(CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is taking President Obama to task over his handling of closing the detention center on Guantanamo Bay.
In his interview with CNN's John King on State of the Union Sunday, Ridge said Obama "doesn't have a plan" on how to relocate the current detainees, and suggested the president announced he was close the facility prematurely.
"Reaching conclusion that you can shut it down without determining the manner in which you were going to adjudicate those who should stay somewhere… How are we going to dispose of them?" he said.
"And at the end of the day, doesn't the world community have another problem? If you think we're going to be dealing with international terrorism in many forms for the next decade or two or three, aren't we going to encounter this again?" He continued. "Maybe not only in the United States, but elsewhere around the world? How are we going to deal with this?"
(CNN) - He ruled out a bid earlier this month to challenge Pat Toomey for the GOP Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, but Tom Ridge isn't ready to back the conservative former congressman or any other candidate yet.
"I'm going to wait to see if people I know, whom I might support decide to make the difficult decision to run," said the former Pennsylvania governor on CNN's State of The Union.
Ridge also didn't rule out a 2010 vote for Arlen Specter, the longtime Pennsylvania Republican senator who defected to the Democratic Party earlier this month
"Tom Ridge has a secret ballot and that Tom Ridge will discuss it after the election," he said when asked about a potential Specter vote.
"I'm a strong, strong Republican but I'd be - I've never, ever, ever voted straight Republican ticket in my life and I never will," Ridge continued. "My mother was a Republican woman. My dad was a lifelong Democrat who switched once in a primary to vote for me. But at the end of the day, I think it's - when you close the curtain behind you, it makes America very unique. It's a secret ballot. "
The former Homeland Security Secretary, widely considered to be on John McCain's shortlist for vice president last year, also did not rule out a presidential bid of his own.
"Tom Ridge is going to do everything he can to make sure that we have a Republican governor in 2010. And in Pennsylvania. And will work within the Republican Party so that we win the presidency in 2012. And we'll just leave it at that," he said that.
(CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told CNN former Vice President Dick Cheney's repeated charge the Obama administration has made the country less safe is wrong.
"Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney," the Pennsylvania Republican and former Bush administration official told CNN's John King, adding he does not think the country is more vulnerable to an attack under President Obama.
Ridge's comments come after both Obama and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.
In the interview with CNN, set to air in full on State of The Union with John King Sunday, Ridge said he disagrees with "the approach both men are taking."
"It's just the whole notion of a Republican vice president giving a speech after the incumbent Democratic president," he said. "It's gotta go beyond the politics of either party."
The former Pennsylvania governor also took issue with a portion of Obama's speech, during which he said some Bush national security decisions were based on "fear, rather than foresight."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After much speculation, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge announced Thursday that he would not run for the Senate in 2010.
Ridge, a centrist Republican, had been courted by some elders in his party to seek the GOP nomination after Sen. Arlen Specter switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
"I am enormously grateful for the confidence my party expressed in me, the encouragement and kindness of my fellow citizens in Pennsylvania and the valuable counsel I received from so many of my party colleagues," Ridge said in a statement. "The 2010 race has significant implications for my party, and that required thoughtful reflection. All of the above made my decision a difficult and deeply personal conclusion to reach."
Ridge said he will continue to stay involved in politics and added that he will help the GOP "craft solutions that both sides of the aisle can embrace."
"To those who believe that the Republican Party is facing challenges, they are right," Ridge said. "To those who believe the Democratic Party is without its own difficulties, they are wrong. No one party has a monopoly on all of the answers. The more important view, in my mind, is that we remember, whether Republican or Democrat, we are foremost Americans. And as Americans, we have always overcome challenges when we put partisanship aside and solutions first."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll of Pennsylvania voters suggests that the newest Democrat in Congress, Sen. Arlen Specter, would easily beat his old rival, Republican Pat Toomey, in Specter's battle for re-election next year.
But the Quinnipiac University survey, released Monday, indicates that Specter would have a much tougher re-election fight on his hands if he faces
off in 2010 against former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.
Last Tuesday Specter, who has represented Pennsylvania in the Senate for nearly 30 years as a Republican, announced he was switching his party affiliation from the GOP to the Democrats.
The longtime moderate Republican said he was "anxious" to stay in the Senate, and didn't want to face a Republican primary in order to keep his seat next year.
