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Rush Limbaugh, conservative oracle or opportunist?

Rush Limbaugh: The 1991 60 Minutes Interview
Rush Limbaugh: The 1991 60 Minutes Interview 12:06

Love him or hate him, Rush Limbaugh has entrenched himself in the political discourse heard on American radio waves for over 30 years.

Tuesday evening, President Donald J. Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union address. First Lady Melania Trump fastened the medal to Limbaugh who saluted the President from the House gallery.

The nation's highest civilian honor comes one day after the conservative radio host informed his listeners he is battling advanced-stage lung cancer.

First Lady Melania Trump presents conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the 2020 State of the Union. Tom Williams / AP

"I wish I didn't have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody," Limbaugh told his radio audience. "I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, 'cause I don't like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I'm not gonna be able to be here because I'm undergoing treatment or I'm reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what's going on."

The 69-year-old native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, said doctors confirmed the diagnosis on January 20.

With one of the most popular talk shows in the country, Limbaugh's monthly reach exceeds 20 million listeners according to Nielsen Audio. His show broadcasts on more than 650 affiliate stations.

The loquacious Limbaugh is never one to shy from controversy and sometimes creates it himself.

Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the effects of Parkinson's disease in 2006. The actor appeared in political commercials on behalf of candidates who supported stem cell research. 

In 2012, Limbaugh called Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" following her congressional testimony about access to female contraceptives on certain college campuses. The comments prompted some advertisers to end their affiliation with "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

In 1991, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft profiled Limbaugh and pressed the host on some of his contentious opinions. 

Kroft: People have called you a sexist.
Limbaugh: Right.
Kroft: People have called you a homophobe.
Limbaugh: Right.
Kroft: Are you?
Limbaugh: Of course not.  I'm none of those things. I am--I am simply someone who views events in life and comments on them.  I have my own version of what's right and wrong.
Kroft: You've also been called arrogant and pompous.
Limbaugh: Well, I call it confidence.

Limbaugh said he hopes to return to the airwaves on Thursday.

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