On November 21, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh and MSNBC host Tucker Carlson defended Rep. Jean Schmidt's (R-OH) controversial remarks regarding Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) by falsely claiming that Col. Dan Bubp, the Marine Reservist whom Schmidt purported to quote, is currently serving in Iraq. In fact, Bubp, a Republican, is currently serving in the Ohio House of Representatives and is a colonel in the Marine Reserves. Media Matters for America has found no evidence to suggest that he has ever served in Iraq. Bubp has since denied making the comments that Schmidt attributed to him.
In an apparent response to Murtha's call to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Schmidt delivered a November 18 floor speech in which she announced that she had "received a call from Col. Danny Bubp, Ohio representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives." Schmidt claimed that Bubp had asked her "to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do." Murtha, a retired Marine and a Vietnam veteran, has been awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. Schmidt later retracted her comment, asserting, "[M]y remarks were not directed at any member of the House, and I did not intend to suggest they applied to any member, most especially the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania [Murtha]."
On his November 21 radio show, Limbaugh played an audio clip of Schmidt's original comments, including her statement that Bubp is the "Ohio representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives." Limbaugh proceeded to defend Schmidt's statement, falsely claiming that a "United States Marine ... on the ground in Iraq had the guts to get a message to the Democrats in the House of Representatives." Limbaugh added: "But you notice here, folks, here's this Marine who gets his message to his congressperson read on the floor of the House: 'Cowards cut and run, Marines never do.' All hell broke loose. I wonder why."
Similarly, on the November 21 edition of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson, Carlson responded to guest and Air America Radio host Rachel Maddow's criticism of Schmidt by falsely claiming that Schmidt "was quoting an active-duty Marine currently serving in Iraq, whose opinion ought to have some weight." After Maddow called Democrats' reaction to Schmidt's comments "appropriate," Carlson asked, "Because they have no respect for Marines in uniform serving in Iraq?"
But Bubp is not serving in Iraq. A November 22 Cincinnati Enquirer article noted that he "has served in the Marine Corps Reserve for 27 years, including three years of active duty." However, as the weblog Daily Kos pointed out, Bubp's campaign website for the 2004 election -- when he was first elected to the Ohio House -- contains a biography that details his military service and includes no reference to service in Iraq. Bubp's biography does note that, in 2003, he "[s]erved on the J-3 Staff at United States Central Command, Tampa, Florida for General Tommy Franks in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom."
As the Think Progress weblog has noted, Bubp now denies ever having asked Schmidt "to send Congressman Murtha a message." Following Limbaugh and Carlson's false claims, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Bubp said "that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward." According to the Enquirer, Bubp "said he called Schmidt on Friday afternoon to discuss the resolution that called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq -- not to talk about Murtha."
From the November 21 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I think they're all cowards. I think -- I think they get very defensive here. In fact, let me play this audio sound bite for you. This is Jean Schmidt -- she's a freshman congressperson from Ohio -- and this is from last Friday on the House floor. She's the one who defeated Paul Hackett in that recent special election in Ohio. And this is how it happened -- this is how it went down on Friday on the floor of the House.
SCHMIDT: A few minutes ago, I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio representative from the 88th District in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance --
HOUSE SPEAKER PRO TEM MIKE SIMPSON (R-ID): Gentlemen!
SCHMIDT: -- from this body that we will --
SIMPSON: The House will --
SCHMIDT: -- see this through --
SIMPSON: The House will -- the House will --
LIMBAUGH (speaking over audio): Holy Toledo, folks!
SIMPSON: The House will be in order.
LIMBAUGH (speaking over audio): The House will be in --
SIMPSON: The House will be in order.
LIMBAUGH (speaking over audio): -- will be in order. Oh, the House was not in order.
SIMPSON: The House will be in order.
LIMBAUGH (speaking over audio): The House -- because somebody --
SIMPSON: "The House will be in order."
LIMBAUGH: -- a United States Marine on the floor -- on the ground in Iraq -- had the guts to get a message to the Democrats in the House of Representatives. "Cowards cut and run, Marines never do." And she prefaced it by saying, "I've got a message for Congressman Murtha from a --" These people on the ground over there -- these people in uniform in Iraq -- make no mistake about it, this kind of stuff offends them. They are volunteers. They have not been conscripted. They have not been sent over there against their wishes or against their will.
By the way, there was a -- I saw a headline when I was gone, something about 83,000 detainees so far in the war on terror. And I thought, well that's a good start. Let's keep it going.
I also have an AP [Associated Press] story today. In Morocco, two Al Qaeda members have been arrested. They are former residents of Club G'itmo [the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba] - two former residents of Club G'itmo who were let go have been arrested as part of an Al Qaeda gang -- I think it's either in Pakistan or Morocco. I've got the story, and I'll dig it up here for you real quick. But you notice here, folks, here's this Marine who gets his message to his congressperson read on the floor of the House: "Cowards cut and run, Marines never do." All hell broke loose. I wonder why.
From the November 21 edition of MSNBC The Situation with Tucker Carlson:
MADDOW: What isn't good and what was gross about the Friday debate was what Jean Schmidt did, was saying, you know, cowards, you know, "Marines don't run" or cowards -- calling Jack Murtha a coward. That was wrong.
CARLSON: Wait a second. What you're missing is the context. And the context -- I don't know Jean Schmidt. And I could care less about Jean Schmidt. She's actually the newest member of the House. She is the lowest person on the totem pole in the House of Representatives. So she's irrelevant, politically.
MADDOW: Well --
CARLSON: But the point is she got that, she was quoting an active-duty Marine currently serving in Iraq, whose opinion ought to have some weight, by the criteria you just laid out, that we ought to pay respect to our men in uniform. And that's what this Marine said. So how can you say it's over-the-top and wrong?
MADDOW: I think that the reaction from Democrats was totally appropriate. That the House erupted when she called John Murtha a coward.
CARLSON: Because they have no respect for Marines in uniform serving in Iraq?