On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh likened President Obama to a "thug" and claimed Obama threatened and intimidated the Supreme Court when he said it would be "unprecedented and extraordinary" for the justices to strike down the health care reform law. Today, Fox News endorsed that criticism, continuing its history of approving Limbaugh's talking points.
According to Fox News, Limbaugh's remarks were great analysis.
While Fox avoided Limbaugh's "thug" comments -- it didn't air or mention them -- it included a clip from the same segment (transcript available here) in which Limbaugh ranted about Obama's Supreme Court remarks. On April 2, Obama stated:
And I think it's important, and I think the American people understand, and the I think the justices should understand, that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care. So there's not only a economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there's a human element to this. And I hope that's not forgotten in this political debate.
Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress. And I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint -- that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.
In the clip Fox played, Limbaugh said: "What is this? 'The Court must understand'? That is a threat." Fox News' senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano then stated: "Nobody could say it quite as directly and poignantly as our good friend and colleague Rush." Napolitano echoed Limbaugh, saying that "the Court does not have to listen to the president," adding, "He should not be threatening or admonishing them."
Fox News host Sean Hannity also followed Limbaugh's example and accused Obama of using "Chicago thuggish intimidating tactics."
Limbaugh went on to say that Obama was threatening the justices and claimed that Obama "put a bounty out on the Supreme Court, figuratively speaking."
On his show today, Limbaugh repeated his claim that Obama threatened the Supreme Court, and highlighted the Fox News segment praising him.