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. ron

    The reason why liberals HATE republicans and conservativism is because you have RUINED America! I HATE you for RUINING my country.

    You have had nealy 30 years since Reagan and his moronic Trickle-down theory has become the maintstay of American economic principle. If we were all living in some wonderful world with nobody on the streeets, no war, with the ability to maintain our parent's standard of living (we are not as most American households now require a 2 wage earners to maintain the same standard of living as a typical one wage earner in the 60s and 70s) I would be a Republican.

    This has not happened, it does not work and I HATE you for RUINING my country!

    May 24, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Operation Crush Rush

    Mr Ridge is right.We are doing a great job fellow Americans.We have Limbaughs sponsors on the run.Many are not renewing their contracts.There is no place for hate mongers and liars.

    May 24, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. mw

    If 20 million people listen to Rusn and hang on to his every word, there are 20 million people with too much time on their hands. They would better serve themselves and their country if they would spend that time volunteering, or just turning off the radio and getting back to work on the jobs they are being paid to do. I would be ashamed to admit listenting to Rush. On rare occasions in my car, I accidently catch his voice as I search for a good station--it takes an instant to change the station. I do not like to throw up, and certainly not in my car. That is what would happen if is gave Rush 30 seconds of my day. I deserve so much better in my life than listening to the rush's, the dicky's, the coulter's, the hannity's, and not the mouthy gingrich's and other such ilk. My life is so full of love I chose not to pollute my thought processes with such hate filled rhetoric they dish out.

    May 24, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. MikeH

    Limbaugh should take Cheney to the back alleys of Miami for a drug buy.

    May 24, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Rasheed

    This man is the hallmark of arrogance, pride and condescending behavior. But he hardly sees himself so, which is what hypocrites are noted for. He is always attacking and ridiculing people who do not believe in his hateful garbage he spews out into the airwaves for three hours every weekday.
    He says he is the champion of democracy but he always disagrees with people of opposing views which is against the tenet of the ideal he is championing. He uses the intellectual materials of other people without giving them credit only to turn around and use the same materials to attack them if the opinions expressed in them are in conflict with his stupid ideology. Pride goes before a fall and this should be a warning sign for his eventual demise from the airwaves .

    May 24, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. La Chatte

    Don't ya just love it when they eat their own?

    May 24, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. john devlin

    20,000,000 plus listen to Rush...and it is not because WE disagree.

    May 24, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. RC

    Tom Ridge and Colin Powell are right. Rush Limbaugh is a jerk. And what's-his-wuss, the head of the Republican Party, apologizes to Limbaugh????? Notice we haven't heard from Steele lately - that's because his head is stuck back up his ass again.

    May 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. TexNat

    So sick of Sheeple! May 24th, 2009 12:13 pm ET
    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…
    We're sick of "sheeple" too! And be careful what you ask for. Last I checked Texas is one of the few states that is actually weathering this economic storm very well, thank you. But maybe we should all follow the political/economic lead of liberal and spend and when that doesn't work, get bailed out by the rest of the country. Brilliant!

    May 24, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. TS

    Mr. Ridge is right on the money concerning R.L. I switched to the Democratic side this past year due to the hate spew coming from Russ and other radical talking heads. I just got OLD!

    May 24, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. John S

    Tony May 24th, 2009 12:31 pm ET

    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.

    Really Tony?
    I don't know where you been, but I think you should read a report by the Boston Globe which says this....

    My fellow Americans: Want a health tip? Move to Canada.

    An impressive array of comparative data shows that Canadians live longer and healthier lives than we do. Still others think Canadians are healthier because their medical system is tilted more toward primary-care doctors and less toward specialists. And some believe it's something more fundamental - a smaller gap between rich and poor.

    I think you need to do some fact checking before you post some of your foolish comments Tony.

    May 24, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. WAKE UP Mr. Hollywood President...

    Ted Tartaglia May 24th, 2009 12:29 pm ET
    Cheney should take Limbaugh hunting.
    I have a better idea for you Liberal, Cheney should take Obama and Pelosi hunting...

