On Wednesday’s Mark Levin Show, it’s a sad day in America as we grieve the loss of our great friend Rush Limbaugh. Rush was a cultural phenomenon that changed broadcasting, utterly and completely. Rush blazed the path for many. He was the greatest advocate for free speech and was the go-to for many Americans. He loved his family, his country, and his audience. There will never be another Rush Limbaugh. Then, in 1995 Mark would fax information to Rush’s producer, Cookie, who would bring them to Rush, and eventually Mark forged a friendship with Rush that launched Mark’s own radio career. Rush’s team was terrific as was his audience whom he respected immensely. Mark also shares a heartfelt story about some very valuable advice Rush gave him when he wrote: “Rescuing Sprite.” Later, the reason Rush Limbaugh loved Donald Trump was because they understood one another. Both of them were initially dismissed, undermined, and eventually attacked and this was the basis for their special kinship.
The podcast for this show can be streamed or downloaded from the Audio Rewind page.
Image used with permission of Getty Images / Mandel Ngan
Rough transcript of Hour 1
Hour1 Segment 1
They call Donald Trump a Nazi freely and they call everybody they disagree with white supremacists, but. When it came to free speech, the greatest advocate of free speech was Rush Limbaugh. So he changes the broadcast industry. He’s the greatest advocate for free speech. And then there’s his content. We wanted to hear what Rush had to say, the more difficult the moment, the more we wanted to hear him. The more difficult the moment, the more we wanted to hear him. Why? Because Rush Limbaugh. Was really quite a genius. He wasn’t really into school, he would have told you that, but he wasn’t a box. He wasn’t ideas, he wasn’t a philosophy. And he read a ton, he was a voracious reader at a huge library at his home in Florida. With all kinds of philosophers and economists and so forth, this was a very, very well read man. And he worked very hard to prepare for every radio show, when you become as big as he does, I suppose you don’t have to kick your feet up. He never did. He had those Midwestern. Work ethics and. Belief system. He was brought up to love his country. His father was in World War Two. His mother was. A religious lady has a fantastic brother, David Limbaugh, and a fantastic, fantastic wife, Catherine. But there won’t. Be another Rush Limbaugh. Like there won’t be another Ronald Reagan. Or there won’t be another Milton Friedman. Where there won’t be another Bill Buckley. And yet Rush Limbaugh and the promotion of ideas and liberty and country and faith and family, somehow that’s controversial. Had a tremendous impact on the society. Which is exactly why the left spent. Over 30 years, trying to destroy him, not engage him. That debate is ideas. But to try and destroy him. As did many in the Republican Party. But Rush loved. I would say. Not trying to speak from. Three things above all else. This family. This country. And you. His audience. You know, I was a pup, really. I got into radio with no experience about. Seven, eight years after Rush. And I’ll spend the program telling you about some of my experiences with Rush. And I want to hear from some of you as well. I was always obsessed with talk radio when I was a teenager, I would listen late at night to Larry King or I was trying to listen to Bob Grant and others who were of New York radio while I was in Philadelphia. And from time to time, they would get fired and wound up in Philadelphia and so forth. It’s a rough business. I got fired multiple times. And so I used to call myself a professional radio listener. I don’t know what day it was. But I heard Rush, like many of you. And I wanted to listen to him, I said the way they attack him on the left, he must be pretty damn good. In fact, he must be very good. And I was hooked within five minutes. Five minutes. And. I guess it was 1997, 1998, something like the. And my buddy Eric and I, when we would break for lunch or work in a landmark legal and so forth, I always brought. Yes, a transistor radio with me, a Sony Transistor Radio, was yellow. And earplugs. And my buddy Eric would do the same and we would listen to him during lunch. And in the office, we would listen to him in the background. Actually, this had to be like 1995. In any event. With independent counsel investigations and so forth beginning to take place as time went on. I started to. To send we didn’t really have a lot of email back then, faxes. Facts as I type something or right, turn and send a fax. To one of Rush Limbaugh’s. Crew staffers, he would call her Cookie. The wonderful Kathleen. All the audio you heard, that was Kathleen. Loyal to him throughout his career, right to the end. Ambo’s Nordley, that’s James and the late Kit Carson who Rush loved, he was a and so forth. Fantastic group. Loyal, and he was loyal back to them. I