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

Ridge downplays pro-choice views, fuels VP speculation

CNN

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. Peter (CA)

    EDW-right on

    I still don't see Ridge being the choice. I think the conservatives don't trust McCain and this might be a big mistake that will keep many at home. Besides, his time at Homeland Security was a mess.

    So, yeah, John, pick Ridge.

    August 19, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Griff

    You cannot be: VP. But don't you really want to be, just a player...
    Get on the Board, and place your chips...

    August 19, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Dan

    Mr. Ridge, you are not from the mainstream Conservative. You do not need to justify that John McCain is strong pro-life. You have to consider John McCain's age. VP may have to take over. You are not fit to be the VP> If you John McCain gives you the ticket, we will stay at home and I am sure it will be the end of the Republican party. Stay away from these comments. You just ahve to be behind John McCain and take care of your state (PA) so that John McCain can win there. I hope Mitt Romney gets the ticket. He deserves it.

    August 19, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. jimmy

    MCCAIN IS ON A ROLL AND GAINING ON OBAMA THE MEDIA DARLING. THE 3 NETWORKS HAVE FAWNED OVER OBAMA ALL THRU THE SUMMER AND THRU OBAMA'S OVERSEAS TOUR WITH THE MOST COVERAGE THAN ANY CANDIDATE. YET HERE WE ARE
    A WEEK BEFORE THE CONVENTION AND OBAMA'S MEDIA MANUFACTURED LEAD IS ERODING . AMERICANS HAVE AT GRASPED THE MEDIA BIAS IN FAVOR OF OBAMA AND FINALLY REALIZING HOW INEX[ERIENCED HE IS AND HOW THE MEDIA
    HAD NOT FULLY REVEALED WHO OBAMA REALLY IS.

    August 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. smart

    Why are we Christians in Americaa so gullible?

    All along Republicans have been claiming pro-life; what have they done to to support it?

    Only during election times; they drum up the pro-life issue to decieve us and after that, nothing!
    For more than 7 years of Bush, there has been no legislation towards pro-life even though he used that plattform to rally the evangilacals.

    How long shall we be decieved?

    August 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Alan

    EDW is right. But why stop at killing babies, why not kill every child that is not wanted. Why stop there, why not kill all adults that are over 70. Everyone knows that they have nothing more to contribute to society. I vote that EDW is the first chairperson of the panel that decides who gets to live and die.

    August 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

    If it is Tom Ridge, then pro-life Republicans will have strong reason to suspect McCain's commitment to pro-life issues.

    The traditional wisdom is that VP choices "don't matter". This year, that is wrong. McCain will likely serve only 1 term if elected.

    His VP could conceivably be President from 2013-2021.

    To answer a prior post, the "difference" is that, this would cast doubt on McCain's intentions to appoint pro-life judges. His successor would likely get the opportunity to appoint more than McCain himself. Social conservatives are getting tired of empty promises from the GOP on this issue. Many of them vote based on this issue, because it is important to them. Picking a pro-choice VP would indicate that it is not all that important to McCain.

    August 19, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  8. Raymond Duke

    I like the way he bit McCaskill the other night but I do not think he would be a good choice for the vp.

    August 19, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. tony

    Hey EDW–
    It's called preparing for the birth of your children and being responsible enough to take care of them WITHOUT Gov't interference
    You should use birth control or wait until the time is right-
    But you DEMs want to rely on People who have been successful to help just anyone-
    I believe that people who really need the help should get it-That doesn't mean a handout-
    One of the reasons we have so much Crime by the poor is because they wait for their subsidy and then have no goals in life-so they feel depressed and unaccomplished - so lets compound the problem instead of making people contribute to society and feel better about themselves-not trying to scare them from the other side by telling them we are going to take their program away–

    August 19, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. VOICE OF REASON

    SOUNDS LIKE HE ASKED OBAMA HOW TO APPROACH THIS. MAN WANTS TO BE VEEP SOMTHIN TERRIBLE. BEADIE EYED AND FOX IN THE HEN HOUSE SMIRK. NOBODY HERE BUT US LIBERALS!! STEP INTO MY PARLOUR SAID THE SPIDER TO THE FLY. IS THAT A SNAKE HISSING OR THE VOTERS. NICE TIE THOUGH.

    August 19, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. jack

    To all Hillary supporters that won't vote for Obama and keep screaming that they will vote for McSame, let me show you an excerise I have found interesting.

    Place your hand, palm down in front of you. Then close all fingers but your fore finger and thumb. Then lift the back of your hand to your forehead, keeping the fore finger and thumb extended. Now look in the mirror. Do you see that BIG L on your forehead staring at you in the mirror? Do you? That's right! Your a big LOOSER!!!!! So go and vote for the second worst politican (next to W) and the only Republican dumb enough to run against any Democrat this election cycle.

    Oh! Let me just say one thing about Hillary, she sucks and is a giant LOOSER!!!!

    August 19, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. John Smith

    In America, we are really good at electing "dumbos" to the Presidency. Just count the following:

    1. George Bush
    2. Bush Senior
    3. Regan

    Now, we are ready to elect another senile guy, rather than a presidential scholar, to the presidency!!!

    August 19, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Erika, KS

    No. I don't think McCain will choose a pro-choice vp. It's interesting speculation. He knows Obama is a weak candidate and with all the uproar on the dem side, it would be easy to vote for him. The religious right might not vote for him. Tough call. You really can't have it both ways.

