FLASHBACK: Pence said in 2001 he is 'in Congress because of Rush Limbaugh'

Pence described himself a 'Rush Limbaugh on decaf'

Conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with lung cancer. 

It wasn't the first ailment to afflict Limbaugh, as he suffered rapid hearing loss nearly two decades ago in October 2001. 

At that time, former Vice President Mike Pence, who has described himself as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf," took to the House floor to extol Limbaugh and credit him with inspiring his career. 

RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO PIONEER, DEAD AT 70

"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," Pence said on Oct. 16, 2001, when he was a congressman from Indiana. 

"But it is a literal truth, Mr. Speaker, to say that I am in Congress today because of Rush Limbaugh."

Pence, who was a talk radio host in the 1990s before being elected to Congress, said he was inspired to go into radio by Limbaugh. 

"I was in every sense Rush Limbaugh's warmup act in Indiana, airing every day from 9 a.m. to noon as his lead-in on many Hoosier stations," Pence said in 2001. 

"Rush Limbaugh was not one of those in media who, in effect, cowered behind that image of objectivity, hiding the fact that he had opinions, biases, beliefs, convictions," Pence continued. "But rather, he never feared being discovered to be an American of strong opinions."

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Pence reiterated Wednesday that Limbaugh was his "daily inspiration" when he was a talk radio host and the "greatest champion" for conservatives in the House.