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Tribute To Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Iii

Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Rep. Mike Pence

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, the Bible tells us that if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, then honor; if respect, then respect; and with a little girl at home tonight sick, I am unable to join a Special Order this evening that the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston) will be holding on behalf of an American who has greatly impacted my professional life, and, to the frustration of many, has greatly impacted the life of the Nation, and that would be Rush Hudson Limbaugh, III, a man born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on January 12, 1951.

He will be extolled on this floor tonight by many of my colleagues, as we come together during a time of great difficulty for the Limbaugh family to remember his contribution to the country. So I rise briefly tonight.

There are many of my colleagues, particularly those that were elected, Mr. Speaker, in 1994, who will look to this pioneer in talk radio and will credit him in part for their election to the Congress of the United States, and that would be true. In many ways, the Republican majority owes much of its continued success to the talk radio that Rush Limbaugh reinvented in the mid-1980s as a format for conversation among millions of Americans on a daily basis.

But it is a literal truth, Mr. Speaker, to say that I am in Congress today because of Rush Limbaugh, and not because of some tangential impact on my career or his effect on the national debate; but because in fact after my first run for Congress in 1988, it was the new national voice emerging in 1989 across the heartland of Indiana of one Rush Hudson Limbaugh, III, that captured my imagination. And while I would run for Congress again and lose, I was inspired by those dulcet tones to seek a career in radio and television.

I began my career in radio in Rushville, Indiana, in Rush County, in 1989, trying to do my level best impersonation of Rush Limbaugh in those early days; and it was, I am here to tell you, bad radio when I started.

By 1992, I began hosting a regular radio show in Indianapolis. It was a weekend conversation that became the most popular program on WNDE in the weekend lineup; and it was there that I became emboldened, listening oftentimes to the entrepreneurial spirit that emanated out of the Rush Limbaugh program to start my own syndicated radio program that grew over a 7-year period of time to a daily audience of over a quarter of a million people, 18 radio stations across Indiana. I was, in every sense, Rush Limbaugh's warm-up act in Indiana, airing every time from 9 a.m. to noon as his lead-in on many Hoosier stations. It was from that platform of popularity and distinction that I was able to accept the call in the year 2000 to try again, for the third time, to run to stand in this Chamber.

So I rise today in recognition of that fact. I rise today in appreciation of the example that Rush Limbaugh has been to me, both as an entrepreneur and as an American. The truth is, he has been an inspiration to many millions of Americans. After Ronald Reagan left the national stage in 1988 and many of us conservatives were searching for a voice and for over 20 million Americans, that voice was and is Rush Limbaugh.

Now, I know something as a former radio professional about the formatics and my colleague (Mr. Lewis) in the Chamber knows that in radio we learned pacing and how to hook the audience. We know the techniques, and no one is better in that than Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment. But it was not the formatics that drew the audience to Rush Limbaugh; it was not the gimmicks. It was information, verifiable fact and an undaunting willingness to speak the truth boldly.

Rush Limbaugh was not one of those in the media who, in effect, cowered behind that image of objectivity, hiding the fact that he had opinions, biases, beliefs, convictions; but, rather, he never feared being discovered to be an American of strong opinions. In fact, Rush Limbaugh never feared anything. I trust as he faces one of the great challenges of his life in a debilitating impact on his hearing, that that same courage, that same determination is being applied by Rush Limbaugh in the same way that his family is bathing his circumstances in prayer.

I close today, Mr. Speaker, simply by saying that Rush Limbaugh has made a difference in my life, and I say without apology that I believe he has made a difference in the life of the Nation. He has given us an example of a life that is about ideas larger than personal advancement, a life that tries to bring the reality of God's grace in each of our lives and in the history of this Nation before the citizenry every day.

My word to Rush is stay the course, encourage, tear down the strongholds, only be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will go with you wherever you go.