Claiming he never attacked the Frosts, Limbaugh mimicked Graeme Frost and attacked Dems for "exploiting" family

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

Discussing Graeme Frost and his family on Hannity & Colmes, Rush Limbaugh claimed, "I never once attacked this family. I attacked the Democrats for exploiting them. I attacked the Democrats for putting lies into the head of a 12-year-old -- a 12-year-old they send out before microphones and cameras to sit there and say," and mimicking Graeme's voice, continued, " 'I only want health care for the rest of American children like I got, and George Bush is against it.' The 12-year-old can't write that garbage!"

On the October 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing Graeme Frost, the 12-year-old who delivered a Democratic radio address criticizing President Bush's veto of a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), co-host Alan Colmes told guest Rush Limbaugh: "You feel you were attacked by certain people. You claim that liberals as a whole lie and can't defend themselves. I debate conservatives every night. But you have attacked people like the family, for example, of Graeme Frost ... using the words of somebody from the Free Republic. Should this family be the victim of barbs from anybody because they're trying to do best for their kid?" As Think Progress noted, Limbaugh responded: "You know, Alan, that's an interesting question. I never once attacked this family. I attacked the Democrats for exploiting them. I attacked the Democrats for putting lies into the head of a 12-year-old -- a 12-year-old they send out before microphones and cameras to sit there and say," and mimicking Frost's voice, continued, " 'I only want health care for the rest of American children like I got, and George Bush is against it.' The 12-year-old can't write that garbage!"

The Frost family relied on SCHIP to pay for the treatment of injuries Graeme and his sister Gemma suffered in a car accident in 2004. In an October 6 post on the Free Republic website titled, "The 'Not So Poor' 12 Year Old Who Rebutted Bush on SCHIP Veto," user "icwhatudo" disclosed that Graeme "is a middle school student at the exclusive $20,000 per year Park School," and that "Gemma ... attended the same school prior to the accident. " The post went on to include additional details about the family's finances. As Media Matters for America documented, following Graeme's radio address, conservative bloggers aimed several attacks at his family, from questioning their financial status to referring to Graeme's parents as "mostly spoiled brats who became parents and never felt compelled to take responsibility for themselves." Other media outlets then echoed or cited the bloggers' attacks. For example, on the October 10 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh said that the Frosts "can clearly afford [health insurance]. They just choose not to." During a report on the October 11 edition of CNN's American Morning, as the blog Think Progress noted, anchor John Roberts said of the controversy: "Conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin pounced, claiming the Frost family is a fraud, too wealthy for government assistance. One accusation: that Graeme attends a $20,000-a-year private school. The family insists scholarships cover most of that bill." He added: "Some of the accusations may be exaggerated or false, but did the Democrats make a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child?"

On Hannity & Colmes, Limbaugh also asserted: "The fact of the matter is, Graeme Frost was covered and got the health care -- he and his sister both got the health care they needed under the current circumstances of the program. The Democrats sent those two little kids out there to make the American people think that they would not get covered because Bush didn't want to expand the program." In fact, Graeme did not suggest anywhere in his address that he and Gemma "would not get covered because Bush didn't want to expand the program." Rather, as Limbaugh noted earlier, Graeme specifically stated that he and his sister "got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program," adding, "But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt." From Graeme's September 29 address:

Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I'm 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably haven't heard of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today.

CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn't eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse. I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.

My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program.

But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.

Now I'm back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don't talk the same way I used to. And I can't walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can't play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I'm just happy to be back with my friends.

I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I'm glad I could see them because of the Children's Health Program.

I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me. This is Graeme Frost, and this has been the Weekly Democratic Radio address. Thanks for listening.

From the October 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

COLMES: Hey, Rush, it's Alan once again. You feel you were attacked by certain people. You claim that liberals as a whole lie and can't defend themselves. I debate conservatives every night. But you have attacked people like the family, for example, of Graeme Frost, and quoting -- using the words of somebody who posted on the Free Republic. Should this family be the victim of barbs from anybody because they're trying to do best for their kid?

LIMBAUGH: You know, Alan, that's an interesting question. I never once attacked this family. I attacked the Democrats for exploiting them. I attacked the Democrats for putting lies into the head of a 12-year-old -- a 12-year-old they send out before microphones and cameras to sit there and say, "I only want health care for the rest of American children like I got, and George Bush is against it." The 12-year-old can't write that garbage!

The fact of the matter is, Graeme Frost was covered and got the health care -- he and his sister both got the health care they needed under the current circumstances of the program. The Democrats sent those two little kids out there to make the American people think that they would not get covered because Bush didn't want to expand the program.

The Democrats are amazingly brazen in this at using kids, using seasoned citizens. I never attacked this family. I simply reported what their financial circumstances are. I actually feel sorry for them to be used.

This is another thing. If you would turn on my radio show and listen to me, you would know I never once attacked -- I would not attack a 12-year-old kid. I feel sorry for the fact that the kid is having words put in his mouth. He's sent out before the whole country to lie, when he can't know any better, because he's 12 years old, simply to advance another lie that the Democrats want to put forth, because the SCHIP program is nothing more than a stealth attempt to get socialized medicine inculcated over as much of America as possible.

You can't tell me that children are 25 years and younger. You can't tell me that a family of four making 82 grand is poverty-stricken -- and that's what this program would have done. It is obscene.

HANNITY: Hey, Rush, Sean -- last question. I'd be negligent if I didn't ask you. I remember a while back, Matt Drudge on his website had up there, "Limbaugh: 80 percent chance Hillary becomes the next president." Do you -- assess the presidential election in the short time we have left, and do you really think she has that good a chance of winning?

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Rush Limbaugh, Alan Colmes
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Public Broadcasting
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