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. JF

    If McCain tells us he is pro-life then I take him at his word. I REALLY don't want to ask that Obama man a other SERIOUS questions. It just might be above his pay grade. Or he might have to look to his wife or grandmother for the answer... That guy is lost in the woods. He never thought he would get this far in this election and now he is in wonder of – what would happen if he really got the job. That would be a horror story that I wouldn't want to read! ! ! He might be a (nice guy) who doesn't want to make his mother mad, but NOT presidential material.... GO McCAIN ! ! !

    August 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Ridge would be a great pick for Mccain.

    Hillary would be a great pick for Obama.

    Obama would be a great pick for Hillary.

    Hillary 08!

    August 19, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Scott L


    Do you realize that more Exxon employees have donated to Obama than McCain?

    When will you Dems realize that big oil is in the pocket of BOTH parties.

    August 19, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Soldier 4 OBAMA

    Thr GOP are pro-birth; pro-death penalty; pro-war 9except for their kids); pro-guns; pro-wealth; pro-immoral's; pro-unethical; pro-BS and pro-poverty. Now when will America realize that Pro-Life is a Faus and that to be prolife means to be against WAR, to support the poor, to Kill the Death Penalty and support Life all Around! The GOP/RNC like to use wedge issues, but how many lifes have they save once they are born?

    August 19, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Joe

    At this point a miracle wont save the republicans.It dosent matter who McCain picks.

    August 19, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Scott L


    Again, check your facts about Exxon donations and Obama please.

    August 19, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Sammy

    Perhaps its another sign of more Republicans moving away from people who use this issue as a litmus test above things like the war and the economy. Gay marriage is the other bugaboo. But it seems the country is slowly deciding that its not that important in the grand scheme of things these days.

    Oh and I read the latest political argument about whether or not abortions went down the last 8 years and the answer is yes. Not because of any kind of morality but because birth control is more widely used so there is less need for it. But then... birth control is a taboo as well, isnt it?

    August 19, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Mikey

    "John McCain doesn't question anybody else's patriotism," he also said.

    So I've been hallucinating all the times the McCain camp has subtly, and not so subtly, questioned Senator Obama's patriotism?

    EDW – Awesome comment! And don't forget that it says, "thou shall not kill", not "thou shall not kill, unless you want the oil in the country your victims live in"

    Oh, and can someone explain why McCain has missed 20 straight votes on the environment before telling us he was an environmentalist? His last vote was two years ago. Why has he missed 13 straight votes on energy issues? His last vote on energy was two years ago, too. Does he really simply not care? Or was he playing politics, so he could come back later and say he was either for or against anything? Why would we vote for someone who has totally shirked his duties as a U.S. Senator? Please say no to Senator AWOL!

    August 19, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. big roy

    wow, this blog is nothing but liberals. you guys are so pissed off you cant see straight. if obama does or says something wrong, you cant see it cause you wont let yourself. its pathetic. we republicans know bush made mistakes and the economy is awful. however, mccain is not bush and thats why the far right has not 100% pushed him. in these troubled times, your best option is a one term senator that has basically served 1.5 years in the senate (due to campaigning) why didnt yall pick hillary or someone else with more experience? makes no sense at all. the dems should be up by at least 10 points right now, and obama is losing ground in swing states.

    August 19, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. 'Operation Fat Bag of Hot Air'

    HAHHHAAAA I love it. The GOP.. the Gallons of Poo..! Republicans are full of baloney. Listen Maverick, Limbaugh says 'No' on Ridge. Listen to the 'Gobble On Pills' messiah.

    The bottom line is that Democrats, this is our election to lose!! We need to fix this disaster they have done to our country.

    Vote DEMOCRAT!!!

    August 19, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. Mc Cain didn't drop bombs

    He didn't drop bombs he he was an interceptor pilot or wild weasel he flew into n.vietman to have his fighter lit up by radar and then the bombers would bomb the sam sights as if you really cared he got shot down, was tortured,brain washed,starved and finally released after 7 years in a vietnamese gulag. You don't have to vote for him but give him the respect he deserves.

