Limbaugh at CPAC, February 2009
|Born||Rush Hudson Limbaugh III
January 12, 1951
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, United States
|Occupation||Radio host, political commentator, author, television personality|
|Spouse(s)||Roxy Maxine McNeely (1977–1980, div.)
Michelle Sixta (1983–1990, div.)
Marta Fitzgerald (1994–2004, div.)
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (pronounced /ˈlɪmbɔː/; born January 12, 1951) is an American radio host, conservative political commentator, and an influential opinion leader in the conservative movement in the United States. He hosts The Rush Limbaugh Show which is aired throughout the U.S. on Premiere Radio Networks and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United States.
He was born into a family with a long history of involvement in Republican politics and first began working at a local radio station at age sixteen. In 1984, after a series of radio related jobs, Limbaugh began working as a radio talk show host in Sacramento, California. His unique program featured no guests, relying exclusively on his conservative political analysis for content. He moved to New York City in 1988 where he began the national broadcast of his program on WABC radio. His program grew in popularity and he began his rise to national fame.
In the 1990s, Limbaugh’s fame grew beyond radio, spearing into publishing and television. He became a bestselling author with his books The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993). From 1992 to 1996, Limbaugh hosted a half-hour television talk show.
Limbaugh is a controversial figure in American politics and media. He frequently accuses the American mainstream media of having a strong liberal bias, criticizes liberal policies and politicians, and promotes conservative positions.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the son of Mildred Carolyn "Millie" (née Armstrong) and Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Jr. His father was a lawyer and a World War II fighter pilot who served in the China-Burma-India theater. His mother was a native of Searcy, Arkansas. The use of family name "Rush" was originally chosen for his grandfather to honor the maiden name of family member Edna Rush.
His family has many lawyers, including his grandfather, father and brother David. His uncle, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr. is a Ronald Reagan-appointed federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. His cousin, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., is currently a judge in the same court, appointed by George W. Bush. Rush Limbaugh, Sr., Limbaugh's grandfather, was a Missouri prosecutor, judge, special commissioner, member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1930 until 1932, and longtime president of the Missouri Historical Society. The Federal Courthouse in Cape Girardeau is named for Limbaugh's grandfather.
Limbaugh began his career in radio as a teenager in 1967 in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, using the name Rusty Sharpe. He graduated from Cape Central High School, in 1969. Because of his parents' desire to see him attend college, he enrolled in Southeast Missouri State University but left the school after two semesters and one summer. According to his mother, "he flunked everything", and "he just didn't seem interested in anything except radio."
Limbaugh's birthdate was ranked as 152 in the Vietnam War draft lottery. No one was drafted above 125. He was classified as "1-Y" (later reclassified "4-F") due to either a football knee injury or a diagnosis of Pilonidal disease.
After dropping out of college, Limbaugh moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1972, he became a Top 40 music disc jockey on WIXZ, a small AM radio station that reached much of the Pittsburgh area. He started with an afternoon show and later did mornings, broadcasting under the name "Jeff Christie". Limbaugh moved to Pittsburgh station KQV in 1973 as the evening disc jockey, succeeding Jim Quinn. He was fired in late-1974, when the station was sold to Taft Broadcasting. Limbaugh was reportedly told by management that he would never make it as on air talent, and should consider going into sales. After not finding another job in radio, Limbaugh moved back home to Cape Girardeau. He became a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers from his time in the region.
For the rest of the decade Limbaugh took jobs at several radio stations working in music radio before settling in Kansas City. In 1979 he left radio and accepted a position as director of promotions with the Kansas City Royals baseball team. There he developed a close friendship with now retired Kansas City Royals star George Brett; the two remain close friends.
In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California, where he replaced Morton Downey, Jr. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast—by the FCC in 1987 meant stations could broadcast editorial commentary without having to present opposing views. Daniel Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, "Ronald Reagan tore down this wall (the Fairness Doctrine) in 1987 ... and Rush Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East Germany of liberal media domination."
On August 1, 1988, after achieving success in Sacramento and drawing the attention former ABC Radio President Edward F. McLaughlin, Limbaugh moved to New York City and began his national radio show. He debuted just weeks after the Democratic National Convention, and just weeks before the Republican National Convention. Limbaugh's radio home in New York City was the talk-format station WABC, 770 AM, and remains his flagship station.
