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. EcoAZ

    Geez, Limbaugh is a radio commentator who has no desire whatsoever to govern the Republican party.

    But the man gives voice to millions who object to the hot and cold running propaganda, lies, and incivility we're being subjected to on a daily basis by the MSM and Washington.

    It's Limbaugh's massive audience that's scaring liberal propaganda consultants and their clients, not Rush himself.

    May 24, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Lee from Maine

    Let's see, egomaniacal, rude, drug addict, hate mongering, pig "entertainer" vs. war hero, former Secretary of State, intelligent, caring voice of reason. You have to be an idiot to choose the former. Oh yes, I WISH there were only 20 million idiots in the U.S.

    May 24, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. JD

    I'm sorry, but Tom Ridge is FAR from being the "Top Republican" that this article alleges. Ridge was a governor and one-time head of Homeland Security. That no more makes him a "Top Republican" than Janet Napolitano's jobs have made her a "Top Democrat."

    I for one am sick of every liberal Republican In Name Only (RINO) getting elevated to "top" status by the liberal media when he attacks the only REAL Republicans our party has.

    May 24, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. EcoAZ

    Brian, Bush was the most abused president in the history of the United States. That man was tortured for four years by the Democratic party and obsessive left wing extremists who refused to concede the 2000 election.

    And he still gave whining, screeching leftists everything they wanted, whilst protecting their behinds from attack for 8 years.

    A little silence for awhile would be refreshing.

    May 24, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Gary Coonrod

    First "the dove Powell" and now Ridge. Seems there are some that cannot suck up to the left fast enough.

    May 24, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Ohio

    Rush Limbaugh is the Reagan era mouthpiece of the past. As a member of the "Democrat Socialist Party" I LOVE Rush. He's the best thing going for Obama these days. We'll have eight years, for sure, if Rush and Steele, McConnel and Graham continue their " we want only pure conservatives" stupid ways. It's worked so well for them....

    Rush is the BEST! .

    May 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. I2wasRepublicanonce

    Let's not forget when Candidate Obama gained Republicans, Rush lost some of his base too!

    May 24, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Wanna Be Tom Ridge is irrelevant Rush is not

    Ridge is desparately trying to get back into the politiccal limelight, but he has become irrelevant. The lamest way for a Republican to try to get in the limelight these days is to act like a Democrat and go after Rush Limbaugh. Well Tom, your political career is over; you are irrelevant; so give it a rest. At Least Rush knows something of what he speaks ......

    May 24, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Chris

    To George Synan,

    Please, conservatism does not moderate to the left. Grow a pair and realize that this is a fight, not a love fest.

    May 24, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Watch,"The Right: Feeling Wronged"on HBO if you want to see Rush Limbaughs followers. Its sad to watch these people,they dont have a clue.

    May 24, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. George

    "But words mean things ..., said Ridge"

    May 24, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. BobStrebs

    Rushbo lower now.
    How low can you go?

    May 24, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. van broad

    Rush Limbaugh is exactly correct, Powell never won anything. The group that claims to know what is best for the Republican Party have not won anything and the fact that the media darling John McCain lost trying to play to the middle, speaks loud and clear about who really wants the Republican Party to be kinder and gentler, the media. You guys are laughable. To pretend that you have no role in trying to shape public opinion is a joke.

    May 24, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "But words mean things "

    I'm floored. A GOPer used a fact.

    May 24, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. eva

    There is another world outside of the US. !!!

    May 24, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. MLH

    Good on you, Tom! Voices of reason within the GOP need to either be heard there or find a new forum. Limbaugh and Coulter are trying to sell books and themselves through outrageous, shocking and stupid behaviors; the GOP should never have encouraged the notion that either was a spokesperson for the party.

    May 24, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Alfred E. Neumann

    What most don't seem to grasp is that Rush Limbaugh is a political entertainer and a well paid one at that earning over thirty million annually. Why? He tells his audience what they want to hear.

    He is no different that Olbermann on MSNBC or Blitzer on CNN except that he does a better job at it and is much better paid.

    He holds no elective office. He served in no administration. He is a radio personality expressing his opinions.

    Don't like him? Switch to another channel. Maybe you like the the stuff spinning from Olbermann or Blitzer much better. I thought so.

    May 24, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Chris

    To eva,

    I think you should go there.

    May 24, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. bill

    wow and people really believe this guy. It's scary the ignorance that exists in the republican party.

    May 24, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. J.L.L. Indiana

    I would hate to be Tom Ridge's email server. The ditto heads are going to go crazy. Ditto heads don't care much for free speech and they will prove it again today.

    May 24, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Sniffit

    @ van broad, who said "The group that claims to know what is best for the Republican Party have not won anything "

    And that, perhaps, is entirely the point. Maybe they've learned their lesson, because I can tell you with all sincerity that doing and selling the same thing this time will earn the GOP nothing but scorn.

    May 24, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. dementedcrats

    And CNN would be credible in some small fashion if it would remove its nose from the analhole of its lord and savior, Barack Hussien Obama.

    May 24, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. eva

    ... where social services work. Where no-one needs to worry about doctor's bills. And 4 which I, as a an employee am willing to pay a % out of my wage. That does not mean that I am a socialist. The best system is the one that works for most at the most difficult of times. No streets of empty houses -<forecolosures here – ask why??

    May 24, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Imarriedmy sister in TheOleSouth

    I love Rush Limbaugh and believe everything he tells me.

    May 24, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Dave

    Limbaugh is an idiot. End of conversation.

    May 24, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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