May 24th, 2009
05:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Ridge takes aim at Limbaugh

(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."

But in the interview with CNN, Ridge said the GOP infighting should instead be directed toward Democrats who hold fundamental disagreements.

"I think for the American public, for the Republican Party to restore itself, not as a regional party, but as a national party, we have to be far less judgmental about disagreements within the party and far more judgmental about our disagreement with our friends on the other side of the aisle," he said.

The onetime Pennsylvania governor who ruled out a Senate bid earlier this month also called for an end to personal attacks.

"Let's lead our party based on some principles that have been very much a part of who we are for decades. And let's be less shrill in terms of - and particularly, let's not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas," said Ridge.

(This post has been edited to correct a transcription error)

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tom Ridge
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. The Cautious Cabbage from Wyoming

    For Limbaugh, of course, this is all about ratings for his radio show. This is the same strategy followed by Ann Coulter to boost her book sales. The more outrageous their statements become, the higher their net income climbs.

    Appeals to reason are not likely to outweigh the siren song of cold, sweet cash. A man (or woman) will do pretty much anything for a hundred million dollars.

    May 24, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Greg McClain

    It is about time that someone, outside me, holds Rush accountable for his rude, self-centered, self-absorbed comments. Rush Limbwrist needs a good beat down not only by fellow conservatives but needs to be put in his place my patient and middle of the road Americans like me.

    May 24, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. Alan in Marietta

    Ridge is the second reasonable human being from the GOP to appear on TV. Colin Powell is the other.

    May 24, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  4. dreamer

    Finally a voice of reason.Not sure how far it's going to go,you have offended the Rush and the Chaney.The brothers in crime,err the good o'l boys club.

    May 24, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. brian

    So he will be apologizing to Limbaugh tomorrow i take it?

    May 24, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. Holding my breath.

    Careful there Tommy boy, you'll be the next target of that large, mean mouthed fat guy and you'll have to crawl back to beg forgiveness..

    May 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Wraith

    The apology countdown begins NOW.

    May 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. James Theiler

    Why don't we send the detainees to iraq?

    Why are we still listening to Dick Cheney? He is no longer relevant to our Country.

    May 24, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Joe the Troll

    "Let's attack their ideas," said Ridge."

    Well, I guess that's the next best thing to actually having an idea of your own.

    May 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Osama Bin Laden

    Tom Ridge do you not understand Limbaugh is a dopehead. He doesn't even know what he says. Furthermore all the Americans that listen to him are dopeys. I certainly didn't know we had that many people in america stupid enough to tune into an old country outhouse to listen to a bunch of crap.

    May 24, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Sam I Am

    It's good to hear that more and more people in the Republican Party are beginning to be the voices of reason. Limbaugh may have 20 million listeners, but in a national election 20 million votes won't even get you close to winning. The Republican Party that Limbaugh wants is a party of hate, divisiveness and bigotry, and frankly, appalling stupidity. This country is better than that. Tom Ridge is the kind of Republican we need. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and though he is a conservative, he is willing to work with the Democrats to find common ground. This is truly what the vast majority of Americans want. Let's hope that more and more moderate Republicans begin to drown out the nastiness of buffoons like Limbaugh, and the Republican Party returns to its REAL values of thoughtful conservativism.

    May 24, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Michael Fallai

    By Wednesday Ridge will be issuing a grovelling apology to the fat pill-popping gasbag.

    May 24, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. TCM

    Nice try CNN, but you can't drive a wedge. Try slapping the "Iran's Michelle Obama..." story on the's amazing how you've propped up the obamkins around the world, and then once other countries actually meet them, and get "dissed," by them (i.e, DVDs, an iPod with his own speeches on it)...they really discover how far the US has ahead and splash your anti-conservative rhetoric...your popularity is dwlndling just like the dems in congress....I long for the day when the next white house press corp excludes CNN, similar to its treatment of the National Enquirer..

