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

    "Ridge — Republicans —Clueless…..They got nothing….."

    Unless and until this nation of spoiled brats grows up and unites for the good of the country, "We Got Nothing."

    May 24, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. hozo2006

    is anyone on this board supporting Rush ... not a paid street teamer ... Rush's real audience is somewhere between 2-3 million a day ... not much ... so the right wing needs to employe paid bloggers to constantly fire up an obsolete ideology ... say good bye to the Republican party ... old white men who cannot come to the realization that diversity and kindness and acceptance of others views and lifestyles are becoming the American Way .... and they no longer control that and are scared of it

    May 24, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. lucretia

    Reggie in LA – you have kool aid stains on your shirt. Blitzer and other Obama sycophants speak from facts ? You sir are either a fool or fascist.

    May 24, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. david

    rush only has 20 million cult followers out of 300+ million people in the usa. divide 20 million by the number of states in the union, and that isn't a whole lot of people who blindly follow rush. not all republicans buy into rush's rhetoric, beliefs or positions. he is more of a danger in inciting to riot the republican base who followed and supported palin. those people cost mccain the election.

    May 24, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. pam Eugene OR

    CNN needs so new copy writers. Slams, Bashes, lashes out, and Blasts seem to be in every headline.
    Limbaugh is nuts and deserves whatever the moderates in the Republican party say about him BUT get real CNN. You are bad at grabbing headlines as Limbaugh is.

    May 24, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Mark Atlanta

    New England P... You hate and you are scared of people because of their names – you are the prime example of what talk-radio does to people and why the hate crime in this country is on the rise....Why do you hate and why are you scared of name Hossein?

    May 24, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. donna

    Does John King ever present views other than Republican ones on his program in a featured interview?

    May 24, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Kurt

    Are some of you that ignorant, that shallow, that uninformed that you get your info or world views from a talk show host? You would've made some great Nazi party members, listening to Josef Goebbels.

    May 24, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Patriot

    This just proves that the only good Republican is a dead Republican. It's time to kill all of them.

    May 24, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. SoSaysSam

    dementedcrats, it is people like you intolerant, arrogant, totally lacing in facts, that have put the RNC in the disgusting position it is in today. Your hate filled rhetoric does nothing but drive people away. Why don't you grow up and get a life... get a job and stop living off of your mother might be a good start. Get your high school diploma, would also be a big advancement for you.

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

    Shill is a better word. Rush is just a hack trying to make money off the self-serving "controversies" that he creates.

    May 24, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. steve b

    Ever notice that when the republicans don't have the Whitehouse, they spend every waking moment on attacks and witch hunts.. it happened with the Clintons too..would be nice if they actually did the job they are getting paid for, to help the country, not divide and destroy. Talk about the true terrorist....Oh thats right, republican tatics 101..Lie, confuse and scare

    May 24, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Jim

    @ dementedcrats,

    Wow, you are pretty ignorant. Do you think the US has the lowest cancer death rates in the world? Not even close. There are a good two dozen countries with "socialist" health care systems that have better rates than the US.

    For all the money pumped into the US healthcare system every year the outcomes we get are actually pretty poor compared to the outcomes other countries receive for the money they spend.

    Oh, and I have lived in a country with "socialist" medicine, the Netherlands, and the treatment I received was more than acceptable. And I know what I'm talking about since I'm a health economist.

    May 24, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. hirouk

    we don't need ridge. we don't need powell. we don't need any rinos.

    we need to support and elect born again christians. that is the only hope for our country.

    praise jesus!!!

    May 24, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. katiec

    Am so tired of headlines on the hypocritical, lying, irresponsible, fear tactics, party first and win at any cost republicans and their dishonorable spokespeople.
    Am so tired of the media pushing these incompetent losers down our throats as "experts".
    ANYONE who speaks out against our president and his policies, ideals gets ongoing headlines and support by CNN .
    No longer watch their cable network, except for Jack Cafferty, as
    they are becoming more like Fox daily.

    May 24, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. jimbo from Marshalltown, IA

    The political talk show hosts are arm chair quarterbacks. They are on the sidelines of the game. Just like the fans in the stands they can say whatever they want about the ebb and flow of the political world without having to actually play the game.

    If any of the talking heads had any political talent and wanted to leave behind the bloated paychecks they receive then they would be politicians. Why would Rush Limbaugh leave the comfort of his huge paycheck and actually have to work at doing the things he talks about.

    May 24, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. SQZ

    Ridge, Powell, McCain, Schwarzeneger – or however it is spelled –, any of the remaining New England GOP and all other GOP pols having the same uninspiring suck-up politics, please just go away or join the Democrats to clear up the ambiguity. I've listened to Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others over the years. Nobody hates anybody (well, Mike Savage comes close) as some of the commentors in this stream would suggest and there is a brutal lack of intellectual honesty in the Limbaugh bashers. You can't reasonably mistake passion for a strict constitutional, states rights honoring, federal government for hate. Voices are raised by Rush and Sean, others, because the GOP leadership won't take a stand against the socialist tending tsunami the current government is engaging in. Rush is the target because he is so effective. Ridge is the latest liberal Republican to condescend to the press so he can get favorable air time for his own political purpose. Pure and simple.

    May 24, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. barking republican ankle biters

    We almost lost Limbaughs servers last week.Keep the e-mail and phone calls going to Rush Limbaugh.He wants to hear from all Americans,he just doesnt want talk to those that oppose his views,and screens out all those callers and letters.

    May 24, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. regulator

    Whoa..! What a crock! dementedcrats

    dementedcrats posted: May 24th, 2009 10:40 am ET
    "Dear BJs – Obama has brought us a collapsing country. Financially, morally, in every way. By the way, BJ, you a good friend of Bill Clinton : )?"

    You are either, St*pid and don't know it, or just plain St*pid and can't see it. President Obama inherited all these problems from the Republican predecessor. He is fixing what the NeoCons have done to our great country. God bless him. I can't believe Limburger (Rush) said he, "hopes Obama fails". This is treason and he should be... I won't say it here.

    May 24, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Rush is a racist. Why is everyone so surprised he hates what the Democratic party stands for right now? He is loudmouthed tool with nothing constructive to say for America.

    May 24, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Pegwin

    I think it is more than a little hypocritical of Tom Ridge to now be criticizing Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh is now, as he has always been, a hate mongerer. Why haven't the rethuglicans spoken up WAY before now. The man is obviously so full of self hatred and he lives to shed himself of that by putting it off on liberals. Get a clue, rethugs. You should have denounced him years ago.

    May 24, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Evelyn

    The only people that listen to Limbaugh seriously have banjo music playing in the background.

    May 24, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Southern Professor

    "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..."

    Just to qualify, I am a professor of American history: the above statement is not even close to being true. I do find it amusing, really, how often the traditions or facts of 'history' are sought to justify departures from it..... I suppose I would only ask that anyone might question such rhetorical devices before believing or employing them.

    I am a centrist, by the way.

    May 24, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. W Frazier

    Hooray for Ridge. Limbaugh and Cheney are anachronisms, representing the past of the Republican Party. In the last election, the American people said they had had enough of their ways of thinking. If the GOP is to survive, it must find new voices describing a different conservative philosophy that will resonate with mainstream America. Perhaps a kinder, gentler one would be in order.

    May 24, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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