The war of words between President Obama and radio host Rush Limbaugh is one of those symbiotic events in politics: It is helping both sides fire up their partisans.
Earlier this month, Limbaugh admonished Republicans and conservatives wishing the new president well. "I hope he fails," he told listeners on his highly popular radio show.
On Friday, Obama reportedly told House Republicans as he lobbied for his stimulus plan, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
Limbaugh shot back Monday , saying he believes the president "wants me to fail. He's more frightened of me than he is of [House GOP leader] John Boehner, which doesn't say much for our party."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly responded with an online petition. "Jobs, health care, our place in the world -- the stakes for our nation are high and every American needs President Obama to succeed," the petition says. "Stand strong against Rush Limbaugh's Attacks -- sign our petition, telling Rush what you think of his attacks on President Obama."
But, it turned out that House Republicans -- and their constituents -- might have listened more to Limbaugh than Obama. Not a single Republican voted for the stimulus bill on Wednesday.
Today, Americans United for Change, a coalition of liberal and labor groups backing Obama and his economic recovery package launched a radio ad campaign targeting Republican Senators John Ensign of Nevada, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, calling on them to reject Limbaugh.
The 60-second spots, entitled “Rush to Failure,” are "designed to put Republican Senators on notice: the public expects them to represent their interests not the interests of Rush Limbaugh. In November, voters made clear they want change in the way Washington works and a new direction for our economy – not the failed policies of the past or the divisive politics of Rush Limbaugh," the group said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.