The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

17 May 2007

Rush Limbaugh, Bill Clinton Meet In NYC Restaurant


Limbaugh, Clinton Universes Collide In NYC Restaurant

*** Boston: Post- Imus Update ***

What happens when two political arch- archrivals encounter one another for the first time? Are heated words exchanged? Do fists fly?

No, it's much more bizarre than that: during a chance meeting in a New York City restaurant last night between Rush Limbaugh and Bill Clinton, the two actually got along just fine.

But reaction to Rush's account of this stranger- than- fiction event has so far been anything but friendly, with angry callers flooding his phone lines during the first hour of today's show.

In his defense, the talk titan explained that he has a polite nature and could not have been expected to react in any other way toward the former president, especially considering the fact that Clinton approached him at his table.

One passionate female caller scolded Limbaugh for giving Clinton the time of day, saying it was the last thing she wanted to hear with key elections right around the corner. Later, however, another woman praised Rush for handling the situation in such a polite manner.

So why the sensitivity about such a seemingly minor issue? With Republicans no longer in control of Congress and a wide- open presidential race so far producing no front- runner, Limbaugh's fans are looking to him for leadership.

As a result, any sign of "weakness" on El Rushbo's part, whether real or imagined, is sure to spark such emotional responses.

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: Rush has just posted a transcript of his account of the event.

RUSH: I gotta tell you a funny story that happened last night. As you know, we're here in New York. I'm coming to you today from high atop the EIB Building in Midtown Manhattan. I told you about this Kobe Club steakhouse, Jeffrey Chodorow's place. I went to it two or three weeks ago when I was here, and I absolutely loved it. I had a great time. I went in there last night and they told me a slew of people have come in to check the place out.

I was with the woman who poked me at dinner last Thursday night in Palm Beach when I was answering a question posed by the host. I told you that story on Friday. She was treating me like a wife, and we're not even married. I just met her that day. In fact, the two people... I'll tell you what I did. The two people who were at the dinner party, I'm not going to name them, but they're big donors and supporters of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at that dinner party. The question involved, that I was asked by the host (he was trying to stir things up) was about Hillary. I'm not trying to cause problems. It's a social evening. It's a dinner. I'm a gentleman. So I gave an answer that I thought was extremely diplomatic and funny and warm and non-confrontational, because I'm not that kind of guy.

That's when she poked me. I liked her poking me even though we're not married, because we're not married and she couldn't do anything about it. So I went to the website and I got a picture of those two people who were at the dinner party and I had my website people frame it and when we got to the Kobe Club last night, I pulled the picture out of my jacket pocket, in a small frame, and put it on the table. I said, "Okay, if I get going, they're here again tonight. You can pinch me all night if you want to."

We're engrossed in conversation. It was very noisy in there last night, and I was having difficulty hearing. I was not looking around the restaurant. I was as close to this woman as I could get to hear her because of the racket. I got in there at about seven, and I'm guessing at eight or 8:30, I'm looking at this woman, talking to her. She's looking at me, not aware of anything else going on in the restaurant, and all of a sudden I become aware of a looming presence at the table. I'm seated at a booth, a half-moon kind of booth, and I'm facing the entrance to the restaurant, toward the back.

This looming presence, I look up, and, golly, if it isn't former President Bill Clinton. He's got a big smile on his face, and I look up, and I imagine I was somewhat startled. I looked up, and I couldn't hear what he was saying because of the noise in there. So I'm turning my head, my left ear to him so I could hear a little bit more, and he said, "You're looking great. You're tan, fit, you look very good out there." I reached out my hand, "Mr. President, it's a pleasure to meet you." We shook hands and so forth, and he hung around for I guess two or three minutes, maybe five. I lost track of time. Then he and his party went and sat at a table behind me and to the left.

The woman I'm with is saying, "Whoa! Does this happen to you all the time?"

"Ah, yeah, constantly. I can't go anywhere."

So about ten minutes later I become aware again of another looming presence at my table, and I look up, and it's former President Bill Clinton. A second time, he has stopped at my table. The first time he stopped while walking in. The second time he actually left his table, came to my table, and he's got another guy standing with him, and the guy looks familiar, but I can't place him. I can't hear the introduction.

So I'm shaking hands and so forth, and this man is going on and on and on about how excited he is to meet me. He wanted to meet me, and the former president brought him over. When the former president told him I was there, he said, "I have to meet Mr. Limbaugh."

It turns out it was the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and so we chatted for a while, and while I'm chatting -- now, this is hilarious. While I'm chatting with Villaraigosa, I kind of slid to the right in my half-moon booth, and as I did that, that created some distance between me and my guest. I'm talking with Villaraigosa, and when I'm talking to somebody in a very loud place like this, I have to devote full attention. I had to turn my head to my left, away from the action behind me, to hear what the mayor was saying. At some point during the conversation with the mayor, I looked to my left, and the former president was intently chatting up the woman that I was sitting with. He had leaned down, and his elbows and arms were on the railing of the booth, and they were in intense conversation.

