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FLASHBACK: Pence Says He Is In Congress Because Of Rush Limbaugh

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Former Vice President Mike Pence mourned the loss of conservative radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh in a series of tweets Wednesday, but Pence once said he owed his political career to the radio legend.

During an Oct. 16, 2001 speech, then-Indiana Rep. Pence said Limbaugh inspired him to get into the political game.

“The Bible tells us that if you owe debts, pay debts, if  honor, then honor, if respect, then respect,” Pence said. “There are many of my colleagues … who will look to this pioneer in talk radio and will credit him in part to 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 1980’s as a format for a 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.”

“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,” he said.

“I became emboldened listening often times to the entrepreneurial spirit that emanated out of Rush Limbaugh,” Pence continued, noting he was inspired by Limbaugh to re-run for Congress in 2000 after a stint in radio also inspired by Limbaugh.

“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’s been an inspiration to many millions of Americans. After Ronald Reagan left the national stage in 1988, many of us conservatives were searching for a voice and for over 20 million Americans, that voice was and is Rush Limbaugh.”

Pence reacted to the news in a series of tweets Wednesday as well, saying “America lost a giant.”

“Rush Limbaugh gave voice to the ideals and values that made this country great, he inspired a generation of American conservatives, and he will be deeply missed. Rush Limbaugh made Conservatives proud and he made Conservatism fun.”

Limbaugh died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer, his wife Kathryn announced on his radio show, according to Fox News.

Limbaugh was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in January, 2020 but continued to host his radio show, “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” (RELATED: Liberals Reacted As You Can Imagine To Rush Limbaugh’s Death, By Sneering And Celebrating)

Following his diagnosis, former President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Limbaugh began hosting his nationally syndicated radio show in 1988, with the show soon becoming the most listened-to radio show in America, according to Fox News. Limbaugh is in the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame as well as the Radio Hall of Fame.