In December 1990, journalist Lewis Grossberger wrote in the New York Times that Limbaugh had "more listeners than any other talk show host" and described Limbaugh's style as "bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian". Limbaugh's rising popularity coincided with the Persian Gulf War, and his support for the war effort and his relentless ridicule of peace activists. The program gained more popularity and was moved to stations with larger audiences, eventually being broadcast on over 650 radio stations nationwide.
In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States. Limbaugh satirized the policies of Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as those of the Democratic Party. When the Republican Party won control of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh with an honorary membership in their caucus. This event confirmed him as an influential figure on the national political scene.
Limbaugh had publicized personal difficulties in the 2000s. In late 2001, he acknowledged that he had gone almost completely deaf, although he continued his show. He was able to regain much of his hearing with the help of cochlear implants. In 2003, Limbaugh had a brief stint as a pro football commentator with ESPN. He resigned a few weeks into the 2003 NFL season after making comments about the press coverage for quarterback Donovan McNabb, which one sportswriter construed as racist against himself and other sportswriters. Another sports analyst wrote Limbaugh's viewpoint was shared by "many football fans and analysts" and "it is ...absurd to say that the sports media haven't overrated Donovan McNabb because he's black."  In April 2006, Limbaugh turned himself in and was arrested "on a single charge of prescription fraud". His record was later expunged after eighteen months of rehabilitation and paying court costs.
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh's show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM's decline. Limbaugh's popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on the AM radio. As of 2006, Arbitron ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore, MD became the first radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him #1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts.
Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) network, but this is a mythic construction, as he told the New York Times in 1990. In reality, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh's show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast.
On the October 23, 2006 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh imitated on the "DittoCam" (the webcam for Web site subscribers to see him on the air) the physical symptoms actor Michael J. Fox showed in a television commercial raising Parkinson's disease awareness. He said "(Fox) is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
On March 19, 2007 Limbaugh referred to a Los Angeles Times editorial by David Ehrenstein which claimed that Barack Obama was filling the role of the "magic negro", and that this explained his appeal to voters. Limbaugh then later played a song by Paul Shanklin entitled "Barack the Magic Negro", sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon".
During the September 26, 2007 broadcast of Limbaugh's radio show, Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" when speaking to a caller who had brought up soldiers who criticize the war. The caller, saying he was currently serving in the Army for 14 years, said, "They never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media." Limbaugh interrupted, "The phony soldiers." The caller continued, "The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country." Several minutes later, after the caller had hung up, Limbaugh read from the AP story describing the story of Jesse Macbeth. Macbeth joined the Army but did not complete basic training, yet claimed in alternative media interviews that he and his unit routinely committed war crimes in Iraq. On June 7, 2007, Macbeth pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation. Media Matters noted Limbaugh's use of the term "phony soldiers" in an article on their website. The article suggested that Limbaugh was saying that all soldiers who disagree with the Iraq War were "phony soldiers", and their article received substantial press coverage after it was discussed in speeches by Presidential candidates John Edwards and Chris Dodd. Limbaugh said that, when he had made the comment about "phony soldiers", he had been speaking only of Macbeth and others like him who claim to be soldiers and are not, and that "Media Matters takes things out of context all the time". Media Matters pointed out that Limbaugh did not mention Jesse MacBeth on his September 26 radio show until one minute and 50 seconds after talking about "phony soldiers" with the caller."  The unedited transcript of the radio show in question can be found on Rush Limbaugh's website .
In an attempt to undermine the 2008 Democratic primary campaigns, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to vote for whoever was behind in the race, an effort dubbed "Operation Chaos". In Ohio, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to register as Democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton. In Ohio, voters changing their registration must attest that they support the principles of the party to which they switch. About 16,000 Ohio Republicans switched parties for the election. The Ohio Attorney General's office stated that it would be hard to prove any voter's fraudulent intent. Limbaugh said that there is nothing wrong with Republicans voting in Democratic primaries, as Democrats were able to vote for John McCain in Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, and other states, stating "this is getting absurd. If it weren't for independents and Democrats crossing over, Senator McCain would not be our nominee!"
