Limbaugh invented "racial component" to Hackett's decision to withdraw from Ohio primary race

Video ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Rush Limbaugh invented a racial element to explain Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett's departure from the Ohio Democratic Senate primary race against Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), asserting, "And don't forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There's a racial component here, too." In fact, Brown is Caucasian -- a point on which Limbaugh was corrected later in the program.

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During the February 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh invented a racial component to explain Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett's departure from the Ohio Democratic Senate primary race. While reporting on Hackett's decision to withdraw from the Democratic primary race against Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for the seat currently held by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), Limbaugh asserted: "And don't forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There's a racial component here, too," adding that "the newspaper that I'm reading all this from is The New York Times, and they, of course, don't mention that." In fact, Brown is Caucasian -- a point on which Limbaugh was corrected later in the program.

Hackett is a Marine Corps veteran who re-enlisted in 2004 and served in Iraq, completing a tour of duty in early 2005. On August 2, 2005, he narrowly lost a special election to Republican Jean Schmidt for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District seat. Hackett announced on October 24, 2005, his intention to run for DeWine's Senate seat. But, citing discouragement from state and national Democratic leaders after Brown also entered the race, Hackett withdrew his candidacy on February 13, avoiding a potentially contentious primary with Brown, a seven-term congressman representing Ohio's 13th District.

After accusing the New York Times of neglecting to report that "Sherrod Brown is black," Limbaugh was later informed of his error. He said: "Sherrod Brown's a white guy? Then, I'm confusing him with somebody. ... Must be somebody in New York [who] has got a similar name." Limbaugh may have been referring to Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), who is also Caucasian.

Later in the broadcast -- after apparently being inundated with e-mails correcting his false assertion on Brown's ethnicity -- Limbaugh again corrected himself but declared: "I'm not gonna apologize, 'cause I don't think it's an insult to be black. But I did err. ... He is not black. He's one of these white European descendents in Ohio." Limbaugh opined that Hackett's withdrawal "really boils down to a matter of money" but was also because "they don't like military guys in the ... Democratic Party."

From the February 14 broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Somebody explain to me what the Democrats are thinking here. Why do they think running a military candidate is gonna be credible anyway, given the posture that they have had the last four or five years? It was a four-point loss. That's right -- 52 to 48, Jean Schmidt beat Hackett, and they claimed it was a win. They were out there, "Oh, yeah, a big -- oh, he got so close, this means it's over for Bush. This means in the '06 elections, that Bush is history." Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

But I -- with the attitudes that they have expressed about the military -- they have regularly done their best to impugn the U.S. military. They -- they've collaborated with the members of the media in their party to run stories about how military members are just a bunch a hayseed hicks who joined the military 'cause there's no economic opportunity in America, 'cause the country sucks. They have -- they have -- they say they support the troops, but they don't. And yet, they wanna bring out some -- some -- a bunch of guys in uniform to run.

Maybe somebody in the party has figured this out. And don't forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There's a racial component here, too. And now, the newspaper that I'm reading all this from is The New York Times, and they, of course, don't mention that. But -- you know, "Democratic leaders say that Representative Sherrod Brown, a seven-term incumbent from Avon, has a far better chance of toppling Senator DeWine than does the -- Hackett."

[...]

Uh, Sherrod Brown's a white guy? Then I'm confusing him with somebody. OK, I'm sorry. I thought Sherrod Brown was -- I'm -- I'm confusing him with somebody then. Must be somebody in New York has got a similar name. "Nevertheless, Hackett says, 'I don't work that way. My word is my bond.' Hackett is seen by many as a straight talker. He became an icon to liberal bloggers, 'cause he says exactly what they have wished they would hear from a politician."

[...]

For those of you who continue to email me, even though I have made the correction -- let me make the correction again. I erred when I said that Sherrod Brown is black. I'm confusing him with somebody with a similar name in the Democratic Party somewhere. But we have -- we have corrected this, and I, you know, I'm not gonna apologize, 'cause I don't think it's an insult to be black. But -- but I did err. He is -- his is -- he is -- he is not black. He's one of these white European descendents in Ohio. He's the guy that -- that the Democrats have kicked Paul Hackett out of the race for the Senate seat in Ohio against Mike DeWine. And it really boils down to a matter of money, plus they don't like military guys in the, in the Democratic Party. But Sherrod -- Sherrod Brown has much more money than Hackett could ever hope to raise. So that's that.

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