CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) – Aboard his "Straight Talk Express," Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge questioned former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's judgment and experience by pointing to his association with former police commissioner Bernard Kerik who was indicted Friday and may face federal criminal charges.
McCain told reporters he had never approved of Kerik as a candidate for head of the DHS.
"I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with Bremer, Sanchez and Kerik was there,” McCain said referencing former L. Paul Bremmer and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. “Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day just left.”
"That's why I never would have supported him to be the head of Homeland Security because of his irresponsible act when he was over there in Baghdad to try to help train the police."
McCain blamed the initial failure of the police forces in Iraq saying Kerik "didn't do anything," and criticized his early departure.
Ridge added that Giuliani's judgment was "different than mine," on the decision of who to appoint Director of Homeland Security.
"It was clear that the mayor and I had a different view as to what the department does and the kind of leadership that is needed," said Ridge.
McCain also rebuked the New York mayor for his unwillingness to categorize water boarding as torture.
"He doesn't understand. He doesn't have the experience or judgment to lead this nation," McCain, a former prisoner of war, told reporters.
"I mean this is a defining issue about America. It means that he clearly does not understand the moral implications of torturing someone and what it does to our standing in the world and what it does to our ability to win this struggle to win radical Islamic extremism," he continued.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla