Thursday, January 15, 2009

President Bush sings Happy Birthday to Rush Limbaugh

Imagine having the President of the United States sing Happy Birthday to you! What an honor ... and that's exactly what happened to Rush Limbaugh Tuesday when he had lunch with the President at the White House.

Rush's birthday was Monday. His lunch with the President was Tuesday but they remembered him with a chocolate birthday cake complete with chocolate microphone.

Here it a retelling of Rush's lunch with President George W. Bush in his own words:
Last week I received an invitation from President Bush to attend a farewell luncheon with just the two of us in his dining room off of the Oval Office. I readily agreed to this, and it was for yesterday.
So yesterday morning I rise early, head to the airport, fly up to Washington, DC, and get to the White House at 11 o'clock. The luncheon with the president was scheduled from 12 noon to one o'clock because at 1:05 he's gotta go to the East Room for the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. I arrived at 11 o'clock as they asked me to in case the schedule was moving faster, they don't want the president to have downtime, so if you're waiting to meet with the president you're always there early in case his schedule changes. They called me into the Oval Office at 11:45. We went in, had some pictures, as is always the case. Ed Gillespie, one of the president's advisors was there, posed for pictures and so forth, president said, "Let's go eat!"

Now, the day before, on Monday, I had been faxed the menu from the White House mess. They asked me to choose what I wanted from the menu from the lunch a day in advance. So I looked at the menu, and I ordered salmon over rice and a side salad with some ranch dressing.

We get into the president's private dining room off the Oval Office and in front of every place setting -- three of them, there's Ed Gillespie, the president, and me -- there's a cheese and cracker tray, a substantial cheese and cracker tray that they had not told me would be there.

The president had not ordered, he ordered lunch, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And he told the steward, "I want red jelly, don't give me that purple jelly, I want red jelly." Ed Gillespie had a salad, a large salad. So shortly thereafter here came my salmon, here came my side salad and an older of French fries that I did not order and the president's got his little peanut butter and jelly sandwich there and Gillespie is looking at his salad, the president looks at me and said, "Hey, Limbaugh, we don't have all that much time to eat here, this is going to be a quick meeting." I said, "I didn't order all this but I'm happy to have it here."

Then I got my napkin out, and I'm getting ready to put the napkin on and unbeknownst to me a corner of my napkin dipped into the bowl of ranch dressing. The president looked at me with horror on his face. "Limbaugh, you're going to ruin your blue suit. This is the White House, shape up, man." I didn't know what he was talking about. "You've got salad dressing all over your napkin." (laughing)

So just I'm sitting there, I'm laughing, everybody's laughing, so we had lunch, it was off the record. I mean, some of these people that had been invited up here the last week are going in for exit interviews where the president gives them a lowdown and things that he's done that he wants remembered and so forth.

This was a friendly thing, all the policy stuff was off the record, and with ten minutes left in lunch, the door opens and three stewards walk in with a little chocolate birthday cake that has four candles in it, and they're lighted, and there's a little chocolate microphone on the plate with the chocolate birthday cake. My mouth falls open and I'm just in stunned disbelief, but I'm trying to act cool, I'm like, "Ah, this is no big deal, this happens to me all the time." Yeah, ranch dressing on the napkin, I'm trying to act cool here like this is all no big deal. (laughing)

By the way, how many people would admit to you that they dipped their napkin in ranch dressing at lunch at the White House? That's how secure of myself I am. I didn't know I had done it, but it was just funny the way, "Hey, Limbaugh, you're going to ruin your suit. This is the White House, man, shape up." (laughing)

So anyway, they put the cake in front of me, and the president, "Don't blow it out yet," he and Gillespie stand up, they stand behind me, photographer comes in, he starts snapping pictures while the president and Gillespie and the stewards sing happy birthday to me, and I'm sitting there just choked up and I'm saying to myself, "I just wish my parents were alive so that I could be able to show them the pictures here and to tell them about this."

And then after they finished singing happy birthday -- and I'm sure that I'm beet red in the face -- the president sits back down and says, "Well, let's have a couple bites and we gotta go because I got this Medal of Freedom ceremony. You're coming, aren't you, Limbaugh?" I said, "Yeah, I'd be honored to go in there."

So we left the dining room, went back into the Oval Office.... And indeed, the place was full. They have a center aisle for the president and the honored guests to walk down. It's a long room, and it's set up in a configuration. So I walk in and one of the first people I see as I'm glancing around is Colin Powell. He's in the far upper right-hand corner, and he sees me the minute I walk in.

I just looked at him, and he looked at me, and I just looked at him, and finally Gillespie ushers me further into the room, where I said hi to Denny Hastert, I said hi to Secretary Rumsfeld, and we had some yuks, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the congresswoman from down in Miami, John Boehner was there, Vice President Cheney, and I'm laughing and yukking it all up with the people that Colin Powell says should stop listening to me while he's standing there watching all this.
Long overdue ... glad the President had Mr. Limbaugh to the White House.

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