ERIE, Pennsylvania (CNN) – John McCain had dinner Sunday with former Gov. Tom Ridge, before they begin a two-day campaign swing through Pennsylvania.
Anytime McCain appears with someone that might be on his vice presidential shortlist, it stirs up a whole new round of speculation. And as Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, Ridge’s trip is getting plenty of attention.
Ridge greeted McCain on the tarmac at Erie International Airport when the candidate arrived. They hugged and chatted briefly before getting in the motorcade. A McCain aide handed Ridge a McCain hat, which he held as they talked.
If the presumptive Republican nominee needed any reminder of Ridge’s prominence, the airport is also named “Tom Ridge Field” in the hometown politico’s honor. The former Homeland Security Secretary grew up in Erie, and began his career there.
They then went to the Smuggler’s Wharf Restaurant on the waterfront in Erie. The two posed for pictures as they sat down with Ridge’s wife Michelle and daughter Leslie.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/10/art.ridge.gi.jpg caption="Tom Ridge will be hitting the campaign trail with John McCain this week."]
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain spends the next two days campaigning through Pennsylvania with the state’s former Gov. Tom Ridge at his side.
Anytime McCain appears with someone that might be on his vice presidential shortlist, it stirs up a whole new round of speculation. And as Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, Ridge is getting plenty of attention.
Ridge, a former Homeland Security Secretary, grew up in Erie and begin his political career in the northwest Pennsylvania city where the McCain tour begins.
And if the presumptive Republican nominee needed any reminder of Ridge’s prominence, he’ll get it the moment his plane sets down. The Erie International Airport where McCain lands late Sunday afternoon is also named “Tom Ridge Field” in the hometown politico’s honor.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/22/art.tomridge.gi.jpg caption="Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, appearing on 'Fox News Sunday,' said he wouldn't rule out being Sen. John McCain's vice president - if asked - but would have to first discuss a policy position that sets him apart from the Arizona senator: Abortion rights.
"If he asks me, we'll have a private conversation and we'll decide whether or not we ought to tell you what we said," Ridge said.
Host Chris Wallace pressed Ridge on his pro-abortion rights views - something critics say could hurt his chances of running with McCain, who has anti-abortion positions.
So would Ridge's views conflict with his support for a McCain administration? Apparently not.
"Obviously, the vice president's job is to support once a decision is made, whether it's on social issues, economic issues or diplomatic issues, the position of the president of the United States," he said.
"But that doesn't mean that you don't share a belief that you've had your entire life. But again, those are really difficult and challenging questions when the vice president and the president disagree on a wide range of issues, but the vice president's job is to support the administration."
Ridge, the former governor of Pennslyvania, could help McCain in the state, which is in play this year. As a moderately conservative Catholic, he could aid in other states with independent voters.
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But his position in favor of abortion rights could hurt McCain among the more conservative GOP base.