As the presidential election grows nearer, Rush Limbaugh is reasserting himself as the power center of the Republican Party. The talk-show host implied that his wishes carry greater authority than those of the Republican establishment and casually mentioned that he has been in contact with the Romney campaign.
On his August 21 show, Limbaugh urged Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) to "put the nation" first and come to the "right conclusion" about whether to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race because of his "legitimate rape" remarks. Akin is holding out against a chorus of pleas from top Republicans, including Mitt Romney, to drop out.
Despite Akin's resistance to pressure from Republican officials, Limbaugh guaranteed on his August 22 show that if he had explicitly asked Akin to leave, his voice would have swayed the congressman: "Folks, if I had demanded Akin drop out, he'd be gone."
Limbaugh also hinted that he had been in communication with the Republican presidential candidate, stating that he hasn't spoken to Romney "in weeks."
In 2010, Limbaugh crowned himself "the conservative leader," declaring that "the center of the universe is not the RNC. It's right here." And GOP lawmakers and conservatives have responded accordingly.
Republican congressmen have distanced themselves from positions they once promoted after Limbaugh criticized them. Even the chairman of the Republican National Committee once apologized to Limbaugh for deeming him an "entertainer."