would fax these thoughts I had on the Constitution, on independent counsel statute, legal, Sauveur, unsolicited. Takayuki, and she’d run all the way down the hallway, apparently, and hand them to him. Not not for him to read persay, but to go over some of the issues that might be out there in terms of the law and he would ask, what does that mean? And the audience and I take the opportunity to write something. And so I enjoy doing it. And then one day over the radio, he he announces. That I’m the director of his legal division and he would call me F. Lee Levin. Of course, there was no legal division. And actually, Levine obviously was a takeoff on F. Lee Bailey, and then he would start calling me and when I would see him, he would call me Frehley. And later, just call me Mark. And we would exchange emails morning, noon and night for various subjects. Many years ago, I can remember when I think it was CNBC, it just really started and. There were two liberal lawyers on there and me, this was one of the first shows I could silence that this is one of the first shows I had done on cable, if I recall properly. And I’m not going to tell you who they were because it’ll embarrass them because now they’re both on Fox, Mr. Producer. And I literally beat the hell out of them. Literally meaning. In the debate. And so I finished. So I got a call, Fli said, yes, yes. That was unbelievable, unbelievable. Unbelievable. I remember that. I also remember. We’re very early on when I was starting in radio. I said to him, Rush. How am I going to succeed at this here first, then Hannity second and I’m third. He said, Let me tell you something, Mark. People who tune in to me, listen to me, people who turn into Sean, listen to Sean, people who tune into you will listen to you. They haven’t heard from you yet. Just remember that. He was backing me up and. And there was one other rule, he told me. Never disrespect your audience doesn’t mean you don’t get at it with callers, he said, never put down your audience, never think you’re smarter than your audience because you’re not. And when times are tough, when you come under attack and you will. It’s your audience that’s going to stand with you because you stood by your audience. I cannot tell you how much he loved your. Right to the end, he wanted to get on radio, he wanted to be behind the microphone to talk to you right to the end, you were his extended family, I’m telling you, like nobody else I’ve ever seen. You stood with him through thick and thin. When he came under attack, which he often did. You know, it’s interesting that he’s controversial, he provoked it. No, he’s not. And though he didn’t. People are hanging on his every word in order to try and destroy him, but they failed. Miserably. And he would say because of you. You stood with them. Then you supported him. Right to the very end. I’ll be right back.
Hour 1 Segment 2
You know. I’m getting a lot of requests to go on TV and radio and talk about Rush. I want you to know I’m not asking to talk about Rush, my own radio show, my own TV show, and I think it’s important. Yeah, I think it’s important that we not allow those. Who hate him and hate us to define. Such a magnificent man. And so this I will not allow to stand. And I just want you to be aware of that. There will only be one Rush Limbaugh. 500 years from now, I often say for most of us, including me, I suppose nobody will know we ever lived. Perhaps one of my books will be remembered, perhaps not. 500 years from now, Rush Limbaugh will be remembered. As a man who. Gave strength to the people who supported the American republic. Showed them the way and defended the American republic. He was different than any when they came before, and he’ll be different than anyone who comes after. He was one of the wisest people I ever knew. One of the most temperate people I ever knew. One of the most generous people I ever know. And he had his own challenges. I mean, he lost his hearing for crying out loud. Lost his hearing. And it was so committed to you, his audience. So committed to this country, knowing how important his voice was. He would not give up. You know why he had one Cocula implant and not two? Back when he got it, it was really cutting edge stuff and I said to him, why one and not two? He said, because if they ever have additional advances. We can use it on the other on the other ear. Because once you have a cochlear implant, that’s the end of any other possibilities with the ear in which it’s. You know, used I’m speaking as a pedestrian, I don’t know, Ali. That the medical jargon. He was very open with you when he went through his various issues. He was very open with him because, as I say, he loved you and he trusted you and he wanted to communicate with you. When we come back, I want you to hear what Katherine Limbaugh had to say today, and I want to read something to you. I want to read something to you. I’ll be right back.
