Limbaugh likened Michael J. Fox to "Jersey Girls," declared stem cell ad part of "a script that they [Democrats] have written for years" in which "victims" are "infallible"

››› ››› ROB DIETZ, KURT DONALDSON & ANDREW SEIFTER

Rush Limbaugh likened Michael J. Fox -- who has Parkinson's disease and appeared in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill -- to the "Jersey Girls" group of 9-11 widows, claiming that Fox's ad is part of "a script that they [Democrats] have written for years" in which "victims of various diseases or social concerns or poverty" are "infallible, whatever they say cannot be challenged."

On the October 24 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh claimed that actor Michael J. Fox -- who has Parkinson's disease and appeared in a recent campaign ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill -- is part of "a script that they [Democrats] have written for years" in which "Senate Democrats used to parade victims of various diseases or social concerns or poverty up before congressional committees and let them testify and they were infallible." Limbaugh also compared Fox to "the Jersey Girls ... in the period of time when the 9-11 Commission was meeting publicly. Victims -- infallible, whatever they say cannot be challenged."

Limbaugh's remarks recall right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's accusation, in her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006), that the Jersey Girls -- a group of widows of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were "using their grief" and "the fact that you lost a husband" to make "a political point while preventing anyone from responding," as Media Matters for America documented.

In the McCaskill ad, Fox endorses McCaskill for supporting embryonic stem cell research; by contrast, her opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent, has opposed a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment to legalize stem cell research in the state and voted against easing the restrictions President Bush imposed on federal funding for stem cell research.

As Media Matters for America noted, on the October 23 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh accused Fox of "exaggerating the effects of the disease." 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."

From the October 24 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: This is a script that they have written for years. Senate Democrats used to parade victims of various diseases or social concerns or poverty up before congressional committees and let them testify, and they were infallible. You couldn't criticize them. Same thing with the Jersey Girls after the 9-11 -- and in the period of time when the 9-11 Commission was meeting publicly. Victims -- infallible, whatever they say cannot be challenged. I don't follow the script anymore.

Now, in terms of Michael J. Fox, I did some research today, and I found his book that was published. It's A Lucky Man, 2002 I think, but he admits in the book that before a Senate subcommittee on appropriations in, I think, 1999, September of 1999, he did not take his medication, for the purposes of having the ravages and the horrors of Parkinson's disease illustrated, which was what he has done in the commercials that he is running for Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent. So when you insert yourself into the political arena this way, to expect insulation and absolution and to expect yourself not to have what you say criticized in the manner in which you are trying to sway opinion is a little bit, I think, above the fray. I mean, to think that you're immune from any sort of criticism -- it's worked in the past for Democrats, but it doesn't work here.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.