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CNN Live Event/Special

Rush Limbaugh's Address to CPAC Winter Meeting

Aired February 28, 2009 - 16:45   ET


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you all. I can't tell you how wonderful that makes me feel. It happens everywhere I go, but it's still special to hear.


If you all will indulge me, I learned something -- I guess it's early Friday morning that I -- Friday morning is when I learned this. I learned that Fox, God love them, is televising this speech on the Fox News Channel, which means...


Which means, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my first ever address to the nation.


AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!

LIMBAUGH: Thank you. Thank you. Now, I have someone in back taking phone numbers.

In fact, I would like to introduce to you my security chief, a man who runs all of my security. His name is Joseph Stalin.

Joseph, would you please...


I am safe from any liberal attack in public because they would be afraid of offending Stalin.


Now, the opportunity here to address the nation is a serious one. It really is. And I want to take it seriously. I want to address something.

I know that people are probably watching this who never have listened to my program and may not even really know what conservatism is. They think they do based on how they've been told, the way we've been impugned and aligned and so forth.

One of the things that is totally erroneous about me -- and I just want to get this up front -- is that I'm pompous and that I am arrogant. Neither of these things are remotely true. I can tell you a joke to illustrate this.

Larry King passed away. He goes to heaven, is greeted by St. Peter at the gates

St. Peter says, "Welcome, Mr. King. It's great to have you here. I want to show you around, give you an idea of what's here. Maybe you can pick a place that you'd like to reside."

King says, "I just have one question. Is Rush Limbaugh here?"

"No. No, no, no. He's still got a lot of time yet, Mr. King."

So St. Peter begins the tour. Larry King sees the various places, and they're just beyond anything we can imagine in terms of beauty.

He finally gets to the biggest room of all with this giant thrown, and over the throne is a flashing, beautiful, angelic neon sign that says "Rush Limbaugh." And Larry King looks at St. Peter and says, "I thought you said he wasn't here."

"He's not. He's not. This is God's room. He just thinks he's Rush Limbaugh."



So, you see, I'm not pompous.

Now, seriously, for those of you watching on C-SPAN, as well, and on Fox, I want to tell you who we all are in this room. I want to tell you who conservatives are.

We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are because we make the mistake of assuming that people know. Well, what they know is largely incorrect based on the way we are portrayed in pop culture, in the drive-by media, by the Democrat Party.

Let me tell you who we conservatives are.

We love people.


When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings.

We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see is potential.

We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work, we do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations, and too much government.


We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.


We believe that the Preamble of the Constitution contains an inarguable truth, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights -- among them life...


... liberty, freedom...


... and the pursuit of happiness.


Now, those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.


Thank you. Thank you.

We don't want to tell anybody how to live. That's up to you. If you want to make the best of yourself, feel free. If you want to ruin your life, we'll try to stop and make it, because it's -- but it's a waste.

We look over the country as it is today, we see so much waste, human potential that's been destroyed by 50 years of a welfare state, by a failed war on poverty that has...


We love the people of this country, and we want this to be the greatest country it can be, but we do understand, as people created and endowed by our creator, we're all individuals. We resist the effort to group us. We resist the effort to make us feel that we're all the same, that we're no different than anybody else.

We are all different. There are no two things or people in this world who are created in a way that they end up with equal outcomes. That's up to them. They are created equal to give the chance.


We don't hate anybody. We don't -- I mean, the racism in this country, if you ask me -- and I know many people in this audience. Let me just deal with this head on.

You know what the cliche is of a conservative? A racist, sexist, bigoted homophobe. Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen of America, but if you were paying attention -- and I know you were -- the racism in our culture was exclusively and fully on display in the Democrat primary last year.


It was not us asking whether Barack Obama was authentic. What we were asking is, is he wrong? We concluded yes.

We still think so, but we didn't ask if he was authentically black. We didn't say, as some Southern Christian Leadership Conference leader said, Barack is not authentic, he's not got any slave blood, he's really not down for the struggle, but his wife does, so don't expect the race industry to go away. Southern Christian Leadership Conference. You may not even know this, it wasn't reported in the drive-by media -- the racism, the sexism, the bigotry that we are all charged with.

Just so you across the United States of America know and you will see demonstrated as the afternoon goes on, it doesn't exist on our side. We want everybody to succeed. I am...


Do you know why? Do you know why? We want to country to succeed, and for the country to succeed, its people, its individuals must succeed.

Everyone among us must be pursuing his ambition or her desire, whatever, with excellence, trying to be the best they can be. Not told, as they are told by the Democrat Party, you really can't do that, you don't have what it takes. Besides, you're a minority or you're a woman, and there are too many people willing to discriminate against you. You can't get anywhere. You need to depend on us.

Well, take a look. Someone has to say this. I am thrilled for the opportunity to say it in my first national address to the nation. I'm going to touch on this in more detail in a moment, but this is just to get you thinking.

Take a look at all of the constituency groups that for 50 years have been depending on the Democrat Party to improve their lives, and you tell me if you find any. They're still complaining. They are still griping about the same problems.

Their problems don't get fixed by government. And those lives have been poisoned. Those lives have been cut short by false promises from government representatives who have said, don't worry about it, we'll take care of you. Just vote for us.


For those of you just tuning in on the Fox News Channel or C-SPAN, I am Rush Limbaugh, and I want everyone in this room and every one of you around the country to succeed. I want anyone who believes in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness to succeed. And I want any force, any person, any element of an overarching big government that would stop your success, I want that organization, that element, or that person to fail. I want you to succeed.


Also for those of you in the drive by media watching, I have not needed a tell teleprompter for anything I've said. Nor do any of us need one because our beliefs are not the results of calculations and contrivances. Our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology. Our beliefs are our core.

Our beliefs are our hearts. We don't have to make notes about what we believe. We don't have to write it down. We can tell people what we believe off the top of our heads and we can do it with passion and we can do it with clarity and we can do persuasively.

