Fox News host Chris Wallace, who often invited Rush Limbaugh onto his Sunday show, remembered him Wednesday as a friend who was far different in person than he was on the air, as he could be "quiet, even shy."
"I would go down to Palm Beach, and we would always arrange to have dinner together when we would be staying there," said Wallace on Fox News about the late talk show host, who died earlier in the day. "The difference between Rush Limbaugh on the air and off the air in private was considerable. I expected to be blown out of my chair with the Rush Limbaugh bluster, the great voice.
"He was quiet, even shy. His views were his views, but he was not an as-forceful presence in person, in private, as he was on the air. We had some wonderful conversations."
Wallace said he often had Limbaugh on his "Fox News Sunday" program because the talk show icon was "one of the most interesting political voices on the landscape."
"One of the reasons I wanted him on was because he had tens of millions of followers, and I thought maybe some of them would come and listen," Wallace recalled. "Every time Rush came on, we got a big spike in our rating. He was a golden goose."
However, Limbaugh was a talker, and Wallace said he would get "a bunch of emails from dittoheads, saying to 'shut up and listen when you have Rush Limbaugh on the air.'"
Limbaugh, despite his fame, still "very much knew his roots, knew where he came from, knew that his audience was a lot of flyover country," Wallace said. "He honored those people, felt a tremendous kinship with those people."
Limbaugh also made his job look easy, Wallace recalled.
"It seemed like he could go on for three hours and shoot the breeze off the top of his head," Wallace said. "One time, we were having dinner and I said 'Are you going to bed?' He said 'I'm going home to study.' He would study late into the night. First thing in the morning, he would be going over all of the research, all of the ideas, all of the points he wanted to make."
Limbaugh also gave a voice to Americans they might not have otherwise had, Wallace said.
"He was a happy warrior," Wallace said. "He was one of those guys like [Mike] Huckabee says, 'I'm a conservative, but I'm not angry about it.' He was happy about it. He loved what he believed in. He thought this is the right path for America. There were a lot of Americans who shared his view."
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