TIME"s Joe Klein went after Rush Limbaugh and didn't hold back any punches. The topic was Wanda Sykes and her routine at the WH Correspondents Dinner.
May 11, 2009

TIME"s Joe Klein went after Rush Limbaugh and didn't hold back any punches. The topic was Wanda Sykes and her routine at the WH Correspondents Dinner. She hit Rushbo. and conservatives are so upset.

KLEIN: This is just comedy. And we're talking about a guy in Rush Limbaugh who is inappropriate half the time I hear him on the radio.

CARPENTER: Yes, but he doesn't go to the White House Correspondents' Dinner to... (CROSSTALK)

KLEIN: But he describes himself as an entertainer. Wanda Sykes, entertainer. This is entertainment.

CARPENTER: But would you hold up Rush Limbaugh at these dinners to tell those jokes?

KLEIN: So could Rush. He could be in a lot better taste on a daily basis in which he is delivering misinformation, lies to a large audience in America. That is far more serious than telling a couple of jokes at a banquet.

KURTZ: Well, "lies" is a strong word, but we'll come back to that another time.

Klein was surprisingly candid in his assessment of Limbaugh and what he says on the air. Kurtz got stunned when Joe called Rush an outright liar. He also defends Sykes right to do what she will as a comedian.

(transcript below the fold via CNN)

KURTZ: The president address Michael Steele, the Republican chairman. And speaking of Rush Limbaugh, Wanda Sykes, the comedienne who followed the president, told this joke that got some groans in the room. She said -- she kind of accused -- she accused Rush Limbaugh of treason and she said, "I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just strung out on oxycontin and missed his flight." Does that go way, way over the comedic line?

CARPENTER: I think it does. I mean, there is a willingness for these jokes to be a little saucy at these dinners. I think that went over the line. I think the joke she told about Sarah Palin and Todd Palin's sex life was inappropriate. I think the inference she had to Barack Obama's race was also inappropriate. Overall...

KURTZ: She talked about if he was successful, he would be seen as an African-American president. And if not, he'd be seen as some half-white guy. CARPENTER: Yes. Yes, I thought that was over the line.

KLEIN: You know, comedy is, by definition, inappropriate. I mean...

KURTZ: Or it wouldn't be funny.

KLEIN: This is just comedy. And we're talking about a guy in Rush Limbaugh who is inappropriate half the time I hear him on the radio.

CARPENTER: Yes, but he doesn't go to the White House Correspondents' Dinner to... (CROSSTALK)

KLEIN: But he describes himself as an entertainer. Wanda Sykes, entertainer. This is entertainment.

CARPENTER: But would you hold up Rush Limbaugh at these dinners to tell those jokes?

SKLAR: It goes to context. I really think that it goes to context. I mean, everyone in the room is aware of the bigger picture here, the history. I think that if you deliver a monologue, a toothless monologue, without reference to context, then it means nothing.

CARPENTER: I think she could have done a fine job that was in better taste. That's all.

KURTZ: Speaking of dinners...

KLEIN: So could Rush. He could be in a lot better taste on a daily basis in which he is delivering misinformation, lies to a large audience in America. That is far more serious than telling a couple of jokes at a banquet.

KURTZ: Well, "lies" is a strong word, but we'll come back to that another time.

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