(CNN) - Pennsylvania Republican Tom Ridge is taking direct aim at Rush Limbaugh, telling CNN's John King the conservative talk radio host can be "shrill" and uses language in a way "that offend very many."
"Rush Limbaugh has an audience of 20 million people. A lot of people listen daily to him and live by every word. But words mean things and how you use words is very important," Ridge, the former Homeland Security Secretary under President Bush, said during an interview airing Sunday on CNN's State of The Union.
"It does get the base all fired up and he's got a strong following," Ridge continued. "But personally, if he would listen to me and I doubt if he would, the notion is express yourself but let's respect others opinions and let's not be divisive."
The comments come in the wake of a war of words between Limbaugh and Colin Powell, during which the former secretary of state suggested the GOP's future was in peril if it went in the direction of the popular radio talker. Limbaugh quickly hit back, proclaiming Powell is part of the "stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything."
(CNN) – In the ongoing war of words between Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell, top Bush strategist Karl Rove is siding with the popular talk radio host.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Rove said Limbaugh would edge out the former secretary of state if he "had to pick between the two."
Rove's comments come after a back-and-forth between Limbaugh and Powell, during which both have charged the other is hurting the GOP's chances of success in the future.
Discussing divisions over the direction of the party in the wake of its losses in the 2006 midterm elections and 2008 presidential election, Powell said the party should expand its base.
"I have always felt that the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years and I believe that we need a strong Republican Party that is not just anchored in the base but has built on the base to include more individuals," he told "Face the Nation."
Ultimately, Rove said, the debate between Limbaugh and Powell is a "false" one because neither is a candidate for public office.
"The real debate takes place out there in the real world by people getting out there and encouraging the kind of candidates who represent their vision for the party," Rove said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell struck back Sunday at critics of his decision to support Barack Obama's presidential candidacy last year.
Calling for his divided party to widen its ranks, Powell declared, "I am still a Republican."
In an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, Powell responded to attacks from former Vice President Dick Cheney and talk show host Rush Limbaugh, saying they are "not members of the membership committee of the Republican Party."
"Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican", he said. "I would like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person I thought was best qualified at that time to lead the nation. Last year, I thought it was President Barack Obama. For the previous 20 years, I voted solidly for Republican candidates."
Earlier this month on the same program, Cheney was asked about a dispute between Limbaugh and Powell over the role each plays in the GOP. "My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican," Cheney responded.
(CNN) - California Sen. Barbara Boxer told CNN Sunday she and her Senate colleagues are "worried" about the possibility of transferring current Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States, adding she is awaiting a more comprehensive plan on the matter from President Obama.
"We only have one max security prison in California and it's, right now, overbooked, that's the case," Boxer told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "In all, we are worried and we want to to see what the plan is."
Boxer's comments come days after Senate Democrats voted to withhold funding to close the Guantanamo Bay facility until the president lays out a more detailed plan on where the current 240 detainees will go.
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, also appearing on State of The Union, cautioned the president against relocating the most "incorrigible" detainees in the United States.
"Nobody wants them. We got all kinds of places in the world we can house these people," Shelby said. "If we have to move them from Cuba, from Gitmo, we have other territory that can bring them in, but don't bring them to the United States of America.
In a high profile speech Thursday, Obama pledged no detainees would be brought to the United States "if it would endanger our national security."
(CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is taking President Obama to task over his handling of closing the detention center on Guantanamo Bay.
In his interview with CNN's John King on State of the Union Sunday, Ridge said Obama "doesn't have a plan" on how to relocate the current detainees, and suggested the president announced he was close the facility prematurely.
"Reaching conclusion that you can shut it down without determining the manner in which you were going to adjudicate those who should stay somewhere… How are we going to dispose of them?" he said.
"And at the end of the day, doesn't the world community have another problem? If you think we're going to be dealing with international terrorism in many forms for the next decade or two or three, aren't we going to encounter this again?" He continued. "Maybe not only in the United States, but elsewhere around the world? How are we going to deal with this?"
(CNN) - He ruled out a bid earlier this month to challenge Pat Toomey for the GOP Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, but Tom Ridge isn't ready to back the conservative former congressman or any other candidate yet.
"I'm going to wait to see if people I know, whom I might support decide to make the difficult decision to run," said the former Pennsylvania governor on CNN's State of The Union.
Ridge also didn't rule out a 2010 vote for Arlen Specter, the longtime Pennsylvania Republican senator who defected to the Democratic Party earlier this month
"Tom Ridge has a secret ballot and that Tom Ridge will discuss it after the election," he said when asked about a potential Specter vote.
"I'm a strong, strong Republican but I'd be - I've never, ever, ever voted straight Republican ticket in my life and I never will," Ridge continued. "My mother was a Republican woman. My dad was a lifelong Democrat who switched once in a primary to vote for me. But at the end of the day, I think it's - when you close the curtain behind you, it makes America very unique. It's a secret ballot. "
The former Homeland Security Secretary, widely considered to be on John McCain's shortlist for vice president last year, also did not rule out a presidential bid of his own.
"Tom Ridge is going to do everything he can to make sure that we have a Republican governor in 2010. And in Pennsylvania. And will work within the Republican Party so that we win the presidency in 2012. And we'll just leave it at that," he said that.