In recent weeks, radio host Rush Limbaugh has played fast and loose with the numbers on a variety of issues, ranging from a May 2004 report by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, to the 2000 presidential election recount, to the federal deficit, to federal education spending. On the July 14 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, he continued this trend by falsely claiming that opponents of same-sex marriage received an "important" "moral victory" by "getting 50 votes" in support of the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The amendment in fact received 48 votes; 50 senators voted against it.
The amendment did not even receive a simple majority, much less the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle. (And 67 "yes" votes are required for a constitutional amendment on final passage.)
Limbaugh also got the number of and the names of the Republican senators who voted against the constitutional amendment wrong when he said, "[T]here were four Republicans -- Collins, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, and McCain -- who voted against the whole thing in the first place." Of the 50 votes against the amendment, six (not four) came from Republican senators -- and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was not among them.
From the July 14 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I have to tell you Republicans sort of slammed the door on themselves, because there were four Republicans -- Collins, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, and McCain -- who voted against the whole thing in the first place.
LIMBAUGH: The Senate vote, 50 to 48 on the -- on the constitutional amendment, procedural vote, to ban same-sex marriage. So they -- they got the moral victory of at least getting 50 votes. That is important, but just wait to see the way this is portrayed.