August 19th, 2008
06:31 PM ET
10 years ago

Ridge downplays pro-choice views, fuels VP speculation


Watch Ridge on CNN's The Situation Room.

(CNN) - Tom Ridge downplayed the effect his pro-choice views would have in a John McCain administration during an interview with CNN Tuesday, the same day reports surfaced the former Pennsylvania governor is seriously being considered for the bottom half of the Republican presidential ticket.

"Everybody wants to be the vice president," Ridge said. "At the end of the day, you're only giving your private counsel to the president. Publicly you echo the president's position, and I think every vice president understands that and appreciates that's the rule."

Watch: Ridge defends McCain

"All I know is that my friend of 25 years, John McCain, is strongly and forever pro-life," Ridge also said. "He also believes that you shouldn't be judgmental on other people's point of view with regard to this and some other very difficult issues. And as I said before, I think he'll make the right choice for his vice presidential nominee."

Ridge - who was reportedly on President Bush's VP shortlist in 2000, and rumored to be a potential replacement for Dick Cheney in 2004 - did little to stem speculation he's again among the top picks for the No. 2 spot.

"We'll just have to wait to see, won't we?" he said when asked directly about the possibility.

Ridge's comments come days after McCain indicated he was open to naming a running mate who supported abortion rights, a remark that caused an uproar among many social conservatives already ambivalent over his White House bid.

In the Tuesday interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Ridge also demonstrated his ease with playing the customary VP role of attack dog, hitting back hard against Barack Obama's comments earlier in the day claiming McCain had questioned his patriotism.

"I think Senator Obama has to understand for the President of the United States, if we challenge your point of view in the sense that your energy policy is inflating tires as opposed to nuclear, we're not challenging your patriotism, we're challenging your judgment," Ridge said. "If we challenge your judgment in the surge in Iraq, we're not challenging your patriotism."

"He referred to my friend of 25 years, Senator McCain. I take it very personal. John McCain doesn't question anybody else's patriotism," he also said.

Filed under: John McCain • Tom Ridge
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Anonymous


    August 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. EDW

    The GOP are NOT pro-life, they are pro-birth. There is a huge difference! They advocate that all pregnancies should go to term and the baby be born alive. What they do not advocate is the real pro-life issues: childcare, healthcare (including birth control), education, safe environment, clean energy, etc. The religious right are wrong. They support taking life (death penalty) and abusing and degrading life (institutionalizing foster, adopt and mentally & developmentally challenged people), but they stand for this false mantra of every conception should result in a birth. If they were truly pro-life, then we would not have a 50% dropout rate in inner city schools, the highest rate of incarceration of any industrialized nation (mostly minority), the worst sub-standard housing and schools for many of our nation's children, crumbling roads and bridges, homeless vets and mentally ill to be stepped over or cross the street from, no healthcare at all for millions, etc.

    August 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. California Gold

    Tom Ridge's words regarding a pro-choice Vice President are truthful. True the President's Vice Pres. functions as an advisor and publicly parrots the President's stance. Trouble is Mr. Ridge, your pro-choice views will alienate the religious right and that, sir, will prevent you from getting voted into office.


    August 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Ardnuas

    "Exxon" John is a warmonger..... he says he is pro-life- what a JOKE
    Wake-up voters ( PLEASE)

    August 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. PUMA

    Well heck McCain... if you're going to go center go all in....

    Pick HILLARY.... it would be in the bag... and the DNC can cry me a river.... LMAO...

    Want to rock the boat.... heck ya.... McCain/Clinton 08... a truley united ticket!

    August 19, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. tim, boston

    i'm going to the bathroom to PUKE.

    August 19, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    "John McCain, is strongly and forever pro-life,"

    yet ANOTHER reason mccain should NEVER be POTUS!! we want our country to move FORWARD, not back in time, grampa!! your days are OVER--kids no longer have to walk 12 miles, uphill, in the snow to get to school and dinosaurs no longer roam the earth!!!!

    August 19, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. maurice

    No Hillary then no Obama!

    August 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Lando Griffin

    I thought McCain was pro-abortion – I figure some of those bombs he dropped in Vietnam hit women, and some of those women were pregnant. So, why shouldn't his VP be pro-abortion as well?

    August 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Independent FL--- Troy

    I really hope that McCain picks Ridge. He sounds like a real idiot, and it would lock up an Obama win.

    Obama '08

    August 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Bob from San Francisco

    EDW – (2nd post) –
    Well said!

    August 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Mike, Vancouver BC

    Ridge says quite clearly that,"He also believes that you shouldn't be judgmental on other people's (this means anybody, don't ya think)point of view with regard to this and other very difficult issues".

    Then why is he being judgemental on Obama?

    Go figure. What' good for the goose is not good for the gander, I guess.

    August 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. EDW

    EXXON MCCAIN bumper stickers online...

    August 19, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. DJ Los Angeles

    Pathetic that the Republican party has come down to this. Instead of prioritizing urgent matters that effect all Americans, the Republican base wants to dwell on the wedge issues that bitterly divide people and have no real business in government.

    August 19, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. anonmouys

    obama needs eletoral votes not clinton supporter

    August 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Barbara

    Ridge – orange, red, pink? anyone?

    Wrap your houses in saran wrap and seal it with duct tape so no oxygen gets in. Live there for 5 to 10 days. Abortion problem solved.

    August 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. hillybilly

    what about his failures as head of the dept. of homeland security?remember katrina?

    August 19, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. BJGT

    I totally agree with EDW's post above:

    "The GOP do not advocate pro-life issues: childcare, healthcare (including birth control), and education."

    Nor would we be in wars that cost us the lives of so many.

    August 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. JD

    I truly fear what will happen to this country if McCain is elected. I have supported the Republican party for many years, never afraid of giving a fair amount of money to the cause, but this year, I gave my hard-earned dollars to Barack Obama.

    He is the ONLY one who has the ability to unite this country.
    He is the ONLY one who can bring about change necessary to keep our country as the best in the world.

    Good luck and godspeed, Senator Obama!

    August 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. Peter

    Tom Ridge would make McShame fail...more than he was goin to

    August 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Michael

    Ridge is a good man, but McCain would be wise to not play with fire and choice a pro-life VP.

    Speaking of VPs, I see Obama is planning an event in his home state before rolling into the convention and might have his anounced VP on stage with him. Obama and his potential VP should probably make the best of this opportunity. Once the DNC covention gets started and the Clinton machine rolls into town, Obama and his VP may never step up on a stage again this election season.

    August 19, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Gene

    EDW is exactly right... McCain is pro-birth, not pro-life. He supports the fact that every conception should lead to a birth, regardless of the economic condition, mental condition, family stability, age of the mother, the detriment it would cause to have a child in a hostile or unfit environment.. those things should all be considered before bringing a child into this world. Unfortunately, they're not.. which is why we have so many impoverished people out there. But you know... pro-life doesn't necessarily mean you're pro – good life.

    August 19, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Ed Word

    The GOP thinks life begins at conception and then treats it like it ends at birth.

    Pick Ridge, and Rush will sulk and pout forever.

    August 19, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    EDW, you're right. There are a lot of challenges you face in life. Much better to be aborted, than to have to go to a substandard school, or live in a slum right? I suspect that just about everyone dealing with one or more of the problems you cite would rather be alive to face them than have been aborted. The time for choice is before getting pregnant. Only 1% of abortions are the result of incest or rape. The rest are because of failure to engage in responsible sex.

    August 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. cph9680

    Please, Please, Please pick Tom Ridge or that Jew!

    August 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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