Geraldo Rivera: Rush Limbaugh 'Dean' of 'Nativist Reaction'

According to Geraldo Rivera, Rush Limbaugh is "the dean of the academy" of a "nativist reaction" and "the most savage talk radio campaign every in history." Appearing on the March 3 edition of "The View," the Fox News correspondent promoted to his book, "His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S." Rivera also said McCain’s virtual lock of the Republican nomination is "a victory for the decency wing of the GOP." Rivera also claimed Mitt Romney "was such a nice guy" as governor of Massachusetts, but "suddenly became an anti-immigrant radical."

Geraldo also said he refuses to even shake CNN correspondent Lou Dobbs’s hand. The relevant transcript is below. Allahpundit at Hot Air has the video.

WALTERS: But when we have someone like John McCain, and, and others who say "look, let’s let the illegals work their way back, be identified, pay a fine," you know, have to have certain steps, it’s called "amnesty."

GERALDO RIVERA: I don’t think that that’s amnesty at all. And thank God John McCain is basically the Republican nominee because he is, his victory is a victory for the decency wing of the GOP. The other candidates, Mike Huckabee, a wonderful guy otherwise, he put the co-chairman of the Minutemen on his advisory committee.

HASSELBECK: And Mitt Romney.

RIVERA: And Mitt Romney, I mean, who was such a nice guy when he was mayor- governor of Massachusetts, suddenly became this anti-immigration radical. And the reason conservatives don’t have Mitt Romney to vote for is that the hispanics in Florida listen to his hateful rhetoric, and they said "forget about it. We don’t care that you come down here and drink café com leche and say ‘Cuba si,’ and ‘yankee no’ and all these other formulaic things. If you are slandering people that look like me and sound like me, we’re not going to vote for you." They voted for John McCain five to one. That’s why he’s out.

BEHAR: Wasn’t that to appeal to the base? And why would the base go along with something like that?

RIVERA: Well, you know, where, it stems from kind of a nativist reaction that started really at the grassroots and it’s driven by the most savage talk radio campaign ever in history.

BEHAR: Name names.

RIVERA: Well, I think that Rush Limbaugh is the dean of the academy. Lou Dobbs on CNN has been shameful in his hate mongering.

BEHAR: I heard you won’t shake his hand.

RIVERA: I would not shake his hand because this is a man who has done more damage to the cause of sensible comprehensive reform than anyone else with a microphone. And for him to be banded about as the next presidential candidate or an independent candidate. What? On the backs of these poor people, the most vulnerable? He’s scapegoating. He’s falsely blaming them for crime, for disease, for terror, for stealing jobs, and if you examine the studies, all of it is untrue.