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. Samurai Cowboy

    The only people who listen to Rush Limbaugh are those who are no longer able to think or make informed decisions for themselves. His listeners are nothing more than mind numbed robots that he programs on a daily basis. And for those of you who think that Rush is not the head of the party, think again. He owns the Republican Party outright, unlike the right wing nuts who claim that George Soros owns the Democratic Party

    May 24, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Matthew Peacock

    Ridge is boring. Goooooo Rush! The Sheeple will one day soon see how much they are being conned by Osama bin Bama, and they are going to really start feeling dumb. 500,000+ people still losing their jobs a month – all because this moron in the Whitehouse decides to try to turn this nation socialist in the middle of a recession. All of the analyst had forecasted an early 2009 recovery from this recession until bozo-head took office, and wham… exactly what I predicted… this pea-brain would put us into a depression that will take decades to recover from!

    I don't think you like facts, do you? You do realize that this country was heading into a recession before Obama took office, and that analysts expected a pretty bad depression. Now that Obama is in office, analysts are forecasting a late 2009-2010 recovery of the economy with lower unemployment rates to follow. Obama has undoubtedly helped avert what could have been a much worse situation, but I guess you are too illogical to see this.

    May 24, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Rob

    Fan of Common Sense:

    You are right. Truman would be very ashamed of what his party has become. The saddist part of all is that the GOP is in the shape or lack of shape, because of Limbaugh, Cheney, you and the few left that think like you. To still beleive in someone as traitorist and corrupt as Cheney and Bush. While putting your faith in the words of greedy druggy is almost beyond belief. But then that shows the intelligence level of the few remaining repugs like yourself.

    May 24, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Chad

    "But words mean things and how you use words is very important," sorry, I just think thats a funny sentence. But its sad that Tom Ridge has to use such a light touch to mildly chide Limbaugh... that won't reign him in. The GOP needs a intelligent conservative unafraid to confront Limbaugh, like Powell only willing to hit harder. Limaugh is a light-weight when it comes to real debate.

    May 24, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Charles from Atlanta

    It is quite amazing to me. This Rush guy failed everything according to his own mom, can have 20 millions listeners. It clearly shows our education system is in trouble.

    May 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. BaronVonFob

    He's so grotesquely obese and orally aggresive, it's a wonder that anyone listens to that talking bag of wind with triple chins.

    May 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Ryan Wing

    With all the vitriol flowing through Limbaugh's veins, he can only have a few years left in him.

    May 24, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Kristina, Seattle

    "A lot of people listen daily to him and live by every word."

    It sounds like a lot of people need some serious therapy...

    May 24, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Fritz

    Personally, I find Rush Limbaugh a sad, hypocritical man. While he was bashing away at the government, the poor "who couldn't, or wouldn't get jobs" because of the "vices of their environment", he was probably so high on his own pills to see he'd actually become one of "them". those he always spoke to negatively about. WHY we continue to give this man ANY attention is beyond me...............he's the one that's part of "the old, the stale....GOP that never won anything".

    May 24, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Happy Canuck

    I live in Canada, have MS, and get all the specislists I want and more...for my taxes.

    As a business owner, my corporate tax rate is 13%. My personal tax rate is very low (almost none) because I keep most of my income in my business and pay myself in other ways (talk to my accountant).

    I choose my doctor, choose when I want to see my doctor, and choose if I want to try a different doctor.

    The lies spread in the US about so-called socialized medicine are ridiculous. Why is taking care of everybody a bad thing? Is America built on survival of the fittest?

    May 24, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Claudia in Houson

    Limbaugh is the head of the GOP and Ridge will have to bow down to him just like Michael Steele(RNC).

    May 24, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Kentucky Girl

    Scary people follow Rush like he is Jim Jones church. He is only an actor/radio host for ratings/paycheck. I like the Dailey Show and Colbert Report but I realize its only a show like Snl or a soap opera. Just from reading comments he does put alot of hate in peoples soul. Tune away from him and find your own opinions as humans not dems,reps, or libs. or go drink your Rush Kool Aid. lol If your that dumb send me a check or moneyorder and i will think 4 u.

    May 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Jack Flannigan

    Rush has no place in my republican party. Hot air gasbags only like to listen to themselves rant and rave. Rush, get a grip and get real or get out of the party. You do great harm to those who attempt to promote a conservative view with conservative tactics. You attempt to promote conservative views with a hell bent outrage that is counterproductive and poorly constructed. If you wish to go the way of the dinosaurs be my guest, I will gladly show you the door. If you wish to progress and be a legit piece of the political dialogue calm down and try the decafe'. You may find that working with people can actually produce dividends without the harsh language and jacked up drama which seem to define you.

