(RNN) – Rush Limbaugh backed off assertions that the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is part of a liberal conspiracy. Now, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is like Batman.
"I made the point that the rich, wealthy hero in the Batman movie is more like Romney and that the Bane guy seems more like an Occupy Wall Street guy," Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday. "And yet here I am supposedly articulating a conspiracy between the comic book creators and the [Barack] Obama campaign, that somehow they created this villain with the same name as Romney's venture capital company, private equity company."
Bain Capital is the private equity firm founded by Romney. Bane is the arch-nemesis of Batman in the film due out Friday.
The conservative commentator said he received more reaction to his Tuesday remarks about The Dark Knight Rises than anything else he ever said. He claimed he was saying Democrats would try to use a Bane-Bain connection to sink Romney's campaign and re-elect Obama.
"I never said that the villain was created by the comic book character creator to be part of the 2012 campaign," he said. "I never said that at all. Everybody's out there running around saying I got this giant conspiracy theory that the Batman people, the creators, the comic book creators, created this thing to campaign against Romney."
Before changing the topic, however, he hinted there still could be a conspiracy.
"I was talking [Tuesday] about Hollywood, the people who market the movie, who determine when it's going to be released," he said. "So you've got the villain named Bane."
Since the success of Jaws in 1975, movie studios have scheduled many of their big-budget, blockbuster "summer movies" to release during the summer, to maximize their exposure and earning potential. The Dark Knight Rises is the third of a wildly successful trilogy and has a budget of about $200 million.
Its predecessors, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, were both released in the summer.
On Tuesday, Limbaugh emphatically connected Bane and Bain. The following is a partial transcript from his show's website:
Have you heard this new movie, the Batman movie, what is it, The Dark Knight Lights Up or whatever the name is? That's right, Dark Knight Rises. Lights up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane.
The villain in The Dark Knight Rises is named Bane, B-a-n-e. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time. The release date's been known, summer 2012, for a long time.
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?
If he meant "accidental" in that the character Bane has anything to do with Bain Capital, then yes, it is totally accidental. Either that or the character's creators were Nostradamus-level soothsayers.
Also, "rises" and "lights up" don't mean the same thing.
DC Comics creative team Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan introduced Bane (who neither breathes fire nor has four eyes) in the Batman comic books in 1993. Bane became infamous in the DC universe as the man who released all of Gotham City's criminals and broke the caped crusader's back in the Knightfall storyline.
The origin of the name had nothing to do with the company. It came from the definition of the word, Bane, which means "something, typically poison, that causes death."
It's also a synonym for venom, and Bane used a substance called "Venom" to give him superhuman strength.
The cast of The Dark Knight Rises was decided more than a year before Romney became the Republican nominee and Bain Capital became a central topic of the 2012 presidential campaign.
The villains in the movie were officially announced in January 2011 by Warner Bros. A Hollywood Reporter piece noted Tom Hardy, the actor playing Bane, had been cast in the fall of 2010.
While Limbaugh is the most notable figure who has erroneously tied the two names together, he was not the first to make the Bane and Bain association.
Dixon spoke about his creation's name on his blog and even mentioned Limbaugh by name the day before the radio talk host brought it up on-air. Dixon called any Bain Capital comparison "ridiculous."
"I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that Rush may pick up on this," Dixon wrote. "And [that] would be the second time he pegged me and Graham as liberals on his show."
When someone asked him about the first time Limbaugh called him out, Dixon said it happened because of the follow-up story to Knightfall, called Knightquest.
In Knightquest, one of the characters is a psychologist named Simpson Flanders who hits the talk show circuit promoting his book. He makes the argument that "all the crazies that Batman fights are just misunderstood."
"In three succeeding stories [Flanders] appears on a Larry King and Sally Jesse Raphael-type talk show to promote his book," Dixon wrote. "Both hosts take his proposition seriously. Finally, he appears on the Link Rambeau Show and Link mocks the shrink and calls his proposition hogwash."
Limbaugh took offense, concluding Link was based on him.
"Someone on Rush's staff told him about it, and he dismissed it as a liberal attack on him without looking at the context," Dixon stated.
Research gaffes aside, Limbaugh said the massive audience that is certain to see the movie could see Bane and think Bain. He added that if you go see the movie, he thinks you're stupid.
A 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're going to associate Bain.
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, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie, ‘Oh, yeah, I know who that is.'
It should be noted that Rush Limbaugh has no connection to the band Rush, even though the two have the same name and spelling.
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