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. Mark, SC

    Wow, he really thinks out of the box–NOT. Same old same old.

    Who cares if you have more experience if it's just the same old ideas.

    August 13, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Angi's mom

    Interesting that McWAR is pro-life. In any case, Tom Ridge will soon be making his "No thanks, don't consider me as VP, now go away" speech."

    August 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Xavier

    The former maverick is a sell out.

    August 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Larry

    Just my honest opinion, but if John McCain chooses a pro-choice VP, then the last nail just got nailed into the lid of his campaign coffin. He has small enough chance of winning this election as it is, much less if he completely alienates the Christian conservatives.

    August 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Erik

    Rob, what are you talking about? Are you saying abortion is unclean? Can't pin your comment down...

    Ralph, isn't that the Obama line? Do whatever will get a vote. This is the first case of McCain pandering I've believe we've seen. Pretty smart of him at this point, I'd read Obama was going to take a pro-lifer...sort of counters that.

    Get your heads out of the sand boys.

    August 13, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |

    Hey Mac,

    You are all over the place. How can we trust you when you don't know where and when you are? Jerk!

    August 13, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. Mauri

    John McCain's positive interaction with the president of Georgia, whom he has known for years, is an excellent reason we should not be afraid to make him our Commander-In-Chief for the next four years. It's obvious that as of old, Russia will be a thorn in our side, and it's comforting to know we have an experienced statesman as our leader.

    August 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. TXBad1 Never for Obama (X-Dem)

    Tom Ridge is a Joke, Don't do it I will not vote for Obama so don't make me go Vote for an Independent!

    August 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. McCain=the draft

    Ridge is the duct tape guy.
    I'm in PA and there's nothing McSame can do to get my vote!

    August 13, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Bob


    we need a fresh face and that Is Obama, it is Obama time,Obama Nation, Obama's country!!

    August 13, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Brian

    Wow liberals standing up for pro-life! I'm impressed, although I don't see why he's compared to Bush when Bush has always been solidly pro-life. I have to say, picking a pro-choice VP is the fastest way to take the air out of his sails in my opinion. Pander, pander, pander some more McCain and my disgust for Obama may not be enough to make me vote for you.

    August 13, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. My Friends, let me tell you,

    I will bring in Darth Vader if I must,and scare you daily,and keep the people quiet and under my thumb.

    August 13, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Joe, Chicago

    This shouldn't be a big surprise. As we all know by now, McCain has a reputation for departing from conservative standards as he pleases so as to reach compromise on divisive issues. In my mind, this makes him a great candidate.

    Rob indetroit, thanks for your insightful comment, it contributes absolutely nothing to the conversation. Ralph V. AZ, it's not just McCain that makes decisions so as to sway votes, its every politician running for office – wise up.

    August 13, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. Robert

    Why do you think he doesn't want to discuss it? It's going to lose 80% of the womens' votes if he plans on overturning Roe vs. Wade, and totally alienate the independents who are pro-choice.

    August 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. Debby

    I still like Romney.

    August 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. check and checkmate

    Now your cooking McCain, I said 2months ago if you pick a moderate v
    VP and a bi-partisan Cabinet you would be a strong choice of a very Liberial Obama. He is percieved as weak and America has been made moderately weak because of GW, but Americans vote the candidate not the party for the most part.

    McCain/Ridge 08

    Hillary 2012 🙂

    August 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. TW

    McSame could pick Jesus Christ and the ticket would still lose in November. Bush and Co. have killed the Republican Party.

    August 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Jackson

    This type of balanced consideration is why this former lifelong Democrat is voting for McCain.

    August 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Ray SF

    Ralph V. AZ -Typical John McCain he doesn't stand for anything, just what is convenient to sway votes. Jerk!

    Ray G. SF – Typical Barack Obama he doesn't stand for anything, just what is convenient to sway votes. Jerk!

    August 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Sue

    Just another example to add to his record of compromise and reaching across party lines. McCain is the type of change we need–REAL change.

    August 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Ho Hum – at least we're not in ww 3 yet

    But if it's up to him, here comes the draft – male and female

    August 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Darryl Miller

    Under Senator John McCan Leader Ship Mother's and Father just Prepare for more draped coffens with dead soliders...

    August 13, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. booo

    this guy mcbush is a joke...everyone get out and vote!! we dont need this loser.

    August 13, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  24. ray

    Tom Ridge?? The guy who made a joke out of homeland security?

    Didn't Bush think highly of Ridge?

    Look, John, it'd be a real dumb move.

    August 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Roger from CA

    POP! Just one of many trial balloons McCain is floating. Frankly, we should expect lots of noise from McCain's camp teasing that a VP pick is around the corner. At this point, nothing is going to be announced by McCain until at least the day after the Dem convention is over. He wants Obama to play his hand first.

    August 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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