    May 24, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. anita

    Ridge, put on your dress, high heels and makeup.

    May 24, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  15. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I am a very proud Democrat, nevertheless, I believe very strongly in the two party system. Limbaugh, Rove, Cheney, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham et al are not serving the best interests of the Republican
    party by their self righteous nastiness.

    May 24, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Lynn

    If the ideas coming out of the Republican Party are anything like their health care bill, which the media has completely ignored and would raise the amount people will pay and does nothing for the uninsured, they need to do more than attack other people's ideas.

    They need to actually present ideas that will benefit the middle class taxpayers who are the engine of the economy.

    May 24, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. gypsy mama

    Some of Rush's listeners are dems....just listening to hear what he is saying.....I listen to him because I have many republican friends and relatives and I need to know what he's saying .... then I won't be shocked at what they say and think.....arming to speak......their talking points are his talkings.....oh yes.....ditto heads....

    May 24, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Erick in AL

    WOw, Greg McClain! I feel you on that. Im no GOP, but I love constructive criticism and when you disagree you say more than NO, but offer an alternative solution. Mr. Ridge, Mr. Powell, and a few other GOP get the picture. Its time to stop playing victim-when you had Congress for 12 years nearly and the white house for 8- Frankly, I HATE Limbaugh, and I dont generally hate people. But this man is filled with hate, along with Hannity, and Cantor.

    May 24, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Bob

    I love how it's only the liberals that leave comments here. And naturally the liberals can only leave comments of themselves of hate and being mean.

    May 24, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Pete

    Remember Limbaugh ,you get a lot more with honey than vinegar!If you talked like that about Bush and his cohorts like now you'd been blackballed by BUSH's FCC buddies!He'd have your mouth washed out with soap

    May 24, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. SkiDoc

    Ridge means well, but if, like a lot of libs, he thinks 20 million people are insignificant, wait until the next election. This "super base" will be the engine that drives the socialists out. Obama should take an oratorical break and look over his shoulder.......the twittering classes are dropping off.

    May 24, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. eva

    I am really disappointed/ashamed at the statements coming from the former Bush Admin. We had concentration camps/interrogation camps in Europe (still have) my father was an intellectual and went thru water boarding (accepted later as torture) though now seen again as an aceptable way of gaining information. Of course some of these detainees should be there. My Father could not walk 4 3 years or stay in a bathroom with running water for a great deal longer. He was not a communist or such. I get really worried when I hear this nationalistic stuff being broadcast on CNN. Bush i.e. Cheyney etc. -Guantnemo is vital forsecurity. Just sounds very nationalistic to me.US citizens do not und3erstand where Europe/asia et al is at .were not and still are not here in Europe. I applaud B. Obamya for doing everything he can to bridge the knowledge gap.

    May 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Chris from San Antonio

    Cue the apology from Ridge to the Leader of the GOP in three, two, one...

    May 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. jolly john

    That's entertainment!!!!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. TCM

    @Sam I Am –

    Your statement is incorrect; the vast majority of Americans, (True Americans that is) don't long to work with and compromise with the radical liberal congress. The vast majority of Americans are center-right, not center-left. Any statistical poll that's worth its salt (this automatically excludes CNN/Research polls of 1010 democrats sucking on entitlement teets) will reveal that Americans are truly shocked at the depths corruption went to, to elect such a fraud.

    Conservatism and the free market are what made this country great; not the socialistic tendencies that OBama's trying to instill. No, everyone doesn't have a "Right," to a piece of the pie; especially someone else's pie. Under OBama we've already seen charitable donations decrease, unemployment increase, taxes increase, crime increase, foreclosures increase, racism increase,

    All things bad lead to Obama, all things good will lead to the road to conservatism and the free market...not saying republican; but conservatism. Good example recently, some conservative dems voted for the CC bill which included the gun measure. That will be pivotal for two reasons; they're sick of Obama's lying games and they want Pelosi gone...

    May 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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