It was August 1, 1988. Ronald Reagan was about to finish his second term as president, Michael Dukakis had just become the Democratic nominee for president, the Republican National Convention was just a couple weeks away, and a 37-year-old named Rush Limbaugh premiered his nationally syndicated radio show on WABC in New York City.
Twenty five years later, he's spent countless hours on the radio, inspiring his "Dittohead" followers and leaving more than a few liberals shaking their fists and rolling their eyes.
To celebrate his quarter century on the air, we rounded up 25 outrageous moments from the last twenty five years: the racist, the sexist, and the downright flabbergasting. Be sure to listen to "My City Was Gone" while reading for the full effect.
1. "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"
Comments made around 1990, exact date unknown (Source: FAIR)
2. “Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?”
Comments made while displaying a picture of Chelsea Clinton, then a 13-year-old, on his TV show in 1994. (Source: TIME)
3. "Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud."
A "truth" from his 1994 list of "Undeniable Truths" (Source: LectLaw.com)
4. “When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation.”
Comments made on his radio program in the summer of 1994. (Source: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason by John K. Wilson)
5. "Mrs. Clinton's testicle lockbox."
Although Limbaugh has been implying since the 1990's that Hillary Clinton metaphorically castrates men, keeping the spoils in a "testicle lockbox," he used the phrase again as recently as February 6, 2013 (Source: Media Matters)
6. "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."
7. "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
Comments made during Limbaugh's short stint as a host on "Sunday NFL Countdown" in 2003 (Source: ESPN)
8. "I think it's time to get rid of this whole National Basketball Association. Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call 'em gangs."
Comments made on his radio program on December 8, 2004 in response to a brawl that had erupted at an Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons game on weeks earlier. (Source: Media Matters)
9. "Women still live longer than men because their lives are easier."
Responding to a recent Census report on his radio program on March 1, 2005. (Source: Media Matters)
10. "He 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."
Comments made on his radio program in October 2006 after Fox, who has Parkinson's Disease, appeared in a series of ads for candidates who supported government-funded embryonic stem cell research. (Source: Washington Post)
11. “Look it, let me put it to you this way. The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."
Comments made on his radio program on January 19, 2007. (Source: RushLimbaugh.com)
12. "Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. I mean, you put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety. But in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering "Yay! Right on, right on, right on, right on."
Comments made while describing a school bus beating on his radio program on September 15, 2009. (Source: Media Matters)
13. "Holocaust 90 million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos, what's to complain about?"
Comments made on his radio program on September 25, 2009. (Source: Media Matters)
14. "Everything in Africa's called AIDS. The reason is they get aid money for it. AIDS is the biggest pile of-the biggest pot they throw money into."
Comments made in October 2009 during the height of the Bird Flu "hysteria." (Source: Gawker)
15. "Moochelle Obama"
"Moochelle" is the term Limbaugh often uses to refer to First Lady Michelle Obama, especially when he is discussing her efforts to fight childhood obesity. He used the phrase on his radio program on August 8, 2010, and many many times since. (Source: RushLimbaugh.com)
16. "Michelle, my butt."
Limbaugh's other favorite nickname for the first lady. (Source: Media Matters)
17. "Liberals should not be allowed to buy guns, nor should they be allowed to use computer keyboards or typewriters, word processors or e-mails, and they should have their speech controlled. If we did those three or four things, I can’t tell you what a sane, calm, civil, fun-loving society we would have. Take guns out of the possession, out of the hands of liberals, take their typewriters and their keyboards away from ‘em, don’t let ‘em anywhere near a gun, and control their speech. You would wipe out 90% of the crime, 85 to 95% of the hate, and a hundred percent of the lies from society.”
Comments made in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting on his radio program on January 18, 2011. (Source: RushLimbaugh.com)
18. "'Ching cha. Ching chang cho chow. Cha Chow. Ching Cho. Chi ba ba ba. Kwo kwa kwa kee. Cha ga ga. Ching chee chay. Ching zha bo ba. Chang cha. Chang cho chi che. Cha dee. Ooooh chee bada ba. Jee jee cho ba.' Nobody was translating, but that's the closest I can get."
Semi-indecipherable comments made on his radio program while "translating" Chinese President Hu Jintao on January 19, 2011. (Source: Media Matters)
19. "There's rioting in the streets now! And there's going to be more rioting in the streets because that's part of the program here. And next up there are going to be race riots, I guarantee it. Race riots are part of the plan that this regime has. That's next.
Comments made on his radio program on October 17, 2011 while talking about the president's economic plan. (Source: Media Matters)
20. "I'm a huge supporter of women. What I'm not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose, and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don't know where all this got started. I love the women's movement, especially when walking behind it."
During an appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends on February 3, 2013. (Source: NY Daily News)
21. "Beyonce used to be the lead for a three-girl group called Destiny’s Child, and their songs were attempts to inspire young women not to take any grief from men… Beyonce’s now saying, 'Go ahead and put up with it.' And you know why? Because she got married. She’s married to a rich guy… She now understands it’s worth it to bow down."
Misinterpreting Beyonce's "Bow Down" single on his radio program on March 22, 2013, (Source: msnbc)
22. "Obama says he's a Christian, but where's the evidence?"
Comment made on his radio program on August 19, 2010 as he chastised the president for advocating environmentalism, instead of Jesus, at the Easter Egg Roll. (Source: Media Matters)
23. "Those of you who are not mobilizing to change the Second Amendment, those of you who are not mobilizing to make it more difficult to get guns and weapons are the modern equivalent of people who sat around and let Bull Connor turn his dogs loose on the marches at Selma. ... If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? I don’t know, I’m just asking.”
Comparing the civil rights movement and gun activists on his radio program April 1, 2013. (Source: msnbc)
24. "What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -- what does that make her? (pauses) It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute."
Perhaps his most infamous comment in recent memory, these remarks about Sandra Fluke on his radio program in February 2012 may have sparked the beginning of the end of Limbaugh's long-time radio contract with Cumulus Media. (Source; msnbc)
25. "If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it's Caucasians."
Comments made why talking about "white guilt" should end in America on his radio program on July 22, 2013. (Source: msnbc)
Bonus: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”
This comment, made to an African-American caller, pre-dates his syndicated radio show days, but it's too outrageous not to mention. (Source; FAIR)