Hour 1 Segment 3
The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, the left generally. They don’t get to define our Rush Limbaugh, he belonged to us. We get to define Rush Limbaugh, in fact, he defined himself every day. We will not tolerate efforts to degrade and destroy and to smear him. And everything you stood for. We won’t tolerate it. They didn’t know him. They don’t know you. They don’t want to know you and they didn’t want to know him. They never engaged him honestly in debate on the issues and the substance never. Lucky for them, I guess, because we know who would have won those battles. When they write about Rush, they cherry pick, they look for words, they try and create controversy where there’s no controversy. Because this is what they do on the Marxist left. We reject at all, we reject them. They’re fully out of the closet now and everybody knows it. Rush came to really like Donald Trump, you know, during the primaries. He like Ted Cruz, he like Donald Trump, he like some others, too. But I could always tell he was kind of leaning towards Trump. I could always I could always sense that. He didn’t like to jump into primaries and to pick candidates. But nonetheless. In some ways, I think the reason these two men got along so well and the reason why Rush really came to love Donald Trump. Is because certain similarities. You say Rush Limbaugh was an outsider. Rush Limbaugh was independent, he was his own man. He didn’t play by the rules that were set up because the rules didn’t make a lot of sense to him. He was always underestimated. And then when he was successful. He was attacked. You can say many of the same things about Donald Trump. And I think in addition to issues, policy, substance and so forth, I think Rush saw. Much of that in Donald Trump, that is the same. Forces in society. That initially dismissed him. Or tried to undermine him. I rejected his thinking and his independence where some of the same forces that did exactly the same thing to Donald Trump. And so I think Rush had this special place in his heart for President Trump and vice versa. Catherine Limbaugh. His wife. He loved dearly and she loved him. I was lucky enough to attend their wedding with my daughter Lauren. I think it was June one was a June 2010, I believe. That was some waiting boy, I’ll tell you. Elton John was there. But so many wonderful people were there. About a third of them hated my guts, but that’s all right. I’m just kidding. About 10 percent. But it was some winning, I think the wedding went on for two days, as a matter of fact, and Rush was so proud of his Catherine. He was 100 percent in love and smitten by her. The big smile on his face for two days. And you could see she was very proud of him, of course. Looking up to him. To really special people, to great patriots. And I think that was she is I don’t think I know the love of his life. And vice versa. And has. One of the greatest brothers anybody could ever have, David Limbaugh. Who in many ways is like a brother to me. As was Rush. As is shown, but David Limbaugh always looked out for his brother is a brilliant lawyer. You know, he’s a brilliant author, he’s written some fantastic books. And his beautiful wife too. This is some family, the Limbaugh family. Judges, state Supreme Court judges, appellate court judges, you know, the story of his grandfather and his father, its wonderful mother and so forth. This is a fantastic family. This is a family I don’t think there’s a liberal among them, Mr. Producer. It’s not because they insist that everybody agree, nobody agrees with everybody, it’s because of their upbringing. It’s because. They love liberty, they love their country. As we do. And Rush was a reflection of this. Catherine was very brave and very strong today to get behind the microphone and speak, as she did as her beloved passed away just a few hours earlier. And here’s what she said, cut one go, it is with profound sadness, I must share with you directly that our beloved Rajesh, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer. As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life. Rush will forever be the greatest of all time. Rush was an extraordinary man, a gentle, giant, brilliant, quick witted, genuinely kines, extremely generous. Passionate, courageous and the hardest working person I know. Despite being one of the most recognized, powerful people in the world, Rush never let the success change his core or beliefs. He was polite and respectful to everyone he met. Even most recently, when he was not feeling well in the hospital, he was so appreciative to every single doctor and nurse and custodian and first responder. He never wanted to put anyone out and always thanked them profusely for their help. From today on, there will be a tremendous void in our lives and of course, on the radio. Rush loved our miraculous country beyond measure. An unwavering patriot. He loved are United States military, our flag, our Constitution, our founding fathers. He proudly fought and defended conservative values in a way that no one else can. Rush often stood up and took arrows on his own because he knew it was the right thing to do. Rush encouraged so many of us to think for ourselves, to learn and to lead. He often said it did not matter where you started or what you look like. As Americans, we all have endless opportunities like nowhere else in the world. Rush gave us hope that through hard work and