Asked to choose Sunday between Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell as a Republican he could support, former Bush confidant and conservative firebrand Karl Rove sided with the brash talk radio host.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Rove was posed the same question asked of former Vice President Dick Cheney: What type of Republican best represents the party?
"[Cheney] sided with Limbaugh. Do you?" asked host Chris Wallace.
"Yes, if I had to pick between the two," replied Rove, who earlier acknowledged that Powell was -- despite what his conservative critics say -- a Republican. "But, you know what? Neither one of those are candidates," he continued. "Neither one of those are going to be people who are offering themselves for office."
The remarks reflect what is a continuing and in some ways growing divide within the GOP. As Rove appeared on Fox, an interview of Powell defending his brand of Republicanism was set to air on CBS' "Face the Nation." Meanwhile, on CNN, former Homeland Security Chair and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was being asked about his prescription for GOP resurgence. Ridge made two points rather unorthodox to contemporary conservative thought. He disputed Cheney's assertion that the country was less safe under Obama. And he made it clear that Limbaugh was more hindrance than help, calling the conservative talk radio host "shrill."
RIDGE: I think a lot of our commentators are being shrill. I mean, I don't disagree --
JOHN KING: Rush?
RIDGE: Yes, 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.
KING: I want to be clear, though. You think Rush is among those being too judgmental, too shrill?
RIDGE: Well, I think Rush articulates his point of view in ways that offend very many. It's a matter of language and a matter of how you use words. It does get the base all fired up and he's got a 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, let's 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 and why they should be more acceptable to the average citizen.