Some of us just haven't had the inspiration or the motivation to do so in a number of year, but that's about to change. For example, we gather here. I understand I talked to David and Lisa in the super exclusive private green room that nobody but about 55 people were allowed into, and they said that there's a sense of liberation here among of all of you that are attending CPAC and I understand what the sense of liberation is about.

But don't make the mistake at the same time of feeling liberated as thinking we're better and we can do better as a minority. Because we're not a minority. And if you start thinking of ourselves as a minority, you're going to be defensive and you're going to allow the majority to set the agenda and the premise you're responding to it.

The American people may not all vote the way we would wish them to, but more Americans than you know live their lives as conservatives in one degree or another. And they are waiting for leadership. We need conservative leadership. We can take this country back. All we need is to nominate the right candidate. It's no more complicated than that.

Now let me speak about President Obama for just a second. President Obama is one of the most gifted politicians, one of the most gifted men that I have ever witnessed. He has extraordinary talents. He has communication skills that hardly anyone can surpass. No, seriously. No, I'm being very serious about this. It just breaks my heart that he does not use these extraordinary talents and gifts to motivate and inspire the American people to be the best they can be. He's doing just the opposite. And it's a shame.

President Obama has the ability - he has the ability to inspire excellence in people's pursuits. He has the ability to do all this, yet he pursues a path, seeks a path, that punishes achievement, that punishes earners, that punishes, and he speaks negatively of the country. Ronald Reagan used to speak of a shining city on a hill. Barack Obama portrays America as a soup kitchen and some dark night in a corner of America that's very obscure. He constantly is telling the American people that bad times are ahead, worse times are ahead. And it's troubling because this is the United States of America.

Did anybody ever ask - I'm in awe of our country and I ask this question as I got older. We're less than 300 years old. We're younger than nations that have been on this planet for thousands of years. We nevertheless in less than 300 years, and by the way, we're no different as human beings in any others around the world. Our DNA is no different. We're not better just because we're born in America. There's nothing that sets us apart.

How did this happen? How did the United States of America become the world's lone super power, the world's economic engine, the most prosperous opportunity for an advanced lifestyle that humanity has ever known? How did this happen and why pray tell does the president of the United States want to destroy it? It saddens me.

The freedom that we spoke of earlier is the freedom, it's the ambition, it's the desire, the wherewithal, the passions that people have that gave us the great entrepreneurial advances, the great inventions, the greatest food production, the human lifestyle advances in this country. Why shouldn't that be rewarded? Why is that now the focus of punishment? Why is that now the focus of blame?

Why doesn't - Mayor Bloomberg, the other day, ladies and gentlemen, resisting his governor's call for an increased tax on the rich in New York, had some astounding numbers. Eight million people live in New York. 40,000 of those eight million pay roughly 60 percent to 70 percent of New York's operating budget. He was afraid that if he raised taxes on those people, some of them might leave. Mayor, one already has, by the way.

Stop and think of this though. Stop and think of this. 40,000 people out of eight million. He's got -- he's right. If 10,000 of them leave or 5,000, they've got a huge problem because New York has its own welfare state inside the one the federal government has created. They've got a dependency class that has grown up and been educated, their entitlement is to be fed and taken care of by these evil mean people who have more than they do.

If New York City, New York state, or Washington, D.C. were a business, these 40,000 people would be taken on golf tournament trips to Los Angeles. And they would be wined and dined and they would be fed. And they would be encouraged to keep it up. They wouldn't be told they're the problem. They wouldn't be told except there's us - you know, I pride my accuracy rating. There is one other customer where the customer is always wrong and that's the media. Sorry about that.

Why have you ever called them to complain whatever they do. They say, yes sir, yes, sir, three bags full, they hang up and say you're too stupid to know how they're doing and what they're doing. You can't get it, you are not sophisticated enough. So that's another business where the customer is always wrong. But seriously, the people who have achieved great things, most of it is not inherited. Most wealth in this country is the result of entrepreneurial just plain old hard work. There's no reason to punish it. There's no reason to raise taxes on these people. Barack Obama, the democrat party, have one responsibility. And that's to respect the oath they gave to protect, defend and follow the U.S. constitution. They don't have the right to take money that's not theirs and none of it is from back pockets of producers and give it to groups like A.C.O.R.N. which are going advance the democrat party.

If anybody but government were doing this, it would be a crime. And many of us think it's bordering on that as it exists now. President Obama is so busy ferment(ph) and create anger in a created atmosphere of crisis. He is so busy fueling the emotions of class envy that he has forgotten it's not his money he's spending. He seems to have, in fact - the money he's spending is not ours. He is spending wealth that has yet to be created. And that is not sustainable. It will not work.

This has been tried around the world. And every time it's been tried, it's a failed disaster. What's the longest war in American history? Somebody is saying the war on poverty? Smart group. Yes, war on poverty. Yes, war on poverty essentially started in the '30s as part of the new deal, but it really ramped up in the '60s with Lyndon Johnson, part of the great society of war on poverty.

We have transferred something like 10 trillion, maybe close to 11 trillion from producers and earners to nonproducers and earners since 1965. And yet as I listen to the democrat party campaign, why, America's still a soup kitchen. The poor are still poor. And they have no hope. And they're poor for what reason? Well, they're poor because of us, because we don't care, and because we've gotten rich by taking from them. That's what kids in school are taught today. That's what others have said to the media. You know why they're poor? You know why they remain poor? Because their lives have been destroyed by the never ending government paid that's designed to help them, but it destroys ambition, it destroys the education they might get to learn to be self-fulfilling.

And it breaks our hearts. It breaks our hearts. We lose track of numbers. With all of the money, with all the money that's been transferred, redistributed, with all the charitable giving in this country. Ladies and gentlemen, there ought not be any poverty except among those who genuinely are ill equipped. But most of the people in poverty in this country are equipped for far much more. They've just been beaten down. They've been told don't worry, we'll take care of you. There's nothing out there for you anyway. You're going to be discriminated against.

