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. lucretia

    I know what we do after we seize health care. Lets seize all farm production, housing production, auto production (oops, done that already), banks (oops, working on that ). The democrats and other fascist entities should be allowed to dictate every phase and moment of our lives.

    And eva and regulator – tell us why there is a daily mass flow from your medicare heavens into the U.S. for treatment ? Tell us !

    Eva and regulator have no more right to dictate my medical care than they do what clothes I put on in the morning or the side of my head I part my hair. The poeple pushing obamacare are not interested in my health. They want my MONEY and they want to control ever facet of my lives just as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin did.

    May 24, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. lucretia

    Jim – I suppose I should accept your false assertions about yourapeeing medical care because you are college edgeubacated ? NO HAS THE RIGHT TO DICTATE TO ME MY MEDICAL CARE CHOICES. And I don't give a rats ass what they do in the Netherlands.

    May 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. John/TN

    More dissension in the RNC ranks. Lovin' it.

    May 24, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Colin Powell

    So wait, let me get this straight. I, Colin Powell, a top general and trusted advisor under (Republican) President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under (Republican) President George H.W. Bush and top military figure during the extremely successful Operation Desert Storm, and Secretary of State under (Republican) President George W Bush, the first black man to hold that office and largely responsible for building the multi-lateral coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan, I somehow represent the "stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything"?

    You mean, the GOP that won three Presidential elections in a row (1980, 1984, 1988), the GOP that won the Gulf War, the GOP that succeeded in its campaign for Congressional support in Iraq and Afghanistan? The GOP that had the most popular top diplomat in a generation in spite of being a conservative in the notoriously liberal State Department?

    Because, you know, that's the GOP you're talking about, Rush.

    May 24, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. ib

    Patroit; you are sick; also the republicans are not the taliban; I never see such hate spewing from the GOP as I do from liberals. Liberals have done nothing but spew hate toward anyone who doesn't share their far left views. Pathetic!!!! NO we do not hate America; we just don't want ot see her attacked on homesoil again and this is not spreading fear it is using COMMON SENSE something the liberals know nothing about.

    May 24, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. az voter

    20 million listeners huh? That's exactly 5.71% of the U.S. population. And Obama has what? ... 65% approval rating? That's nearly 228 million listeners. That's nearly 10 to 1.

    I guess the difference between Rush and Obama is the difference between big mouths and big deeds. And just so no one gets the two mixed up ... the Rush mouth has done nothing for Americans ... and the Obama deeds are lifting us all out of the mess left by our right-wing fear mongering brethren.

    May 24, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Biased

    As for me personally, I don't listen to Rush or any talk radio, but then again I can't stand watching Keith Olbermann any more either. They are both extreme personalities and have their defenders and detractors. One has been at it longer I think but they both verge on incendiary commentary at times but both do it for ratings and to appeal to their devoted audiences and their own egos. The only thing that makes one terrible and one people rush to defend is which political party you belong to.

    May 24, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. clr

    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!

    May 24, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. lucretia

    Well...I am college edgeubacated and I think Barry Obama is a clear and present threat to the security of this country. So I suppose Southern Professor will accept my assertion because of my degree ? What flavor kool aid ya drinking professor ?

    May 24, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. alvino

    I see the poster child for the right wing nuts (Osama Bin Laden @ 9:24) is back. I think most sensible Americans are aware of the futile attempts of ethnic cleansing by the followers of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter. The Taliban would be proud of the GOP.

    May 24, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Mark in Omaha

    Rush has 20 million listeners huh? wow, really shows how our education system is failing to train people to think. Any idiot can say "ditto", evidently we have 20 million of them.

    May 24, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. TexNat

    Post always rejected by CNN May 24th, 2009 10:39 am ET

    .....Who in the world want to listen to some guy rant on oxycontin…and something you are not allowed to say….just the lemmons in the republican who can't think for them selves.

    Yes, those sour puss republican "lemmons" are alway squirtin' off about something. Puckering up to kiss the behinds of Rush and Bush, etc. They all have pulp for brains.

    Maybe there is a reason your posts are rejected by CNN (refering to your screen name).

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning!

    May 24, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. jfz

    It is no surprise that (alleged?) Republican Tom Ridge is from the same state as John Murtha! Buds of a feather...? Did Ridge really say: "...respect others' opinions and let's not be divisive"? Ridge should listen to his OWN advice before smacking his gums about Limbaugh..

    May 24, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Georgia

    clr should look in the mirror when he is talking about "pea brains". Maybe you can see Russia from the trailer park you are living in too! For one thing – this depression wasn't started in the last 4 months! Figure that one out first.

    May 24, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. j

    To those who listen to CNN and MSNBC.....just keep waiting....your stimulus check is in the mail!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    May 24, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. CJ/PA

    Hang on to your hat, Tom. As soon as the weekend is over, if not before, 'ol Rush will be flailing at you like a frightened, cornered animal. Your job, should you decide to accept it, is not to go back on your comments and hold fast. He is nothing, no one and irrelevant! Good for you, Tom Ridge!

    May 24, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Tony

    Could anyone imagine Eisenhower being selected as a Presidential candidate by the current Republican party, or attracting support from Radio talk hosts?

    May 24, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Gregory

    Lucretia, the fact that you mention "democrats" and "fascist entities" in the same sentence clearly shows your lack of understanding of political principles. Fascism is more towards what you probably support on the far right. Let's try to do some research here before spewing accusations at the democrats and saying it's all their fault.

    Last time I checked, the reason why we are in this position of having to seize the banks and auto industries in the FIRST place is because the republicans' laissez-faire attitude and lack of regulation enforcement caused unchecked and unethical business practices, leading to mismanagement and bankruptcy.

    May 24, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. jack

    limburgs show is funny like saturday night live, anyone to take this guy serious is suffing from stockholme symtom

    May 24, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. alvino

    The right wing nuts have never let facts get in the way of their hate.

    May 24, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. CE Walker

    It's about time someone in the GOP stood up to this ruthless Limbaugh. Colin Powell, in every sense of the word, is a true statesman. , If Limbaugh were on the Air here in Canada, he would be long gone. We just don't tolerate his type.. Thank you. C Walker

    May 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Belle1

    This article is a joke when comparing what my fellow Democrats said about Hillary Clinton in the Primary, and Sarah Palin in the General.

    Actually all of the coverage of Rush made me want to listen to him to see what all the hoopla was about. Oddly, I found myself agreeing with many of his points, and disagreeing on a few.

    May 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. pt

    Tired of hearing about how the Dems are crying fowl over Limbaugh when they could not condemn Farrakhan for his demands of racial genecide, cop killing, etc. Limbaugh is stating his opinion without breaking any laws; Farrakhan does not appear to have any restraints. Obama honors Farrakhan and condemns Limbaugh. 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 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. jeff

    Limbaugh Equals Republican. He preaches hatred, and that's what his party is all about. Just look at some of the comments by his defenders right here in this posting. And such people need to wake up to the facts: Limbaugh's ways are the old ways. Racism, hatred, all that is going away, and that's why Republicans are losing the elections.

    May 24, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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