America’s Most Powerful Fan Boys

So, what happens when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, talk show host Rush Limbaugh, political operative Mary Matalin, and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff get together?

Maybe they talk about what Jack Bauer did to get out of the latest scrape this week on their favorite television program, 24.

Rush Limbaugh moderated and Chertoff participated in a special discussion last week of 24, hosted by the Heritage Foundation, and featuring some of the program’s writers, producers, and stars. Clarence Thomas and his wife was in the audience. And along the way, Limbaugh outed a number of other high powered fans of the series.

Limbaugh, who says he hasn’t become obsessed with a prime time drama since Dallas, described one marathon viewing session with Matalin on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan:

So a friend went out and got the first two seasons on DVD and I stopped in Washington and picked Mary up, and I said, “You ever heard of this show 24?”

She said, “Ah, people have told me about.”

I said, “You ever watched it?”

She said, “No.”

I said, “Well, I’ve got the first two seasons on DVD. Let’s pop a DVD of season one in and see what happens.”

Sixteen hours later we landed in — (Laughter.) Sixteen hours later landed in Dubai, having watched 18 episodes of season one. We did not sleep. After the first four or five episodes, I said, “Mary, let’s just watch one more. We’ve gotta get some sleep. We’re going to Afghanistan.”

“Okay.”

We kept on after every episode, “We’ll just watch one more.” (Laughter.) And the only reason we stopped is because we landed in Dubai, and the whole week we’re in Afghanistan — which was another story itself, and it was an amazing trip — the whole week we can’t wait to get back to finish the final six episodes of season one and watch season two on the way back. .