And it breaks our hearts to see this. We can't have a great country and a growing economy with more and more people being told they have a right because of some injustice that's been done to them or some discrimination. They have the right to the earnings of others. And it's gotten so out of hand now that what worries me is that this administration, the Barack Obama administration, is actively seeking to expand the welfare state in this country because he wants to control it.

George Will once asked Dr. Frederich Van Hayek, tremendous classical liberal economist, a great man, George was in 1975 - Dr. Van Hayek, why is it that intellectuals who are supposedly the smartest people in the room, why is it that intellectuals can look right out the window, look at their own homes, their cars, look at their universities and not see the bounties and the growth and the greatness of capitalism?

And Van Hayek says, you know I've troubled over this for years and I've finally concluded that for intellectuals, pseudo intellectuals, and all liberal, it's about control. It's not about a raising revenue. You think Obama has any intention of paying for all this spending? Folks, if he had any intention of paying for it he wouldn't do 90 percent of it because we don't have the money. They don't care about paying for it. All that's just words.

All that is just rhetoric paying for it because he knows you have to worry about paying for it. He knows we all have to be concerned about - oh, except - wrong again. Except the words of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who were given homes that everybody knew they could never pay for and now Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the architects along with Bill Clinton of the policy that gave us the whole subprime mortgage crisis, get to sit around and act as innocent spectators to investigate what went on when they largely had the biggest role in causing it.

Congressman Frank's definition of affordable housing is you get a house that you have to pay for, that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. And why? Well, because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. It's just unfair. So here we have two systems. We have socialism, collectivism. Whatever you want to call it, versus capitalism.

Now, admittedly over here on the right side, capitalism, there will be unequal outcomes because we're all different. And some of us care more and have more passion and we know what we want to do and others are still struggling for it. Some people are just going to work harder than others. OK. You get what you work for. Those who have a genuine inability for whatever reason are taken care of. We're compassionate people.

On the left side when you get in this collectivism-socialism stuff, these people on the left, the democrats and liberals today, claim they are paying by the inequities and the inequalities in our society. They believe that these inequities and inequalities descend from the selfishness and the greed of the achievers. And so they tell the people who are on different income quintiles, whatever lists, they say it's not that you're not working hard enough, you could you have what they have, they're stealing it for you.

So what liberals do, and I say this again to - another thing I don't know if people in the country are watching, I was watching a focus group after some event this week. It might have been after Obama's state of the union show.


LIMBAUGH: And - it was a typical drive by media focus group. They round up losers. Who hear Obama speak and think that the next day their gas tanks get filled up, they'll get a new house, a new kitchen, a new car. So this one guy said, oh, it get it was some guy responding to Bobby Jindal. Oh, by the way, did you hear what Joe Biden - Joe Biden was mystified how Bobby Jindal got a shift off at 7-11 that night to make a speech.

Wait a minute. All right. Time out. Time out. Suspend speech. People watching at home - see, I'm glad this happened. I'm glad this happened. You think I just made a joke, an ethnic joke about Bobby Jindal, don't you? I didn't. I made a joke about the bigotry of the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden.


LIMBAUGH: It was Joe Biden while walking through the train station he knows so well because he's such a real guy that he made a comment that you can't go into a 7-11 without seeing some Indian guy behind the counter. They are all over the place. Now, let a conservative say something like that, and he's brought up before a John Connors committee with Pat Leahy wanting at you next. OK. Many of you think I lose my places in these speeches when I interrupt. By the way, what time is it? OK. We got plenty of time. We have to be out of here by -- we have to be out of here by 6:00 otherwise before.


LIMBAUGH: All right. OK. It depends how you behave. I'll decide as we go on. What liberalism, democrat, for those of you in the country, I really want to you believe this because it's the truth. I'm not saying it because I believe it. This is a core. We want the best country we can have. We want the most prosperous people. We want to be growing. We want to lead the world. We want everybody to want to come here legally. We want this country to be so damn great and we just cringe to watch basically capitalism be assaulted, and our culture be oriented to where the people that make it work are the enemy.

That's not the United States of America. The people that make this country work, the people that pay their mortgages, the people getting up and going to work, striving in this recession to not participate in it, they're not the enemy. They're the people that hire you. They're the people that are going to give you the job, the people that are going to give you a raise, the people that that need you to do work for them.


LIMBAUGH: President Obama, and take your pick of any democrat, love to say we've tried it your way, meaning Reaganism. We've tried it your way. We tried it your way in the 80s. It didn't work. We tried it your way eight years -- the last eight years. It didn't work. Excuse me. Excuse me. Have you ever noticed those of you watching around the world and my first international address, Fox is on some international satellites.

(APPLAUSE) They're watching this in the U.K. - when Obama talks about past economies he somehow always leaves out the recession of the '80s is worse than this one. Why does he leave it out? Because - you know why he leaves it is out, America? He leaves it out because we got out of that recession with tax cuts. For those of you watching at home, I'm not nervous. It's just really hot in here. These people are wired.

Now, we got out of the 1980s recession with tax cuts. Do you know that President Obama in six weeks of his administration has proposed more spending than from the founding of the country to his inauguration? Now, this is not prosperity. It is not going to in- gender prosperity, it is not going to create prosperity, and it is also not going to advance or promote freedom. It's going to be just the opposite.

There are going to be more controls over what you can and can't do, how you can and can't do it, what you can and can't drive, what you can and can't say, where you can and can't say it. All of these things are coming down the pike because it's not about revenue generation to them, it's about control. They do believe that they have compassion. They do believe they care. But, see, we never are allowed to look at the results of their plans.

We are told we must only look at their good intentions, their big hearts. The fact that they have destroyed poor families by breaking up those families, by offering welfare checks to women to keep having babies, no more father needed. He's out doing something. The government is the father, they destroy the family, we're not supposed to analyze that. We're not supposed to talk about that. We're supposed to talk about their good intentions.

