The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

23 September 2011

Exclusive: Rush Limbaugh Reacts To Gary Johnson's Debate Joke


Rush: Mr Show AND Debate Prep?

If it places an overlooked presidential candidate on the political radar screen, does it matter that his "debate-winning" joke was lifted from a radio talk show?

After Gary Johnson's (via AP, shown at right) laugh-inducing "shovel-ready" gag at Thursday's forum boosted his sagging fortunes, a mini-media firestorm erupted over its source.

ABC News was particularly harsh, headlining its coverage with "Gary Johnson’s ‘Shovel-Ready’ Joke Stinks of a Stolen Line".

CBS: "Was Gary Johnson's joke too shovel ready?"

Et cetera, et cetera.

That's because it's almost a carbon-copy of a line heard on Rush Limbaugh's show earlier that same day. Filling in for Limbaugh today, Mark Steyn noted the striking similarity.

But that wasn't good enough for your Radio Equalizer: we wanted to know what the Talk Titan himself felt about the matter. Was he upset about it?

So, with apologies up front for disturbing him on his day off, we tracked down El Rushbo and got his quick reaction:

EQ: What's your reaction to Gary Johnson use of your line last night? There's such a media frenzy about it (ABC: "it stinks of a stolen line"), did it bother you, or did you find it funny?

Bother me? Is the first time I’ve been copied or ripped off? LOL… This happens every day in the media. I guess I’ve now become show prep for the GOP debates, too.

Is it more like imitation = flattery, or something you shrug your shoulders over?


Somehow, we doubt this will be the last time Rush-related content ends up in a GOP presidential debate, especially given Johnson's success yesterday in Florida.


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