"There will never be another Rush Limbaugh," former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday about the conservative radio talk show icon, who died earlier in the day after a year-long battle with lung cancer.
"When I served in the House of Representatives, he was our greatest champion," Pence told Fox News. "When we were fighting rear-guard for conservative values, in Republican and Democrat administrations, he was there covering us every day. When I was governor of Indiana, and when I served as vice president, he was the anchor of conservatives."
Limbaugh, he added, "gave voice to a movement, and to the ideals that have always made America great, and have been."
Pence added that he feels a "personal indebtedness" to Limbaugh because of his own career.
"Many people don't know that I spent about a decade in talk radio," said Pence. "I was inspired to go into conservative talk radio in the 1990s because of Rush Limbaugh. I scarcely believe I would've had the opportunity to serve the Congress, serve the people of Indiana's governor, or serve as your vice president without the life, the example, the encouragement, and ultimately, the friendship of Rush Limbaugh."
Pence laughed when he was reminded that in the early 1990s, he had described himself as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."
"He always enjoyed quoting that when I was in his studio about a year ago," said Pence. "There was only one Rush Limbaugh. He inspired not only tens of millions of young conservatives across this country, myself included, but make no mistake about it, he reinvented AM radio across the country."
There are many talk show hosts on the airwaves now who would not be there "without the life, the example, the courage, and the talent of Rush Limbaugh. … No one in my lifetime has more consistently given to the timeless ideals of this country than Rush Limbaugh. He will be dearly missed."
He added that Limbaugh made "conservatism fun."
"I say this with affection being among them, dittoheads around America, who every day at noon eastern would wait to turn on the radio and hear that wisdom ... Limbaugh inspired, not just because of his ideals and values."
Pence also spoke about former President Donald Trump's decision to present Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"From early on, when the president emerged as a candidate, Rush Limbaugh heard the same ideals in President Trump's candidacy and voice that he had been articulating for 30 years," said Pence. "When the time came to make that decision, I know the president made it on the spot. He wanted to make sure that given the difficult times through which their family was beginning to pass, that they knew the gratitude of millions of Americans, from the president to the vice president."
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