October 24th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
13 years ago

What if Ridge was on the GOP ticket?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/24/ridge.rnc.jpg caption=" Tom Ridge thinks that McCain's campaign in PA would have different with him on the ticket."]
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."

Pennsylvania tops a shrinking list of battlegrounds for the McCain camp. The campaign has essentially conceded former wish-list states like Michigan and typical GOP strongholds like Colorado. But both McCain and running mate Sarah Palin have spent the race’s waning days essentially re-enacting Hillary Clinton’s successful strategy in the weeks leading up to the state’s Democratic primary– reaching out to working-class white voters in the rural and western parts of Pennsylvania.

"Unless we win Pennsylvania, I don't think [McCain] is elected president," Ridge told the Tribune-Review.

That offensive coincided with comments by Rep. John Murtha, an Obama surrogate, that some voters in that area are “racist” – and made Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, nervous enough to ask the campaign to send the Illinois senator back to a state that had been considered a likely win.

Clinton and Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden, who both have roots in Scranton, have made appearances on the trail there this month.

UPDATE: In a statement issued by the McCain campaign Friday afternoon, Ridge said his remarks had been misconstrued. "I was asked a question, and I delivered an honest answer that was taken completely out of context. I wholeheartedly believe that John McCain made the right choice by selecting Sarah Palin to join him on the ticket,” he said.

“As a former two-time Governor of Pennsylvania, I was simply making the point that, of course, the dynamics of the race in PA would be different if the former governor of PA were on the ticket. The dynamics of the race would be different in Florida if Governor Crist were on the ticket. Or Minnesota if Pawlenty had been selected. That's a given. I have stated many times, as I did today, that I believe John made an excellent choice and that Governor Palin will make a great Vice President. I have witnessed firsthand the excitement she has generated in Pennsylvania and throughout America and I believe she will help deliver our Commonwealth's 21 electoral votes to our GOP ticket this November 4th."

Filed under: John McCain • Tom Ridge
soundoff (496 Responses)
  1. lucy2

    It's a shame McCain didn't listen to his gut and pick Lieberman or Ridge, things might be a little different for him now. His choice of Palin put party first, not country, and it was a major choice made quickly without enough consideration. That is not what I want in a President, and Palin is not what I want in a VP.
    The people who have rejected Palin did so because she has proven to be ill-informed not only of national and global issues but of what the VP job actually entails, and hypocritical in many of the things she says. She's also become divisive, outrageous, and at times insulting, and has highlighted the serious flaws in the campaign.
    Mr. Ridge, you give far too much credit to the talking heads on basic cable. Her being a drag on the ticket has nothing to do with pundits "hammering" her, but with the American people looking at what McCain and Palin have to offer us both with their plans and judgements, and saying no thank you.

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Ralph from Canada

    The fact is that McCain still has a decent chance. Should he? I don't think so. He is competing with a far more superior campaign than his. He is also competing with a man who is way more intelligent than him.

    He chose Govt Palin which I think was a wrong move because she is not qualified, has not shown that she capable of truly comprehending her job, and who is seen to the rest of the world as a beauty queen (look at some of the things the world leaders had to say to her at the U.N. conference in N.Y.). She won't be taken seriously.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Sarah Palin Is the Big Winner in this Mess

    Only 44 years old with millions of fans. Remember, 70 million watched her only debate whereas only 56 million watched Obama. She has drawn enormous crowds for a VP including 60,000 in Orlando.

    McCain has brought her down more than vice versa. Watch her in 2012 as she runs for President. This time she'll pick the VP and it will be a young star like herself.

    Sarah Palin is the future without doubt. She's the only non-millionaire among the current candidates and is truly one of the people.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. greg

    Get ready to pay more taxes. Wait till Barak hussein gets in office, and he says, oh did I say no higher taxes for people making under 250k? I meant people making under 40k. He is going to raise taxes for most americans and give to the loosers that dont work. Go ahead, follow the crowd, better yet stay home and dont vote if you want obama in office. he already won, wink wink

    go MCCain!!! (come on cnn let at least one McCain comment through)

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. caywen

    If John McCain had to choose between this and the Matrix, he would choose the Matrix.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Steve Hannity

    This is Steve, Shawn's long lost brother. I tried to get a job at Fox News, but they said I was over qualified because I went to Trade School. Yes, McCain would have had a much better chance at winning if he selected Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Tom Byron, Ron Jeremy, or anyone else. Palin knows it and she is already starting to distance herself from McCain. She thinks she will win in 2012. Please, by 2012, she'll be spit out of the bottom of the porn industry.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Redneck in PA

    Attention fellow Obama supporters....Obamas got a 21 point lead...no need to vote (it's too difficult to figure out the process anyway), its over.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. sf

    He was a total DISASTER as Homeland Sec'y.

    Why would anyone think No Neck Ridge would make a good VP?