"I was unwilling to subject my 29-year record in the U.S. Senate to the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate," Specter said Tuesday. "But I am pleased to run in the primary on the Democratic ticket and am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers in the general election."
Fifty-three percent of Pennsylvania voters say they would back Specter if their state's Senate race were held today, with 33 percent supporting Toomey. The fiscally conservative former congressman narrowly lost to Specter in the 2004 Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary and decided to take on Specter a second time after Specter was one of only three Republicans in Congress to vote for President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package.
But if Specter faces off against Ridge, a popular former Pennsylvania governor before joining the Bush Administration after the September 11th attacks as the first director and then secretary of Homeland Security, the poll indicates the race, if held today, would be extremely close. Forty-six percent of those questioned back Specter, with 43 percent supporting Ridge.
CNN's Dana Bash reports that Ridge has been formally approached by the Republican establishment in Pennsylvania to try and run in next year's election. A GOP strategist tells Bash that while it would be a struggle to encourage Ridge to run, the former governor did not close the door to the suggestion in his private conversation with top state Republicans.
"Gov. Tom Ridge is probably the only political figure in Pennsylvania who could give Sen. Arlen Specter a run for his money. But even if he gets a strong challenge from a Republican, Specter is still better off for having changed parties because he seemed headed to certain defeat had he stayed a Republican and faced Toomey in a primary," says Clay Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
UPDATED with Ridge statement about the comments
(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign says the narrowing path to victory this fall runs straight through Pennsylvania, where he trails Barack Obama by double digits in the most recent CNN poll of polls. Now the state’s former governor says that if he were on the Republican ticket, the road to the White House might have been a less bumpy one.
"I think the dynamics would be different in Pennsylvania," Tom Ridge, the McCain campaign’s national co-chairman, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an interview published Friday. "I think we'd be foolish not to admit it publicly."
The former Secretary of Homeland Security, who was reportedly on McCain’s VP shortlist, added that McCain "had several good choices and I was one of them."
But he said the Palin selection was a "typical, bold McCain-like choice," and that the perception that she has been a drag on the Arizona senator’s chances was likely because "she's been hammered by the pundits."
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - John McCain and former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, who just spoke, share the Vietnam experience. It is an article of faith that if McCain could have picked a vice presidential candidate inside his comfort zone, Ridge would have been on the list (along with Lieberman and Lindsey Graham). We heard a good line from Ridge: the election is not about who will answer the 3 a.m. call, but who has answered the call all his life...
A cautionary note for McCain: Hillary Clinton played the experience card too.
The Republican National Committee has released excerpts of the remarks, as prepared for delivery, of former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge:
"I speak to you about a warrior who has sometimes stood alone ... and always shown the way ... in fighting for the most vulnerable of our citizens, for the country he so dearly loves and for the founding principles we all so deeply cherish."
"Where some people see adversity, John McCain accepts a challenge. Where some people see a crisis, John McCain creates an opportunity. Where some people see defeat, John McCain insists on victory. John knows – the purpose of elections is not merely to win. You run to win... but you win to govern."
"I am so very proud to say, 'That is my friend, John McCain.' The next president of the United States. The next commander-in-chief. Ready to lead. Ready to serve. Ready to deliver.
(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.
(CNN) - Republican sources tell CNN that John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and senior advisor Charlie Black have been calling activists to sound out the pros and cons of several possible running mates – including former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, a choice that could spark major discontent from the conservative base.
Several campaign officials say they do not believe a final decision has been made – though two sources say McCain may have already decided, and told only Davis. One party insider tells CNN that Davis has called several state party chairs indicating Ridge will be the Republican vice presidential pick this cycle – although it is possible that Christian conservatives may be playing up the former governor’s chances in an effort to raise alarm and prematurely kill off his candidacy.
Several conservative activists say they know McCain’s campaign manager has been warned of possible dire consequences for the Arizona senator’s presidential bid at the convention and beyond if he picks a candidate who supports abortion rights.
"If he picks Ridge, the convention blows up, you will have a base completely demoralized,” said one activist. “And it will be viewed that he is ceding the future of the GOP to a liberal Republican. It would be a disaster."
But the same activist also says McCain is unlikely to make that move, pointing to comments by the presumptive Republican nominee that he would most likely have an anti-abortion running mate, and remarks this weekend that he would have a "pro-life" presidency.