They destroy people's futures. The future is not big government. Self-serving politicians, powerful bureaucrats, this has been tried, tested throughout history. The result has always been disaster. President Obama, your agenda's not new, it's not change, and it's not hope. Spending a nation into generational debt is not an act of compassion. All politicians including President Obama are temporary stewards of this nation. It is not their task to remake the founding of this country. It is not their task to tear it apart and rebuild it in their image.


LIMBAUGH: It is not their task. It is not their right to remake this nation to accommodate their psychology. I sometimes wonder if liberalism is not just a psychosis or a psychology, not an ideology. It's so much about feelings and the predominant feeling liberalism is about as feeling good about themselves and they do that by telling themselves they have all this compassion. You know how to really - if you really want to unhinge a liberal, it's hard to do because they're so unhinged now anyway, but all you have to do is say, you know what, the things you people do, the things you people believe in are cruel. That's the last way they look at themselves. They are the best people on earth. They're the good people. You tell them that their ideas and that their policies are cruel, and the eggs start scrambling and just - I have learned how to tweak liberals. I can do it instinctively now. I tweak them in the media, tweak them in - there's no reason to be afraid of these people. Why in the world would you be afraid of the deranged? There really is no reason to be afraid of them and no reason to assume they're the minority and there's no reason to let them set all the premises and the agendas to which we respond to.

I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself, but everybody asks me and I'm sure it's been a focal point of your convention, but what do we do? As conservatives, what do we do? How do we overcome this? Well, the one thing, and there are many, but one thing that we can all do is stop assuming that the way to beat them is with better policy ideas right now. I talked - I don't want to name any names, it's not the point.

But I talked to people about the Obama budget or the Obama porkulus bill or the Obama, whatever the hell, TARP 2, whatever it's going to be. And they start talking to me in the terms of process and policy. You know, I say stop it. We're not - what do you mean? Who is setting the process, who's setting the policy? They are. You want to tweak it? You want to - no this is philosophy, folks. This guy, I forget this guy in the focus group of after Bobby Jindal said oh, god, I didn't want to hear him talking, he's just a republican. Republicans or democrats. Republicans or democrats.

Ladies and gentlemen of the United States of America, that's exactly what your future is about, who wins? Republicans or Democrats, conservatives versus liberals. The notion of partisanship, false premise. Partisanship, let me define bipartisanship for you. Bipartisanship is everybody seems to go orgasmic over the concept of bipartisanship.

Don't worry, I checked with Fox. That word is OK. Remember, they've covered the Lewinsky thing. So that's mild. Bipartisanship occurs only after one other result. And that is victory. In other words, let's say as conservatives, liberals demand that we be bipartisan with them in Congress. What they mean is we check our core principles at the door, come in, let them run the show, and then agree with them. That's bipartisanship to them.

To us, bipartisanship is them being forced to agree with us after we have politically cleaned their clocks and beaten them. And that has to be what we're focused on. Why would any of us in this room who hold the core beliefs we believe, somebody tell me where is the compromise on all of this spending? Where is the compromise on all this punishment of the achievers?


LIMBAUGH: Where is - where is the compromise between good and evil? Should Jesus have cut a different deal? No, seriously. From the standpoint of what have we have to do, folks, this is not about taking a policy or a process that the democrats have put forward and finding out we're around the edges. If we're going to convince the minds and hearts of the American people that what's about to happen to them is as disastrous as anything in their lives in peacetime. We're going to have to discuss philosophy whether we are going to talk about principles because our principles are not present in what's happening here. So where the hell do we go to compromise in what we believe in when our -- the principles are just the opposite of what is happening? The American people -- (APPLAUSE). It's a tough challenge. I admit it's a tough challenge. But it's worth it. The way I just defined bipartisanship, you could turn it around. Liberals will define bipartisanship when we surrender and say, OK, we give. But we're not quitting. We're not giving up. (APPLAUSE). The country is too important. (APPLAUSE)

Now, there are certain realities. We don't have the votes in Capitol Hill to stop what's going to happen. What we can do is slow it down -- parliamentary procedures -- slow it down and do the best we can to inform the American people of what's really on the grind. I know it's going to be tough. I don't think it can happen even right now. It's still the honeymoon period and there's a lot of devotion to the Obama administration, has nothing to do with intellectual thinking. It's feelings. It will take some time for this to play out.

But I spoke to David Keen, interviewing for my newsletter, and I asked him about this. He said, they're going to overreach. Wouldn't you say they have? (LAUGHTER). They're going to overreach. At some point -- at some point, people will realize none of this is possible. You can't have people living in homes they don't pay for. You can't have people driving cars they don't pay for. I mean, you can for a while, but after a while, the people pay going it will say, screw this, we're not putting up with it. (LAUGHTER). And you're going to see -- and you already started to see all the evidence of this, all these tea parties that are starting to bubble up out there. (CHEERING). Those are great. It's fabulous. (APPLAUSE).

Here's the big question. Here's the big question. And I ask this again in the context of my first address to the nation. (LAUGHTER). You don't know how I love saying that, how excited I am about this. (LAUGHTER). Aside from the bastardization of the Constitution that the Obama plans are, that TARP is, it's not constitutional, but aside from that, where is the evidence that the people authoring all this have ever succeed in any similar plans before? There's none. (APPLAUSE). There is no evidence it works. (APPLAUSE).

