Limbaugh's snow job on the Dem ConventionJuly 29, 2004 9:05 PM EDT ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
On the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh labeled the event "the snow job in the summer." But in the days that followed, it was Limbaugh -- not the Democrats -- who buried the truth beneath a thick layer of lies and attacks.
During the July 27 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh made the following false assertions:
Wrong on Clinton speech: In an attempt to refute a claim former President Bill Clinton made in his July 26 convention speech, Limbaugh said: "He [Clinton] claims that the president has withheld promised funding for No Child Left Behind. This is the old cuts in education business. ... There are no cuts in the No Child Left Behind Act [NCLB]. There are no cuts in education." But as Clinton stated, the problem facing the NCLB is funding, not cuts (as Limbaugh asserted). As Media Matters for America has previously noted, a report by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce shows that President George W. Bush's 2005 budget allocates $9.4 billion less for NCLB programs than Congress had authorized them to receive. This budget plan would deny NCLB programs "promised resources" for the "third straight time" since it was signed into law two years ago.
Wrong on Jimmy Carter: In response to former President Jimmy Carter's July 26 convention speech, Limbaugh falsely claimed Carter was not invited to attend prior Democratic National Conventions:
"[D]o you realize this is the first convention Jimmy Carter's been invited to appear at? Why is that? Because he's associated with absolute economic disaster." As MMFA has noted, Carter not only attended the 2000 Democratic National Convention, but he was the subject of a special tribute honoring his life and political career. As Carter explained during an August 2000 appearance on the PBS program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, he has attended every Democratic National Convention since his presidency except the one held in 1996.
Limbaugh continued his smears and false claims during the July 28 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Complimented and then smeared Obama: Referring to state senator (and candidate for the U.S. Senate) Barack Obama's (D-IL) July 27 speech, Limbaugh said: "It was a good speech. I mean, all right? There -- there's no question -- the guy has got it. Now, he may be Left as Mao Tse Tung, you know, with his -- with his policies, but his speech last night [was good]."
Wrong on pro-choice speakers not addressing the convention: Incorrectly asserting that there had been no pro-choice speakers at the convention, Limbaugh said: "[W]here are the pro-choice people at this convention? ... We haven't seen them. And they're there, but they're not being allowed to go up there and -- and speak." As MMFA has noted, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund (the organization's political arm) president Gloria Feldt spoke at the convention on July 26.
Used Vietnam-era racial slur: Limbaugh compared Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) televised arrival by boat into Boston (for the convention) to an imaginary "mission" in which the Vietnam veteran-turned-senator approached Saigon in a swift boat during the Vietnam War; in doing so, Limbaugh used a Vietnam-era racial epithet to describe why only Kerry supporters had gathered to await the senator's arrival: "Charlie was nowhere to be found -- no gooks. And if there were gooks, they'd been -- they'd -- probably sent [them] over to Manhattan somewhere, around Madison Square Garden [site of the upcoming Republican National Convention], replaced by locals here, who are very much in favor of the arrival of Captain Kerry."
Wrong on Kerry's first Purple Heart: In attacking Teresa Heinz Kerry's convention speech (during which she referred to the three Purple Hearts her husband earned during combat in the Vietnam War), Limbaugh asserted without basis that Kerry's third Purple Heart, which allowed him to leave Vietnam, was undeserved. Limbaugh said, "[T]his was nothing more than a scratch that a Band-Aid would fix, and the story is, you know, three Purple Hearts and you're out of there. That was the rule. ... Well, he had two Purple Hearts and the story going around is he self-inflicted the third one with a minor, minor injury and the doctor saw it and he got a Purple Heart out of it and got out of Vietnam." Limbaugh was apparently referring to a claim by Dr. Louis Letson that Kerry was awarded his first -- not third -- Purple Heart after receiving a non-combat wound. MMFA has noted that Letson's claim is highly questionable. Letson is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group founded to discredit Kerry's record during and after his service in Vietnam; both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have reported that, according to the Kerry campaign, Letson was not the medical official who signed Kerry's medical records for the wound.
Reported false charge against Teresa Heinz Kerry: Limbaugh also read from an article on AmericanThinker.com that revived the false charge that Heinz Kerry has funded "extreme left-wing" groups through donations to the Tides Foundation: "[S]he [Heinz Kerry] invokes the memory of her dead Republican first husband, Senator John Heinz [R-PA], whose family fortune she now spends on behalf of a Democrat and in support of extreme Left Wing causes through the Tides Foundation. MMFA, however, has noted that, according to the Heinz Endowments: "[B]y legally binding contract, every penny of Heinz's support to Tides has been explicitly directed to specific projects in Pennsylvania," such as "environmental protection or education projects," and not to "extreme left-wing causes."