    May 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. riteaidbob

    Rush destroys the liberals and all the Repubs who act like Democrats and liberals. Liberalism is destroying this country and Rush simply exposes it for what it is. COLON POWELL is NOT a Republican if he is supporting Obama. Ridge is a dolt.

    May 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Ted

    Here is the rub. To be some what informed or even to find what the news might be, most of us are forced to listen to or watch almost all of the media sources. ABC, CBS, NBC CNN Are for the left FOX goes to the conservative. as does Rush. My suggestion on all of them is to follow the money trail on all of them before you decide.

    May 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Mike K

    Ray, learn your history and geography. The prison at gitmo is on a United States Naval base. The base may be on Cuba, but the base is totally American controlled as it has since Castro took over. The US has kept the base to basically be a thorn in the side of Castro, and to have a naval presence in the Caribbean. Castro wishes the base were gone but can do nothing about it. Cuba can not simply close it down, they would need to close down the entire base and that will not happen. Before you make comments, make sure you know what you are talking about.

    May 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. katiec

    For those of you who think our country is safer because of the prevous administration are not paying attention to what is really going on.
    There are more terrorist and terrorist groups than ever before in the history of our world. The Bush administration created more anger, hate, disrespect and turmoil with their actions which Cheney, Ridge, Rove, Gingrich etc are trying to cover up with their lies, constant fear mongering.
    You talk about hate and I have admit, yes, I do hate the republican politicians for what they are trying to do to our country. Rather than come up with acceptable, workable plans, they point fingers, lie and support party first regardless of the consequences.
    They have become unAmerican and very dangerous for our country and it's survival.
    They have lost their way and the American people are their victims.

    May 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. TexNat

    Happy Canuck May 24th, 2009 11:59 am ET
    "...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?"
    In a word, Yes!

    May 24, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. R in Maine

    Rush is a flabby and cowardly entertainer. Colin Powell is a patriot and an intelligent professional soldier. Otherwise, there is not much difference.

    May 24, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. HoboSpaceJunkie

    Limbaugh claims an audience of 20 million. Is there any basis in fact for this claim? Radio ratings are notorious for their lack of standardization. There are no Nielson meters attached to radios. I suspect this large number was arrived at by unscientific and highly dubious means, and yet the media parrot this number as if it were fact; shameful, but hardly surprising.

    May 24, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Matt

    So Powell isnt a true Republican because he endorsed Obama? Sounds more to me like he saw what was going on in the WH from an insider's perspective and knew this country couldnt take four more years of failed policy.

    Limbaugh's nothing more then a draft dodger with a voice second only in size to his waist line. Its just a shame that this is what the GOP has to offer in terms of voice.

    May 24, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Margaret

    Suddenly CNN is the expert on Republican politics? Somehow, I doubt that. In fact, I find it hilarious.

    Still trying to trash the party without trashing the party. Write it anyway you want, me thinks you are going to be in for a BIG SURPRISE during the next election.

    May 24, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Dimslie

    Ridge is an Arlen Specter Republican.

    May 24, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Joe the Palin 2012

    Wanda Sykes said it best! hahahaha (via Media Corespondents Dinner at the White House)
    Rush could very well be living on borrowed time. And people in that position care very little about how what they say effects others and who they offend, or even if what they are saying makes any sense at all.
    Especially when they know their on their way to hell anyway.

    May 24, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. L

    Somebody needs to give that fat air bag a good "old fashion butt-kickin'. It's easy to sit on your fat, stinkin' backside and fire up the truly "UNWASHED" it's quite another to be a responsible leader...RUSH LIMBAUGH falls in at the top of the heep in the LUNATIC FRINGE, followed by his zombie-like "ditto heads".

    May 24, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Keith in California

    We get what we deserve. Any time someone tries to give a measured, nuanced view rather than the screaming, shrill screaming the comments tend to end up being more shrill screaming. Some complaining about brainwashed sheeple, others suggesting Limbaugh should go hunting with Cheney. Intelligent discourse is dead - I guess it just isn't entertaining enough.

    May 24, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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