Hoping that factions of the Democratic Party would cause disunity at their convention, Limbaugh said that "The dream end of [Operation Chaos] is that this keeps up to the convention, and that we have a recreation of Chicago 1968 with burning cars, protests, fire, and literal riots and all of that, that is the objective here."
On January 16, 2009, Limbaugh read a letter on his radio show that he had received a request from a national print outlet: ... "If you could send us 400 words on your hope for the Obama presidency, we need it by Monday night, that would be ideal." He responded, "I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails." He explained that he didn't want "absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work." He continued, "what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here."
Limbaugh later said that he wants to see Obama's policies fail, not the man himself. Speaking of Obama, Limbaugh said, "He's my president, he's a human being, and his ideas and policies are what count for me."
Limbaugh was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference; his speech attracted widespread attention. On March 1, 2009 CBS's Face the Nation asked White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel who he thought represented the Republican Party; Emanuel named Limbaugh as his choice.
In remarks aired by CNN on March 1, 2009, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said that Limbaugh is "an entertainer" and his rhetoric at the convention was "incendiary" and "ugly". Steele later telephoned Limbaugh and apologized. Limbaugh stated he would not want to run the RNC in its "sad sack state".
On March 2, 2009, Limbaugh responded to Emanuel, and on March 4, 2009, Limbaugh challenged President Barack Obama to a debate on his radio program. Limbaugh offered to pay all of Obama's expenses including travel, food, lodging, and security. On March 6, Limbaugh told Byron York of the Washington Examiner that his ratings for his radio show had significantly increased since he had begun criticizing the Obama Administration.
Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour television show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The show discussed many of the topics on his radio show, and was taped in front of an audience. Rush Limbaugh says he loves doing his radio show but not a TV show.
Limbaugh's first television hosting experience came March 30, 1990, as a guest host on Pat Sajak's CBS late-night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show. ACT UP activists in the audience heckled Limbaugh repeatedly; ultimately the entire studio audience was cleared. In 2001 Sajak said the incident was "legendary around CBS".
On December 17, 1993, Limbaugh appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. Limbaugh also guest-starred (as himself) on a 1994 episode of Hearts Afire. He appeared in the 1995 Billy Crystal film Forget Paris, and in 1998 on an episode of the The Drew Carey Show.
In 2007, Limbaugh made cameo appearances on Fox News Channel's short-lived The 1/2 Hour News Hour in a series of parodies portraying him as the future President of the United States. In the parodies, his vice president was fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter. He also made a cameo in the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest" during 2009. In the episode, a parody of Star Wars, Limbaugh can be heard on the radio claiming that, among other things, the "intergalactic liberal space media" was lying about climate change on the planet Hoth, and that Lando Calrissian's administrative position on Cloud City was a result of affirmative action.
His persona has often been utilized as a template for a stereotypical conservative talk show host on TV shows and in movies, including an episode of The Simpsons (as a conservative talk radio host named Birch Barlow), as "Gus Baker" on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, as "Lash Rambo" (host of "Perfection in Broadcasting") on an episode of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and as "Fielding Chase" in the Columbo spinoff film Butterfly in Shades of Grey.
As a result of his television program, Limbaugh became known for wearing distinctive neckties. In response to viewer interest, Limbaugh launched a series of ties designed primarily by his then-wife Marta. Sales of the ties reached over US$5 million in their initial sales year, but were later discontinued.
In January 2010, Chicago's Second City announced a new production, Rush Limbaugh: The Musical, a musical parody-pastiche following in the footsteps of 2009's successful run of Rod Blagojevich Superstar, which has been written and developed by the same creative team.
- I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy. Unlike our liberal friends, who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a perpetual state of reinvention, we conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals.
- We are confident in our principles and energetic about openly advancing them. We believe in individual liberty, limited government, capitalism, the rule of law, faith, a color-blind society and national security.
- We support school choice, enterprise zones, tax cuts, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives, political speech, homeowner rights and the War on Terrorism.
- And at our core we embrace and celebrate the most magnificent governing document ever ratified by any nation — the U.S. Constitution. Along with the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes our God-given natural right to be free, it is the foundation on which our government is built and has enabled us to flourish as a people.
- We conservatives are never stronger than when we are advancing our principles.
