August 14th, 2008
07:43 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain open to picking pro-choice Veep


McCain said Ridge's support of abortion rights does not rule him out as VP

(CNN) - John McCain has a message for those who believe former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge's support of abortion rights effectively rules him out for the VP spot on the Republican presidential ticket:

Not so fast.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who remains suspect in the eyes of many social conservatives, told the Weekly Standard Wednesday Ridge’s pro-choice stance does not necessarily mean he isn't being considered for the No.2 spot.

"I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party," McCain told the magazine. "And I also feel that–and I'm not trying to equivocate here–that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."

Ridge, a veteran of the Vietnam War who remains extremely popular in his critical home state, is a close ally of McCain who campaigned with the Arizona senator during his Pennsylvania swing earlier this week.

In many ways, Ridge is an appealing choice for McCain, especially geographically. The GOP hasn't carried Pennsylvania in two decades, and a McCain win there would deal a potentially devastating blow to Obama's hopes of winning the White House. Ridge's hardscrabble upbringing may also appeal to blue-collar voters while his moderate political leanings could play well with Independents.

But the pro-choice ridge is no ideological warrior and if McCain hopes to placate economic and social conservatives, Ridge may be the wrong pick. Along those lines, Joe Lieberman - now an "independent Democrat and fervent McCain supporter who is also pro-choice - likely wouldn't fare well with many conservatives either.

McCain has a solid pro-life voting record, and he has said he thinks Roe. v. Wade should be overturned. But the issue is not one McCain appears to like discussing.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. Informed Voter

    Let me see how the conservatives will take this . . LOL

    August 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. Lost (maybe) in CNN Moderation

    McCain wants to see Roe v Wade over turned.

    Let's here the PUMA crowd defend their vote for McWar on this one!

    August 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. P, CA

    Democratic response to this: If he states how he really feels about abortion, he might lose the bitter Clinton revenge artists who care about women's rights.

    Republican response to this: He's just trying to reach across the aisle because he's a maverick.

    I don't know who to believe. I just wish McCain wouldn't be so wishy washy about his own policies/stances, and I wish he'd tone down the lies and the rhetoric aimed at Obama.

    August 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    Is this photo from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, or just a photographic representation of McCain's stall in the polls while campaigning all week against a ghost competitor?

    August 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Ian MacIsaac

    He doesn't like to discuss it because he's fooled so many HRC supporters who don't know about the fact that he's staunchly against women's rights.

    And good luck getting the evangelical base out their to vote for Ridge or Lieberman. No, really. It doesn't matter how much of the middle you grab if your base falls out from under you because you're too centrist. Just ask Al Gore.

    August 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. biffington, biff

    oh, this out to be gooooood.

    think i'll pop some popcorn and sit back as i watch mccain try to pander to both the social conservative/cristian right and the independant moderates at the same time.

    it'll be like watching that rooster with the arrow at its feet, spinning in the wind.

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. Franky

    Is all right, is all specualtion. But I already gave my me the money Senator! LOL!! It has to be someone like I said, within the game, not the way, this is funny.

    "I'm sure it was an Obama supporter who tried to do her bodily harm by squeezing her hand too hard."

    LOL!!! Take that Cindy!!! LOL!!!

    August 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. JA Cook

    Why not? McCain is on every side of every issue already, and changing both stances rapidly while telling us otherwise.

    McCain 08
    Better than Bush!

    August 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Dem

    McCain lacks vision... no way he's going to pick a VP until Obama does because he can't LEAD!

    He also doesn't come up with new ideas – he's at the end of his career – just does as lobbyists/Bush say.

    America First? Or is it Georgia First John McCain??

    August 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Proud to be American

    Oh America .... McCain is choosing a pro choice VP!!!! stop the presses.... yeah right we all know the VP really is a figure head... throw that out to America and they shall vote for McSame and feel secure Roe. V. Wade will not be reverse .... oh and I have oil in my back yard and selling it for 1.50 a gallon .... !!!! if you vote for McCain it will be a vote of shame.... shame on you McCain aka Bush supporters .... when will you learn!

