GOP strategist Frank Luntz went off the record before a group of college Republicans earlier this month at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the negative impact he believes right-walk talk radio has had on the GOP, Mother Jones reported Thursday.
"And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it's really problematic," Luntz said of right-wing talk-radio programs, according to a recording of the event. Luntz added that talk radio has been especially damaging to Sen. Marco Rubio's immigration reform efforts.
"He's getting destroyed," Luntz said, "by Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy."
According to Mother Jones' piece, written by David Corn, Luntz asked the audience to allow him to speak off the record, prompting one college newspaper reporter to switch off his device. But another student, Aakash Abbi, captured the sound bite on his iPhone.
Corn has built a reputation reporting on surreptitious recordings, starting with Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments and continuing with a secretly recorded Mitch McConnell campaign strategy meeting.
Listen to the audio and read Corn's full piece here.