Larry Kudlow ended his nine-year run on his CNBC show on Friday by thanking his viewers and declaring at the end of his "Kudlow Report" program, "I am a blessed person."
"Let me thank all the viewers who've stayed with me down through the years and all who have wished me well," said Kudlow, 66, fighting back tears as he continued his farewell. "I am truly grateful. … And to all of you out there, as always, thank you — and God bless you."
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The CNBC host, who is regular guest on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV, retired from full-time work at the network on Friday. Kudlow will continue at the cable network as a senior contributor to various CNBC business and news programs.
"Kudlow Report" began in January 2009 and offered a mixture of politics and business. The program succeeded "Kudlow & Company," which aired from 2005 until October 2008. Before that, starting in 2002, the program was called "Kudlow & Cramer" — with investment guru Jim Cramer as co-host. From 2001 to 2002, the program was called "America Now."
Tributes had been pouring in all week — including many on Friday via Twitter — and the last show followed Kudlow's standard format: There were discussions on business, politics and the economy and interviews with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and magazine publisher Steve Forbes.
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Forbes, a former two-time GOP presidential candidate, said that the nation's economy currently reflected "a 70's era," which was dominated by double-digit inflation, high unemployment and skyrocketing gas prices.
"I hope after 2016, starting with the 2014 elections, we're going to get a mandate to do these substantive things" to grow the economy, he added, like strengthen the dollar, simplify the tax code and develop patient-centered healthcare programs.
"Basic stuff like that, and this economy would come rolling back," Forbes said.
It also showed how Kudlow's programs evolved over the years — including the 2002 coin toss with Cramer that led to their show being renamed "Kudlow & Cramer."
Cramer, now the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," called heads. "Well done, Lawrence," he said afterward.
Then followed clips of some of the high-powered guests Kudlow has interviewed over the years: former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner, and billionaire developer Donald Trump.
There was even a clip of Kudlow introducing the show from the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
"Great stuff," Kudlow said after the segment. "Wonderful memories."
He then began his final comments: "I'd like to take a moment to say a few words of thanks and gratitude and humility."
"It's been my honor to host this show for the past nine years, and before that, with my great pal Jimmy Cramer for three years," Kudlow said before thanking Cramer for the best wishes he had given on Thursday's program.
"You know my credo — 'We believe that free-market capitalism is the best path to prosperity!' — and let me add to that, from our Founding Fathers, 'Our creator endowed us with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'
"In other words, freedom," Kudlow continued. "Freedom to work, invest, take risks — and the freedom to get rewards and incentives that motivate us all.
"It is freedom that makes this country the greatest in the world, and it is freedom that so frequently keeps me on the optimistic side of life."
He noted that the primary objective of his program was to provide "civil discourse on the issues of the day … salted with some financial market advice — which, sometimes I got right and, sometimes, got wrong."
Kudlow praised the "best minds" he had recruited as guests. "Many of them have never been seen on television before. Now, they are going on to their own bright careers — and that makes me proud."
He then thanked CNBC for "not only for the privilege of hosting this show, but for giving me a second chance at life that resulted in a new career."
Kudlow noted his substance abuse
of nearly 20 years ago and said that "with the help of many people, I learned to replace addiction with faith — and it is that faith that guides me every day."
He expressed pleasure at his new opportunity at CNBC. "It is the place where I call home."
After a commercial break, Kudlow's wife, Judith, rolled out a cake with "the Kudlow Creed" in frosting — and, by then, surrounded by applauding studio staff and other well-wishers, Kudlow was fully in tears.
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