NEW YORK -- Rush Limbaugh advised Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to double down on his controversial remarks made at a closed-door fundraiser that Obama voters are "dependent on government."
On Tuesday's show, Limbaugh repeatedly said that the newly-unearthed video is a "golden opportunity" for the Republican candidate and that he doesn't care how the media is covering it.
"This could be the opportunity for Romney, and for that campaign, to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism, start explaining liberty to people and what it means." Limbaugh said. "And explain that they don't need to be in that 47 percent. There's no reason for them, for everybody to be -- essentially having given up on their future in this country. There's no reason for it. This is, to me, such an opportunity to espouse conservatism."
In the video, Romney claims that "there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what." Those voters are not paying income taxes and are people who are "dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them," according to Romney. The candidate then said that those supposed Obama voters "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing." (In fact, the majority of voters not paying income taxes live in red states, which will presumably go to Romney).
"I've spoken to Mitt Romney a number of times," Limbaugh said. "I don’t believe he's written them off, despite how it sounds."
While some conservative writers defended Romney's remarks Monday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol described them as "arrogant and stupid." Kristol wrote, "It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!)."
Limbaugh noted the Weekly Standard "dumping on Romney," but later said that "inside-the-Beltway conservative media" should also get in line behind Romney's argument about dependence.
"It's time to start getting with the program," Limbaugh said. "This is not just the next election. The future of the country, a financial collapse being averted, is what's on the agenda this election."