- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Rush-thru treatment

Inside the Beltway has learned that Rush Limbaugh’s painkiller-addiction “treatment is going extremely well” and “we are confident that, as he promised, Rush will be back on the air within a few days of completing his 30-day treatment program.”

So says Kraig Kitchin, president and chief operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks, which distributes the widely popular “Rush Limbaugh” radio show.

“What’s more, after meeting with Florida prosecutors, Rush’s lawyer, Roy Black, said flatly on MSNBC last week that he doesn’t ‘believe that Rush will ever be arrested or charged with anything,’” Mr. Kitchin was pleased to inform Premiere senior management in an Oct. 20 memorandum obtained by this column.

The conservative commentator, who lives in Palm Beach, Fla., acknowledged on Oct. 10 that he is hooked on painkillers and was immediately checking into a drug-treatment center. The 52-year-old Mr. Limbaugh also confirmed he is cooperating with law enforcement authorities in Florida who are investigating the black-market drug trade.

“I’m also happy to report that there has not been a single defection from Rush’s affiliate roster,” Mr. Kitchin writes, not mentioning the fact that stations like Baltimore’s WBAL have chosen to air their own local talent during Mr. Limbaugh’s three-hour time slot rather than Premiere’s lineup of guest hosts, many out-of-market radio commentators affiliated with the network.

“It is also important to know that we have received an overwhelming flood of e-mails expressing solid support for Rush, his advertisers and his affiliates,” writes Mr. Kitchin, seeking to keep stations, listeners and advertisers pumped up and on board during Mr. Limbaugh’s minimum monthlong absence.

“Listeners seemed particularly moved by Rush’s straightforward acceptance of responsibility for his problem,” he notes, expecting “Rush’s admission will likely help countless others deal with similar problems.”

Beyer’s guarantee

Apart from the popularity of the candidate himself, a Northern Virginia auto dealer is responsible for Howard Dean’s tremendous fund-raising success.

Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr., when not selling Volvos and Land Rovers, is busy traversing the nation as Mr. Dean’s national campaign-finance chairman. During recent weeks alone, Mr. Beyer’s efforts have helped generate $15 million for the campaign.

Mr. Beyer says he’s known the former Vermont governor since both were lieutenant governors of their respective states. What impresses him most is Mr. Dean’s ability to balance a budget, which he accomplished in his state for 11 consecutive years.

Where’s Osama?

One U.S. senator finds it unacceptable that Osama bin Laden has not been captured.

Noting that bin Laden vowed again this week to launch suicide attacks against Americans, Sen. Kent Conrad says, “Frankly, it angered me to see these taped reports.”

“It has now been 771 days since al Qaeda launched terrorist attacks on American targets on September 11, 2001,” says the North Dakota Democrat. “Why is Osama bin Laden still able to threaten this country? Why have we not been able to find him and bring him to account?”

Newsweek magazine believes it has narrowed down bin Laden’s likely hiding place to the Kunar province on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“So,” says the senator, “why are we not flooding that area with American forces to take him out?”

Rolling out dough

The new twenty-dollar bill is not a twenty-dollar bill if Uncle Sam is spending $32 million to promote it.

So says Citizens Against Government Waste of the new currency notes that went into circulation last week, featuring a colored background along with a new watermark and security thread to foil counterfeiters.

“The airwaves have been inundated with slick television commercials showing people spending the revised $20 bill,” says CAGW head Tom Schatz. “Either the government thinks Americans are not sufficiently intelligent to believe that a bill with Andrew Jackson’s picture, the words ‘Federal Reserve Note,’ the signature of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and the number 20 on it is a $20 bill — or Washington just has far too much money to spend.”

We doubt it, given the record $374 billion deficit in fiscal 2003, and projected $480 billion deficit in fiscal 2004. Coming soon: more splashy introductions for the new $50 and $100 bills.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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