ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh issued an on-air apology to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., today after a caller said her daughter thought the Democratic presidential frontrunner looked like the cartoon character Curious George, a monkey.
Limbaugh, who laughed at the caller’s comments, later apologized explaining he didn’t know anything about Curious George.
Click HERE for the audio.
"I’ve got to do something here to open this hour of today’s excursion into broadcast excellence. I need to apologize to both Sen. Obama and to Sen. McCain, " said Limbaugh. "I had never heard of Curious George. Only now have staffers sent me little pictures of Curious George," he continued.
"So I wish to apologize to both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. It was not my intent to bring dishonor and guttural utterances into this campaign. It happened. I laughed about it. It was a 12 year old kid’s reaction to Obama, it was told by his mother. I was laughing because I was being polite, but I had never heard of Curious George."
Right before the show went into a commercial break, a caller named Tammy told Limbaugh, "..my 12 year old daughter..she..her statement last week was ‘who cares what the guy’s middle name is, he looks like Curious George.’"
In familiar Limbaugh fashion, he tried to find humor in the matter. "We have fired the caller Tammy. We’re not going to put up with this. We’re not going to tolerate this kind of stuff on this program…."
He continued, "Well, Why aren’t you apologizing to Hillary? Well, she’s probably happy it happened." Not missing a beat, Limbaugh quickly said, "Well, I guess I better apologize for saying that."
Limbaugh made a broader, perhaps more serious observation about political correctness and what can and cannot be said about a black man seeking the presidency of the United States. "I’m doing this as an illustration for you of how really uptight and tense everybody is going to be with any kind of criticism of Barack Obama on the Republican side," he said. "If Obama is the nominee, we may set a record for the number of apologies to him and his campaign by various Republicans and so forth."
There has been much discussion about whether the media is more aggressive with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and a bit more polite and careful in dealing with Obama, which is what Limbaugh was alluding to today. But forty years removed from racist archetypes like Blackface, Limbaugh probably won’t get much sympathy by laughing at a child thinking a black man favors a monkey.