- The Washington Times - Monday, November 2, 2009

A top White House adviser and a senator fired back at conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Sunday for criticizing President Obama’s trip to Dover Air Force Base to view the caskets of 18 fallen U.S. soldiers last week.

Mr. Limbaugh criticized Mr. Obama’s viewing of the caskets as part of a broader attack on the president’s handling of Afghanistan and his credentials.

“It was a photo op precisely because he’s having big-time trouble on this whole Afghanistan dithering situation,” Mr. Limbaugh said on “Fox News Sunday.” He called Mr. Obama’s political rise “a five-minute career.”

“I think he’s got an out-of-this-world ego. He’s very narcissistic, and he’s able to focus all attention on him all the time,” he said.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut independent, both defended Mr. Obama’s visit, calling it genuine and questioning Mr. Limbaugh’s credentials to make such a statement.

“I think it’s a surreal day when you’re getting lectures on humility from Rush Limbaugh,” Mr. Axelrod said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “The fact is that he is an entertainer. The president has to run the country.”

The White House adviser said Mr. Obama went to Dover “to represent the American people and pay his respects to the families who had made so much of a sacrifice, to those brave service people who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was the appropriate thing to do, and I think most Americans appreciate that.”

Mr. Axelrod also tied Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks to the upheaval in the special election to fill an upstate New York congressional seat, where a liberal Republican dropped out over the weekend after seeing his support erode in favor of the Conservative Party candidate. Mr. Axelrod said the intra-Republican fight shows that there’s “no room” for moderates in the Republican Party.

Mr. Lieberman, a former Democrat who has been at odds recently with most other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus over the decision to support a public option in the health care legislation, said he was proud Mr. Obama viewed the caskets at Dover.

“I just totally disagree with” Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Lieberman said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “On the question of President Obama going to Dover to be there to honor the American heroes whose bodies were returning, I think he was there as commander in chief for all Americans. And I don’t fault him or question his motives at all.”

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