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Rush Limbaugh Never Let On He Went to School With Pastor Jones

4 years ago
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As you may have heard, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Terry Jones (you know, the Gainesville, Fla., pastor who threatened to burn Korans on 9/11) graduated from the same high school in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1969.

On Friday, Pastor Jones was all over morning TV and continued to go back and forth on whether he would be burning any Korans on the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Interestingly, Limbaugh referenced the Pastor Jones story on two recent occasions. But according to transcripts, he never disclosed their shared past. Instead, Limbaugh referred to him simply as "the preacher," "the guy," or "the Gainesville pastor."

On Sept. 8, Limbaugh asked listeners of his popular radio show: "By the way, has the ACLU weighed in yet on the Gainesville pastor who wants to burn the Koran? Why not? I mean, if the ACLU would be consistent they'd move in there and defend this Gainesville pastor's right to burn the Koran."

Rush Limbaugh; Terry JonesThe next day, Limbaugh responded to a caller's question about whether Jones might be talked out of burning the Korans, saying: "Well, we did have [Robert] Gibbs say in the White House press briefing they're thinking about calling the preacher. I don't know what they want to do. Maybe try to talk the preacher into not doing this.

That same day, Limbaugh also mocked the media's coverage of the story (which he deemed too insignificant to garner this much attention) saying: "We're being manipulated by this poor little guy down there, this church, burning the Koran. That's silly. It's not worth the energy everybody's expending over it. How many people go to this guy's church, 50? Thirty? And here's Obama weighing in on it."

But what he did not do, at least, according to transcripts, is say, "You know, I went to high school with Terry."

To be sure, it would be wrong to make too much of this shared past. After all, you can't pick your high school classmates -- and neither can Limbaugh. And as Thomas Lifson, editor of American Thinker, a site Limbaugh frequently references, noted, "For the record, Rush does not support the Koran burning, and thinks the whole incident is a distraction. But that won't stop lefties from trying to slime him with this random connection."

Lifson is, of course, correct. Limbaugh is a lightning rod, and his connection to this controversial story, regardless of how peripheral it is, will surely to fuel interest. Last night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Re-Tweeted this: " 'Rev.' Terry Jones was classmate of none other than Rush Limbaugh (Cape Central class of '69). Coincidence?"

On the other hand, isn't it a bit odd that Limbaugh would discuss this story on his nationally syndicated radio show and yet not at least disclose that they went to school together? This wouldn't have been an indictment. He could have said, "Folks, I went to school with this guy, and he wasn't this crazy back then."

Of course, it's possible that Limbaugh honestly didn't realize this was the same Terry Jones, but that's unlikely. Cape Girardeau, like many Midwestern towns, is a small, tight-knit community. The Limbaughs are like royalty there, and Rush's brother David still practices law there.

More likely, Limbaugh chose to simply not disclose the background, hoping it would go unnoticed. There's nothing unethical about that, in my estimation, but it is, at least, weirdly secretive.

I guess we will have to listen to his show today to find out more. . .

Limbaugh responds.

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