Rush Limbaugh claims new Batman movie is liberal attack on Romney

Correction: Due to an editor’s error, the previous headline on this story misrepresented Rush Limbaugh’s comments about “The Dark Knight Rises.” Limbaugh did not claim that the movie was a liberal attack on GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. He only questioned whether the name of the central villain — Bane — would be helpful to Democrats in their ongoing criticism of Bain Capital, a hedge fund associated with Romney.

July 17, 2012

Will the latest Hollywood blockbuster be the bane of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign?

Well, that might be going too far, but the villain in the new Batman movie probably won’t do Romney any favors.

The bad guy’s name: Bane. Which is audibly the same as Bain, the investment firm that Romney once headed and the company that President Obama’s campaign keeps characterizing as a jobs-destroying, “vampire” outfit.

The hulking Bane (played by actor Tom Hardy) is Batman’s evil-doing opposite in “The Dark Knight Rises,” the third film in director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy about the Caped Crusader. The movie opens in theaters on Thursday and is widely expected to be the biggest box-office hit of the summer, and quite possibly the year.

Please hold off on your conspiracy theories about liberal Hollywood. The mask-wearing Bane character was created in 1993 by comic-book creators Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, long before Romney was running for president (though a year before he ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts senator against Ted Kennedy). The movie was already in pre-production before Romney declared his intention to run in 2012; the date of its release was scheduled long ago.

In fact, Dixon calls the Bane-Bain comparison “ridiculous” in a posting on the message board section of his website, Dixonverse.net. “I saw it on [Facebook] like two hours ago,” he wrote late Monday. “Ridiculous. Tho’ I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that Rush [Limbaugh] may pick up on this. And [that] would be the second time he pegged me and Graham as liberals on his show.”

Sure enough, Limbaugh raised an eyebrow about the timing of the movie and the name of its villain on his radio program on Tuesday.

“The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time,” he said. “Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?”

He added, “This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop-culture crowd. And they’re going to hear ‘Bane’ in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie —’Oh yeah, I know who that is.’ There are some people who think it will work...Others think — “You’re really underestimating the America n people who think that will work.”

Dixon doesn’t mind if it does: “Hey, if it gets Obama supporters into theaters,” he wrote. “Maybe they’ll buy thousands of Bane toys to throw at Romney. It all adds to MY Bane capital.”

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter.
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