Then how is he getting it done? Dumb down public education. Dumb down emotions. And the ongoing -- this is why I think it's such a waste for a man as gifted with President Obama with the communication skills. Do you know what, he can wipe out the Republican Party. He can wipe out the Republican Party if he would inspire this country to be the best it could be. But we don't have to worry about this because that's not what he wants. He wants people in fear, angst and crisis, fearing the worst each and every day because that clears the decks for President Obama and his pals to come in with the answers, which are abject failures, historically shown and demonstrated. Doesn't matter. They'll have control of it when it's all over. And that's what they want. Because they think they can do it better. They see these inequalities, these inequities that capitalism produces. How do they try to fix it? Do they try to elevate those at the bottom? No, they try to tear down the people at the top. It's not fair you're up there, so they whack you. (APPLAUSE). That's not what made our country great, and no evidence of it is in play here.

John Kerry -- (LAUGHTER). (BOOS) -- served in Vietnam (LAUGHTER). Stop and think of this. And by the way, Barney Frank got involved in this, too. (LAUGHTER). Northern Trust, a bank in Chicago -- by the way, which holds the mortgage to the messiah's house purchased by Tony Rezko. Northern Trust holds the mortgage. Northern Trust was forced, like Wells Fargo was forced, to take TARP Money. Wells Fargo CEOs said they were taken into Paulson's room and they were given until 5:00 to sign it and they weren't getting out until they did. They wanted it spread all over the banking business. Northern Trust was in there. They didn't want it. They took $1.6 million. As you know, they went out, they sponsored the L.A. Riviera Open two weeks ago that Phil Michelson barely hung on and won. (APPLAUSE) And we find out that they hired some liberals to entertain, but it still wasn't good enough. They hired Sheryl Crow and they hired the rock crooner group, Chicago. But they had the audacity, Northern Trust did, to entertain their clients, to try to reward their best customers, to try to get new customers. Banking is in trouble. Northern Trust is trying to do what they always do, what all businesses do, and that is mine for new clients and reward existing good customers. Not since they took $1.6 billion, I guess.

The haughty John Kerry wrote a piece of legislation, said he's getting sick and tired, sick and tired of these CEOs using taxpayer money to throw all these lavish parties. I'm saying, where do you get yours, Senator? (LAUGHTER). (CHEERING).

Sad thing is that it works. They've created class envy in so many average Americans that they love hearing that. Yeah, you get even with those bankers. Let me ask you a question, those of you watching in my first national address. (LAUGHTER). Take the favorite villain lip you've got. Maybe it's John Fay at Merrill Lynch, because he used his company's own money to redecorate a bathroom and an office for $1.2 million. By the way, to do that, he had to hire a contractor. They got paid. He had to hire a designer, had to buy furniture. That's called stimulus. (LAUGHTER). And he did it. (APPLAUSE). All of a sudden John Thain is thrown out. John Thain was humiliated. John Thain is --how dare he. He did he this a year before they took TARP money. And all these Congressmen are standing up saying this is not going to happen. We are not going to watch these people -- capping executive pay while Obama tries to live like one? He's trying to emulate the lifestyle is he attacking? That's what liberals do. Two sets of rules, one for them, one for everybody else. But it's coming -- see, if you think that John Thain or the Northern Trust CEO, if you love them getting attacked, if you love them being ripped, ask yourself the next day, do you have anymore money in your pocket? Is your life any better because that guy got taken out or taken down by some haughty senator from Massachusetts?

And if you ask yourself this, you will realize your life is no better off, that the Democrats and Obama are asking you to feel better simply on the basis that they're going get revenge for you. But your life isn't going to improve. Somebody else's will just be destroyed. And they want you to be happy over there. That's sick. (APPLAUSE). And that is not the United States of America. (APPLAUSE).

Besides -- as far as John Kerry is concerned, if it weren't for his varicose veins, he'd be totally colorless. (LAUGHTER).

Now let's talk about the conservative movement as it were. (APPLAUSE). We, ladies and gentlemen, have challenges that are part and parcel of a movement that feels it has just suffered a humiliating defeat when it is not humiliating. This wasn't a landslide victory, 52 to, what, 46? 58 million people voted against Obama. There would have been more if we'd have had a conservative nominee. (APPLAUSE). But -- no, no, no. I mean that in an instructive way, as a lead-into what I'm talking about here. There was no humiliating defeat here.

Sometimes I get livid and angry. We do have an organizational problem. We have a challenge. We've got factions now in our movement seeking power to dominated, and worse of all to redefine it. Well, the Constitution doesn't need to be redefined, conservative intellectuals. The Declaration of Independence does not need to be redefined and neither does conservatism. Conservatism is what it is, and it is forever. It's not something you can bend, shape and flake and form. (APPLAUSE).

Thank you. Thank you. I -- for the purposes of this occasion, I'm not going mention any names. I bet with you, I won't have to. People watching my first address to the nation might be curious what I'm talking about. (LAUGHTER). They will find out in due course, trust me on this.

I cringed -- it must have been 2007 or sometime during 2008 -- but a couple of prominent conservative, but beltway establishment media types, began to write on the concept that the era of Reagan is over. (BOOS). And that we needed to adapt our appeal. Because of after all, what's important in politics is winning elections. And so we have to understand that the American people, they want big government. We just have to find a way to tell them we're no longer opposed to that. That we will come up with our own version of it that is wiser and smarter, but we've got to go get the Wal-mart voter. And we've got to get the Hispanic voter. and we've got to get the recalcitrant independent women. And I'm listening to this -- (LAUGHTER) -- and I'm just apoplectic. The era of Reagan is over? When the hell do you ever hear a Democrat say the era of FDR is over? You never hear it. (APPLAUSE). Not only that, the president of the United States today, alternate days, thinks he's FDR, thinks he's Abraham Lincoln. And sometimes, like Tuesday night, thinks he's Ronald Reagan. We have our own movement has members trying to throw Reagan out while the Democrats know they can't accomplish what they want unless they appeal to Reagan voters. We have got to stamp this out within this movement, because it will tear us apart. (APPLAUSE). It will guarantee we lose elections. (APPLAUSE). We have to. (APPLAUSE).

