Limbaugh compared Bill Clinton to segregationist "Bull" Connor

››› ››› ANNE SMITH

On the January 28 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly referred to former President Bill Clinton as " 'Bull' Clinton," a reference to Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, the segregationist public safety commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, who ordered that fire hoses and police attack dogs be used against protesters during the civil rights movement.

Limbaugh made the remark while discussing comments Clinton made on January 26 about Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) presidential campaign in South Carolina. Limbaugh declared: "We have gone from 'Bull' Connor to Bill or 'Bull' Clinton." Limbaugh later added: "And he looks like 'Bull' Clinton. The only thing he doesn't have is the hose." Limbaugh concluded:

LIMBAUGH: The bottom line was, he [Connor] was a member of the [Ku Klux] Klan; he was a sheriff, a police official, a staunch advocate of racial segregation -- fire hoses and police dogs on protesters. So, when we say we've gone from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton, what I mean is that "Bull" Connor lives in spirit today in Bill Clinton by virtue of his behavior in South Carolina and his dissing of Jesse Jackson when asked to explain Obama's victory.

From the January 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: And greetings, my friends, and welcome. It's Rush Limbaugh, America's real anchorman. Kicking off a full week of broadcast excellence here at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies and the Excellence in Broadcasting network -- great to have you with us.

I called it. I told you the Clintons were going to play the race card. Not only did they play the race card, people have been asking me all weekend: So what do you think of this? I said it's very simple to explain. We have gone from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton, ladies and gentlemen. That's the way to express what has happened to the Democrat [sic] Party, now totally divided along the lines of race and gender -- but particularly race. From "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton.

And if you wonder why I say -- Mike, grab audio sound bite -- I told him to stand by for Number 1 or 13. So, what do I do? Grab Number 2. Here is Bill Clinton Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina. This is outside a polling station and the president, the former president, is speaking with reporters. An unidentified reporter says: "What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?"

BILL CLINTON [audio clip]: Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama's running a good campaign -- he's run a good campaign.

LIMBAUGH: Bill Clinton has compared Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson. We've gone from "Bull" Connor to Bill or "Bull" Clinton in one little nine-second sound bite. Now, you know, you remember that Clinton also took out Jesse Jackson. The Reverend Jackson was Sister Souljah'ed out there, so this is -- look it, a lot of people are saying, and they say, "Rush, you were right. This is exactly what the Clintons wanted to happen. They wanted a big racial defeat so they could go out" -- and their firewall's going to be Hispanics. Mrs. Clinton is going to go out there and try to shore up Hispanics now, playing the race card again. But I don't think they expected to be in this position. I don't think they expected Toni Morrison, who claimed that Clinton was the first black president, to endorse Barack Obama, and I don't think they expected the JFK side of the Kennedy family to endorse Barack. Now, Ted Kennedy has his endorsement speech coming up in a few minutes, in about six and a half minutes.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: Two more little clips here, or excerpts, from Senator Kennedy's endorsement letter, which I feel confident will be in his speech today. He said: "I remember another leader who inspired a nation, especially our youth, to fulfill a promise of change. Those inspired young people marched, they sat at lunch counters, they protested the war in Vietnam, and they served honorably in that war, even when they opposed it." Now that's a little veiled attack at Bill Clinton, too, and his loathe of the military letter. And then comes this from Senator Kennedy: "That leader challenged them to ask what they could do for their country, and together they changed the world. So, in the words of that leader, John Kennedy: 'The world is changing. The old ways will not do. It is time for a new generation of leadership.' " It's a full frontal on the Clintons.

And then this: "Barack will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past. He sees the world clearly without being cynical. He fights for the causes he believes in, but refuses to demonize those who hold a different view." He has just accused, in this fundraising letter, in this endorsement letter, the Clintons of politics of personal destruction, the politics of fear, and the fact that they demonize those who hold a different view.