In his first New York Times best seller, Limbaugh describes himself as conservative, and is critical of broadcasters in many media outlets for claiming to be objective. He has criticized political centrists, independents, and moderate conservatives, claiming they are responsible for Democrat Barack Obama's victory over Republican John McCain in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and inviting them to leave the Republican party. He calls for the sincere and serious adoption of core conservative philosophies in order to ensure the survival of the Republican party.
Limbaugh is critical of environmentalism and climate science. He has disputed claims of anthropogenic global warming, and the relationship between CFCs and depletion of the ozone layer, saying the scientific evidence does not support them. Limbaugh has argued against the scientific opinion on climate change saying the alleged scientific consensus "is just a bunch of scientists organized around a political proposition. You can't have consensus in science ... they think consensus is the way to sell it because, 'Oh, but all these wonderful people agree.'" Limbaugh has used the term "environmentalist wacko" when referring to left-leaning environmental advocates. As a rhetorical device, he has also used the term to refer to more mainstream climate scientists and other environmental scientists and advocates with whom he disagrees.
Limbaugh is critical of feminism, saying that "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." He also popularized the term "feminazi", referring to about two dozen feminists "to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur." He credited his friend Tom Hazlett, a professor of law and economics at George Mason University, with coining the term.
On the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, Limbaugh said, "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation ... And we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day [referring to the U.S. Military service members]. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release?"
Limbaugh has asserted that African-Americans, in contrast with other minority groups, are "left behind" socially because they have been systematically trained from a young age to hate America through a widespread movement headed by figures such as Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, and Barack and Michelle Obama.
James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times quoted Limbaugh as saying after the 2008 election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States that the Democrats will "take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security Trust Fund." 
Limbaugh utilizes props to introduce his monologues on various topics. On his radio show, news about the homeless has often been preceded with the Clarence "Frogman" Henry song "Ain't Got No Home." For a time, Dionne Warwick's song "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again" preceded reports about people with AIDS. These later became "condom updates" preceded by Fifth Dimension's song, "Up, Up and Away (in My Beautiful Balloon)." For two weeks in 1989, on his Sacramento radio show, Limbaugh performed "caller abortions" where he would end a call suddenly to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a scream. He would then deny that he had "hung up" on the caller, which he had promised not to do. Limbaugh claims that he used this gag to illustrate "the tragedy of abortion" as well as to highlight the question of whether abortion constitutes murder. During the Clinton administration, while filming his television program, Limbaugh referred to media coverage of Socks, the Clintons' cat. He then stated, "Did you know there's a White House dog?" and held up to the camera a picture of the then-teenaged Chelsea Clinton. Responding to the ensuing criticism, Limbaugh claimed he had been handed the photo by mistake.
Some groups and individuals have criticized Limbaugh's accuracy. The July/August 1994 issue of Extra!, a publication of the progressive group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), alleges 50 different inaccuracies and distortions in Limbaugh's commentary. Others have since joined FAIR in questioning Limbaugh's facts. Al Franken, a liberal comedian-turned-politician, wrote a satirical book (Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations) in which he accused Limbaugh of distorting facts to serve his own political biases. Media Matters for America, a not-for-profit progressive media watchdog group, has also been critical.
Limbaugh has been criticized for inaccuracies by the Environmental Defense Fund. A defense fund report authored by Princeton University endowed geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer and Princeton University professor of biology David Wilcove lists 14 significant scientific facts which, the authors allege, Limbaugh misrepresented in his book The Way Things Ought to Be. The authors conclude that "Rush Limbaugh ... allows his political bias to distort the truth about a whole range of important scientific issues."
Limbaugh holds an annual fundraising telethon called the "EIB Cure-a-Thon" for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In 2006 the EIB Cure-a-Thon conducted its 16th annual telethon, raising $1.7 million; totaling over $15 million since the first cure-a-thon. According to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society annual reports, Limbaugh personally contributed between $100,000 and $499,999 from 2000–2005 and 2007, and Limbaugh claims to have contributed around $250,000 in 2003, 2004 and 2005. NewsMax reported Limbaugh donated $250,000 in 2006, and the Society's 2006 annual report placed him in the $500,000 to $999,999 category. Limbaugh donated $320,000 during the 2007 Cure-a-Thon which the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reported had raised $3.1 million. On his radio program April 18, 2008, Limbaugh claimed to pledge $400,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after being challenged by two listeners to increase his initial pledge of $300,000.
