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Rush's Judgment

Media phenomenon Rush Limbaugh is winning bigger and bigger audiences with his no-holds-barred brand of commentary.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 3)

Limbaugh enters to a standing ovation. As on the radio, he is the essence of courtesy, grace and charm. He is also the epitome of professionalism. As the audience sits, he glances at a woman in the second row on the aisle and notices a glistening in the corner of her eyes.

"Are you crying?'' he asks.

Yes, the woman responds, she is. "I am so happy to get to see you,'' she says. "I've come from Augusta, Georgia, with my husband. This is my fortieth birthday, and I chose to come to see you.''

Unhesitatingly, Limbaugh seizes the moment. He invites the woman onto the set; she gives him a hug and a kiss as her husband takes their picture. "Why is it whenever I meet a beautiful woman, she's always with her husband?'' Limbaugh jokes. "Just another exciting example of what it's like to be me.'' He invites the couple to stay on the set and watch the show from two plush chairs on the side. And when the taping begins, he will introduce them, tell the viewers at home what has happened and give the couple a moment they will always remember.

The long, rewarding day is ending. Limbaugh is smoking his glorious Ramon Allones and talking about what else it is he likes to do in those infrequent moments when he can relax. One is to drink wine. "Port is my favorite to drink with a cigar,'' he says and laughs. "Port and Diet Coke. But I'm less educated about wine. I've only recently been treated to what people consider the fine wines. I've always been a huge fan of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, and the years that I like best are 1985, '86 and '87. I generally like any Cabernet from Napa or Sonoma. I haven't found too many that I don't like.

And from France, there's the 1961 Château Haut-Brion. And the 1982. I have learned that any time you find a bottle of Bordeaux from 1961, no matter what the label says, buy it.''

He has lived in New York for more than five years, and he loves it for its culture and restaurants. He has many favorite dining places, "depending on the mood I'm in and what I want to accomplish. If I want to be 100 percent relaxed, with a loose tie or no tie, or take the jacket off, I go to Patsy's Italian Restaurant on West 56th Street. The people there have become like family. If I'm attempting romance, there's Cafe Des Artistes or sometimes the Sign of the Dove. For a business dinner combined with pleasure, there's '21.' When I want a steak or a huge slab of prime rib, which is frequently, I go to Ben Benson's Steak House on West 52nd. I like Le Cirque. I enjoy it very much. And Bravo Gianni on East 63rd is an Italian restaurant that allows cigar smoking.''

Outside of New York, he says, "I love Brennan's in New Orleans. I've got a familial relationship with the Brennans. I went there over the Labor Day weekend, and, after breakfast we had three different Cognacs and a couple of bottles of Port and some Montecristos, those big nine-inch jobs. We sat there for a couple of hours tasting all these things.''

He pauses. "Tastefully, of course,'' he says and laughs. "With good moderation.'' (Though it is doubtful that Limbaugh does anything with moderation.)

In Kansas City, he loves the renowned Stroud's. "It's not fancy. Pan-fried chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes. It's a small place. There's a two-hour wait and no reservations. But it's unique. Whenever I'm in Kansas City, I cannot leave town without going there.''

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