09/26/2011 02:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rush Limbaugh On Gary Johnson: 'Very Difficult For Any Other Conservative To Be Considered Original With Me On The Scene' (AUDIO)

Rush Limbaugh took former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson's purported theft of his joke in stride on his Monday show.

Johnson's line that his neighbor's dogs created more "shovel-ready projects" than President Obama ever did drew wild applause during last Thursday's GOP debate. But the very same line had been used by Limbaugh on that morning's show. Johnson denied stealing the joke, saying that a radio host in New Mexico had sent him the zinger earlier in the day. Limbaugh told HuffPost's Michael Calderone, "I guess I've become show prep for the GOP debates now, too."

Limbaugh was off Friday, so it was not until Monday that he was able to weigh in about the affair. He called the overall debate "sort of pathetic and sadly disappointing," but spent some minutes on Johnson. Playing through the many media outlets that picked up the story, he crowed, "even when I am away, I determine the news!"

Limbaugh essentially said that so many people steal his lines that he has essentially stopped caring.

"The last thing I do is get upset," he said. "It's very difficult for any other conservative out there to be considered original with me on the I cut all these people slack."

Listen (via RightVid):