To me, it's not even -- it's no brainer. The blueprint, the blueprint, for a landslide conservative victory is right there. Why in the hell the so-called smartest people in our room want to chuck it? I know why. I know exactly why. It's because they're embarrassed of some of the people who call themselves conservative. These people are New York-Washington cocktail elitists. And they get fun of when the next NASCAR race on TV and their cocktail buds come up to them, I can't believe these people are in your party. So it would be easy to throw them overboard, so as to maintain these cocktail party, beltway New York city-inside the beltway media relationships.

But I tell you, this notion that Reaganism is dead, that conservatism needs to be redefined -- let's take a look at this. We've got to look at the Wal-mart move. I opened my remarks tonight by telling the people watching on FOX who we conservatives are. When I look out at you in this audience, I don't see a Wal-mart voter, and I don't see a black, and I don't see a woman, and I don't see a Hispanic. I see human beings who happen to be fortunate enough to be the luckiest people on earth. You are Americans. (APPLAUSE). Conservatism -- (APPLAUSE).

For us to make the decision that we've got to figure out policies to get the Wal-mart voter, we've got most of them already is the bottom line. We -- conservatism is universal set of core principles. And you don't check principles at the door. This is a battle that we're going to have. And there are egos involved here, too. When the situation like ours exists, there are people who want to lead it. They want to redefine it. Their egos are such that they want to be the next X, whoever it is. And so there will be different factions lining up to try to define what conservatism is. And beware of those different factions who seek, as part of their attempt to redefine conservatism, as making sure the liberals likes us, making sure the media likes us. They never will, as long as we remain conservatives. They can't possibly like us. They are our enemy in a political arena of ideas, they are our enemy. (APPLAUSE). They think we need to be defeated. (APPLAUSE).

Why do you think -- you all in this room know this. For those of you watching at home, my first address to the nation, (LAUGHTER), I'm sure you pay close enough attention. You knew that at one time Senator McCain was the favorite Republican of all the cable news networks and the Sunday shows. And they would just -- I mean, their tongues would be on the floor, the media people, when they knew that McCain was -- and they would treat McCain as the greatest guy in the world. Did you at home wonder why? You were told it was because he was moderate. He was not just strict, he was not an authoritarian. He was able to walk to the other side of the aisle, and was able to get along with the enemy. And everybody wants love and bipartisanship. (LAUGHTER). That's not why they invited Senator McCain. They invited Senator McCain because he happened to be the loudest at criticizing his own president and his own party. and that's what they want, is people from our side -- and there will be financial factions in our movement, folk, who will make an effort to say we have to grow, we can't stay stale -- I think I heard the term used the other day. There's nothing stale about freedom. There's nothing stale about liberty. (APPLAUSE). There's nothing stale about fighting for it. (APPLAUSE). Nothing stale whatsoever. (APPLAUSE).

Freedom -- are you getting tired of standing up. I don't blame you. (LAUGHTER). By the way, for those of you watching on TV, you think the standing is getting a little -- people are just tired. They've been up out of their chairs 100 times here. (LAUGHTER). (APPLAUSE). I mean, I mean, no, no --


LIMBAUGH: Thank you, thank you. Freedom --

CROWD: Rush, Rush, Rush!

LIMBAUGH: Freedom is the natural yearning of the human spirit as we were endowed by our creator. And the United States of America is the place in the world where that yearning flourishes, where freedom is expected because it's part of the way we're created. I loved it when the Soviet Union went down, the wall went down, and the liberals in our country said, you know, they may not be ready for freedom over there. (LAUGHTER). They've been oppressed here for -- See, liberals will gladly tell you who can have freedom and who can't. And that's what this piece -- these pieces of legislation is all about, folks. Freedom, liberty, economic prosperity, they're all entwined here. We're going to, as a conservative movement, understand that our job, after we come to an agreement among ourselves, which shouldn't be hard, but it's going to be difficult because the people who think they're smarter than everybody else will be out there forging alliances with people to try to make themselves look like the new power brokers. And they will become spokesmen, by the way.

By the way, explain that to you. This is a funny story. To show you how can I hijack a news cycle even by doing nothing. (LAUGHTER). The Tuesday before the inauguration, President Bush invited me to the Oval Office for lunch. And it was on and off the record, some of the conversations. And he brought out -- interesting at the end of it, my birthday had been the day before. And he brought out a chocolate birthday cake, a microphone, and stood beside me with Ed Gillespie and sang "happy birthday," and the White House photographer was taking pictures. It was just -- I wish my parents were alive. My parents wouldn't believe my life. They came out of the Great Depression. They didn't think this was possible for somebody who didn't go to college. And even for people who did, they didn't think this was possible. Life has changed so much for he better in this country. And that's why I cringe when I see what is in store.

So as I'm flying home from lunch, I'm watching television. And I see that the word has leaped out that Obama is hosting a dinner with conservative media pundits at the home of George Will. I said, I wonder who these people are. (LAUGHTER). I know they're in the media, one of them's going to have to leak it. Sure as heck, one did.

Now, we all know who were there. They were -- and -- see, I can't remember all the names, so I don't want to mention anybody. But let me tell you what Obama's purpose -- does anybody really think that Barack Obama had dinner with a bunch of conservatives hoping they would change his mind?

CROWD: No. LIMBAUGH: Hell, no! (LAUGHTER). His purpose -- and his purpose really wasn't to change theirs. His purpose was to anoint them as conservative spokesman. These are the people that Obama's willing to break bread with. These happen -- some of the people there happen to be the people who think the era of Reagan is over, who believe that conservatism needs to be redefined. Of course, Obama would try to lure them in.

Well, all of a sudden, I land. I get home about 5:00 and my e- mail is jammed with questions from reporters. Are you -- is that why you took the day off today? Is that why you're not on the air? Is that why -- are you going to dinner with Obama? (LAUGHTER).