determination, we can overcome the obstacles in our lives and be our best. Many of you started small businesses or pursued personal dreams because Rush gave you the faith that you could. He made the most complex issues, simple to understand, while making that level of genius look easy. It most certainly was anything but easy. Irreplaceable, remarkable talent. On behalf of the Limbaugh family. I would personally like to thank each and every one of you who prayed for Rush and inspired him to keep going. You rallied around Bush and lifted him up when he needed you the most. I am certain without a shadow of a doubt, if he could be here today, he would be he loved you and he loved this radio program with every part of his being. Instead, we know our rush is in heaven, encouraging us in the same way he always did on Earth. Rush’s love for our country and belief that our best days are ahead, live on eternally. In Rush’s honor, may we all continue Rush’s mission in our individual lives and communities? I know all of you listening are terribly sad. We all are. I’m terribly sorry to have to deliver this news to you. God bless you, Rush. And God bless our country. Those are very beautiful, beautiful words, and again, very she’s a very strong woman, very courageous to do that today, and yet she’s the only one who could really deliver the message to all of you. I absolutely agree that Rush would want you to. Continue to practice. Your principles embrace them. The fight for this country. The fight for liberty. To fight for our constitutional order. Not to give up. That’s what he would want, I know Katherine is right. One generation passes to the next generation to the next, and we try to leave the country better off than when we inherited it. That’s the battle we’re facing today. If we don’t win this battle. What’s going to happen to our children and our grandchildren? What’s going to what’s going to happen to the. You see what’s possible. And it’s not very pretty. We’re going to be without our rush. But we’re not without a spirit, we’re not without his message. Over 30 years. He taught us what to do. He taught us. What to brace, he used to say, because he’s very humble. I’m just here to reinforce your your views, that’s for sure. But he also gave us guidance, that’s why we listen to him. What would Rush say? Those four words all the time, what would Rush say? I’ll be right back.
Hour 1 Segment 4
Well, Mark, why don’t you now move on to the news, doesn’t work that way, doesn’t work that way here. This is the news. This is the news we stop to pay respect. And we take our time. Well, the person who’s in our heads, our souls, in our hearts as I speak. And I told you I was going to read something to you and I’m going to have to do it next hour, and we also have a number of callers I want to talk to here, as well as some other things I want to tell you about Rush and so forth. You know, President Trump. Came out today, you know, he’s been relatively. Quiet and McConnell made some vicious statements about the president and he responded. And then on the passing of Rush. He very much wanted to talk about that. And so he spoke on Fox and he’ll be on Hannity tonight and I will be on Hannity tonight, wasn’t my plan, but here we are. And. I’m going to take a call now and then in the second hour, I hope you’ll listen, particularly the top of the second hour, I’m going to read you something you might think it’s trite. You might even think it’s weird. But I think in the end, you’ll think it. It was worth reading to you. So let us go to Mark Manassas, Virginia, the great WME mark, go right ahead, please. Hey, Mark, it’s a pleasure to talk to you, brother. Thank you. I just I just wanted to call in and tell you that, you know, like 30 years ago, a friend of mine turned me on to Rush Limbaugh. And I was I was neck deep in environmentalist dogma. And then Rush brought me home and he really made me see the world in a different way. And in about 20 years ago, through some bad decisions and put myself in a position and trust in some wrong people, I found myself homeless. And I wake up every day and and I would know that I lived in the greatest country in the world. And Rush gave me hope. You know, I was homeless, but I wasn’t hopeless because I would listen to Rush every day. And his positivity and his unending optimism about this country and about freedom that we have and the liberty and the possibilities and the opportunities that are available every single day if you’re just willing to get up and work hard and season. And during some really dark days, Rush was the shining light for me. And, you know, I’m not going to tell you that I’m some wildly successful guy now, but I will say that, you know, I have been through the grace of God and a lot of hard work. I was able to get my life straightened out and, you know, and I met an angel on earth. I’ve got four beautiful children over house. It’s bigger than I need. And I’m making well into the six figures. And I’m you know, I’m comfortably upper middle class, I guess. And Rush gave me a lot of hope, man. And, you know, I got to tell you, I can’t think of anybody in my life other than family that had a bigger impact in my life than Rush Limbaugh did it. Why would he love to hear that? And and we all appreciate it, Mark. And we’re glad that you’re doing well. And God bless you, my friend. Please come back. I want to read something to you and I will be right back.