By STEVEN R. HURST
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - From his home and on a friendly network, Rush Limbaugh lobbed pot shots across the airwaves Sunday at President Barack Obama - "immature, inexperienced, in over his head," offering the country "radical leadership" and laying siege to the economy.
"We'll let Mr. Limbaugh foment," responded the White House's chief political strategist, dismissing the conservative commentator with the reported $400 million contract ("I'm probably worth more," Limbaugh said) as no more than an entertainer and not really the right guy to give "lectures on humility."
The banter began on the hourlong "Fox News Sunday," Limbaugh the lone guest, interviewed from his home in Palm Beach, Fla., on a network the Obama administration has labeled as the voice of the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Obama adviser David Axelrod swung away later in the morning from Chicago on CBS' "Face the Nation."
One question in, Limbaugh said that his country had "never seen this kind of radical leadership at such a high level of power," that "I have to think" the administration is bent on destroying the private sector on purpose, amounting to "a denial of liberty, an attack on freedom."
He said Obama's swift rise to the White House after "a five-minute career" makes him a "man-child president."
"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. That description is simply a way to cut through the noise and say he's immature, inexperienced, in over his head," Limbaugh said.
Axelrod, one of two guests on the 30-minute CBS broadcast, weighed in with cutting comments of his own.
"I think it's a surreal day when you're getting lectures on humility from Rush Limbaugh. ... The fact is that he is an entertainer. The president has to run the country," Axelrod said.
"We walked into a difficult situation. I think he's handling it very, very well. And most people believe that," he added.
Limbaugh belittled Obama's surprise, middle-of-the-night trip last week to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to observe the return of 18 flag-covered cases holding the remains of Americans killed in Afghanistan. "It was a photo op" designed to "create the impression that he has all of this great concern," he contended.
Axelrod said 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."
As Limbaugh predicted that a second Obama term "would be painful," Axelrod got the final word:
"There's no surprise that Rush Limbaugh espouses the views that he espouses. He does it every day on radio. He's marketing the outrageous. And he does very well with it. But as I said he's an entertainer. We've got bigger responsibilities."