By the way, I left out a crucial part of the story. I had -- was this a Monday? It was a Monday. No, it was a Tuesday. And I had forgotten to tell my audience that I was going to miss the next day. And I signed off my show saying "I'll see you tomorrow." And that's the last thing I said. And my staff reminded me, no, you're not going to be here tomorrow. I came up with a plan that the guest host the next day would say I was called out of the town to Washington at midnight the night before. (LAUGHTER). So an innocent little trick on the radio audience. Everybody picked that up and thinks I'm invited to the Obama -- so those people that were invited to it got less coverage than I did. And I didn't even know about it. (LAUGHTER). So it was fun. (APPLAUSE). Conservatives are naturally happy. We seek happiness. We pursue it. It's part of who we are. (APPLAUSE). So what can you do? Live your life. I swear, folks, you do not know, in just the everyday life that you live in your neighborhoods, your homes, or a favorite word of this administration, your communities, (LAUGHTER). Remember the root word there is commune. (CHEERING). Be happy. Live your life according to your values, your principles, knowing you're going to fail, no human being is perfect, you're going to make mistakes. But live your life -- you'll be stunned at how many people you have met, you've impressed. Don't be afraid to tell children that they're wrong. They don't know what you do. They simply haven't lived long enough. It's not their fault, but they're being fed a bunch of garbage in school. and don't be afraid to tell them that they're wrong. Don't go the Oprah route and say, I've got to be friends with my parents -- my kids, first and foremost. Understand, they're going to hate you for a while and they're going to rebel against you. And some day they're going to think you're the smartest person they've ever met.

But you owe them the truth. You owe them the truth about things. You owe them the truth about morality. (APPLAUSE). You owe them the truth about value. (APPLAUSE). You owe them the truth about politics. (APPLAUSE).

Next thing, we've got to stop treating voters as children. (APPLAUSE). Somebody says they want something that's bad for them, do you give it to them just to be nice, or do you tell them, regardless of their age, no, you shouldn't have that. Well, it's none of your business. Maybe not, but then you back out of that. But you still have to have the ability to tell people what's right and wrong. And that's not authoritative. That's not authoritarian. and it's not trying to deny somebody a good time. It's not trying to interrupt somebody's hedonism, pleasure. It's about all of us with shared values trying to make sure that people live the highest quality lives they can, but ultimately it's their decision as to what they do. But the point is, don't treat them like -- especially voters, as kids. If they say they want it, OK, we'll come up with a plan to give it to you.

Have any of you seen the movie -- I'd never heard of it, but I have it again on DVD the other day. Anybody see the movie with "Swing Vote" with Kevin Costner? Now, it's kind of a moronic movie, as most things out of Hollywood are, but this was fascinating in the way -- tell you, short story, because of a voter screw up in New Mexico, there is one voter who is going to elect the president. His vote didn't count because his daughter voted for him. I don't want to give the whole story away, but New Mexico's electoral votes determine. And they have a two-week period before this guy can vote again. So the challenger and the president both relocate to where this guy lives in New Mexico. And they end up, like a Democrat, played by Peter -- Dennis Hopper, stands for antiabortion. The Democrat candidate comes out with a commercial for life. The Republican candidate comes -- because this guy is an idiot and doesn't know what he believes, and every utterance that he makes, these politicians react to it, throwing their principles on the floor, just to get his vote. Sadly, this is what some of the conservative intellectuals in our movement want to do, essentially. And that we cannot do. We've got to stand for what we believe and treat people as adults and understand they can learn. (APPLAUSE). Vote optimism! (APPLAUSE).

Joe Biden, again, ladies and gentlemen -- (LAUGHTER) -- I was watching the CBS -- when did you start here? Thursday?

You might have seen this, the days run together, it might have been Wednesday, but Biden was on the "CBS Early Show" and he was asked -- they did a -- the anchorette -- sorry, I'm trying to change my ways. (LAUGHTER). I've been doing women's summit programs, not to offend women. (LAUGHTER). The anchor, Maggie Rodriguez, asked a man on the street questions. And one guy, woman, I think, had a question for Biden, what is in the stimulus package for small business? Well, Biden was clearly stumped, because there isn't anything in the stimulus package for small business. (LAUGHTER). So what Biden said, honest to god -- what Biden said was, well, if there's a bridge to your small business, we're going to make sure that bridge stays open so that you can get to your small business and your customers can get -- honest. (LAUGHTER). I kid you not.

Now, of course, the media, they're just a bunch of hacks, so the P.R. agents are starting to get a little embarrassed because -- so then Maggie Rodriguez says, Senator Biden, there's a web site that answers all these questions. What is the name of the web site? And Biden says, I don't know -- and he looks off stage. Does somebody have the website number? (LAUGHTER).

I realize, those of you watching at home during my first address to the nation -- (LAUGHTER) -- you have never heard liberal Democrats be made fun of in this way. Get used to it. (APPLAUSE). (CHEERING). Two other things, and then we'll get out of here contractually over time. (BOOS). The president's stimulus package, the TARP, the whatever -- the budget relies on one thing for its success. Well, aside from authoritarian government power, it relies on the complacency of the American people. It relies on their belief that they can convince the American people that there is such a crisis that the only government -- the only entity that can fix its government, as Obama has said, so they get complacent, they sit around, and they wait. But, see, this is something liberals will never understand about the United States of America and its right under their noses, right in front of their faces. We are a competitive people. We strive, enough of us to do, to be the best. We strive to win. We strive to avoid defeat. Enough of us still do, don't believe otherwise.

The liberals have made efforts to shut that aspect of our nature down. Wherever you live, I am certain that you, when you were a child or your kids today in youth sports are told not to keep score because the losers, it's just not fair. They'd be humiliated, especially if one girl's basketball team can defeat another one 100 to nothing. And let's fire the coach who put that game together. That's just -- it's so unfair. So let's not keep score.

Well, here's the dirty little secret. The kids are keeping score.