Limbaugh's website maintains a page where US soldiers can register for a free subscription to Limbaugh's online premium service, Rush 24/7, through memberships purchased by donors who buy a subscription (at a reduced price) as a gift.
Limbaugh conducts an annual drive to help the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation collect contributions to provide scholarships for children of Marines and law enforcement officers/agents who have died in the line of duty. The foundation was the beneficiary of a record $2.1 million eBay auction in October 2007 after Limbaugh listed for sale a letter critical of him signed by 41 Democratic senators and pledged to match the selling price.
Limbaugh was first married on September 24, 1977 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a sales secretary at radio station WHB in Kansas City, Missouri. They were married at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. In March 1980, McNeely filed for divorce, citing "incompatibility." They were formally divorced on July 10, 1980.
On May 27, 1994, Limbaugh married Marta Fitzgerald, a 35-year-old aerobics instructor whom he met on the online service CompuServe in 1990. They were married at the house of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who officiated. They were separated on June 11, 2004. Limbaugh announced on the air, "Marta has consented to my request for a divorce, and we have mutually agreed to seek an amicable separation." The divorce was finalized in December 2004. In September 2004, Limbaugh became romantically involved with then-TV personality Daryn Kagan, and they broke up in February 2006. He has dated Kathryn Rogers, a party planner from Florida, since 2007.
On October 3, 2003 the National Enquirer reported that Limbaugh was being investigated for illegally obtaining the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone. Other news outlets quickly confirmed the investigation. He admitted to listeners on his radio show on October 10 that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and stated that he would enter inpatient treatment for 30 days, immediately after the broadcast. Limbaugh stated his addiction to painkillers resulted from several years of severe back pain heightened by a botched surgery intended to correct those problems.
A subsequent investigation into whether Limbaugh had violated Florida's doctor shopping laws was launched by the Palm Beach State Attorney, which raised privacy issues when investigators seized Limbaugh's private medical records looking for evidence of crimes. On November 9, 2005, following two years of investigations, Assistant State Attorney James L. Martz requested the court to set aside Limbaugh's doctor–patient confidentiality rights and allow the state to question his physicians, stating it was necessary because "I have no idea if Mr. Limbaugh has completed the elements of any offense yet." Limbaugh's attorney opposed the prosecutor's efforts to interview his doctors on the basis of patient privacy rights, and argued that the prosecutor had violated Limbaugh's Fourth Amendment rights by illegally seizing his medical records. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in agreement and filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Limbaugh. On December 12, 2005, Judge David F. Crow delivered a ruling prohibiting the State of Florida from questioning Limbaugh's physicians about "the medical condition of the patient and any information disclosed to the health care practitioner by the patient in the course of the care and treatment of the patient."
On April 28, 2006, Limbaugh and his attorney, Roy Black, went to the Palm Beach County Jail to surrender after a warrant was issued for his arrest on the charge of doctor shopping. According to Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the Sheriff, during his arrest, Limbaugh was booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, but not handcuffed. He was then released after about an hour on $3,000 bail. After his surrender, he filed a "not guilty" plea to the charge. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation and completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician.
Limbaugh asserted that the state's settlement agreement resulted from a lack of evidence supporting the charge of doctor shopping. Under the terms of the agreement, Limbaugh may not own a firearm for eighteen months and must continue to submit to random drug testing, which he acknowledges having undergone since 2003.
Roy Black, one of Limbaugh's attorneys, stated that "Rush Limbaugh was singled out for prosecution because of who he is. We believe the state attorney's office is applying a double standard."
In June 2006, Limbaugh was detained by drug enforcement agents at Palm Beach International Airport. Customs officials confiscated Viagra from Limbaugh's luggage as he was returning from the Dominican Republic. The prescription was not in Limbaugh's name.
After he was released with no charges filed, Limbaugh joked about the incident on his radio show, claiming that he got the Viagra at the Clinton Library and was told they were blue M&M's. He also stated that "I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it."
