Hillary Busis
May 04, 2012 AT 03:39 PM EDT

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

When he’s not dissolving into giggles on AC360, Anderson Cooper busies himself with leisurely gym trips (on Fridays, he works on his chest and back), jaunts to New York’s hottest bars and restaurants (see you at BOOOOOOOOOF!), and endless posing for the paparazzi’s cameras. Well, according to Rush Limbaugh, anyway. The controversial radio host took aim at Cooper on Wednesday, blaming him for CNN’s recent ratings slump — and saying that the silver fox “is reported more in gossip columns to be at the gym, or that bar or restaurant, than he is in the studio.”

Cooper, of course, wasn’t going to take this in proper bench-press position. (That’d be lying down.) So on Thursday’s edition of AC360, he tore into Limbaugh with some expertly employed sarcasm before tackling his accusation head-on.

It’s a shame that Cooper flubbed the delivery during his opening statement, because it’s so well-honed that it’s worth reprinting in full: “Now, Rush Limbaugh is a broadcaster of the highest caliber, known for taking a carefully measured, well thought out approach to each topic he tackles. His show is really the last bastion of calm, erudite reasoning, and he clearly has a noble desire to elevate the national discourse to a place of respect, civility, and above all, minding one’s own beeswax.”

The rest of the segment is also pretty noteworthy. After playing the offending clip from Limbaugh’s show, Cooper made a snide reference to the pundit’s well-publicized comments about Sandra Fluke. He proceeded to slam Limbaugh for apparently being an “avid gossip enthusiast,” announce that he would never spread gossip about Limbaugh on his own show, and — in the kicker — explain his fitness habits: “I do go to the gym. I’m concerned about heart disease, I’ve raised money to fight heart disease, my dad died of it, and yeah, I try to take care of myself. Mr. Limbaugh, I can only hope that you are taking care of yourself as well. You might try the gym from time to time.”

Point: Cooper. (Even if it is a pretty petty point.) Now all we can do is wait to see if Limbaugh’s going to respond to Cooper’s response, which would then lead to an endless loop of catty comments that grow increasingly nasty and outlandish. Or wait — maybe that’s just what the news is these days.

Read more:

Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Ryan Murphy top ‘Out’ magazine’s ‘Power 50’

Anderson Cooper apologizes for Dyngus Day giggle fit, gets asked to become the Pussy Willow Prince — VIDEO

Rush Limbaugh controversy: Sponsor pulls ad after he calls law student Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’

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