Republican Leader Pledges Defense of Limbaugh

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:32pm EDT

( - House Republicans will rally to radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's defense if Democrats move to consider a resolution that would condemn the conservative icon for using the term "phony soldiers" in a recent broadcast.

"Should House Democrats decide to bring forward a ludicrous resolution condemning Limbaugh, Republicans will take to the floor to set the record straight -- and welcome the opportunity to do so," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement Wednesday.

"[P]ardon me if I am not moved to crocodile tears shed by left-wing activists in recent days," Boehner said, calling the recent kerfuffle a "manufactured controversy."

On his Sept. 26 show, Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" in setting up a story about Jesse Macbeth, a former soldier who was recently sentenced to five months in prison for obtaining veterans' benefits by falsifying his military records.

Macbeth claimed to have been an Army Ranger with a rank of corporal. He further claimed to have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and became a figure of the anti-war movement when he stated in Internet videos that he witnessed U.S. military atrocities in Iraq. In reality, Macbeth was in the Army only 44 days and never served overseas.

The liberal media group Media Matters for America (which has led a long campaign to have Limbaugh removed from taxpayer-supported Armed Services Radio) accused Limbaugh of referring to all anti-war soldiers as "phony soldiers."

Limbaugh clarified on his radio show that he was referring specifically to Macbeth and others like him.

On Monday, Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced a House resolution to support the military and condemn Limbaugh's comments. House Democratic leadership would have to make room for the non-binding resolution on the legislative calendar, if it is to come to a vote.

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