    August 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    This would be a HUGE gamble for McCain.
    Obama is currently up by 7 or 8 in Pennsylvania. And with Gov. Rendell, and the mayors of both Philly and Pittsburgh being Democrats, and one of the Senators from Penn being a Democrat (I can't think of hsi name right now), McCain would have to be banking on the fact that Ridge alone will deliver Pennsylvania.
    And he'd have to because a lot of the evangelical support would be lost. Sure, he'd get some indies, but I don't think enough to tip any current blue state. So, it's Penn or bust if McCain does this.

    BTW, anyone remember when Ridge was over Homeland Securoity and we kept getting those color-coded warnings? That sure was a success. 😉

    August 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Tennessee Mike

    I hope McCain does pick Ridge.

    First of all, that leaves the social conservatives no one to vote for, except Baldwin and the Constitution Party.

    And second, Ridge is a total dolt, so perhaps more of the libertarian-leaning Republicans will vote Barr/Root.

    Barr/Root 2008

    August 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |

    Does America have a Vice President?

    Who is it?

    August 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Joe Kiloz

    Mc. McCain, we'll take you as a package with your honor and country first approach. No single issue you will make you a better candidate. Continue to try to get your message out despite the medium and its obstacles/obstinance.

    Sooner or later voters will have a more rounded opinion of you which will put to rest the questions that make some of them as undecided.

    August 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. True

    "In The 21st Century Nations Don't Invade Other Nations" , about Georgia vs Russia – Exxon John

    August 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. McDrill here and Now.

    You are going down in November.ONLY A DUMB WILL VOTE YOU.

    August 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Bayou Joe

    Ridge is the wrong pick. The VP for McCain has to be a Strong Republican in all areas or he will lose in November. Also it must not be another White Male. A woman or another minority will send a strong message to America that the Republicans are not what the Democrats paint us to be. Republicans come in all colors, creeds,
    and economic standing. We do not believe in the distribution of wealth and the taxing of our incomes and companies to support those that won't work for a living and expect someone else to take care of their needs. We believe in keeping our country free, not only from the enemies of Freedom in other countries, but also from those within our borders that seek to destroy America.

    August 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. J-M

    A Ridge Pick for McCain would be the best Christmas present ever for Democrats...Sure, Maybe OH and PA would shift a little more toward McCain, but you can count out VA, NC, FL, CO, and maybe even Georgia, states where the Evangelicals will just stay home...or vote for Obama out of just.

    August 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Bud

    Who cares what or who he picks? More of the Bush policies is STILL more of the tired, failed policies of the past 8 years. McSame is not the honorable man we once admired.

    August 13, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Ex-Republican for Obama

    America First:

    Only one candidate has abandoned their wife and children.

    Only one candidate consistently voted against better benefits for our veterans.

    Only one candidate has helped an enemy of the USA create Propoganda films.

    Only one candidate has insultingly mocked religious beliefs.

    I'll vote for the candidate that has lived the life of a heroic american, holding up and obiding by all the moral convictions that this great nation were founded on.

    I will vote for Obama.

    August 13, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Chris from NY

    It doesn'matter who he picks as VP he's still going to lose in Pensylvania.

    August 13, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    If McLame picks anyone as Veep that does not get the neocon and evangelical "Taliban" seal of approval on "family value" issues then stick a fork in him, he's done.

    August 13, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. The Blind Lady of Justice

    I've got a feeling the neoCons will force a discussion on ROE vs WADE this fall ... John will have to come clean to the American people, including American women, on this topic.

    We saw how uncomfortable he was when asked about Viagra. I can't wait for another Viagra moment, this time on the topic of abortion rights.

    Just be honest John and don't try to fool us.

    August 13, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Barr '08

    Things younger than John McCain:
    Howdy Doody
    Area Codes
    FM Radio
    Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
    Automatic Car Transmissions
    His latest wife who injured herself SHAKING HANDS!!!

    Vote for a presidential candidate NOT endorsed by the worst president in American history!

    McCain was a traitor in Vietnam!!

    His foreign policies are based on Wikipedia!!

    Ask Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft how valuable experience is!!

    Get off my lawn!!!

    August 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. Ardnuas

    McCain doesn't really stand for anything.... only foolish voters believe him. If he gets elected... we will be at war with Iran or Russia within the first YEAR... HE IS FULL OF ANGER.

    August 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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