Limbaugh bragged that his show inspired Talon News “reporter's” erroneous question to Bush

Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh proclaimed that he fabricated a point surfacing in a question that Talon News White House correspondent Jeff Gannon subsequently asked of President Bush at a January 26 White House press conference. Gannon asked Bush: "[H]ow are you going to work with people [Democratic leaders] who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?" prefacing the question with the assertion that Senate Minority Leader “Harry Reid was talking about [the poor having to get food in] soup lines.” But Reid made no reference to soup lines. As Limbaugh noted, “Uh, Harry Reid never said 'soup lines.' That's my term for the simple way to characterize the Democrats' view of America.” Limbaugh said he was “flattered and honored and proud to have a point made by this program represented in the press conference and asked by a reporter.”

From the January 26 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I now want to get to the audio sound bites of the Bush press conference today. I said earlier today in the program, shortly after we began, that somebody in the White House press corps listens to this program. It is Jeff Gannon from Talon News. Here is his question, which is a repeat, a rehash, of a precise point I made on this program yesterday and is highlighted on

GANNON [from January 26 White House press conference]: Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy: Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and [Senator] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. You've said you're going to reach out to these people. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?

LIMBAUGH: I'm not upset by this, folks. I'm honored. I'm thrilled. Don't misunderstand. I'm not accusing anybody of anything. I just think it's fabulous here. Now, you may think that my ego is out of control. Au contraire, my friends. I have no ego. Not of the kind you're talking about, anyway, or thinking about. No, what makes me think that the reporter was listening to the program is that Harry Reid never actually said “soup lines.” That is my characterization of their portrayal of America. He never actually said it. He just describes circumstances reminiscent of soup lines.


LIMBAUGH: You know, we gotta play audio sound bite No. 1. This is so great. This program yesterday was represented today in a question asked by a member of the White House press corps. Yesterday I made the point. Well, here, let me just play the cut and then I'll explain for those of you who weren't here yesterday why I am convinced that this reporter listened to this radio program yesterday and took a point made by me into that press conference today.

[replayed Gannon's question]

LIMBAUGH: The president said he's going to do what he's been always doing and that's just go straight to the American people and not allow himself to be filtered by the partisan media. Now, we made this point yesterday. I mean, Hillary is out there talking about the economy is on the verge of collapse, and Harry Reid's describing America with nobody's go to health insurance, 45 million without health insurance, wages are going down. It's horrible out there! Uh, Harry Reid never said “soup lines.” That's my term for the simple way to characterize the Democrats' view of America or vision of America. They look out there and they see 1930s soup lines all over the place, but Dusty Harry [Limbaugh nicknaming Harry Reid] never actually said that yesterday, but the reporter [Gannon] attributed it to him -- and I'm not angry about this at all, folks! I'm flattered and honored and proud to have a point made by this program represented in the press conference today and asked by a reporter.