Rush Limbaugh has described himself as being "100%, totally deaf". In 2001, he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), which, in the span of three months, rendered his right ear completely deaf and left ear severely deaf. "I cannot hear television. I cannot hear music. I am, for all practical purposes, deaf — and it's happened in three months." On December 19, 2001, doctors at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles were able to successfully restore a measure of his hearing through a surgical procedure known as a cochlear implant surgery. Limbaugh received a Clarion CII Bionic Ear. In 2005, Limbaugh was forced to undergo "tuning" due to an "eye twitch", an apparent side-effect of cochlear implants.
In the early 1990s, when the cigar boom was gaining momentum, Limbaugh was seen frequently with a cigar in hand and by the end of the 1990s, cigars had become Limbaugh's staple in many public appearances. Often starting segments of his show with the phrase, "Amid billowing clouds of fragrant and aromatic first, second, and sometimes third hand premium cigar smoke" as well as mentioning a story print-out in his "formerly nicotine-stained fingers", cigars became a common topic of discussion. In the spring of 1994, Limbaugh appeared on the cover of the popular magazine Cigar Aficionado and shared the story of his conversion to cigars. He has since been a frequent participant in many events such as "The Big Smoke", hosted throughout the year by the magazine. Limbaugh has participated in many charity cigar auctions hosted by the magazine, and is known to talk frequently with his listeners about his and their cigar interests, preferences and recommendations. "I think cigars are just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life."
On December 30, 2009, while vacationing in Honolulu, Hawaii, Limbaugh was transported to Queen's Medical Center where he was admitted in serious condition with chest pains. An angiogram found no sign of heart disease.
A month after Bill Clinton's defeat of George H.W. Bush in 1992, Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh a letter in which he thanked him "for all you're doing to promote Republican and conservative principles ... [and] you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country."
Limbaugh was the 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2005 recipient of the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year (given by the National Association of Broadcasters), joining the syndicated Bob & Tom Show as the only other four-time winners of a Marconi award. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.
On February 28, 2009, following his self-described "first address to the Nation" lasting 90 minutes, carried live on CNN and Fox News and recorded for CSPAN, Limbaugh received CPAC's "Defender of the Constitution Award", a document originally signed by Benjamin Franklin, given to someone "who has stood up for the First Amendment ... Rush Limbaugh is for America, exactly what Benjamin Franklin did for the Founding Fathers ... the only way we will be successful is if we listen to Rush Limbaugh". 
Since 1991, Limbaugh has had the most-listened-to radio talk show in the United States, with 14.25 million listeners a week as of March 2009. In 2003, he peaked with an audience of nearly 20 million a week. In a March 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll, 62% of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of Limbaugh, while 33% had a favorable opinion. More recently, in a February 2009 Public Policy Polling poll, 46% had a favorable opinion of Limbaugh, while 43 percent viewed him negatively, with 10% being unsure. In a February Gallup poll, 45 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Limbaugh, to 28 percent with a favorable opinion. The partisan divide was steep, with Republicans favoring Limbaugh 60-23, while Democrats disapproved 63-6.
In 1992, Limbaugh published his first book, The Way Things Ought To Be, followed by See, I Told You So in 1993. Both became number one on the New York Times Best Seller list, The Way Things Ought to Be remaining there for 24 weeks. Limbaugh acknowledges in the text of the first book that he taped the book and it was transcribed and edited by Wall Street Journal writer John Fund. In the second book, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily is named as his collaborator.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (born 12 January 1951) is an American radio host and conservative political commentator. Limbaugh rose to prominence during the 1990s as host of a nationally-syndicated talk-radio show, The Rush Limbaugh Show. Limbaugh was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His family has a long history in Republican politics, including several members who were judges. When Limbaugh was 16 years old he began working at a local radio station. After attending Southeast Missouri State University for a year he dropped out of college. In the early 1970s, Limbaugh moved to Pennsylvania to work as a radio disc jockey, using the alias Jeff Christie at KQV in Pittsburgh. In 1984, Limbaugh began working as a talk show host in Sacramento, California. His distinctively styled program featured no guests, relying exclusively on his emblem of conservative political analysis. In 1988, Limbaugh moved to New York City and began national broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show on WABC radio. His three-hour program made Limbaugh well-known. In the 1990s Limbaugh’s fame grew beyond radio and into other media, such as publishing and television. He became a bestselling author with his books The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993). From 1992 to 1996 Limbaugh hosted a half-hour television talk show. Limbaugh frequently accuses the American mainstream media of having a strong liberal bias.