supported George W. Bush was attacking John McCain's family. They have this beautiful little girl they adopted from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. She's dark-skinned. They were saying that this was a product of an illicit affair that McCain had had. So, Rudy is entering into a party that has really made a practice of demonizing people's families.

O'BRIEN: All right. J.C., that's your party. You better respond.

J.C. WATTS: Well, I'm shocked that we would think that it's only one party. I mean, I've seen both parties do it. And I'm saddened by it. I think what Rudy -- Rudy Giuliani said there, Miles, is: I'm a father, before I'm a presidential candidate. I think he was right. Obviously, that's going to come up. I think both parties do it. No party has a corner on going after somebody's family over other people. As a matter of fact, good way to get a history of your family tree is to run for public office.

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