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. So sick of Sheeple!

    If I hear the word "Sheeple" one more time I think I'm going to scream. If the conservative way of life is so amazing, why not take off to texas and form a utopian society based on all these great gun toating laws, dog-eat-dog conservative values. Don't worry after about 5 years we'll send in a Hazmat team to clean up the mess and start anew...

    May 24, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Jesse Callahan

    Rush Limbaugh is a disgrace to the human race and should be removed from the airways via FCC action. I'm sure that grounds do exist for his removal.

    Jesse in Texas

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. TommyJ

    I love how the liberal media always labels any Republican that comes out against the conservatives of the Party as a "Top Republican".

    Tom Ridge is nothing but a Bush leftover and will be nothing more than that...ever.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. VGal

    Wow – a republican who stands up to Limbaugh? Seriously? I mean – a Republican who thinks he knows more than a TALK SHOW HOST???? None of the others do – including the Chairman of the RNC. This is a surprising, SMART turn of events....

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Chad

    PT, free speech is not the issue here, no one wants to take away Limbaugh's rights. We're discussing how disturbing it is that he seems to speak for the GOP now. As for liberals, I'm sure they dont want to shut him up, he's recruiting for them.

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Josh- Rochester, MN

    Matthew Peacock,

    "Obama has undoubtedly helped avert what could have been a much worse situation, but I guess you are too illogical to see this."

    Your kidding right? Nothing has changed. You are reaching this "illogical" conclusion based on experts. And what party do these "experts" belong to? I can see you are drinking heavily of your parties Kool-Aid.

    May 24, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. rob

    Ridge is right and Rush and Cheney are the stale old ones. Who one the election Rush?

    May 24, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Chad

    PT, you seem to think everybody's picking on poor little Limbaugh. Have you ever listened to him? Nothing I've read here is any worse than what comes out of his mouth. Theres that old addage, "If you cant take it, dont dish it out."

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Steve

    At this point of the information age, anyone who actually needs a modern day Tokyo Rose propaganda pushing scumbag like Limbaugh, for any reason other than to laugh at how pathetic & stupid our society has become is as sharp as Paris Hilton. Same morons who think their problems can be solved by a 45 second call to a loser skank like Dr. Laura. Grow up people! Rush is not an insider and doesn't know more than the educated American in the street. Figure things out for yourself and realize he's nothing more than a spineless, weak, sad addict who cant' sustain a relationship or do anything but bark at the moon to gain the attention of idiots.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. John

    Rush Limbaugh is a hate monger and a known drug abuser with little knowledge of the real world. Rush's big mouth and small brain got him a radio show for the small brain people and now he thinks he represents most Americans.

    Rush, your a loud moth jerk that never worked a day in your life, never defended your country and you don't represent and honest hard working man or woman in America.

    May 24, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Ridge was played for a fool.

    Rush wasn't running in 08. McCain ran on rhetoric that sounds exactly like what Ridge is endorsing. It didn't seem to impress anybody in November. (Not even Colin Powell)

    This interview is the perfect example why republicans can't win. They're willing to insult their base to try to win the favor of people who will always hate them.

    They probably buttered Ridge up by asking real policy questions for 45 minutes, but the only thing that gets reported is the comment about Rush. What a tool.

    I'm sure the millions of Rush-hating CNN republicans will just run out and vote for him now. (Just like they did for McCain)

    May 24, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. John/TN

    Why does anyone listen to Rush Limbaugh? Who is he to throw stones?

    May 24, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. wendy

    THe Republican party is doomed! Just face the facts

    May 24, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. JD

    Rush never ran for office, too funny they have to keep going after a radio host. Nobody cares about liberal hosts since they have no audience. Wonder how many people actualy listen to him, Limbaugh is right, it's only when they run as true conservatives is when they win.

    This is the problem with republican, they don't express their opions and only seem to attack each other. Colin Powell is also in left field right now as he has attacked Rush and never said a single word critizing Obama's ideas or plans for the nation.

