Rumble in the jungle: Limbaugh v. Gingrich

The two conservative heavyweights are facing off, and it's getting ugly.

Published March 9, 2009 10:25PM (EDT)

Newt Gingrich's possible presidential ambitions have just taken a hit, as Rush Limbaugh is pretty peeved at the former speaker of the House, and is making no secret of it.

The Gingrich-Limbaugh face-off, just the latest in a line of incidents in which a Republican has criticized the radio host, began Sunday. "You're irrational if you don't want the president to succeed," Gingrich said on "Meet the Press." "I don't think anyone should want the president of the United States to fail. I want some of his policies to be stopped. But I don't want the president of the United States to fail. I want him to learn new policies."

Though the former speaker didn't mention Limbaugh's name specifically, comments like this are a pretty clear allusion to him and his repeated declarations that he wants President Obama to fail.

On Monday, a caller to Limbaugh's show asked the controversial talker about Gingrich's comments. This prompted Limbaugh -- who hadn't mentioned it before -- to launch what was probably the nastiest of all his rejoinders to Republicans who've criticized him.

"I'm frankly getting tired of talking about Newt. I mean, it's a pointless exercise," Limbaugh said, according to Politico's Ben Smith. "I mean, next week Newt could come out and profess his total admiration and love for me if it would serve his purposes."

More from Limbaugh's diatribe:

Here's my attitude on this. I am at the top of the mountain of what I do. Everybody underneath it wants what I've got. That's great. That's human nature. As such, they'll do what they can to take me down or to criticize me or what have you. It is beneath my dignity to be critical of those beneath me. It's just a waste of time. All this is such human nature. I know that Newt would give his whatever to have what I've got. So would any of these other critics of mine...

I must present a problem, must present an obstacle. If I had no impact, if I had no influence, if I was such an extremist appealing to such a small number of people, why, what they'd be doing is laughing, or ignoring. But they're running TV ads against me. Newt Gingrich wishes they were running TV ads against him. But they're running TV ads against me. So I love it. I'm up for it. I raise my hand. I'm the Last Man Standing. I'm not going to back down. I'm not going to stop saying what I say or what I believe, 'cause I'm an American.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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