What this all means is that everybody in the Democrat establishment has long known exactly who and what the Clintons are, and as long as the Clintons were turning their venom on Republicans and conservatives, it was hunky-dory. It was fine. But now that Bill Clinton has become "Bull" Clinton -- from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton -- now that Clinton is turning, and his wife, are turning their tactics on fellow Democrats, particularly, a likable, young black guy, the Democrat establishment doesn't like what they see. We have the Kennedy wing in full -- it's a head-on assault against the Clinton wing, and it's delicious.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: Now, one of the problems is the Hispanic vote -- you know, the largest minority in the country, but their record of turning out is less than blacks. So, she's going to go out once again and she's going to try to stipulate that -- you know, look at what's happening to our party. Black people are -- they're siphoning off, and all they care about is themselves. And all they care about is each other. She's not going to say this in so many words, but she's going to point out: "Look what they did in South Carolina. Here I am, the savior and the Mother Superior of this country, and look what they did! They just rallied around somebody 'cause of their skin color." And the message is going to be, "Hispanics, don't let them take me out and don't let them, those black people, marginalize you."

So, these divisions are going to continue to happen the longer this goes, and I think there will be some residual fallout for Democrats if it's Mrs. Clinton in November as a result of what's happening here with the blatant playing -- I mean, look it. When I say that we've gone from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton, believe me, there are plenty in this audience, black voters, and they will spread -- they know exactly what that means. And he looks like "Bull" Clinton. The only thing he doesn't have is the hose -- you know, "Bull" Connor spraying the fire hose on these guys.

But Bill Clinton is doing his best to marginalize them, to say they're not important. That slam that Clinton made against Obama: "Well, I mean, he's just like Jesse Jackson." Jesse Jackson's a nobody in the Democrat Party without the Clintons. Jesse Jackson never got close to anything. What they're saying is: "Hey, now you people are getting all worked up about him. He's just another loser. He's just Jesse Jackson. He's just like Jesse Jackson. Jackson ran a good campaign. Now, what the hell do you expect to happen? A guy like Jesse Jackson comes in, Obama, with a bunch of black people in a state, what the hell you people think will happen? You think they're going to vote for a bunch of white people? Hell no!"

What he's saying is these blacks in South Carolina are a bunch of racists, and they're hanging together -- don't doubt me on this. The black population in this country hears this, those that pay attention to this, and they are getting it.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: Now, I have been saying, ladies and gentlemen, that the Democratic race can be typified by the following statement: We've gone from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton. And Mr. Snerdly has suggested it might be helpful for me to tell you who "Bull" Connor was. Some of you may not know because of your age.

His real name was Eugene "Bull" Connor. He was a member of the Klan. "Bull" Connor was a member of the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan. "Bull" Connor was a staunch advocate of racial segregation, much as was Bill Clinton's mentor, Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. As the Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s, "Bull" Connor became a symbol of bigotry. He infamously fought against integration by using fire hoses and police attack dogs against unarmed black protest marchers and even white protest marchers who were marching with the blacks. The spectacle -- now all this was broadcast on television -- the spectacle served as one of the catalysts for major social and legal change in the South and helped in large measure to assure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Connor's tactics backfired dramatically into helping to bring about the very change that he was opposing.

The bottom line was, he was a member of the Klan; he was a sheriff, a police official, a staunch advocate of racial segregation -- fire hoses and police dogs on protesters.

So, when we say we've gone from "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton, what I mean is that "Bull" Connor lives in spirit today in Bill Clinton by virtue of his behavior in South Carolina and his dissing of Jesse Jackson when asked to explain Obama's victory. "Well, you know, Jesse Jackson that ran down here, too, he did good in two elections. He ran a good campaign, but Obama ran a good campaign, too, but I mean, what the hell are you gonna do? You got black people down here support black people; they support losers. They support -- Jesse Jackson's a loser, but I had to go in -- you know I had to Sister Souljah that guy in order to get elected myself. You can't get anywhere with these people. You can't get anywhere with these people." That's what he saying. And so: "Bull" Connor to "Bull" Clinton.

Network/Outlet
Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Show/Publication
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Bill Clinton, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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