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. Patty, Pittsburgh PA

    I am Republican and support John McCain because he is a good American. Governor Ridge was terrible for PA and most people here don't like him. This would be a major mistake for Mr. McCain!

    August 13, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. rsatina

    How can he have sound judgement in choosing his VP if he has mental lapses.

    August 13, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Paul, Tampa

    Wow, Tom Ridge, the political equivalent to a Quaalude. Seems like a good choice John, as if you weren't boring enough you are gonna add this guy. BTW, selecting GWB's first Director of Homeland Security, way to distance yourself from this administration. You are one smart man John.

    August 13, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. Eileen from Maine

    Yes, McCane did say that thought Roe Vs Wade should be overturned. Buth he has only started saying that since she started running for President (this most recent time, he has been running for President for the past 10 years).

    Prior to 2007 he said he did not think Roe vs Wade should be overturned. Guess his campaign decided what he thought for him.

    As his campaign manager said, McCane doesn't speak for the McCane campaign.

    August 13, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. Mike Cobb, Palo Alto, CA

    If McCain does pick Ridge, he needs to be asked point bland whether or not he supports the McCain/GOP position of overturning Roe v. Wade. This issue needs to be highlighted ... because when women, especially younger women, learn about McCain's hard right view on this issue, they will turn to Obama. As they should if they care about their reproductive rights. Ridge should also be asked about those 'colorful' alerts we had just before last election. Strange ... we have had one since.

    August 13, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Fay tx are SOOOO Right ....That is an eye opener!!!

    August 13, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Jon151

    MCain has truly proven himself to be a true opponent to the soviet Union, to bad it doesn't exist anymore, the cold war is over Mcain!! "we are all Georgians" lol, sounds like someone let MCain dust off the old typewriter and write one of his own speeches, keep it up, the election is Obama's to lose.

    OBAMA 08'

    August 13, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. Jim, Burlington NC

    People never vote for the Vice President like they do for President, but will vote against a Vice Presidential candidate even if they like the Presidential candidate.

    If McCain picks Ridge he'll be tied to the "Bush years" for the duration of the campaign – exactly what the Democrats want...

    Go Tom! Color code this election as puce – for you're outta here!

    August 13, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Tom Meyer East Windsor CT

    In this election George Bush has created so much distrust of the Republican party that anyone who admits to being one is considered unAmerican. John McCain served his country as a patriot-today he has become another George Bush. This country cannot afford to have the rest of the Constitution torn up to create the NAFTA North American Union of Canada, United States and Mexico. Get ready America it is coming to your neighborhood. The American people must restore democracy to our own country before we can export it to others. George Bush is the most dangerous man in America-we cannot make the same mistake again with John McCain. God help us all.

    August 13, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  10. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    Looks like McCain is getting in touch with his inner maverick! This is a ticket it will be a pleasure to vote for.

    McCain '08

    August 13, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. Steve - Wyoming

    Joe Lieberman is the perfect choice. Both McCain and Lieberman have been photographed being kissed by Bush.

    August 13, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. 17 year old future politician

    Dear "former democrat"-

    Just because McCain was in the military, do you think that makes him more patriotic than Obama? You didn't say that, but I think you may be alluding that. Obama's whole adult life has been soley focused on helping Americans. For over 25 years Obama has directed his attention to make America better...just because McCain went to the military doesn't make him anymore patriotic than Me, You, or the millions of Americans that aren't in the military. I now question your nationalism, with a comment like that

    August 13, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. dennis from chicago

    pure speculation..... mc cain wants ROMNEY....CHRIS ... PAWLENTY OR HUCKABEE the rest is just the buzzzzzz ask o bama he knows all about the buzzzzzz

    August 13, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  14. Xavier

    Thomas 5,
    Oh, like McCain's people dont keep repeating the same garbage also. I say look at the man in the mirror before you start pointing the fingure at another.

    August 13, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  15. fred

    Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin. Those are his best two choices for VP

    August 13, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. Joe

    you gotta admit...the democratic party is still clearly the party without any values...they've been hitting Bush every single day for the past 5 and a half years over the iraq war that has at this point killed less than 4,200 volunteer U.S. Soldiers...and yet these same whiny babies defend the slaughter of tens of millions annually who cannot defend themselves...just goes to show you that democrats cannot possibly have a consistent argument...they are the party of the flip flops...oh and by the way...the current congressional approval rating now sits at 9%...pretty sure the democratic party is going to be stunned once again this november...poor little naive kiddos

    August 13, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  17. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Get this. Conservative Republicans will not....will not vote for obama. So no matter if McCain picks Ridge it won't stop them from voting for him. BUT obama has to be sure he picks a VP acceptable to older and blue collar Americans. They are upset because he sneaked in any way and they will be more upset if he picks Kaine and he can kiss his support from those (ALONG WITH WOMEN) goodby.

    August 13, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. Walt, Belton,TX

    Outstanding choice! That would be a real motivating force for the moderate Republicans and Democrats alike.

    August 13, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Sharon

    Go ahead, McShame, pick Ridge....Isn't he the guy who manipulated the terror threat levels from one color to another to scare the American voters into giving Bush anything he wanted? Yes, that's what we need....more former Bush people back in the Executive Branch.

    August 13, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. MikeH

    Green = John is lucid

    Yellow = John is confused

    Orange = John is lost

    Red = John is disoriented

    Blue = John is deranged

    Luis, you're a Republican boot-licking toady troll who couldn't win a debate with a tree stump.

    August 13, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. jeremy banks

    Tom Ridge may be a good strategy to pull fundamentalists from the middle but it will also push the conservatives away from McCain. They will either not vote or choose an independant candidate.
    In terms of reviving washington and strengthening the economy McCain needs to seriously consider Mitt Romney

    August 13, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. billylee8

    Although I would never, EVER vote for McCain, I will applaud him this one time for sticking it to the religious right. They've ruined politics longer than I've been alive!

    August 13, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. Dan Mizak

    Why not pick Liberman? Then they could do a movie remake of "The Bucket List"

    August 13, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. TangoDancer

    All B.S. McCain must pick a VP that is ideologically aligned with the morality/values voting population that forms the GOP base. This voiting bloc is very much anti-abortion. Otherwise, this group of people might as well vote for someone else. Regardless of what other the people think about these christian/conservative voters – they do believe in something. So why should they vote for McCain when he's basically a fumbler on the issue so that his stance can be as ambigous as possible to the general population and now with a VP prospect that is pro-choice? Under these election conditions in which the GOP could still win this election, it's all but certain that the VP selection must be anti-abortion to sastify the concerns of this voting bloc. Therefore, Tom Ridge or any other pro-choice potential is only news for a slow day on the ticker. It's not going to happen.

    August 13, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  25. Aubrey Stanton

    To Senator McCain, with all due respect, I have to honestly tell you that a pro choice running mate will lose too many votes and lose the White House altogether.This is a much too important choice to take a chance on it. Stick with the conservitive position and you will gain the majority needed. We already have a very liberal loser on the other side, don't need one on the Rep. side. Please don't make us do a write-in to avoid voting for BHO or a liberal pro choice 2nd man on the rep. side. Please don't take this as a threat, but rather a statement of reality, and best wishes for the good of America.

    August 13, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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