Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tom Ridge Refutes Cheney, Limbaugh: Transcript (5-24-09)

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...

KING; Rush?

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.

Times Square Opens to Pedestrians Monday

I plan on being there. How about you? (e-mail me if in the neighborhood at

Shut Down: 42nd-47th In Midtown; 33rd-35th Near Herald Square. Broadway will close in Midtown, from 42nd to 47th streets. And over at Herald Square, no traffic will be allowed between 33rd and 35th streets.

It's about the environment and and a better living environment:
Starting on Sunday, pedestrians will really own a piece of the city.

Broadway will be closed to vehicle traffic for five blocks at Times Square, turning part of the "Crossroads of the World" into a pedestrian mall of throbbing lights, animated billboards and towering skyscrapers. The city believes the move will reduce pollution, cut down on pedestrian accidents and actually increase the flow of traffic.

A second pedestrian promenade will be created from 33rd to 35th streets on Broadway by Herald Square, where Macy's dominates the intersection. The city will try out the pedestrian malls for the remainder of the year, and if things go well it could make the change permanent.

Planners hope that the uncontrolled chaos that has long defined the heart of this city will shift to a gentler landscape, one where a visitor could conceivably use the word "stroll" to describe getting from one side of Times Square to the other.

No one's strolling there now. Crowds press up against each other, body to body, pushing the unlucky onto the street to walk alongside the cars. A sea of yellow cabs trickles foot-by-foot down Broadway. People who want to enter stores play a game of human Frogger, dodging pedestrians going in both directions, getting a toe crushed here and there.

Those caught in the crush of people say some added breathing room would be a welcome change. After spending his 52 years in New York, Carlos Grande hopes the pedestrian walkway can transform midtown into a grand, Old World-style space.

"You go to Europe and it's different. You see people sitting at sidewalk cafes, enjoying life," he says. Settled at a small street-side table already placed by the city on Broadway, he is interrupted by a chirping sparrow that lands by his feet, right by the rushing wheels of trucks.

[...]From 42nd Street to 47th Street, planners hope pedestrians will lounge at outdoor seating and stroll along the avenue. They hope drivers will begin using Broadway between the two promenades only if they're headed right there.

As construction on the project continues throughout the summer, the city has hired an array of musicians, magicians and other performers to keep lunchtime crowds in the area. Next month, they will broadcast the Tony awards on the new Broadway promenade. And in December, the Transportation Department will complete a report meant to help decide whether the setup should be permanent.

- Honor our fallen heroes whatever you do.

Colin Powell Responds to Limbaugh, Cheney: Transcript (5-24-09)

Read the complete Face The Nation transcript. Excerpt below:

SCHIEFFER: Rush Limbaugh said the other day that the party would probably be better off if Colin Powell left and just became a Democrat. Colin Powell said Republicans would be better off if they didn’t have Rush Limbaugh out speaking for them. Where do you come down?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think. I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.

SCHIEFFER: So you think that he’s not a Republican?

CHENEY: I just noted he endorsed the Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama . I assume that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest.

SCHIEFFER: And you said you’d take Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell. CHENEY: I would.


SCHIEFFER: Well, there you have it, General. So I guess the first question, are you a Republican?

POWELL: Let me answer it this way, if I may, Bob. Rush will not get his wish. And Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican.

And I’d like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person I thought was best- qualified at that time to lead the nation. Last year I thought it was President-now Barack Obama .

For the previous 20 years I voted solidly for Republican candidates. Voted for Ronald Reagan twice. George Bush 41 twice. George Bush 43 twice. I spent eight years in Bush administrations. I served Ronald Reagan for two years. I spoke at the 1996 convention and I spoke at the 2000 convention.

What the concern about me is, well, is he too moderate? I have always felt that the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years. And I believe we need a strong Republican Party that is not just anchored in the base but has built on the base to include more individuals.

And if we don’t do that, if we don’t reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base. You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base.

And I believe we should build on the base because the nation needs two parties. Two parties debating each other. But what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to diktats that come down from the right wing of the party.

SCHIEFFER: Well, why do you think the former vice president said what he said?

POWELL: Well, I assume that was his point of view. But he was misled if he thought I left the party. You know, neither he nor Rush Limbaugh are members of the membership committee of the Republican Party. I get to make my decision on that.

And so I will continue to work in a way that I think is helpful to the country and helpful to the party. And there are good reasons for this. I mean, in the military we have something called after- action reviews. After a battle or after a training exercise you bring all of the leaders in. And you say, what’s going right? What’s going wrong? What did do right or wrong? And how do we move forward?

It’s a no-holds-barred candid discussion of where we are. That’s what the Republican Party needs now. When you look at the results of the election last year, lost the presidency by 10 million votes. Lost that campaign by 10 million votes.

We saw both houses of Congress switch to the Democrats. We saw whole sections of the country move to the Democratic column, Virginia, my state, Democratic. Florida, Nevada, other places.

We looked at all of the demographics of it, a Gallup poll had a series of indicators. And in almost every demographic indicator, the Republican Party is losing. North, south, east, west. Men, women, whites, blacks, Hispanics.

And I think the Republican Party has to take a hard look at itself and decide what kind of party are we?