I chatted up Mayor Villaraigosa some more, and then he left and they both went back to the president's table. Then they left. They left I guess about five minutes before I ended up leaving. As they left, the president had a friend with him. The president didn't come back to the table when they left but Ron Burkle was also in the president's group, and he stopped to say hello. So I stood up and said, "Hello, Mr. Burkle." I'm very familiar with Ron. He's a big Los Angeles guy and so forth, and then they left. I guess it was ten minutes, as I say, or so after that, I left. As I get to the front door, there is a photographer out there in the street and the flash is going crazy, taking pictures, and I said, "Whoa! Why didn't I think of this?" I knew this was going to happen. Clinton is up the sidewalk a little bit, chatting with somebody, and when I walk out the door, the photographer sees me and aims his camera at me and starts flashing pictures away.

Now, the former president is probably about ten feet up the sidewalk, and I decided I'm going to go up, shake his hand and say good night. Because I'm a gentleman, I'm not just going to walk out there and ignore him. So I did. I walked up. I asked him what he had to eat.

He said, (Clinton impression) "I had chicken. I had fish. That's what we had."

I said, "Well, you were good. You were good."

"You gotta be good, man, gotta be good."

So I said, "Nice to meet you," got back in a car, and drove off.

I got home and I sent an e-mail to some friends. I recounted the story pretty much as I've recounted it for you, and I told them, I predicted, "Now, you wait 'til this hits the papers. When it hits the papers, it will be the other way around. I approached the former president, and all of this sort of stuff -- and I did, outside the restaurant." I walked out and the photographers were there.

In fact, I said to the woman I was with, "Okay, let's give them a picture." She didn't want to be in the picture. She just made a beeline for the car, but I walked up and said good night to the former president. By the way, all this was like two old friends getting together. It was idle chitchat and smiles all around from the mayor of Los Angeles, from Ron Burkle and from the president himself.

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  • Limbaugh's fans are looking to him for leadership.

    rolling on the floor!
    Are you cons that ignorant, braindead and retarded you need a billboard salesman turned politcal hack for LEADERSHIP?????

    You cons are dumber, sicker and more insane than I thought!
    please Rush tell me how to think

    Remember this human excrements (that is all cons are) America loves bill clinon, America loved the peace and prosperity.

    Cons are so irrelevant it is no longer funny, it is actually sad.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 17 May, 2007 13:40  

  • Talent on Loan from Oxys meets the horniest president we've ever had.
    Rush coulda asked Bill about his
    brother Roger, who "has a nose like
    a Hoover vaccuum cleaner" (when it
    comes to cocaine).

    When asked about it later, the
    former President had this to say:
    "I'm going to say something right now. I want you to listen to me.
    I did not..have...dinner relations
    with that man, Mr. Limbaugh..."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 17 May, 2007 14:25  

  • I think that the title of "Horniest President" is a hotly contested thing. Wasn't it Reagan who was famous for waking up with a different woman every morning in Hollywood? How 'bout Kennedy?

    And, what's up, raccoonradio? What's wrong with being horny? Don't you like sex?

    "Bubba" vs. the "Talk Titan"? Nice framing Brian.

    How 'bout the "Beloved Ex-President" (according to the polls, at any rate) vs. "Oxycontin-Addled Viagra-Fiend."

    I just don't get why people on the right hate Bill Clinton so much. It's so visceral and so deep. I've met people who seem totally normal, who, at the mention of either Clinton's name suddenly go berzerk, smoke all but shooting out their ears.

    Clinton's a centrist Democrat who is far closer to Republicans in ideology than many of the alternatives to him. He repeatedly sold out the Democratic base to them in order to triangulate. He was the Republicans' best friend in the Democratic Party.

    I can only guess that Republicans are so envious that they want a dolt like Bush or Reagan for president and cannot stand to have people of real accomplishment in office.

    The right should take a valium on this one. It really makes them seem crazy.

    I personally think that it was he and his colleagues in the DLC that brought about total Republican rule in Washington by refusing to put on much of a fight against them.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 17 May, 2007 15:49  

  • bill clinton was the best republican president we ever had...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 17 May, 2007 15:52  

  • I'm not fond of perjurers...or their shrill wives...

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 18 May, 2007 03:14  

  • in that case Racoon, you must despise Gonzales, he lied under oath over 10 times in the last month.
    racoon, you only dislike perjury if the person doing it has a "D" next to their name.

    cons don't care about the rule of law, otherwise your filthy hero Bush, would have been removedfrom office. He brtoke the law, the FISA wiretaps were ILLEGAL

    By Blogger Jared, at 18 May, 2007 10:48  

  • Racoonradio:

    When has H. Clinton been shrill. She's actually a kind, decent woman.
    I'm not nuts about her for political reasons, but the strange view of her as some vile monster is complete fiction created by right-wing spin factories.

    You've let propaganda form your thoughts for you.

    Tell me once that it is publically documented and not mere hearsay that she has been shrill.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 18 May, 2007 20:33  

  • metro, they prefer the smooth, intoixicating sounds of ann coulter

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 18 May, 2007 22:12  

  • Hannity told them she sounds "shrill"!!

    It is frightening how the fascist wing of the Republican party has perfected the art of brainwashing.

    Thanks to the Lame Stream media, a moderate like clinton became a "liberal' and a neo-fascist like Guilliani is a "liberal republican"

    still not a word from the lame stream media regarding that hospital visit to Ashcroft by gonzo and Andy Card.

    lib lib lib lib lib lib media

    It is time the Lame Stream Media be held accountable for becomming a propaganda tool for the radical right.

    By Blogger Jared, at 20 May, 2007 21:57  

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