You know they are. They don't want to lose! They know what winning and losing is. They're saying to themselves, well, why go out there and put on the pads and play football or tee ball if the objective here is to not keep score? Why -- so they're keeping score. And they get in the car with mom and dad and they tell mom and dad, yeah, we kicked their butts tonight. Wait a minute, I thought you weren't keeping score? Well, they weren't officially, but they keep score.

We are a competitive people. Adults are doing the same thing. It didn't take long for people to get fired up when they figured out that they're going to be paying mortgages for people who should never have been lent money in the first place for the bogus excuse of maintaining property values in a neighborhood.

This is something, you know, that the complacency of the American people is something they're going to rely on, along with their authoritarian efforts to control it, but they will not succeed at this, because we're not quitters. We don't acquiesce. We're not going to give up the American dream and watch idly while it is restructured and transformed.


We want -- as I say, we want the best, happiness for everybody.

Now, about my, still to me, mysteriously controversial comment that I hope President Obama fails. I was watching the Super bowl. And as you know, I love the Pittsburgh Steelers.


They had this - it's just -- so they have this miraculous scoring drive that puts them up by four, 15 seconds left, Kurt Warner on the field for the Cardinals. And I sure as heck want you to know I hope he failed.


I did not want the Cardinals to win. I wanted Warner to make the biggest fool of himself possible. I wanted a sack, I wanted anything, I wanted the Steelers to win. I wanted to win. I wanted the Cardinals to fail.

This notion that I want the president to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we've got. That's nothing more than common sense. And to not be able to say it? Why in the world do I want what we just described -- rampant government growth, indebtedness that has -- wealth that is not even being created yet is being spent. What is in this? What possibly is in this that any of us want to succeed?

Did the Democrats want the war in Iraq to fail?


Well, they certainly did. And they not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail, they proclaimed it a failure. There's dingy Harry Reid waving a white flag -- this war is lost. This war is lost.


They called General Petraeus a liar before he even testified.


Mrs. Clinton...


...says she had to suspend -- willingly suspend disbelief or whatever in order to listen to Petraeus. We're in the process of winning the war. The last thing they wanted was to win. They hoped George Bush failed.

So where is it -- what is so strange about being honest and saying, I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?


Now, let me add a caveat here. My friends, I know what's going on. I know what's going on. We're in the aspects here of an historic presidency. I know that. But let me be honest again. I got over the historical aspects of this in November. President Obama is our president. President Obama stands for certain things. I don't care, he could be a Martian. He could be from Michigan, I don't -- I'm just kidding. It doesn't matter to me what his race is. It doesn't matter. He's liberal is what matters to me. And his articulated plans scare me.

Now, I understand, okay, we can't say we want the president to fail, Mr. Limbaugh, that's like saying -- this is the voice of the new Kastrati (ph) by the way, guys that have lost their guts. You can't say, Mr. Limbaugh, that you want the president to fail, because that's like saying...

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone, I'm Randi Kaye here at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Don Lemon is off. We want to get back to Rush Limbaugh there.


LIMBAUGH: Another caveat. I want the country to survive as we have known it, as you and I were raised in it is what I mean.

Now, I have been called, and I can take it. Look, pioneers take arrows. I don't mind what anybody says about me, anytime, ever, it doesn't -- I don't have time for it. I don't give other people the power to offend me. And you shouldn't either. By the wasted time being offended.


Don't let -- but there's some people you just, you can't say that you want the president to fail.

Ladies and gentlemen of the United States, the Democrat party has actively not just sought the failure of Republican presidents and policies and now wars for the first time. The Democrat party doesn't stop at failure. Talk to Judge Robert Bork, talk to Justice Clarence Thomas about how they destroy lives, reputations, and characters. And I'm supposed to say I don't want the president to fail?


We are in for a real battle. We are talking about the United States of America. And there will always be an America, don't misunderstand, but we're talking about it remaining the country we were all born into and reared and grown into.

And it's under assault. It's always under assault. But it's never been under assault like this from within before.


And that's a serious, serious battle. So as you leave here, as you leave here, optimism, confidence, not guilt, it's not worth it. There's nothing to be guilty about. Don't treat people as children. Respect their intelligence. Realize that there's a way to persuade people. Sometimes the worst way is get in their face and point a finger. Set up a set of circumstances where the conclusion's obvious. Let them think they came up with the idea themselves. Then they'll think they're smart and they figured it out. Who cares how you persuade them? The fact that they can be persuaded is factually correct, it's possible.

The main thing to do here, stop thinking that we are a minority.


Stop thinking -- stop thinking that it is being in the minority that liberates you. It is your beliefs, it is your core principles, it is your confidence that liberates you. It is not being in the minority.

We -- in fact, for those of you watching my first national address, you're still hanging in there, we're really not that happy about being a minority. And we're out to change it. Now...


So I have -- I've gone over my allotted time by an hour.


I want to thank all of you so much for everything that you have meant to me and my family in my life. Yeah, wait, see, now let's -- I understand it's mutual. And I hear people -- you have made my heart grow so much that it barely fits in my chest cavity here tonight.

But the things that by virtue of your listening to my radio show and being active in this movement that we all cherish and love, you have meant more to me, my family, and my life than whatever it is I might mean to you, even though I know that's considerable.


You still can't, you can't outdo the absolute joy and awe and thanks I feel for all of you. I've been doing this for 20 years and the numbers just keep. And I can't tell you how appreciative I am and proud to be in a movement with the same passions, desires, and core beliefs that all of you have, because we know that it's right for the country. And we know it's right for people. It's not something that has to be forced on them. It's not something that has to be authoritatively pressed on them. We are what is.

And that's why we are an enemy, because we're effective. The people that do want control look at us as the enemy. And we're always going to be. Don't ever measure your success by how many drive-by media reports you see that are fair to us. Never going to happen. Don't measure your success by how many people like you. Just worry about how they vote. And then at the end of the day, how they live, but that's really none of your business once they close the doors. Thank you all very much. You've been great.