    August 19, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    To the PUMA pack – your canidate LOST fair and square. Get over it! If you are truly a Hillary supporter, you would support HER choice for president. Mrs. Clinton would NEVER approve of the policies of MudCain so why would you ever vote for the man? He is too old and sick to handle the job. Period.

    OBAMA '08 – the only rational choice.

    August 19, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Is it November yet?

    I'm so ready for football!!!!!

    GO DALLAS COWBOYS!!
    YES WE CAN!!!!

    OBAMA 2008/2012

    August 19, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. J.C.

    Babies' lives are not for politics, but I am pro-choice.

    Governor Ridge will make an outstanding vice president for Senator McCain.

    Why don't you look him up in Wikipedia?
    It's crystal clear that he will be the VP.

    August 19, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. republicans hate america

    i dont care what the polls say. Come November they will show Barak Hussein Obama winning in a landslide

    August 19, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. anonymous

    The best man will win regardless of Vice-pres. that is chosen. We need a strong leader for our country and clean the White house senate and congress up. They are running the show and not doing a good jo. Hey tax payers these are our $'s doing down the dreain with all this garbage and now show.. Bet if you had a job and did not perform the way the boss expected you would be out on your rear. I say lets just start with a clean house.

    August 19, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. Carl from MI

    McCain isn't pro-life... he's pro-fetus. A war-monger like him isn't pro-life and is lying by saying he is. You cannot value human life AND be so quick to jump to war. McCain is for WAR and KILLING and is NOT PRO-LIFE!! Once again... he is only pro-fetus.

    By the way... that is hardly a Christian stance!! Being a war-monger is anything BUT Christian. They hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

    And yet you people on this blog still support him like he's doing something good by being gung-ho for war. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!

    And just for the record... McCain has received 3 times as much money from Big Oil than Obama has!! Obama has received MORE from Exxon because MORE lower level employees have donated to him. I'm sure the upper level employees and management have all donated to McCain. This should be a no-brainer for you Repuglicans... but for some reason, you just don't seem to be able to grasp this simple concept.

    Republicans = Proud to be Ignorant!!

    August 19, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  20. REG in AZ

    Ridge, Romney, Liberman, it is still McCain that matters. Senator McCain has hung his political kite on his backing of the Iraq War, his strong support for the ‘surge’ and his identifying General Patraeus as being a great field general. He has also greatly criticized Senator Obama for not sharing this enthusiasm for those things. Let’s do a bit of a reality check. First, I don’t think there is anyone anywhere that thinks the Iraq War was really and honestly justified, that it has been well run or that it has come close to providing a direct thrust against the actual terrorist threat or even that it has reasonably achieved the Bush administration’s stated objectives. Next, before the ‘surge’ was implemented, America’s recruitment, compensating, sponsoring and arming of numerous segments of the Iraqi population to fight the insurgency was in itself showing significant progress. And last, General Patraeus was the last in a string of generals who finally satisfied President Bush’s requirement for someone who reported in a politically supportive manner. A few obvious questions then are: does it seem, especially when considering the ‘surge’s’ easy go of it, that possibly the current results could have been achieved without the ‘surge’?; that we have now actually and alarmingly created a country of several small armies?; and additionally just what has been the to date and ongoing cost in American taxpayer dollars (what is our direct cost for these Iraqi warlords)?; and then have we neglected for far too long the real War on Terror?; have we overtaxed our troops and our ability to prosecute the real War on Terror or to even respond elsewhere?; has the War in Iraq, with little real value, cost us too much in lives lost, dollars spent and all while neglecting other important priorities?; and last is General Patraeus’s real value to the Bush administration just more of a political nature. One additional important question of course is, who has really benefited from all of this and what is the Bush-Cheney-etal group getting from them? … and then, are those people now supporting John McCain?

    August 19, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  21. Dan

    Spoken like a true politician!
    Translation:
    "I will deny my views about pro-choice in order to be the second in command of this country... if I have to."

    August 19, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  22. John

    I liked Tom Ridge when he was governor. I hated him as the Homeland Security color-code guy. I can't stand John McCain, and Ridge is going to make him any better, and he's not going to help McCain win Pennsylvania. As good a governor as he was, I think Rendell's more popular.

    August 19, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. well well now

    . The author attempts to portray McCain's actions in Vietnam as somehow heroic. They weren't. According to McCain's own words in his autobiography FAITH OF MY FATHERS — within four days of being captive, he offered and then gave valuable and valid military information to his captors in return for medical treatment he wanted but which other POWs in his position didn't get. I have seen reports (one from a man who was the chief Republican investigator for the 1992 committee on POWs on which McCain sat) which indicates that McCain was the "star" of upwards of 30 propaganda broadcasts for his captors. I have seen reports from men who were Senior Ranking Officers at the prison camp in which McCain was purportedly incarcerated who said that, at a time when McCain claimed he was tortured, no torture was happening at that camp (they said they couldn't comment directly about McCain, since no POWs were present when one of their number was being questioned, but they spoke generally about the camp's activities and nature).

    August 19, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  24. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Just say "no" to conservative extremism.

    August 19, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. well well now

    McCain is just confused...again

    August 19, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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