Former Homeland Security head under Bush, Tom Ridge, distanced himself from Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. Read the complete CNN's State of the Union transcript. Excerpt below:
KING: It is that last point, Governor Ridge, Dick Cheney says a lot of Americans are alive today because of them. The Obama administration disputes that. You were there, you saw the intelligence. Did those enhanced interrogation techniques save lives, prevent attacks on this country? Is Dick Cheney right?
RIDGE: I never saw the intelligence at that depth. We were a consumer of information. We didn't generate it. But I do believe that since President Obama has released the memos that are substantially redacted, then perhaps there may be information that should be released to show that they actually received substantive information that enabled America to better protect itself. You can't have it both ways. I think that's one of the things that the vice president is arguing. Don't delete or redact parts of the memos to gird your point of view. There may be other information. I don't know what it is that may also support the vice president.
At the end of the day, we haven't been attacked since 9/11 in the United States of America. At the end of the day we've had a lot of professionals working very hard around the world to make sure that it doesn't happen.
[...]KING: Where's Tom Ridge?
Are you in the Rush Limbaugh/Dick Cheney version of the Republican Party or the Colin Powell version of the Republican Party?
RIDGE: I'm in the Tom Ridge version of the party. And my version of the party is simply, when you're asked to serve, as I have been by two Republican presidents -- one gave me a draft notice and sent me to Vietnam and the other called me away from the office I had led as governor, and neither one asked me where I stood on gay rights or abortion. They said, "Will you serve?"
And I think, for the American public -- for the Republican Party to restore itself is 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.
KING: You've used those terms, "need to be less shrill, less judgmental." Who's being shrill? Who's being judgmental?
RIDGE: Well, I think a lot of our commentators are being shrill. I mean, I don't disagree...
RIDGE: Yes, I -- listen, Rush Limbaugh has an audience of 20 million people. A lot of people listen, daily, to him and live by very word. But words mean things, and how you use words is very important.
KING: I want to be clear, though. You think Rush is among those being too judgmental, too shrill?
RIDGE: Well, I think -- I think Rush -- Rush articulates his point of views in ways that offend very many. It's a matter of -- matter of language and a matter of how you use words. And it does get the base all fired up, and he's got strong following. But, personally, if he would listen to me -- and I doubt if he would -- the notion is, express yourselves, but let's respect others' opinions. And let's not be divisive.
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, not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas. Let's explain, in a rational, thoughtful, responsible and reasonable way why our ideas and our approach are more acceptable, why they should be more acceptable to the average citizen.