Limbaugh on Michael J. Fox ad for MO Dem: "Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting"

››› ››› BEN FISHEL

Rush Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, of "exaggerating the effects of the disease" in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. Limbaugh added that "this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."

On the October 23 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, of "exaggerating the effects of the disease" in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. In the ad, Fox endorses McCaskill for supporting embryonic stem cell research, which her opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent, opposes. Noting that Fox is "moving all around and shaking" in the ad, Limbaugh declared: "And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has." Limbaugh added that "this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."

Later in the broadcast, Limbaugh stated that "I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances." However, Limbaugh then returned to criticizing Fox, stating that "Michael J. Fox is using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking that their vote for a single United States senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn't, and it won't."

According to Talkers magazine, The Rush Limbaugh Show reaches more than 13.5 million listeners each week, the largest talk-radio audience in the nation. Vice President Dick Cheney has made several appearances on the program, most recently on October 17.

From the October 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You need to see this. It's a spot running in St. Louis during World Series games, bought and paid for and approved by the Democrat [sic] Senate candidate, Claire McCaskill. Now, I want you to listen to this. This is Michael J. Fox, aired during a World Series game, and I will describe for you what he's doing in this commercial after you've heard it.

[begin audio clip]

FOX: As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures. Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but that's not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.

McCASKILL: I'm Claire McCaskill, and I approve this message.

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he's got it and he's raising money for it, but when I've seen him in public, I've never seen him betray any of the symptoms. But this commercial, he -- he's just all over the place. He can barely control himself. He can control himself enough to stay in the frame of the picture, and he can control himself enough to keep his eyes right on the lens, the teleprompter. But his head and shoulders are moving all over the place, and he is acting like his disease is deteriorating because Jim Talent opposes research that would help him, Michael J. Fox, get cured. Jim Talent does not oppose stem cell research, he opposes fetal stem cell research but not adult. But this is reminiscent, and I don't have time -- yes, I do. Here, listen to [then-Democratic vice presidential candidate] John Edwards, the Breck girl, on the campaign trail, October 11th, 2004:

EDWARDS [audio clip]: If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk -- get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.

LIMBAUGH: And I think, didn't he even say -- they said it at a debate. I don't know if he said it at a convention. So this is really shameless, folks, this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: And we are back. El Rushbo, executing assigned host duties flawlessly -- zero mistakes here on the EIB Network.

All right. Now, people are telling me that they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. All right, then, I stand corrected. I have never seen -- I've seen him on Boston Legal, I've seen him on a number of stand-up appearances, I've never seen the evidence that he's got -- I know he's got it. It's pitiable that he has the disease. It's a debilitating disease, and I understand that fully. Now, just stick with me on this.

All I'm saying is that I've never seen him the way he appears in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances.

But let me just say this about it. And the reason I went and grabbed the audio from John Edwards, where he said in 2004 on the campaign trail, quote, "If we can do the work we that can do in this country, the work we will do when [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk -- get up out of that wheel chair and walk again." That was about stem cells, and that was a misleading statement, and it didn't work for the Breck girl -- implying that if it weren't for George W. Bush and his stubbornness on stem cells, that we've got a cure for spinal deterioration and injury, and we don't!

We do not have anywhere near a cure. We can't regenerate nerves yet, folks, and that's what has to happen to cure paralysis in the spine. And stem cells do not promise any such thing, nor do they for Parkinson's disease. So the reason that I went and got the Breck girl to compare it to the Michael J. Fox is because I think that the intent here is the same thing.

I think, and if I may be blatantly honest, brazenly so, I think this is much more offensive than Hillary [Rodham Clinton]'s Senate opponent implying that she is ugly. Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited, and in the process is shilling for a Democrat [sic] politician. And in the process of doing that, creating an impression, like John Edwards tried to do, that is not reality. Michael J. Fox is using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking that their vote for a single United States senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn't, and it won't.

So Mr. Fox is using his illness as another tactic to try to secure the election of a Democrat [sic] senator by implying that with her election, that we'll be on the road to stem cell research her opponent opposes, and people who suffer from Parkinson's disease, as he does, will have a cure. Now, I just -- you know, it's a negative ad.

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