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

Ridge downplays pro-choice views, fuels VP speculation


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. texas democrat

    of course john mccain is pro-life. this man talks war, dreams about wars and he thinks this country has to always be in a war. he needs our children to fight these wars. vote for obama!

    August 19, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. mac


    August 19, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. well well now

    @Mike, Syracuse, NY-
    i am always amused when men have such issues as to how a woman should treat HER body...abortion is not a form of birth have NO IDEA what goes through a woman's mind when SHE is confronted with that choice...but it is HER choice...perhaps if your mother had the same option this blog would have at least 1 less Mike do not and will never know what a woman has to go through, so don't you dare try to defend McCain's disregard for a woman's CHOICE!

    August 19, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. lila

    I'm scared. I'm scared for my fellow women. McCain is dangerous. He points fingers at Russia while the women in America are thrown back in a prison. While old gross men are given free viagra and young women are denied birth control and the freedom of choice. It's like rape. Mccain's desired violation into a woman's private life is unbearable.
    I fear for the bleak, despairing dank days that would follow a McCain win. It would be a long time before women were set free again from the cold war grip of sexiam.
    I wish Tom Ridge was running rather than McCain.

    August 19, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  5. Steve

    "John McCain is making it awfully easy for us Clinton supporters to vote for him."

    Yeah. All you have to do is completely ignore that stuff about ongoing war, a right-wing Supreme Court, the end of Roe vs. Wade, the continuation of Bush economic policies, and the fact that the woman you "support" SUPPORTS OBAMA.

    August 19, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  6. That's Reality

    Kim Hussein Taylor, Too bad kids don't have to walk 12 miles uphill to get to school. Maybe if they did they would be too tired to have irresponsible sex that leads to unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Try promoting responsibility for a real change.

    Tom Ridge is the wrong man for VP.

    August 19, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. bk

    The vp that Obama picks is going to run this country because Obama does not have a clue what he is doing. That is why he hides from debating. Obama's pitiful showing at the forum should have been enough to convince everyone, but his worshipers fail to heed the warning signs, just as people did when Bush was running. He ran on change too and look what we got.

    August 19, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. RJ, CA

    Soldier 4 Obama:

    Stay out of my neighborhood. You scare the hell out of me!

    August 19, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  9. Magic8Ball

    Magic 8 Ball says – Pick Mitt

    August 19, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. That's Reality

    EDW – I'm pro-life, pro-birth and pro-personal responsibility. Pro-choice when it comes to giving my own money to charity (and I give more than 20% with an income of less than $60,000.) If the liberal dems voluntarily gave 20% of their combined incomes we could address the issues you mentioned.

    You seem to be confused about the death penalty which is used for convicted criminals and abortion which is used for innocent babies.

    August 19, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  11. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Ridge is an idiot. I've never seen him give a serious speech without laughing .... He has a nervous habit at laughing at the wrong time. It is annoying.

    I hope that John pick Mitt or Hucklebee. Either would suit me just fine.

    I can't stand Obama and his blatant lies about J. McCain. McCain is a loyal American who shares my values. We need to call a spade a spade here and support John McCain, an American who will support our values while defending our country.

    Obama will raise our taxes and create a whole new industry of Welfare Queens. He is green as the corn in the fields.

    August 19, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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