    August 19, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Dan The Web Man

    To hillybilly's post above. Ridge was not the Director of Homeland Security during Katrina. Chertoff was.

    McCain 2008 NoBama

    August 19, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Rush Limbaugh wants this guy Tom Ridge gone with the quickness and he ain't waiting for McCain to change his mind.

    August 19, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Allen Friedman

    The Republicans will offend somebody with almost all of their top V. P. candidates. The best candidate for McCain for vice president would be Dan Quail who has the experience and knows the price of potatoes!!! This intelligent man is just what Republicans need to capture all of the Fox news watchers and all of right wing radio listeners. The Democrats stand to lose all of the lunitic voters that are followers of Quail and his followers. This election is in trouble if all of the nuts vote Republican but they always do!!!

    August 19, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Pick a hard-line social 'conservative' and you lock up the Religious Right but alienate moderate voters who will likely not vote for you.

    Pick a moderate VP, help your reputation with moderate voters and gain a few points there but piss off the religious right, who's going to vote McCain anyway because he's running GOP.

    Wow, though choice.

    August 19, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Pat Riot

    Well spoken Mr Ridge. If we are a nation that has promised to protect the life and liberty of all then certainly the unborn deserve the same right to their own life. However, life has recently become difficult to define. I think if we should turn to anyone for an opinion it should be the Congressman from Texas Dr. Ron Paul. He is an OB/GYN and Jane Roe of Roe v Wade supported his candidacy.

    August 19, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. What is the difference

    McCain has made it clear that he is pro-life, so what does it matter if his VP is also? If the conservatives do not want to vote for a pro life person then they just will not vote for McCain. ???

    August 19, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. McDumb

    Tom was dodging the direct questions regards to attack on Obama's patriotism. and Wolf wasn't quoting McDumb to make it any harder.

    He denied it and gave examples that wasn't the attacks. The attacks included putting his political interest 1st against the country. Thats the real definition of questioning his patriotism.

    instead wolf said he came close to questioning him instead of stating an example.

    he also couldn't name one energy policy achievment since Mcdumb been in the senate for 26 yrs.

    August 19, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    When Ridge gets chosen will he get asked the question:

    "When does life begin? And will he get asked in a church?

    I hope McCain chooses Ridge or Romney. It would seal the fate of the GOP.

    August 19, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Suspicious

    Haven't you taught that slimy rush limbo and lou dobbs from CNN are the same. One is a druggie and the other is a toothless shining veneers guy that talks a lotta pup. I can't understand why a station like CNN has become so dumb. The only person there with any sense is Jack Cafferty. The wolf man and the lou doggs are stupid, stupid, stupid. If I cannot hear from Mr. Cafferty to hell with CNN – another fox.

    August 19, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Crush Rush

    Go ahead and pick him for anything my friend and complete your police state image for the future.

    August 19, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Hello Jack I had to make a comment and I figure who better than you. Instead of republicans questioning Mr. Obama's patriotism they better look at Mr. McCain closer. I think people had better watch out for McCain because he was abused in Vietnam. Most Doctors say if a person was abused in any kind of way they will abuse somebody as well. I think he will find a war to start, they say that Obama is meek and to diplomatic. Well I think sometime it is better than going to fight a war we may not need to be in. Like the war we are in right now and trying to get out of. Thank you for your ear Jack, even if you do not use this on the Situation Room.

    August 19, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |

    I had rather vote for George Bush again than to ever vote for John McCain.

    McCain is not a leader. What war has he won? I know the one he vote to get us in one. What experience does he have? NONE.

    August 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    John McCain is making it awfully easy for us Clinton supporters to vote for him.

    I bet with Ridge on the ticket, he would polish off Obama and whatever messiah worshipper he picks to follow him around throwing rose petals.

    Good thinking, McCain – I'm really hoping for this one!

    August 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. EBC

    Ridge..smidge....sounding like his buddy Georgie Peorgie!!

    August 19, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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