    May 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Adam

    Ridge just got major points in my book. Yes, we can debate, but part of a debate is respecting the other side so that they can, in turn, respect you. This is where Rush fails utterly and completely. He has no respect for anyone who disagrees with him, and is, therefore, unworthy of respect in return.

    What scares me the most about Rush is that the type of audience he attracts is the type that seems least capable of critical thought. They are the kind of people who willing believe everything he says without checking up on him. I listen to news programs and such, but I NEVER simply believe it. I always go and check up on it and try to learn as much of the real story so that I can form my own, educated, opinion on the matter.

    Blind belief is the quickest way for a nation to fall. Seconded only by pandemic lack of respect for the other side of an argument (which leads to many problems).

    May 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. pt

    Obama honors Farrakhan and condemns Limbaugh. Limbaugh is stating his opinion without breaking any laws; Farrakhan does not appear to have any restraints. How's that for truth, justice, and change you can believe in? Why are the Dems so shrill to shut him up? Do they not believe in legal free speech?

    May 24, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. The Broker.

    Say what the Majority need to hear, you have lots who will listen.
    The Sheep Farms are full of them..

    May 24, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Matt

    Well, it looks as though we have the entire 19% of sheep who still support the wreck formerly known as the Republican Party on the blogs this morning. Unfortunately for people like Ridge or McCain (pre-election, before he also bent over for Rush) their voices will not be heard because of all the jabbering nonsense that comes from the right wing. This explains why there is a higher education level in the Democratic party; where else do you formulate a game plan like the one the far right is propagating?? "We got beat by a considerable margin because of our self righteous, far right nonsense and bullying; so lets be more far right and self righteous!" I'm glad to see them slipping further and further from reality. Ridge, McCain, Crist, Huntsman, and everyone else from that "party" who still has sense in their heads, make like Specter and join the party of today, and watch the extremists continue down the toilet.

    May 24, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Robert

    Getting on Limbaugh is like getting on Joe the plummer....Yea that's right WHO CARES ABOUT EITHER ONE.

    May 24, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. regulator

    DJ – Let's say you really are that wealthy guy you like to think of yourself as, "Glad you got some of my money. That money you received is out of my pocket and the pocket of others who pay 95% of the taxes in this country." Then you know after the Bush Admin you probably got back 67%. So you are paying less that (as a percentage of income) the guy on minimum wage meeking out an existence about to lose his home because of the deregulation of the Bush Admin and afraid to seek medical care because if he is sick, his insurance company, who pays more for hiring the customer rep who is paid to DENY care, will recommend his health insurance be disapproved because of a, “preexisting medical condition" a catch-all phrase in the Bush Admin deregulation aftermath for the health industry. How do you sleep at night, DJ?

    May 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Josh- Rochester, MN

    Ah, it must be "Sound-Bite Sunday"....

    Who cares, its a free country... Ever heard of the 1st amendmant? True, everyone here has the unrestricted right to rip Limbaugh a new one. But this is only true in a public forum when it serves an artisitc/educational purpose. You libs are, how did Ridge put it, SHRILL!

    P.S. WOW, Erick in AL, you HATE someone because you disagree with them? I thought all you libs were loving people without an once of intolerance. You are a pathetic person, but I don't HATE you.

    May 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. B.H.

    Limbaugh is the most disgusting and repugnant person in any media, and I am amazed that people even listen!
    He is taking down the GOP...

    May 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Brian

    lucretia – This shows how really dumb you are. The insurance companies are already making your health care decisions, LIKE IT OR NOT. And if you don't have insurance. Then it comes down to what the hospital administrator feels like swallowing, and trust me, they will take the cheep way out. So You never were in control. Get it right.

    May 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. John

    Lets be honest here folks. Colin Powel has more class in his little pnky than Limbaugh or Cheney have combined.

    May 24, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. pt

    Attacking the messenger instead of the message means you have lost the debate and probably cannot change people's minds. Limbaugh is a lot of things, but he provides a fact-filled dissenting voice in a sea of echoes. Are those in power afraid of a little dissent?

    May 24, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Too True For You

    Wow. Ridge is right. 20 million listeners sucking Rush's garbage as if it were republican gospel. 20 million following this mendacious pea brain whose main function is NOT to elevate political discourse, NOT to actually solve anything, NOT to make the republican party stronger, but ONLY to make himself more money by spouting the most ridiculous, emotionally appealing crap he can muster to keep the "ditto-heads" riled up and listening. Rush is radios version of a cheap comic book – topically appealing, the only goal to keep the kids buying and turning the page.
    So no wonder health care is in a shambles; we have 20 million mentally impaired on the loose being indoctrinated by an idiot.

    May 24, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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