    Funny Rush said he only met Tom Ridge once and he came up and introduced himself to Rush at a football game and they had a great conversation.

    May 24, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Brian

    To all those who think the last administration kept us safe, I have a revelation. Its pretty hard for a terrorist to strike when your watching. Before Sept 11. everybody was calm and collected, both Democrat and Republican. Republicans had control of the government then. Then Sept 11 happened which opened the eyes of all. Since then nothing has happened. Why? Because our eyes have been opened. We are watching. It doesn't matter who is in charge, it would have been the same result. If nothing else us stirring things back up in Iraq and showing our neglect of international pacts by torturing and such made us less safe as those who attacked us will have a growing audiance who hates us all the more. Please consider this. Oh almost forgot. Which party was in charge when we helped Afganistan the first time and failed to help them rebuild, which is what Bin Laden anger originated from to begin with? Reagan and the Republican Party. So my point is. Your argument is flawed.

    May 24, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Ted Tartaglia

    Cheney should take Limbaugh hunting.

    May 24, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Chad

    Will the GOP be the party of Rush and Dick, or Colin and John? The answer to the question will decide the fate of Republicans.

    May 24, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. WhoMe

    Limbaugh and Cheney are the best recruiting tools the Democrats have ever been handed to cull the majority of Americans who happen to sit in the moderate middle.

    May 24, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Tony

    Listen to Rush and "Live by every word"?
    I don't see it and most People I know don't. It is capitalism that HALF of us want that made this country the greatest in the world.
    NO. Capitalism is not perfect yet I have been all over the world on all continents (except Antarctica) and Socialism is much worse as a whole.
    Very stressful to many of the people.
    I do believe in a middle somewhere.

    When government has most of the control by either side it does not work. The people running it are not perfect.

    May 24, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Bill

    SPORTSMANSHIP is defined as:

    •Playing fair
    •Following the rules of the game
    •Respecting the judgment of referees and officials
    •Treating opponents with respect.

    1. I presume Republicans played fair in 2008 Election.
    2. I presume Republicans followed the rules of the Elections.
    3. Republicans are not respecting the Judgement of the People. They are not shutting their Mouths. They are still Talking about their Failed Policies.
    4. Republicans are not Treating Democrats with Respect.

    May 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. John

    Tom Ridge suggesting Limbaugh should be more respectful?

    Right. Like trying to teach table manners to a caveman.

    Just wait and see what your reward is going to be, Tom.

    May 24, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Ray

    It is rediculous to argue over closing of Guantmo.
    This Base exists at the convenience of the Cuban Government.
    It can be closed at any time by the Cuban Government.If this happened,we would be rushing to find a spot for all of the prisoners.
    Better to do this on our time line,than to wait.

    May 24, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. WAKE UP Mr. Hollywood President...

    Too True For You May 24th, 2009 12:12 pm ET
    ...." we have 20 million mentally impaired on the loose being indoctrinated by an idiot"
    Indoctrinated? Are you referring to the Liberals - this is what you Liberals do best, especially in our Liberals are sad and misguided IDIOTS! RUSH LIMBAUGH ROCKS, take it from a Hispanic woman!

    May 24, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Mando

    Tom Ridge got his candidate in 2008: John McCain. McCain was the most moderate Republican to run for President in 30 years. Meanwhile the Democrats nomicated Obama, the most liberal democrat to be nominated since Jimmy Carter. The result....Conservatives had nothing to vote for and stayed home, liberals got excited and voted for Obama and a Democrat congress. If the Republicans want to be relevant, they have to stand for something and not be Democrat-lite.

    May 24, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Kay

    Even though I am a Democrat, I believe that there are intelligent and informed Republicans out there that are worth listening to their opinions. I find it difficult to believe that 20 million people listen to a man who is probably still addicted to drugs. I must be totally missing something. Is it because he doesn't conceal his bigotry? Or because 20 million people don't want to think for themselves thus choosing to be spoon fed an opinion.

    May 24, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13