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. John in VA

    Hmmmm... I find it interesting... a *big* *black* man attacks a poor defenseless white woman, robs her, and tells her she will vote for Obama, carves a *backward* "B" in her cheek. This is almost right out of the white racist play book: "Black man attacks white woman"... and in a red-neck region no less??? could it be a fabrication? Anyway, why would he carve the letter *backward* ???

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Mike in Ohio

    This is Ridge's line that stands out to me:

    ... he said the Palin selection was a "typical, bold McCain-like choice"

    Yes, exactly. This is typically how McCain makes his decisions - by hip-shots and gut feels. Does he do an analytical evaluation of alternatives? No, too complicated. Use common sense? Nah, sensational choices get more attention for a self-proclaimed maverick. And so, he makes choices like Sarah Palin for VP, which gets some great short-term results, but which are devastating in the long run.

    McCain is trying to TELL us that Obama is a dangerous choice for President when this country will be tested. But McCain is DEMONSTRATING through his actions that he, himself, is the scariest prospect for that role.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Marie

    Why are Palin's children, especially the younger girl, not in school? Here in NJ children between the ages of 6 and 16 are mandated to be in school a certain number of days per year. Why is this child being paraded around as if she is on an extended vacation??

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Bret

    He blames the pundits. Too much. It couldn't be that Palin is incompetent, could it? McCain had his chance, and he made his choice. Now he's paying the price.

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. This brings it home


    Columbo gets it right….

    Ah .. . Sorry to bother you Mr. Obama, Sir

    Excuse me Mr. Obama, I mean Senator Obama, sir. Um . . . know you are busy and important and stuff. I mean running for President is very important and . . . ah . . . I hate to bother you. I will only take a minute ok, sir?

    See, I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out. You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.

    Hey, you have a nice place here! The wife sees houses like this on TV all the time and says boy she wishes she had digs like this you know? Is that painting real? Really? Wow. I saw something like that in a museum once!

    Oh, sorry sir. I didn't mean to get off the track. So if you could just help me out a minute and give me some details, I will get right out of your way. I want to close this case and maybe take the wife to Coney Island or something. Ever been to Coney Island ? No, I didn't think so. .

    Well, listen, anyways, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up. These things seem to either be "locked" or "not available'.. I'm sure it's just some oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are . . . I . . . I . . . have them written down here somewhere . . . oh wait. Sorry about the smears. It was raining out. I'll just read it to you.

    Could you help me please find these things, sir?

    1. Occidental College records - Not released
    2. Columbia College records - Not released
    3. Columbia Thesis paper - "not available"
    4. Harvard College records - Not released
    5. Selective Service Registration - Not released
    6. Medical records - Not released
    7. Illinois State Senate schedule - "not available"
    8. Law practice client list - Not released
    9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate - Not released
    10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth - Not released
    11. Harvard Law Review articles published - None
    12. University of Chicago scholarly articles - None

    13. Your Record of baptism– Not released or "not available"

    14. Your Illinois State Senate records–"not available"

    Oh hey . listen! I know you are busy! Is this too much for you now? I mean tell you what. I will come back tomorrow. Give you some time to get these things together, you know? I mean, I know you are busy, so I will just let myself out. I will be back tomorrow.

    " Who wants to know these things ?" ask ed Senator Obama .

    Columbo answered: THE PEOPLE

    Rick Grover

    U.S. Army 5th Special Forces

    ODA – 583 Scuba Team


    October 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |

    He never should of picked Palin. She is insult to women.

    October 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. jason bartlett

    Wouldn't matter. McCain has botched this thing so bad that even if Jesus was his running mate, he would lose. Palin has just added the high hilarity. In fact, without her, his campaign would be painfully pathetic and very, very sad. She brings the funny.

    October 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. observer

    Running for president post requires lots of spending. I don't think his reflects that he will spend unwisely if he become president.

    We should look at the fact that:
    1. how he sourced for his own fundings without using public funds,
    – resourceful person who can find own solution without relying on tax
    payers money.
    2. how he influenced donors to raise funds,
    – influential leader who can command the trust of the people to believe
    in him.
    3. how he managed his funds.
    – evidence from election, he can afford to advertise widely and
    conquered the red states showed that he could manage his
    money well, which is good as a government.

    You could gauge your leader to some extend by looking at how he persevere tough elections, and manage the resources and spending. Do look beyond the surface. Unlike Palin, who spent lavishly on her appearance but quite disappointing in substance.

    October 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Joe in Vermont

    As the former Director of Homeland Security, he incurs my wrath every time I'm in an airport and have take my shoes off.

    October 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Ben from PA

    Stupid pennslytucky.

    October 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. John

    A smart candidate would have selected Ridge or anyone else. But McCain wasn't so..... tooo many strikes against McCain. Go Obama!!!

    October 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Majrhoulihan

    Ugh...how about:
    "What if Tom Ridge were on the GOP Ticket?" The question is in the subjunctive form; the verb is not "was."

    October 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Mike Dallas

    As an Obama supporter, Palin was the gift that keeps on giving.

    So, yes, either Ridge or Romney would have made the race much closer or worse.

    So, just keep pandering to the rabid right of the party!

    October 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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